Escalera is a college- and career-readiness program funded by UnidosUS. Lynda, BPNC's student retention specialist, runs the program at Kelly High School.
During spring break 2018, a group of Kelly High School students from the Escalera program took a day to visit colleges on the far north side of the city.
After being picked up bright and early at Kelly, the first stop of two on the college tour was North Park University, a private university bordering the neighborhoods of North Park and Albany Park.
Our first stop was the admissions office at North Park where we got to hear about the program offerings and financial aid packages from an admissions representative. Students were able to ask questions and hear more about the student experience at the school.
After the presentation, we got a campus tour from a current student. None of us had visited the campus before and we were surprised how removed it felt from the city. It felt like you were in a small town surrounded by nature (the school straddles the North Branch of the Chicago River). North Park had a small, liberal arts school feeling. After our tour, we got free meal vouchers to eat at the dining hall (all you can eat, anyone?). Something tells me this was the students’ favorite part of the day.
We left the dining hall and boarded the bus for our last stop, Northeastern Illinois University, which is just a few minutes away. We made our way to Lech Walesa Hall for an admissions presentation and were greeted there by an admissions counselor and a current senior at the school.
Before a presentation, the student took us on a tour of the campus. We visited the fitness center, the library, and the Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs. Students seemed to particularly like the architecture of the campus buildings.
After our tour, we received a brief presentations about admissions and financial aid at Northeastern. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Kelly High School.
Students had perspectives to share about the schools:
“I really like the school and I’m thinking of going there.” - Jalina Jakes, Kelly High School Junior
“The surrounding was peaceful.” -Jonathan Gonzalez, Kelly High School Junior
Next stop on our college tours: TBD, stay tuned.