Monday, November 16, 2009

UIC College Visit

On Saturday, November 14th, I accompanied nine Cabrini Connections students to University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for a college visit. At the start of this quarter, our objective was to offer one college visit per month and so far we've followed through with that goal. In September we visited Northwestern University and in October we visited DePaul University. All of these trips are part of our College Application Assistance Program (a.k.a. the College Zone) which provides learning opportunities and support related to college admissions.

Once again, our trip began in a dining hall. Thanks to UIC Dining Services and Sodexo, we were treated to "All-You-Care-To-Eat" breakfast in the East Cafe of UIC Student Center East, and we all left satisfied. (There was even a competition to see who could make the best Belgian waffle. Kierre won.) Special thanks to Roslyn Pitts, Director of UIC Meetings, Conferences, and Dining Services, for helping arrange our visit. We like to instill positive associations with college and buffet-style dining halls are a great way to do so!

After lunch we went to an information session. We ran late because of some confusion regarding its location, but we made it in time for a Q&A session with current students which was informative. Soon it was time for our campus tour led by the wonderful Ana. Our group was comprised almost entirely of high school students (one parent) which relaxed her and allowed for a more casual tour. She prompted our students with questions throughout the tour and they always replied promptly. "What do you want to study?" got answers like architecture, English, chemistry, and computer engineering. For each answer, she was able to connect it to an actual area of study at UIC. It was a great way to show that in college you can study whatever you want!

Ana led us through most of East Campus, including The Quad, a classroom in Douglas Hall, and the Student Recreation Facility. We ended in Student Residence & Commons South where we got to tour three different types of dorm rooms with actual students living in them. UIC is one of the most diverse schools in the country. There is not a single racial/ethnic group which represents a majority. It's nice for our students to see people that look like them at a university. Ana herself, a first-generation college student, was a good model for what it takes and what it's like to attend college.

Now, usually, our visit would end here, but UIC invited us to a Flames basketball game! Volunteers, students, and their friends met at Cabrini Connections to board a bus for a free ride to the game. At UIC Pavilion, those of us who went on the college visit met them to witness the UIC Flames defeat the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) Prairie Stars 72-59. UIC held a commanding lead throughout in their first game of the 2009-2010 season. Thank you to Megan Sparks of UIC Community Assist Program for providing this exciting experience. A lot of our youth currently play sports at school, so I'm sure it is was a pleasure for them to witness competition at the next level.

Your donations to Cabrini Connections make visits like this possible. Please consider making a small donation on our web site. Thank you!

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