The University of Chicago News Office
June 9, 2006 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

The University of Chicago’s Collegiate Scholars Program Class of 2006 to enroll at the nation’s top schools this fall

The first graduating class of the University of Chicago’s Collegiate Scholars Program has set an exceptional example for future graduates.

The 60 Chicago Public School students who make up the Collegiate Scholars Program’s Class of 2006 will begin their undergraduate careers at some of the country’s top schools, including the University of Chicago, where seven Collegiate Scholars graduates will enroll.

In addition to the University of Chicago, two graduates will enroll at Harvard University, three at Stanford University, two at Carleton College, two at DePaul University, three at Howard University and three at Washington University.

“This is fantastic news for us, just fantastic,” said Kim Ransom-Kazembe, Director of the Collegiate Scholars Program. “We are so proud of the Class of 2006. They have definitely set the bar high, that’s for sure.”

Other schools welcoming Collegiate Scholars in the fall include Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, Wellesley College, Ohio State University, Denison College and Washington and Lee University.

The 60 teens who make up the Collegiate Scholars Class of 2006 were among the first enrolled in the University enrichment program in 2003, when it was established for Chicago Public School students.

About 600 high school ninth graders apply to the program every year, with just 50 to 60 accepted and enrolled during the summer between ninth and 10th grades.

Ransom-Kazembe noted that because most of the students who apply have excellent grades, extracurricular activities make a big difference in the application process, as do teacher recommendations and how the students demonstrate their passions.

“It’s always an exceptional group of kids,” Ransom-Kazembe said. “Each has something special. We just have to figure out what’s special, what shines.”

Throughout the school year, the teens participate in academic programs, classes and tutoring workshops on weekends and are invited to attend cultural events periodically throughout the week.

Collegiate Scholars also regularly participate in community service programs, which Ransom-Kazembe said is crucial to the program’s goal to “address the whole student.”

“We believe academics are key,” she said, “However, there are other learning experiences that help students prepare for college success. In addition to offering courses taught predominately by Chicago’s faculty, we also offer our students exposure to a diverse learning environment, academic advising, standardized prep courses, cultural arts and enrichment, residential campus stays, college admission panels, and we promote strong parental involvement.”

One of the most valuable phases of the Collegiate Scholars Program is the college preparatory workshops and mentoring, which begin the summer before the students’ senior year of high school and are led by University graduate students and teaching assistants, Ransom-Kazembe said.

“We really try to help our students understand the application process and how to best market themselves to top universities,” she said.

Brooks noted that the program allows the teens to see just how far they really can go with their education.

“We’ve demystified it for them, really,” she said. They realize they can come to the University of Chicago and other schools of similar caliber. They know that they can do it. They believe in themselves.”

Ransom-Kazembe said, “What wonderful results we’ve had for our first graduating class. They have embraced the rigorous academic culture of Chicago. When they begin their studies at the University of Chicago and other peer institutions, they will be more confident than they otherwise would have been. I am certain of that.”

As for the Class of 2007, Ransom-Kazembe is confident that the Collegiate Scholars Program will continue to aid Chicago Public School students in making their dreams a reality.

“The horizon looks very, very bright for our students,” she said.
Last modified at 01:02 PM CST on Friday, June 09, 2006.

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