When Jonathan opened the letter congratulating him on earning not only an acceptance, but a full-ride scholarship to the Honors College at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), he almost didn’t believe it.
“I thought I was seeing things,” said Jonathan. “I was frantically waving the letter around the hallways at school, asking everyone I knew to read it.”
By the time he shared the news with his College Possible coach, Sean, the realization began to sink in. His dream of earning a college degree, which he had been working tirelessly toward throughout his time at Amundsen High School, was finally within reach. For him, this goal was all the more significant given he would be the first in his family to attend college.
My parents sacrificed so much for my sisters and me,” said Jonathan. “Knowing that I would be able to go to college with a full-ride scholarship made them so proud.”
While Jonathan had been working toward this goal from a young age, he joined College Possible his junior year of high school to gain an extra leg up preparing for college. Now a senior, he has been especially grateful to have his coach, Sean, to rely on through the daunting application and financial aid journey.
“Sean has really helped me feel comfortable with this whole process,” said Jonathan. “He helps break it down in a way that makes me feel a lot better and like I am not alone.”
Over the past few months, Jonathan worked with Sean to complete financial aid forms, draft essays and submit a total of 13 college applications. He specifically looked for schools with strong engineering programs, a field he is drawn to by his talent for math and love of building things. As a student at Amundsen, he has already gotten a jump start toward this career goal, participating in competitions where he designs and constructs model bridges. While he was excited to win first runner-up when competing as a junior, this year he has his sights set on the top prize.
In addition to engineering competitions, Jonathan is passionately involved in many activities at school, serving as president of a volunteer club and captain of the track and cross-country teams. Recently, he also began mentoring a freshman student through Amundsen’s National Honors Society program, a role he is especially committed to, given he was once in his mentee’s shoes.
Just like in my family, where I serve as a role model for my younger sisters, I am inspired to give advice to younger students, because I’ve been through it before and know what it’s like,” said Jonathan.
Though he is proud of these activities, they are often challenging to juggle, especially with a part-time job after school and on the weekends. Because of this, Jonathan is grateful to have College Possible to help him stay on track with his college planning, offering him a space to complete application tasks and get the support he needs.
Now, as he awaits his remaining college decisions, Jonathan is pausing to take it all in: “I’m really excited to go to college and experience life on campus,” said Jonathan. “After all the stresses and deadlines of this year, I am also looking forward to taking a moment to just breathe.”