Chicago Scholars Program
The application for the Chicago Scholars Class of 2018 is now available. Click here to begin!
OverviewThe Chicago Scholars Program assists talented but under-resourced high school students overcome barriers to collegiate access and success. We offer five years of seminars, workshops, and mentoring to help low-income and first generation college students apply to and be accepted by colleges, graduate in four years, and smoothly transition into their post-collegiate lives.
Approximately 250 Scholars are selected in the second half of junior year of high school from an applicant pool of 500-750 applicants. Applications include general information, two essays, recommendations, and a Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR). Successful applicants most often have at least a 3.0 GPA and a PLAN or ACT of 19 or above.
Applications are read by a committee at Chicago Scholars and a selected number are invited to interview. From that group we select the next class of Scholars. To see if you are eligible and to get answers to other questions, please read the "FAQ - Am I Eligible?" section.
Scholars' Senior Year of High School
Selected students officially become Chicago Scholars the summer prior to their senior year of high school. In July, they begin monthly college access workshops; meet with an adult mentor who works with small cohorts of 3-7 Scholars along with one or two other mentors; and numerous social networking opportunities that develop Scholars' social and cultural capital for college. Nearly all Scholars are admitted to a college of their choice at the late October Onsite Admissions Forum, a live college admissions event that enables them to advocate for themselves. Afterwards, Scholars can still apply to other colleges and we discuss financial aid and the transition to college. Read more about the Launch Program here.
Scholars' Freshman and Sophmore Years of CollegeThe initial two years of college are crucial for Scholars. During this time, Scholars are paired with a Peer Mentor who helps them navigate the college terrain; have exclusive access to paid summer internship opportunities; and participate in Career Exploration activities. Students are required to maintain a close connection with us by submitting transcripts, completing surveys, and volunteering at workshops and events when available.
Scholars' Junior and Senior Years of College
The final two years of the Chicago Scholars Program intensifies the career planning and preparation processes. After students declare their majors and become juniors, we connect them with a Career Mentor to begin more concrete career research and obtain industry-specific information, expertise, and contact points. Furthermore, we continue to offer our Scholars exclusive summer internships, Career Exploration workshops, and networking opportunties to help them determine and pursue post-collegiate options.
Transition: Career & / Graduate School
The final stage of our 5 Year Program is just the beginning for our graduating Scholars. As they enter senior year, they will have made some preliminary decisions about their post-collegiate lives. Our workshops, internships, and academic support from mentors and the Chicago Scholars Team help them focus their efforts to confidently and successfully decide their futures. One transition opportunity includes:
The Chicago Scholars Fellowship
The Chicago Scholars Fellowship provides a recent graduate with a one year internship within the foundation as a public relations manager and coordinator. This program provides valuable experience working with Scholars, staff, mentors, and others in an active environment, and a professional skills evaluation before going on to the next phase of one's professional life.