We are thrilled to announce that Mia Rodgers, a rising senior at UCW High School, has been selected as a 2020 Questbridge College Prep Scholar. The Questbridge College Prep Scholar program involves a highly competitive national selection process: of over 12,600 applications, less than 4,000 students are accepted. The program will provide Mia with a full scholarship to a college summer program, which may take place with Stanford, Yale, Notre Dame, or another college of her choice. She is also eligible for Quest for Excellence Awards, which cover up to $1,000 in academic costs, such as a laptop, campus visit, or standardized test. She will also attend the virtual QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference and receive access to an online community of peers who are also applying to top colleges.

Mia offers advice to future UChicago Charter students who are thinking about applying to similar programs: “When applying to programs, I always question whether I am smart enough, if I am making myself stand out, or if I even deserve the opportunity. What this process has taught me is that questioning myself won’t bring me any closer to achieving my goal. It is very easy to become wrapped up in writing the perfect essay or having the perfect SAT scores. However, I now realize that to trust yourself is the most important part of the application.”

Mia also discusses how UChicago Charter’s core values of scholarship, leadership, excellence, and grit are more than just “words in bold on posters in the hall.” She talks about the way in which she notices these core values appear in her life, particularly grit: “Each day I wake up and handle the hardships come my way, I have grit. It is the simple actions in life that build up and help me to overcome the difficult times. I find that grit is most important to me because it is exactly what I need to persevere through daily challenges, especially during times such as this. When I feel like giving up, or I don’t even feel like getting out of bed, I grit [chuckles] my teeth and push forward.

When asked about what impact she looks forward to making on the world, Mia questions the new “normal” constantly discussed in the media. “From COVID and environmental disasters, to police brutality and the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement, everything we know has been changing nonstop. How will the world come out on the other side?” Based on the success and perseverance she has demonstrated thus far, we know that Mia will play a significant role in shaping what we consider to be our new, and better, “normal.”