On the morning of Wednesday, November 4, UChicago Charter School Woodlawn (UCW) High School senior Mia Rodgers hopped onto a Zoom call with UCW’s Chief College Officer Mr. Torres. She expected to have a routine conversation about her college application essays, but a few moments after she joined the call, she noticed she and Mr. Torres weren’t the only ones in the Zoom room. More and more people began to pour in, including the University of Chicago’s Deputy Director of Admissions and her regional admissions counselor, who had exciting news to share with Mia: she had been accepted to the University of Chicago’s Class of 2025 with a full-tuition scholarship!

Mia is one of the first students to be admitted to UChicago’s Class of 2025. While most applicants won’t begin hearing their admissions decisions until winter break, Mia applied early through a new UChicago Promise program aimed at supporting students in the city of Chicago. Called Moving Online, Virtually Empowered, Unlimited Potential, the MOVE UP program expands UChicago Promise’s work to support Chicago Public Schools students as they navigate the college search, application, admissions and financial aid processes virtually.

Mia has an impressive track record both in her professional and academic achievements thus far. In addition to serving as the Youth Liaison for the Equitable Learning and Development Project at the UChicago Consortium on School Research, she was admitted to the UChicago Collegiate Scholars program, through which she was able to take summer courses in humanities, social sciences, and mathematics, taught by University of Chicago faculty on campus. She was also an apprentice for the After School Matters Green Star Movement and a delegate for Model United Nations.

When asked how she found these opportunities, Mia credited her UCW administrators and College Graduation Office counselors: “I would have never known about the Collegiate Scholars Program, or taken classes at UChicago SSA and or the Law School, or gone on those college tours if our administrators and counselors hadn’t really worked hard on our behalf to expose us to this college-bound track and get us prepared… They and the teachers at UCW really want to see the students win in a way that I haven’t experienced before.”

Mia also spoke to the important role the UCW College Graduation Office has played in hers and others’ journeys to college: “The College Graduation Office gives us a lot of help with essays, applications, and things like that, but they also do a lot of advocating for us outside of school. Like Mr. Torres, he said, ‘Let me know if you’re applying to UChicago. I can make sure someone there knows, too, and is looking out for your application.’ Things of that nature really show that this is more than just a job to them because there’s only so much that they really have to do, but I see them going out of their way to make sure that we’re going to succeed… I just think it’s really beautiful to see how willing they are to advocate for us because I know a lot of friends I have in other schools say that they don’t have that privilege to be with counselors like these.”

UChicago Charter is so impressed with Mia’s accomplishments as well as her growth over her high school career. This summer, Mia was also accepted to the competitive Questbridge College Prep Scholars program. When we spoke with Mia after her Questbridge acceptance, she offered advice to future UChicago Charter students 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. I now realize that to trust yourself is the most important part of the application.”

It is clear that UChicago Admissions took notice of Mia’s confidence and drive, and we hope that her acceptance and full-tuition scholarship to the University reaffirms her deservedness of every opportunity that comes her way.