UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Students say a specific program helps them attend the college of their dreams. Bottom Line connects low-income students with resources.
This year, for the first time, the program partnered with UI. One counselor is based in Chicago and helps students get to college.
One of her favorite memories is a student coming to her office to physically click the button to accept his admission to UI. He speaks about what it took to get here.
“I grew up on the west side of Chicago, really in a dangerous neighborhood, really.”
But, it never stopped Marquise Linnear from pursuing his dream of walking on a college campus. He says growing up in Chicago wasn’t always easy. At 14, he was stabbed in the shoulder and robbed.
“The day I got attacked, August 26, 2014, that’s how bad it was, petrifying to me that I remember the date, exactly what happened and actually the time, around ten-something.”
An attack as traumatizing as that never stopped Linnear from going to school.
“I just went on to my next day. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to pursue my career in mathematics. I want to be something really great, so I went to school the next day.”
His love for math continued growing through high school, but when it came time to apply to college, he didn’t know how. His parents never attended, so he asked for help.
“So, my high school showed me Bottom Line and that’s how I found Bottom Line. It helps low-income students, like me, get into the UI.”
Linnear says his counselor read his college essays and helped him find scholarships. He says it’s proof that where you grow up doesn’t define you.
“I’m trying to make sure everybody knows it’s not that hard to be successful as long as you keep on trying to be strong and just keep fighting for what you want to believe in and make sure you do the right and correct things in life. You should be able to get an education and you will be able to go far in life.”
Linnear says he wants to work in insurance. Even though some of his counselors said it would be hard, he took calculus 2 as a freshman and says it was his favorite class last semester.