By the spring of his freshman year of high school, Ballesteros was a member of the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program. This initiative provides support for high-achieving, underrepresented Chicago Public School students with the college admissions process through a series of enrichment activities focused on leadership development, civic engagement and cultural exploration while taking college-level courses on the UChicago campus every summer.
Ballesteros smiled as he recalled the ways the Collegiate Scholars Program challenged him to pursue his academic curiosities. “I really like the atmosphere of UChicago. It seems like a very intellectual space. In the Collegiate Scholars Program, I had my first experience sitting in a class and thinking, ‘I don’t know. I have no idea what the professor just said.’ It was terrifying at first, but I thought ‘OK, I’ll have to get used to this.”
Three years in the program has only reaffirmed his desire to study at the University and remain in Chicago.
“Arturo fully embodies and exemplifies what it means to be a Collegiate Scholar,” said Abel Ochoa, executive director of College Readiness and Access and director of the Collegiate Scholars Program. “Every Collegiate Scholar has a story. Arturo’s story represents the true diversity of our nation, and I’m excited to see him further harness his ambition, strength and talent at the University of Chicago.”
Ballesteros will receive a full-ride through UChicago Promise’s Chicago Public Schools Scholarship and the Odyssey Scholarship Program, a comprehensive program that overcomes obstacles to higher education for talented students with financial need. Students in the Odyssey Scholarship Program receive loan-free financial aid and career support during their time at UChicago.