We are proud to empower and support Chicago students so they can achieve college and career success. The students we serve come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have many different career interests, yet they all share one goal: to get into college, graduate from college, and go far in life.

We invite you to meet some of our incredible students by reading their stories of success.

Sarah Sanchez—" I am the first in my family to have the opportunity to attend a four year university..."

Whitney M. Young Magnet School - University of Illinois at Chicago

Sarah grew up on the south side of Chicago, graduating from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in 2015. During her senior year, Sarah was a student in Bottom Line - Chicago's Access Program. As part of the application process, Sarah shared her reason for joining the Access Program during its inaugural year in Chicago, explaining, "I need college access help because I don't really have anyone to guide me through the college and scholarship process. I am the first in my family to have the opportunity to attend a four year university which is overwhelming."

With the encouragement and guidance of her Bottom Line advisor, Sarah expertly navigated the college application process and received a large scholarship from Chicago Public Schools to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Now a first year college student at UIC, this budding biology major has continued with Bottom Line as part of the Success Program. Sarah's story of success is so remarkable that Bottom Line nominated her and the White House selected her to be one of 140 students invited to attend Reach Higher’s “Beating the Odds” Summit hosted by the First Lady in July 2015

Heriberto Valadez—Building language skills and habits for success at UIC

University of Illinois at Chicago

Heriberto is a second year student at UIC who is also in his second year of participating in Bottom Line - Chicago’s Success Program. Like many students, Heriberto’s transition to college did not go as smoothly as he hoped. Heriberto faced language barriers in the classroom because he first began learning English when he immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in August 2011. At the same time, Heriberto had difficulty managing all of the freedom that came from living alone and being responsible for his own schedule in college.

Heriberto has overcome these challenges in his second year at UIC. Working with his Bottom Line advisor, Heriberto was able to identify campus resources that provide more practice for his English writing classes. Additionally, over the summer Heriberto was selected through a competitive process to participate in the CFI Partners Fellowship, a program where one of Bottom Line - Chicago’s board members hosted lunch and learns at his corporate office with different professionals speaking about their careers. These experiences have made Heriberto more confident to speak up and share his opinion in the classroom and helped him to become his own advocate academically in building language skills. The other area of success for Heriberto has come from first-hand experience and applying tips from his advisor to better manage his time, build productive habits that balance social life and school work, and stay organized around his responsibilities.

Two Chicago students were welcomed to the White House by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama to take part in the 2015 "Beating the Odds" Summit.