After graduating from Northside College Prep in June of 2017, Wright was Zubair Ahmed’s next stop. He didn’t stay there long—he received an associate degree in only two semesters, graduating in May of 2018—but that’s only because he had other goals to get to.

Zubair, 19, will start at Northwestern University in the fall of 2018.

The lifelong Avondale neighborhood resident took some classes at Harold Washington College (HWC) and came to City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) with AP credit. Needless to say he took a heavy course load while at Wright in an effort to complete quickly. He started at Wright with 27 credits earned by way of 11 AP classes taken in high school. His first semester at Wright was busy, as he completed 18 credit hours. His second semester was even more packed—25 credits, work, and volunteering.

Zubair is also a Star scholar, and that’s a big reason he attended Wright. “The Star Scholarship is what convinced me that CCC was the best option for me,” said Zubair. “I wasn’t able to afford my four-year university options, so this route not only allowed me to take classes for free and clarify my academic interests, but it also gave me the opportunity to earn exclusive scholarships that helped when I transferred.”

Zubair will be assisted at Northwestern by financial support that includes: up to $50,000 by way of financial aid and the Star Scholarship program; $10,000 from his father’s union; $2,500 from CME Group; and $750 from the Sydney R. Daniels Black History Month Oratorical Festival at HWC. He plans to graduate in the spring of 2021.

When he arrives in Evanston, Zubair plans to major in Cognitive Science and Political Science. He knows it’ll be challenging but feels he is well prepared thanks to CCC. Zubair described his Wright instructors as some of the best he’s ever had. As for the courses, his biology, math and chemistry classes buoyed his interest in computational neuroscience, while his humanities courses helped him appreciate philosophy more. He also took advantage of tutoring and assistance his professors offered around his transfer application essays. Add in his involvement in the American Chemical Society and Student Government Association and it’s fair to say the future Wildcat squeezed a lot into his one academic year at Wright.

As Zubair continues to work towards a career in informing public policy, he’ll always recognize the value of his CCC experience. “I came into CCC with preconceived notions of what community college would be like, and these notions were completely false,” he noted. “CCC is a great place to learn, grow, and meet amazing students and faculty; it has been the perfect start to my undergraduate career.”

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