Group of students and college staff pose for a photo in front of Wright College.

With summer term in full swing, recent Chicago Public Schools graduates are getting a head start on their college journeys. The Summer Start program at City Colleges—part of our comprehensive Chicago Roadmap partnership with CPS—is now in its fourth year, helping 75 incoming City Colleges students transition into college, learn about the resources available to them, and get to know their advisors and classmates.

Student sits at a table outside and smiles.
Sergio Flores meets other students at an event for Summer Start participants at Wright College on June 14, 2024.

New to the program this year, students are able to choose the college course they want to take for free over the summer. Since participants may not be in the same classes, the colleges are organizing events to help students connect. At Wright College on Friday, June 14, several students came together to do just that.

Sergio Flores, who is taking English 101 this summer, was one of those students. He recently graduated from Roosevelt High School with a strong GPA, making him eligible to receive tuition and books at no cost through City Colleges’ Star Scholarship.

“It’s really nice getting a head start,” Sergio said about Summer Start. “And what do I have to lose? If I can graduate early, it’s better for me.”

Francesca Blanco, a recent Kelvyn Park High School graduate and Star Scholar, agreed. While still in high school, Francesca took two college classes through City Colleges’ Early College program, but both courses were online. Now enrolled in Psychology 201, Francesca is enjoying her in-person experience as a college student this summer.

Francesca Blanco looks forward to taking more classes at Wright College this fall.

“I finally get to experience what a college class is like,” she said. “I like being in person.”

Sergio, Francesca, and several other attendees talked about what types of clubs they want to join in the fall and their goals for after Wright College. In addition to receiving useful information and meeting their peers and advisors at the event, the attendees found out they will all be getting two-day passes to the NASCAR Street Race this summer.

To learn more about the Chicago Roadmap, visit