How did Chicago Public Schools graduates make it to and through college with little guidance?

Before college minority-recruitment programs gained momentum in the 1990s, Chicago Public Schools students from neighborhood high schools who got to college mostly figured it out on their own.

I know this because I was one of those students: low-income, first-generation, promising academically but lost when it came to getting to and through college.  Still, somehow I made it.

I know there are others who share the experience.

So as part of a podcast project, I’m looking for CPS graduates from 1980-1990 who meet the criteria below.  If you or someone who know is willing to share how you go to and through college, please email me at

  • You are Latino/a or African American
  • You were the first in your nuclear family to go to 4-year university right after high school between 1980 and 1990
  • You are a graduate of a neighborhood CPS high school–not from Whitney Young’s or Lane’s magnet programs
  • You were a low-income student and took care of college tuition mostly on your own (of course, with financial aid)
  • You earned a bachelor’s degree within 6 years after graduating from high school

Here’s hoping this helps me find other people who figured out college on their own.

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