City Colleges of Chicago’s Early College program helped Leila Ebdair get on track to earn her doctorate by 25-years-old.

Leila is currently a student at Roosevelt University in the accelerated three-year doctorate program, but when she was a high school student at Chicago Academy, she was already thinking about college.

Someone from Wilbur Wright College came to talk to a group of top students at Leila’s high school about the Dual Enrollment program, part of City Colleges’ Early College offerings. They explained that students would take college courses in addition to their high school classes.

Everyday after a full day of high school, Leila would come to Wright’s campus from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and take class. She started taking one class per semester and eventually began taking courses on weekends and in the summer.

“Exposing myself to challenging courses helped prepare me for college and persevere,” Leila said. “Now, I’ll take whatever challenges come at me.”

Initially, Leila struggled to balance all that was on her plate. However, after changing the way she was studying, Leila got the hang of things. She earned her high school diploma and her associate degree at the same time. This allowed her to head straight to UIC, where she graduated early with her bachelor’s degree in disability and human development thanks to the credits she earned at City Colleges. Leila then transferred to Roosevelt University, a school that an advisor at City Colleges told her to consider. She picked Roosevelt because it would afford her the most opportunities, personalized attention, and support.

Leila has thrived at Roosevelt. She has gotten industry experience through work and internships at Walgreens and a hospice delivery care pharmacy. She’s also president of the American Clinical Pharmacy Organization, a member of the American Pharmacists Association, an ambassador of her school, and a member of an organization of top students in her class. She’s also won several awards, including an Outstanding Student Leader Award, Academic Achievement Awards, and Excellence in Communication and Counseling.

In the future, Leila wants to secure a fellowship or a residency and work for a pharmaceutical company to analyze medicine or create new medicine. Leila has a bright future ahead and agrees that Dual Enrollment has played a role in that. She recommends it to any high school student who considers it.

“Dual Enrollment motivated me to try my best and not to fear failure,” Leila said.