"Escape to Mecca" - 17th Annual Howard University College Tour

The “Escape to Mecca” College Immersion Tour to Howard University, is a 16-year partnership between CPS, Howard University’s Illinois State Club, Chicago People’s Union and now in collaboration with the Howard University Alumni Club of Chicago. The program has exposed nearly 600 talented juniors and seniors to the “Mecca of African-American Education,” resulting in a fourth of the participants enrolling in Howard University and over 80% of those enrollees persisting and graduating! Escape to Mecca (E2M) is open to juniors in good standing and prospective seniors accepted, or awaiting acceptance into Howard University. The 5-day – 4 night “near-peer” college campus immersion experience pairs participants with student host from Howard for a full, residential and student life experience. Participants have extended visitation to stay in the dormitories with their host, dine in the cafeteria, attend classes and work on class projects, and engage in student campus and D.C. cultural activities. Students also have a rare opportunity to have “intimate access” to admissions, financial, and other administrators along with faculty. Seniors use this trip as an opportunity to ensure all paperwork is received and processed, take care of fees, and more! This is surely a decision-making tour.

The Chicago People’s Union (CPU) student organization launched its 1st Annual Escape to Mecca Tour Program (E2M) in conjunction with Chicago Public Schools seventeen years ago. The tour became a model for the White House Near-Peer Mentoring College Challenge under the Obama administration. E2M exposes talented high school students from the third largest school district in the nation, Chicago Public Schools, to the greatness of the Mecca of African American education, Howard University. By immersing participants in the educational, cultural, and social environment of the campus and Washington, DC area, students are exposed to a close reality of the “real college experience.” Student participants live on campus in the dormitories and dine in the cafeteria with a CPU host, attend classes, meet with various school administrators, and engage in campus social events. This year’s 5-day – 4 night college tour is scheduled for Wednesday, April 8th – Sunday, April 12, 2020 and is open to juniors in good standing and seniors who are prospective students, already accepted, or awaiting acceptance into Howard University.

Application Guide: Access Here
Application Guide for Charter School Students: Access Here

Eligibility Requirements:

  • CPS High School Juniors AND Seniors with an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0 and a ACT score of 21+ or SAT/PSAT score of 990+ or more are eligible to apply.
  • Seniors must be a prospective student with proof of acceptance or confirmation receipt of application from Admissions, and proof of a submitted FAFSA.
  • Returning participants wishing to apply for attendance again must already be accepted and may be subjected to a wait-list pending response volume and eligibility of 1st time applicants.
  • Final decisions will be based on essay, grades, test scores, student’s outcomes in the Dynamic Assessment Process (DAP), etc. Slots will be fairly distributed; however, prospective Howard, and Freshman Scholarship eligible seniors, males, and GEAR UP juniors will receive priority.

Application Requires:

  • Essay Responses
  • Colored Head-Shot Photo
  • Teacher Recommendation (1 Core Course Teacher Recommendation)
  • Teacher of Choice,Counselor OR College and Career Coach Recommendation (1)
  • Unofficial copy of transcript and ACT/SAT (Senior) or PSAT (Junior) test score
  • Copy of acceptance letter, OR receipt of application AND FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) (Seniors ONLY)
  • Commit to attend a first round interview if selectedInterview will take place Wednesday, February 26th 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Parent/Adult Required
  • Commit to attend the DAP Team-building Sessions that will take place on Wednesday, March 18th and April 1st
  • Commit to attending a mandatory Student and-Parent Orientation/Interviews – Wednesday, March 25th – Mandatory DAP Student AND Parent Interviews

The E2M Committee is comprised of Chicago Public School staff and approved CPS volunteers. In addition to the application, students will undergo a Dynamic Assessment Process (DAP) for participation consideration. Student selection is at the full discretion of the committee and tour coordinators.

There is a $350 fee for participants which includes travel, chaperone lodging and most meals. A non-refundable down payment of $150 is due Wednesday, March 18th. Final payment for ALL is due Wednesday, March 25th. (Cost includes the non-refundable registration fee of $150)

Please take note of these dates prior to applying.
Friday – Monday, February 17th – 21st – Interview Notifications
Wednesday, Feb 26th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm – Mandatory DAP Student AND Parent Interviews
Friday, March 6th – Notification of Acceptance Status
Wednesday, March 18th from 6:30pm – 8:00pm – Accepted Student DAP Team Building & Down Payment Due ($150 non-refundable)

Friday, March 20th – Wait List students informed of slot availability
Wednesday, March 23rd from 6:00pm – 8:30pm – MANDATORY Student & Parent Orientation; Final DAP Team Building (FINAL OR FULL PAYMENT DUE ($150/$350)
Wednesday, April 1st from 6:30pm – 8:30pm – DAP Part II Team Building 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, April 8th – April 12th – ESCAPE TO MECCA TOUR

If there any questions contact:
Gloria Purifoy, E2M Tour Coordinator
C: 773.841.4817
E: glpurifoy@cps.edu

Supplemental Questions
  1. Please provide your preferred gender pronouns.
  2. Please provide the BEST email for you.
  3. Please provide Parent/Guardian Information
    • 1st Parent/Guardian First & Last Name
    • Emergency Contact First & Last Name (Can NOT be the parent listed above)
    • Emergency Contact Relationship
    • Parent/Guardian BEST Phone #1 (PLEASE PROVIDE MOBILE NUMBER)
    • Parent/Guardian BEST Phone #2
    • Parent/Guardian Email
  4. Did you apply to the Escape to the Mecca Tour (E2M) last school year (2018-2019)?
  5. Did you attend the Escape to the Mecca Tour (E2M) last school year (2018-2019)?
  6. Show 12 more