When Juan was in high school, he looked at colleges across the country, but landed on Harold Washington College, just a few miles from his home in Chicago. A recipient of the Star Scholarship, Juan said that free tuition and books made his decision simple. He is now part of the first class of graduating Star Scholars and is on his way to study graphic design at a four-year university.

He has enjoyed his time at HWC, especially the sense of community, the small classrooms, faculty members who are passionate about their subjects, and getting to go downtown for class every day. However, he says the best part of his college experience so far is getting to meet different people from different backgrounds with different lifestyles and different points of view. While he remained friends with other students who came to Harold Washington College from Hubbard High School, a CPS school on Chicago’s South Side, he was able to branch out and meet people from all walks of life. “It gives you a whole new set of experiences. It helps you figure out who you are as a person.”

While there are challenges, he always kept his goals in mind to keep him motivated. “The college experience is just so different from high school, and you have to be self-motivated.” He made sure to use the resources that were available to him, including getting help with his resume at the Career Center, utilizing the Transfer Center to figure out the best transfer option for him, and getting help choosing what classes to take from his college advisors. His dedication to his long-term goals will see Juan attending a four-year college to study graphic design this fall.

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