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Five unique stories of how CPS graduates persist through the twists and turns of college

Last spring, the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and the To&Through Project released a study on Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates’ post-secondary pathways. The study revealed that the normative view of college — being continuously enrolled at one institution and graduating with a bachelor’s degree — is not typical for many CPS graduates.
 

CPS graduates’ pathways defined a different “normal,” one in which students were more likely to transfer between institutions and take time off college than previously known.

These findings inspired us to seek out students who have made these transitions to understand more about their experiences. Read their stories below for insights into what makes persistence possible and their pushes for the field. Want to share these stories with students? Download a lesson plan that includes versions of their stories adapted for high schoolers as well as a slide deck, worksheet, and more.

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Nancy's Story

 

Nancy is a Latinx, first-generation college student from Brighton Park. She immediately enrolled in a four-year college after high school graduation, transferred to a two-year college, and is currently enrolled in another four-year college.

 

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Arthur's Story

 

Arthur is a Black college student who attended a high school on the Southwest Side of Chicago. He immediately enrolled in a four-year college after high school graduation and has since transferred to two-year colleges as well as an online bachelor’s degree program.

 

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Amayrani's Story

 

Amayrani is a Latinx, first-generation college student who graduated from a selective enrollment public high school and immediately enrolled in a two-year college. She took two semesters off during the pandemic.

 

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Moises' Story

 

Moises is a Mexican American, first-generation college student from West Lawn. He immediately enrolled in a four-year college after high school graduation, transferred to a two-year college, and is currently enrolled in another four-year college.

 

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Kiara's Story

 

Kiara is a Belizean American college student from South Shore. She immediately enrolled in an HBCU after high school graduation, transferred to a two-year college, and is currently enrolled in a nursing program at that college.

 

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Lesson Plan

 

This lesson plan centered around the stories of recent CPS graduates currently in college aims to help high school students in their senior year explore two questions: (1) "What does a college being a good 'fit' mean in reality for recent graduates? What does it mean personally for you?" and (2) "How have recent graduates successfully navigated what happens when the college they enrolled in isn’t a good 'fit'?"

 

The To&Through Project team would like to express our most sincere gratitude to Amayrani, Arthur, Kiara, Moises, and Nancy for taking the time to share their stories with us.

Adayan Munsuarrietta, a third-year student at the University of Chicago majoring in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies as well as Media Arts and Design, interned with the To&Through Project during the summer of 2021, during which he interviewed these five CPS graduates and drafted their stories.