Contact: Rebecca Allen
Development and Community Relations Specialist
Illinois College Advising Corps

August 26, 2013

Getting a jump start preparing for college
Four-day program introduces seniors to application process

Over 100 high school seniors at 11 high schools in Illinois, including 6 in Chicago, got a head start on
the demanding college application process with a four-day intensive workshop offered by the Illinois
College Advising Corps (ICAC).

The program, held on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, introduced the high school students
to several important pieces of the college application puzzle, including researching and selecting
appropriate colleges, writing the personal statement, and researching scholarships and other sources
of financial aid. Students also received a college tour as part of the program.

“For low-income, first-generation students, the process of navigating the complex college readiness
and application processes while effectively completing their senior year studies can be daunting,” said
Judith Flink, ICAC Executive Director. “This is especially true for students in high-need high schools,
where guidance counselors may be overburdened and lack the time and manpower to effectively
respond to these students' needs. College Jump Start addresses some of these barriers by helping to
prepare these students for the busy fall semester when most applications are due.”

The College Jump Start program was initiated as a pilot project at Waukegan High School in 2012. This
year, the University of Illinois collaborated with ICAC and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to host students
from six of ICAC’s CPS partner schools on the UIC campus, while separate camps were hosted at
Round Lake High School, Waukegan High School, Springfield Southeast High School, Springfield Lanphier
High School, and Manual High School in Peoria for their students.

“When I think of college, I think of debt, and it’s scary,” admitted Erika Gonzales, a rising senior from
George Washington High School. “But now I know that there are ways to pay for college. You can get it
through filling out the FAFSA and through private companies. I also learned that you’re not alone, that
you have support on campus. People tell you, ‘Oh, you’ll be just a number, they just want your money,’
but it’s not like that. I’m excited for my senior year now! And I know all the deadlines for everything.
I’m definitely more prepared than I was before this program.”

Said Tyrone Kincaid, a rising senior from Frederick Douglass Academy High School, “I’ll be the first
person in my family to go to college, so that will be pretty cool. But, scholarships - that’s probably the
only way I’ll be able to go. Because of Jump Start, I know that there are a lot out there, and I just need
to focus on applying myself this coming semester to make it work. I’ve been ready to go to college since
my freshman year of high school! I just can’t wait.”

PHOTO - Erika Gonzales, George Washington High School senior

PHOTO - Tyrone Kincaid, Frederick Douglass Academy High School senior


The Illinois College Advising Corps (ICAC) is a near-peer college adviser organization committed to
increasing postsecondary access and completion for Illinois high school students, particularly those who
are low income, underserved, and first generation. The ICAC program trains recent University of Illinois
graduates in college advising and places them in high-need high schools throughout the state to offer
one-on-one assistance with all aspects of the college going process.

The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in
the state with more than 77,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign,
Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degrees annually.