“When I first smelled it, I knew College Possible was for me,” said Kryssy, a first-year student at the University of Illinois-Chicago and College Possible student.
“It” was the scent of pizza, which often filled the computer lab at Lake View High School where College Possible coaches work with students on college preparation, Kryssy explained. Besides the pizza though, the coaches’ inviting and friendly personalities drew Kryssy to the program. She was also impressed with how much they knew about getting into college.
“They were the types of people I wanted to surround myself with,” she said.
As she participated in SAT practice tests, completed college applications and worked with her coach on time management, there was a sense of security that College Possible provided through its after-school sessions and constant reminders about college application tasks.
“College Possible provided structure to my busy days. My coach checked in and genuinely wanted to see me succeed,” she said. However, the support does not stop there. “When you join, it’s not just your coach; you have the entire College Possible team ready to help you.”
The College Possible staff and coaches encouraged students to ask for support when they needed it and normalized that as part of being a College Possible student. If her coach was not available, Kryssy felt comfortable going to someone else on the team for help.
Kryssy, a firm believer in the power of nonprofits and community-based organizations, is familiar with advocating for herself and seeking out support. Her family emigrated from Belize and when they came to the U.S. five years ago, she experienced firsthand how community organizations could help her families and others like hers navigate unfamiliar situations and open doors to new experiences. Organizations like these and College Possible inspire Kryssy to volunteer and get involved in her community.
“Opportunities are out there for a reason,” she explains. “I always emphasize taking advantage of opportunities that are in front of you and because of that, I’ve learned I am very capable and diligent.”
Kryssy is no stranger to making the most of what’s in front of her. The combination of College Possible coaching and her tenacity earned Kryssy nearly $20,000 in scholarships, including the Foundation To Be Named Later/Peter Gammons College Scholarship, and a summer internship with a Chicago alderman and Kryssy sees these as steps closer to doing what she loves — helping people.
“It brings me joy to help people and my community,” she said. “If I can get paid to make people smile, that’s what I want to do.”
As Kryssy begins her first year of college and adjusts to living on campus during a pandemic, she is glad she has the continued support of College Possible and is ready to explore more activities and organizations that align with her plans to study political science or possibly international relations.