Startup City Scholars Program FAQs

What is the difference between this program and the traditional City Scholars program?
The main difference is that students participating in the Startup City Scholars Program will not intern at a company but will instead work on their own or with a group on a startup idea as part of the College New Venture Challenge.

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 and a 3.2 GPA (recommended) or above. 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 the City Scholars program and online classes from the University of Illinois, along with coordination from your department.

How do I apply?
Fill out the applicable interest form to determine your eligibility for Startup City Scholars. If you are interested in entering your project team in the CNVC, applications are due Nov. 9th, 2021 and instructions can be found on the CNVC website. This program currently only runs during the Spring semester.

After I apply what are the next steps?
All submitted interest forms are reviewed by a faculty committee. Students will be notified that they are eligible by November 9th. In the meantime, interested students should attend CNVC events hosted by University of Chicago to meet your potential teammates and develop your project idea. If you are interested in entering your project team in CNVC, applications are due Nov. 9th, 2021. Students looking to join a team can do so by attending networking events with prospective and final teams.

Where will I live?
Students in the Startup City Scholars Program will need to attend the weekly CNVC class meeting in-person on the campus of the University of Chicago as well as the weekly required City Scholars course (TE360+401). Participants are encouraged to live in Chicago to take part in all CNVC and City Scholars activities, as well as all the other opportunities available in Chicago.

What classes will I take?
The key course for the Startup City Scholars Program will be taught at the University of Chicago but taken for credit through the University of Illinois as TE 398. Like all other City Scholars, students will also need to enroll in TE 360 and TE 401. Otherwise, Startup City Scholars can take any CS or ECE class offered through City Scholars during the semester, as well as other online course offerings through the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Do I need to already have a startup idea to participate?
No. You may attend networking events with other interested students from Illinois and UChicago where you can join a group of students with an existing idea.

I already have a project and teammates. How do I apply?
You must submit an interest form for Startup City Scholars and ensure that City Scholars program staff know each member who wishes to be considered for the program. 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, you are welcome to submit your final proposal on Nov 9th with that team. All teams must have at least one University of Chicago undergraduate student partner who can also take the CNVC class in order to be eligible for prizes.

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

  • University of Chicago hosts interest forms to connect students looking for teammates.
  • Virtual events from University of Chicago and University of Illinois 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?
Groups/Students who submit a project to CNVC will be notified shortly in mid-November that their team has been into the program. The City Scholars program will work with you on course registration and housing at that time. Students joining a team as free agents may do so until the program begins in early January, scholarships and space permitting.

Are all student candidates who submit a project proposal guaranteed acceptance into the program?
Acceptance is not guaranteed. This program has space for only 20 students.

Will I get paid?
No. All students participating in the Startup Program will be eligible to apply for a $5,000 scholarship that will be distributed by the University of Illinois. This is not a paid wage and will be reported to Financial Aid.

Will all my classes be at UChicago?
No. All courses–including the New Venture Challenge Course–will be registered as Urbana-Champaign courses.

When would I need to be in Chicago?
Because the University of Chicago follows a different academic calendar than Illinois, CNVC will begin the week of January 3rd. Please note this is several weeks before the semester begins at Urbana-Champaign. The CNVC program will end in March; however, Startup City Scholars students will still need to remain active in City Scholars activities until the end of the Illinois semester in May.

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