Northwestern Academy Students Tour Colleges Across the Nation

Northwestern Academy Students Tour Colleges Across the Nation

students at USCAcademy students visit the University of California, Los Angeles

Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students visited 21 college campuses from Southern California to Pennsylvania during their annual spring break trip.

The week-long adventure is a significant milestone for the high school juniors, who are all first-generation college-bound, come from a low-income family, or are part of a group traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Since 2013, the academy has provided personal enrichment, leadership development, college advising and cultural and civic engagement for qualified candidates who want to excel beyond high school. The multiyear college preparation program is administered by Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy as part of Northwestern’s Good Neighbor, Great University initiative to expand college access.

As part of the program, students travel to distinct regions of the country to meet with college admissions officers, administrators and students, get a first-hand look and feel of the campuses and participate in enrichment activities.

This year, 65 students visited schools in five states: California, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

During the California trip – the Academy’s first visit to the West Coast – the students toured the University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Occidental College, Pomona College, Pitzer College, Whittier College, Claremont McKenna College, and Soka University of America.

In addition to college visits, students and a handful of parent and guardian chaperones toured the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Villa, an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.

“These trips give them new perspectives on what different colleges offer,” said Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools Director Cassandra Geiger. “They’re an essential part of the college process and in making decisions about future goals.”

The 25 students on the Midwest bus trip visited Washington University in St. Louis; Macalester College, macalasterCarleton College, St. Olaf College, and the Science Museum of Minnesota in Minnesota; and Knox College and Illinois Wesleyan in Illinois.

While on campuses, they met with current undergraduates and Academy alumni Cynthia Aguilar (Macalester College); Nicolekaye Degillo and Jose Villalpando (St. Olaf College); and Song Li (Knox College).

The Pennsylvania trip took 19 students to seven schools, including Lafayette College, Muhlenberg College, Ursinus College, University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Franklin & Marshall College, and Swarthmore College. It also included tours of Hershey's Chocolate World and a Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia.

Current undergraduates and Academy alumni who spent time with the high school students included Kayla Gillespie (Ursinus), Christian Alfaro (Swarthmore), and Jack Ma (Lafayette.)

Previous spring break trips have taken students to other colleges, including Earlham College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College and the University of Notre Dame.

Learn more about Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools and its sister program, Northwestern Academy – Evanston.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 4/24/19