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College Admissions Deadline Looms as Teacher Strike Enters Second Week

Mary Chappell | The PhoenixThe strike began on Oct. 17 as teachers called for better pay and better resources for their students.

As the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher strike continues into its second week, high school students said they’re feeling left out as the college admissions process approaches its climax. 

High school students looking to apply for college using an early decision application — a binding agreement where, if admitted, the student must attend that institution — have just days before the Nov. 1 deadline. 

The Chicago Teachers Union  — which started striking Oct. 17 — is asking for better pay and benefits, more student resources and smaller class sizes, The Phoenix reported.

However, many students said they feel frustrated as the teacher strike leaves them without access to guidance and help from school staff. 

“We’re definitely at a disadvantage this late in the term,” said 18-year-old high-school senior Patryk Romanowski. 

Romanowski, who attends Chicago Academy High School (3400 N. Austin Ave.), said because of the teacher strike, parts of his application are still incomplete.

“My teacher is having issues uploading his letter of recommendation,” he said. “Their emails don’t work either.”

Other students said they feel “stressed” now because of the strike.

“I was planning on having these applications in on Nov. 1 but it’s hard without the support of my teachers and counselors,” Kay Mendoza, an 18-year-old Lakeview High School (4015 N. Ashland Ave.) senior, said.

Some organizations are filling the gap, offering free college application help at the Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library (6907 N. Clark St.) about a mile from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.

The College Advising Corps — a “subdivision” the University of Chicago’s Office of Admissions — is offering free assistance with all college applications, essays and FAFSA, according to Jose Heredia, an organizer with the program.

Normally workers are stationed full-time at high schools in Chicago’s South Side, Heredia said. 

“Because of the teacher strike, we partnered with some libraries across Chicago to keep providing our services,” he said.

Many students utilized this program to get help with their essays. 

“I came here for help with my essay and I can’t get help from my teachers now,” Romanowski said. 

Other students also attended because they said they were bored at home.

“I’ve just been at home, the library feels like school so I work better here,” Mendoza said. “I still think I’ll be ready [to submit the application], it’s going out with or without their help.”

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