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Seeing is believing

Home Sweet Syracuse plaqueWhen it came time to think about college, first-year student Karen Chow never thought she would leave Chicago. “I was born and raised in Chicago, and now live in the Bridgeport/Chinatown region,” she says. “I absolutely love my city.”

So when colleges began accepting her, and Chow needed to choose, the decision seemed overwhelming. The May 1 decision day loomed near. “I knew I would be leaving my closest friends and my family behind,” she explains.

But as a student at the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School—Michelle Obama’s alma mater—she had access to guidance and support from her school and from Chicago Scholars.

Chicago Scholars is the largest college access and success program in Chicago, mentoring and counseling first-generation college students from under-resourced communities. “The amazingly dedicated staff of Chicago Scholars, especially my counselor Rachel, was a huge factor in making my decision,” Chow recalls.

With the Scholars’ help, she was able to apply for a scholarship from Syracuse University’s Chicago Alumni Club. Home Sweet Syracuse is a need-based scholarship that covers an accepted student’s travel from Chicago to see the Syracuse campus for the first time. The Syracuse Orange Fund also generously provided financial resources for Chow’s trip.

Once on campus, she was able to attend the Own the Dome spring reception for accepted students. It was an eye-opening experience. “I was so impressed by the Syracuse campus, its school spirit, and the architecture program and facility,” says Chow. “I was also impressed by how kind everyone was that I talked to, and the generous financial aid package Syracuse offered.”

That campus visit tipped the scales for Chow, and she made her decision to attend Syracuse. The school year has just begun, but she notes, “I think I made the right decision!”

We do, too.

Learn how to support students like Karen Chow.