UChicago launches Stand Together initiative to promote educational access

From college admissions to career success, the initiative brings resources to the students who need them most

This summer, the University of Chicago Admissions launched UChicago Stand Together, a new initiative to further educational access and career success for students of color and other underrepresented students. An initiative that partners with community-based organizations, other institutions of higher education, and top employers, UChicago Stand Together promotes access to higher education as well as equity measures in college and beyond.

For the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, UChicago Stand Together established an early, streamlined college preparation process for students in Chicago Public Schools. Through this process, rising high school seniors receive direct mentorship from UChicago admissions counselors and are connected to more than 150 top institutions of higher education.

With expanded admissions support, UChicago Stand Together also launched $15 million in new four-year scholarships. Beginning with admitted students from the Class of 2025, these scholarships will be awarded to emerging student leaders and scholars involved in, serving or advancing groups that are underrepresented in higher education, workplace leadership and academia.

The program also runs a series of events to promote college readiness and lends support to existing efforts by community-based organizations. This summer, UChicago partnered on seven workshops with 100 Black Men of Chicago, a nonprofit dedicated to improving educational opportunities for young Black men.

“Thanks to our new partnership through UChicago Stand Together, 100 Black Men of Chicago was able to expand our college access work to a new Summer Series—empowering students, parents, and counselors in the college application process,” said Kevin Gordon, a board member of the nonprofit.

A major mission of UChicago Stand Together is to support and uplift community partners who are devoted to equity and access in education. UChicago will pair these organizations with UChicago students or recent graduates through fully-funded internship and fellowship positions. In the coming year, regional community-based organizations will receive 100 UChicago student interns, and ten national organizations will receive a Lawrence A. Kimpton fellow, a recent UChicago graduate who will serve as a full-time staff member.

Just as UChicago Stand Together provides new support to students entering college, it strives to give the same to graduating students from underrepresented communities. The recently-formed Student-Employer Forum on Building an Equitable Future will present an opportunity for students and employers to discuss racial equity, diversity recruiting and support for people of color in the workplace. In addition, employer partners will collaborate with the University through the Equity and Access Employer Council to develop direct actions to recruit diverse talent.

“Now more than ever, as we look to build a future that provides access, opportunity, equality and personal success for all, we are thrilled to Stand Together with UChicago to help provide meaningful pathways for students of color to careers in the nonprofit and public sectors, where diversity is incredibly vital to understanding what all communities need to thrive,” said Monica K. Brown, vice present of human resources and administration at the Cleveland Foundation, “We look forward to the collaborative partnership the Equity and Access Employer Council and the other UChicago Stand Together initiatives provide as we continue to build a dynamic and inclusive talent pipeline for the Cleveland Foundation and the field of philanthropy.”

While working to expand equitable and responsive pathways to college for students underrepresented in higher education, UChicago Stand Together is furthering the University’s dedication to all young scholars.

“As we continually work to enhance the inclusivity of our community, we must also confront the unequal barriers that our students face before they arrive and after they graduate,” said James Nondorf, dean of admissions and vice president of the university. “UChicago Stand Together represents the next step in our commitment to providing resources to the students who need them most, in the city of Chicago and beyond.”