CHAN'CELLORE MAKANJUOLA

ARLINGTON, Texas–ILTexas seniors Sanaa Hood and Samantha Flores have a few things in common. They both attend ILTexas Arlington-Grand Prairie High School (AGPHS)l, they love to dance, and they both received full-ride scholarships to the University of Chicago. The university is ranked sixth in best overall universities in the United States, tying with Princeton University according to a 2022 U.S. News and World Report ranking. The scholarships will cover their tuition and housing fees throughout thier four years at the university. 

For Hood, her UChicago acceptance was an unexpected surprise. 

“I was just crying in my car because I never thought I'd get in,” she said. “[UChicago] was my number one . . . and it just showed everything I did these past four years was worth something.” 

The acceptance was also a surprise for Flores who will also be the first person in her family to go to college. Her parents came to the United States with “great hopes and aspirations that their children would be able to complete the journey they were never able to finish,” she said. 

“It’s definitely an experience that is new to my entire family.”

Flores and Hood found their acceptances even more exciting when they found out they’d be attending the university together with the same scholarship. The two befriended each other through the AGPHS dance company and had UChicago listed as one of their top schools to go to.

ILTexas AGPHS seniors Samantha Flores and Sanaa Hood and class of 2022 college signing day ceremony. 

“When I found out I was like, ‘whoa, we both got in,” Flores said. “It’s definitely nice having someone going to the same school as you.”

Flores plans to study computer science at UChicago with the goal of getting into software development while Hood plans to study psychology with her career interests in science and child development. 

When asked to reflect on their time at ILTexas, both Flores and Hood were grateful for the academic experience they received at the charter.

“I do think that the smaller population of this school helps you create deeper connections with your peers,” said Flores. 

Hood echoed the same sentiment. 

“ILTexas has prepared me for college just because of the close-knit relationships,” she said. “I feel like it prepares you to be more social and extroverted and to meet people who have the same interests as you and I think that's really beneficial when going into college.” 

As for advice for students planning to go to college, Hood encouraged others not to let acceptance rates discourage them from applying. 

“I remember googling UChicago and seeing that their acceptance rate was 7% and it almost discouraged me,” she said, adding that the thought of not applying would be worse than getting rejected. “I ended up getting accepted with the full ride so I think it's just great to put yourself out there regardless of the outcomes because you never know.”

ILTexas is proud to share stories of our 2022 graduates and the exceptional higher education opportunities that they have earned. Explore ILTexas.org to learn more about how your student can have these same opportunities.