The Schuler Program equips bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Writing from thirteen schools located in the greater Chicago area in Lake and Cook Counties of Illinois, scholars reflect on their academic experiences, cultural exposures, college applications processes, and more.
De’ja Fitzell, Collins Academy High School, Class of 2016
De'ja Fitzell (pink shirt) and other Scholars at the Summer College Program Fair.
first time the Schuler staff told me I was required to go to a Summer College Program,
I was very excited because it meant that I would get the chance to meet new
people and also get a sense of the college experience. I knew that this would be an advantage for me
because it would give me the opportunity to prepare for real college life which
is not too far away in my future. However, when I heard that I would most likely
have to go by myself, I broke down—I was nervous, scared, and emotional. I thought,
“I do not want to go to another state by myself.” I wanted to go with a friend
because I would feel more comfortable and supported with them by my side.
did, however, learn that one of the reasons that I could benefit from going alone
was that I would learn how to make new friends. At first, I thought, “I don’t want
to make new friends, especially if I might never see them again”, but I
realized that it’s beneficial to make new friends because I would learn new
things about people who aren’t the same as I am. Given this newfound knowledge,
I was enthusiastic but also scared and worried because I knew that, in order
for me to go to a Summer College Program, I would have to sacrifice some things
this summer like playing basketball and going to Texas to visit my father.
about the Summer College Programs left me with a lot of questions and concerns,
so when I found out about the Summer College Program Fair, where I would be
able to ask questions about the colleges, I was grateful for the opportunity to
learn more about both of the colleges that I am going to apply to. I'm applying
to Discover Hopkins at Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt Summer Academy at
Vanderbilt University because I’m interested in the medical field. I honestly
didn’t know which school I was more interested in attending because I didn’t
know what type of courses each school had that I would be interested in.
When I sat down at my first table at the
Summer College Fair it was for Vanderbilt. There weren’t that many students at the table,
and at first I didn’t speak at all. After a while I became more comfortable
because the Vanderbilt representative described a course that sounded
interesting to me. After hearing everything about this course, I became very
excited. This course is called Med School 101, and I liked the course because
it covers different topics like chemistry and biology. In the Vanderbilt
program students are also taught about the different types of drugs and
medications, which is perfect for my interest in medicine. I also really liked
how the Vanderbilt program gives you a lot of free time so that you can go off
campus and do fun things after going to classes and study halls.
I went to my next summer college program--Johns Hopkins. I really liked how the
Johns Hopkins representative had a vibrant personality and that alone made me more
curious about the Johns Hopkins program. There are so many different courses to
choose from! I learned that I can take one course for the first two weeks and
then I can take a different course for the last two weeks. I really like that, because
I can study two different subjects during my time in the program instead of one
like the other programs. Just like
Vanderbilt, I like that they give us free time and let us go off campus, but at
Johns Hopkins I will also have the opportunity to visit the on-campus hospital.
programs sound engaging and intriguing. I also got the chance to speak with two
girls who attended John Hopkins last year when they were sophomores. They told me that they were feeling just as
anxious as I felt the first time I heard about Summer College Programs. By
listening to their experiences, I became really eager to attend the programs. I
just can’t wait because I know that after my first experience I will want to go
to another Summer Program next year. I am looking forward to having fun,
learning, participating in activities, and making new friends.