College Bound: More than a Leap of Faith

Chicago Hope Academy seniors know that it takes more than a leap of faith to get accepted at a top college. It takes a lot of hard work and preparation.

Laura Jahnke

Laura Jahnke (above), College counselor at Hope, works one on one with each senior to make sure they are ready for life’s next step. “We work really hard with Mary Campbell, the college writing teacher, to not only perfect personal statements, but to make each student a better writer for college.”

Jahnke, a graduate of Bethel University, has many tips for graduating students:

  1. Apply early apply often.

The fall of your graduating year is the right time to fill out college applications. In general, January first is the deadline for college applications. If students miss the deadline, they miss their opportunity to get into that school.

  1. Ask for recommendations early.

A letter of recommendation is written by a teacher, coach or other academic mentor that explains why the student is an excellent candidate for that school. Students should approach mentors two months before the letter is due.

  1. It’s OK if you don’t know where you want to go.

That is quite common. You can ask for personal recommendations and also focus on your long term goals. If you dream of being a brain surgeon, your choices would be different than a classmate who aspires to be a musician.

  1. It’s OK if you don’t know what you do. That’s normal.

Did you know that the average American will have seven different careers in their lifetime?

Students can view their degree as the shoe on the foot that gets into that first door.

Chicago Hope Academy prides itself on having a 100% college acceptance rate for its graduating seniors.


What do Hopeful Graduates have to say?

Derriall “KIPP” Reed, is a graduating Senior in his fourth year at Hope. “I want to go to Purdue in Calumet. I like how it’s close to home and they have a strong computer science program.”

Kipp also commented that the Chicago Urban League was helping him with other tools to get into college, like setting up school visits.

Silvia Amador, first year at Hope. “Preparing for college is hard because I have been homeschooled all of my life. The college writing class at Chicago Hope Academy is helping me a lot.”

Silvia hopes to attend Hillsong College in Australia to study music. “I want to go somewhere far away and start over, then return to Little Village and work with kids.” Silvia aspires to be a singer and songwriter.

Want more tips on how to prepare for college? Click here.