GLP and College Readiness

The IIT Global Leaders Program (GLP) aims to empower Chicago area teens to become leaders through service and STEM enrichment programs. The program’s leadership training, community service, and emphasis on STEM curriculum provides scholars with a solid foundation to thrive in higher education, their career, and in their communities. Boasting a 100% college enrollment rate, the program’s impact is evident. IIT Admissions Counselors Natalie Polacek and Samantha Sleva can vouch for it, they’ve seen first hand the program’s effectiveness in supporting motivated high school students in their transition to university.

When discussing what they look for most throughout the admission process, Samantha and Natalie both identified leadership, dedication, and a sense of passion as critical. ‘It really says a lot about an applicant when they have decided to take their passion outside of the classroom and do something in their community,’ Natalie explained. ‘As admission counselors we do not want all of our students to be exactly the same so when students embrace what makes them unique and let those qualities shine in their application, it really can make a difference.’

Beyond GPA, recommendations, and leadership skills, Samantha highlighted evidence of resilience as a quality admissions counselors look for in applicants. Natalie echoed this sentiment when describing the growth she has seen in GLP scholars, ‘A student’s ability to advocate for themselves is by far the largest change I have seen in some of my students that have come through the program.’ Natalie remembers interviewing a specific student for the program years ago who went on to apply to Illinois Tech his senior year. As she puts it, ‘he certainly had some obstacles to overcome in order to attend college; without the confidence and resources provided to him through the GLP I am not sure he would have reached out to the admissions office on his own.’

Natalie emphasizes that it isn’t just membership in GLP that makes our scholars such strong candidates, it’s how they’ve used the resources and guidance provided by GLP to pursue their goals. ‘While just being in the GLP won’t give you a leg up over other students, utilizing the resources and experiences GLP provides will make you a better college applicant overall.’


Samantha Sleva, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, IIT
Natalie Polacek, Senior Admission Counselor, IIT
Illinois Tech Admission Counselors share their perspective on the Global Leaders Program