We are beyond thrilled to announce that UCW High School senior Moses Corona was accepted to Johns Hopkins University’s Class of 2025! Moses is among the fewer than 5% of students who were accepted to Johns Hopkins through the regular decision application round.

Moses recounted how he first learned about Johns Hopkins through a project assigned to him by the Academy Group, a program which provides academic support, mentoring, and work experience to students on Chicago’s South and West Sides. “With the Academy Group, we had to do research on some top colleges that we’d like to go to in the future. When I was doing my research, Johns Hopkins’ name came up at the top.” 

That moment took on new meaning just a few years later. Last Friday, UChicago Charter Chief College Officer Will Torres asked Moses to hop onto a Zoom meeting with him to discuss his college applications. Moses had no idea he would be opening his Johns Hopkins acceptance letter on that call: “I was surprised when I got in because I didn’t think I was going to get in, to be honest. Mr. Torres, he was really pushing me to apply to three overmatches. I knew I could apply, but I didn’t really think too much about it at the time.”

Although Moses may have been surprised, Chief College Officer Torres recounted the thoughtfulness with which Moses drafted his college application essays with the support of UChicago Charter College Graduation Office. “Every time Moses got feedback on his essay, or even his approach to a problem, he embraced it,” said Torres. “Seeing Moses shape his personal statement into something that he is proud of has been an honor.”

Beyond support with his college application essays, the UChicago Charter College Graduation Office (CGO) created a unique opportunity for Moses to learn about Johns Hopkins: meeting one-on-one with Calvin Wise, the Director of Recruitment in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Johns Hopkins University. Like our CGO leaders, Wise is focused on ensuring students find a college that fits them, particularly during a pandemic when college tours are not a safe option for all students. “So many students are focused on getting into college that they don’t consider the college experience,” Wise explained last fall. “It’s kind of like we are asking them to buy a car and they’ve never even driven one before.”

Moses and Chief College Officer Torres meet with Calvin Wise, the Director of Undergraduate Recruitment at Johns Hopkins, via Zoom.

This means our CGO leaders’ work is far from done once students receive their acceptance letters. And even after students find their fit, other factors come into play. “I’m waiting to see how much financial aid I’m going to receive,” Moses noted when asked whether he intends to matriculate to Johns Hopkins. 

Moses will have ample support when considering his financial aid awards: CGO leaders like Chief Alumni Officer Candace Kyles will help Moses and his family ensure that he takes advantage of the scholarship dollars available to him. In addition, Moses has support from the Academy Group in weighing his options. “I feel like I could come to my advisor Shannon Keys with anything,” Moses said. 

Part of the reason these relationships are so effective is because of the way Moses has leveraged them throughout his academic journey. “The Academy Group had a major impact on me. They helped me with my presentation skills — presenting in front of a lot of people — and just helped me have the character that I do today.”

If Moses wants other young people following in his footsteps to know one thing, it’s this: “No matter your backstory, it’s what happens in the future that matters. You can have detentions or feel put out every day, but in the future, depending on how you play your cards, you could still be on top.” 

He explained how his grandparents immigrated from Nigeria and Mexico, and how hearing their stories — what they sacrificed to bring their families to America — helped him understand how his success has brought meaning to their sacrifices.  His family’s history, and future, inform Moses’ “resolve and sheer will to succeed within and beyond the classroom,” as Torres put it.

Moses also credits the teachers and advisors he’s had who have made him feel comfortable in his learning environments — and those who pushed him out of his comfort zone. “It was those teachers who made school feel comfortable for me. Yeah, there were times where I felt like I couldn’t do something — but I had teachers who really believed in me, who saw my future as something even more than what I thought of at the time.”

On the other hand, Moses named some of his most impactful relationships as those that challenged him: “My freshman year literature teacher pushed me to get out of my comfort zone: we had writing circles that helped me become comfortable with speaking my mind and writing my opinions down. And I know in college and at my job, I’ll have to speak my mind, or nothing will ever change.”

Moses sees his professional goals as twofold: owning or leading a business, and ensuring that other young people who are underrepresented minorities in business have opportunities to do the same. “Because of negative stereotypes due to the color of our skin, we are entering the playing field in a different position. You have to feel comfortable in the place you’re growing in, because for you to put forth your best effort, that feeling of comfort has to be at play.”

Moses intends to cultivate those kinds of environments in business, and he’s already honing these skills when it comes to shaping schools. “I work for the UChicago Consortium on School Research’s Youth Advisory Circle,” he explained, “and my job is to help make school better in terms of what we should change about the classroom and the environment.”

Moses himself craved intellectual rigor during his high school career, taking dual enrollment business classes at City Colleges of Chicago and earning high marks in UCW’s most challenging academic offerings, all while balancing his responsibilities as a member of UCW High School’s football and baseball teams. “Moses embraces rigor and opportunity with enthusiasm and lets his work do the talking for him,” said Torres. “I cannot wait to see the way he grows when he meets his match and has more rigor than we can offer. Moses is going to grow exponentially at whatever institution he chooses.” 

Moses, on behalf of the entire UChicago Charter community, we will truly miss you, but we are beyond excited to see you thrive.