Startup City Scholars Program Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?
Startup City Scholars is open to Grainger College of Engineering undergraduate students of all majors with an interest in entrepreneurship who have at least Junior credit standing. You will only be granted admission to this limited program if you can make a viable course schedule for the semester using the courses offered in Chicago and online classes from the University of Illinois, along with coordination from your department.

What do I need to apply?

  • 3.2 GPA
  • Junior or Senior credit standing
  • Required courses:
    • CS students should have completed CS233. Completion of CS241 is highly recommended.
    • ECE students: there are no required courses.
    • Other Engineering majors: you must be able to make a full course schedule using the City Scholars courses offered and your participation will require department approval.
  • An updated resume
  • Statement of Interest that explains why you are interested in the Startup City Scholars program. If you are already working on your own project or start-up please describe it. It is not necessary to already have a project of your own at this point.

When can I apply?
You will apply to participate in Startup City Scholars in the Fall semester before joining the program in Chicago for the Spring semester. Applications will be open for the first 4-6 weeks of each Fall Semester. This program currently only places students in Chicago for the Spring semester.

Where do I apply?
Applications are submitted online.

After I apply what are the next steps?
All applications are reviewed by a faculty committee. After review, selected students are notified if they have been advanced to the next step in the process as a candidate for Startup City Scholars. As a candidate, you are invited to attend several University of Chicago events and activities (in person and online) to meet your potential classmates and develop your project idea. By the end of October candidates will be asked to submit an official proposal for a University of Illinois student-led project or to join a team with other University of Chicago students. Submitting a project proposal means you intend to join the Startup City Scholars class if accepted.

Calendar of events for students approved as Candidates

September 6thStartup City Scholars Applications Open
October 3rdEntrepreneurship Candidates Approved
CNVC Kickoff in Chicago – Optional for candidates
October 8thIdeation and Design Thinking Workshop in Chicago – Optional for candidates
October 14th
Startup City Scholars Applications Close – New! Extended deadline!
October 15th
Market and Idea Validation Workshop in Chicago – Required for candidates
November 4thExtension to Nov 4th! Proposal submission deadline. Candidates must submit final proposal for their project or team.
November 15Extended deadline! Students will be notified if they are selected to participate in the College New Venture Challenge and Entrepreneurship City Scholars
November 26Orientation and Team Building event in Chicago – Strongly recommended for accepted participants
January 8th
First class in Chicago

Do I need to have my own project/start-up already to apply?
No. Through the application process you will be asked to explain why you are interested in entrepreneurship and you will have the chance to propose your own project or join with other students from the University of Illinois or the University of Chicago to form a project group.

I already have a project and teammates. How do I apply?
You must each submit an initial application for participation in the City Scholars program in September separately. This allows the University to review your class needs and credit to determine if you could be a candidate. If multiple members of your team are approved as candidates, you are welcome to submit your final proposal on Nov 4th with that team. We recommend that all teams take the time to consider finding new members and University of Chicago student partners to work with once you are accepted into the program.

How will I be connected with University of Chicago students for a project?
As you move through the application process you have the opportunity to form a team with both University of Illinois and University of Chicago students.

  • University of Chicago hosts a google doc to connect students looking for teammates.
  • Events on University of Chicago and University of Illinois campus will help you meet other students and form groups
  • Even after being admitted to the class you may work with University of Chicago students to add students to groups.

When will I know for sure if I have been selected?
Selected students will be notified by November 15th that they have been admitted into the program. The City Scholars program will work with you on course registration and housing at that time.

Are all student candidates who submit a project proposal guaranteed acceptance into the program?
Acceptance is not guaranteed. This pilot program has space for only 12 students.

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