Become a Scholar

Once a Chicago Scholar, Always a Chicago Scholar

The application for the Class of 2025 will open in November.


How would college change your life?

You have what it takes to go to college. Chicago Scholars will help you get there.  

Through our Launch, Lift, and Lead program, we will support you in getting into college, through college, and beyond with our 7-year college access, success, and leadership development program.

Questions about college?  We're your people.

At Chicago Scholars, we believe our students will become the next generation of leaders to transform their communities and Chicago. That’s why our program provides comprehensive support to students to ensure they have the resources they need to get to college, to be successful, and to graduate. Our goal is to help you develop as a leader and reach your fullest potential.

And we don't stop there. As we always say, "once a Chicago Scholar, always a Chicago Scholar". The final phase of our program is dedicated to helping you start and accelerate your career.

We support our Scholars with: 

Getting to College: During the first phase, Launch, Scholars are supported with individualized college counseling sessions, workshops, mentors, and financial aid assistance.

Succeeding in College: In phase two, Lift, Scholars are supported throughout college through adult mentoring, on-campus peer mentoring, staff support and campus visits, and emergency financial support. 

Successfully Transitioning from College to Careers: In the final phase, Lead, Scholars begin career readiness and leadership development training with help from career mentors, connections to internships and employment opportunities. 


Ready to apply?

Chicago Scholars is looking for:

  • Juniors in high school who will graduate in 2021.

  • Students who live and attend high school in Chicago.

  • Students who will be a first-generation college student (neither parent graduated from a four-year college in the US) and/or students who come from an under-resourced community.

  • Students who are academically ambitious, motivated, and believe in the possibility of their unique superpowers.

  • Students who are demonstrated leaders in their schools, communities, or homes.

  • Students who are committed to furthering their education and have a strong desire to attend a 4-year college.

  • Mature students who can fully commit to a rigorous academic and leadership development program.

  • Students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum ACT score of 20 or PSAT score of 1020.*

*If you are a student with an academic profile that does not meet these criteria and would like to apply, we will provide a space for you to provide proof of an upward trajectory in your academic performance in the essay portion of this application.


Want to learn more?


Join our mailing list!

The Chicago Scholars program application is only open to current juniors. Be the first to hear when the application is live and receive updates about the application process.

Click here to join our mailing list.



Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the program?  Your eligibility? The selection process?  Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions here.

Don't see an answer to a question you have?  No problem!  Click here to contact our Community Engagement Team and we will be happy to get back to you with an answer. 


Meet a Chicago Scholar

Check out our Scholar spotlights to learn the stories of some of our Scholars doing amazing things in college or as they build careers.  From starting on-campus organizations or start-up businesses, to attending law school or studying in China, our Scholars are making moves and going places.

Click here to check out some Scholar stories.