This year, 210 College Possible seniors graduated high school and are preparing for their college journey. The third annual College Decision Day marked the beginning of their transition to college campuses across the country and celebrated two years of hard work culminating in an acceptance to a four-year university.
Hosted by Google in their Chicago office, College Decision Day was a time to bring high school seniors together from across the city to acknowledge their accomplishments and receive inspiration from their College Possible coaches. Each high school senior coach prepared unique presentations for the event. Some went with the classic heartfelt speech, reflecting on the past year and providing wisdom on the years ahead. One coach, Samantha Flores, created a version of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” writing her own lyrics about working on college applications and FAFSA. While Sam’s musical parody made the crowd laugh, and other speeches made us cry, every one revealed the strong bond that has formed between coaches and their students.
“My coach has been my supporter through every struggle I’ve had. She has taught me how to keep striving no matter what,” a senior said.
We rounded out the event with a fireside chat with Martin Nesbitt, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Vistria and Chairman of the Obama Foundation. He spoke about his own path to and through college, reminding students that with hard work and dedication, they can achieve great things. Nesbitt’s story rang true with the students who, like him, are eager to be the first in their family to earn a degree. He also talked about the power of surrounding yourself with positive influences. As an example, he highlighted his close friendship with former President Barack Obama explaining how impactful that relationship has been on his life, both personally and professionally.
It is essential for college students to build these positive connections that will help them through challenging times. At College Decision Day, we grouped students together that will attend the same university to meet and start building those support systems. Additionally, students enrolling at UIC, U of I, and National Louis University heard from administrative staff who attended the event about what to expect their first year of college.
Izze, a senior at Lake View High School is nervous about attending Columbia College in the fall. He worries about making friends, fitting in and the academic challenges to come. During College Decision Day, he met Jane, a senior at Thomas Kelly High School who is also attending Columbia in the fall. The two connected, talking about their excitement, fears, intended majors and career goals. At the end, they exchanged phone numbers. Just knowing there will be one familiar face on Columbia’s campus in August helped turn Izze’s fears into excitement for the next phase in his life.
College Possible is extremely proud of all the accomplishments of our seniors. 97 percent of this year’s class have been accepted into college and collectively earned over $5.7 million in collective scholarships. Come August, our students will be attending 48 different colleges from Hawaii to Maine. Each student has overcome their own personal struggles, worked incredibly hard and are now headed to campus with the comfort of knowing there is a College Possible coach there to support them until they earn their degree.
This event would not have been possible without our generous sponsors and supporters, who collectively raised $59k for the event. Thank you!