University of Chicago Charter School student accepted to 25 colleges earns $1M in scholarships

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago high school student has a big decision to make.

He's earned a million dollars in scholarships and has been accepted to 25 colleges.

Straight A student, student body president, athlete and business entrepreneur Julien Sims is an 18-year-old with a purpose.

After seven years at the University of Chicago Charter School's Woodlawn campus, the time has nearly come to make a very important choice. One made all that much harder after being accepted into all 25 colleges he applied to.

"Georgetown University; the University of Southern California; Georgia Tech; the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Howard University; Hampton; Morehouse," Sims raddled off.

With over $1 million in scholarship money being offered to him by the various universities, it won't be sticker shock that keeps Sims from his school of choice. A good business program is what he's looking for, as well as someplace he's able to continue working on a casual wear clothing brand of his own creation.

"Just be chill -- that's the motto. Just chill," Sims said. "This idea just started during the pandemic. So the pandemic helped me find out more about myself regarding mental health and to stay active creating this clothing brand... This is all just for learning and to give back to the community."

Raised by a single mother, Sims credits her with keeping him on the straight and narrow, while empowering him to grow beyond the stereotype of being a young Black man on the South Side of Chicago.

"I had to realize the odds are against me, along with others in my community who look like me," he said.

"I kept him active in after-school programs; Summer programs at Kennicott park district," said Sims' mom Tonett Jones. "Just staying to my goal that the bottom line is we have to keep him active."

Active and with one main guiding principle.

"You want to stay positive," Jones said. "You want to make sure to help others along the way. Be mindful of the things that you do and the decisions that you make because ultimately it's on you."

While he's not 100% sure yet, Sims will need to make a decision on which college offer to accept by May 1.
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