FAQs

Applications for the Fall 2021 semester are now closed. Check back in September 2021 for Spring 2022 applications.

Below are answers to common questions about the City Scholars program. If you have a question you do not see answered below, send us an email.

COVID-19 Related FAQs

  • Will the Fall 2021 program be cancelled?
    • We have not cancelled any semesters during the entire pandemic and have no intention to do so. Please know that the University is making all decisions based on safety first, and we are certainly committed to that same mindset.
  • Will internships be remote during Fall 2021?
    • At this point, we do not know if our partner companies will be expecting interns to work in-person or remote. Each individual company will make their own decision. However we anticipate that most companies hope to host their internships in person for Fall 2021.
  • Why should I live in Chicago if I can take classes and work remotely?
    • Even if your internship and classes are entirely remote, we think it is a good idea to live in Chicago for several reasons. There will be safe opportunities for you to engage in-person with classmates in Chicago. Additionally, we feel that it would be a good work environment for you to be separated from your normal routine in Urbana-Champaign. Adding 20 hours per week of serious remote internship work to your normal living situation and social schedule—on top of doing most other things virtually and likely having less routine and structure—is not recommended.
    • While in-person gatherings continue to be limited in Chicago, there are still many benefits to living in the city. At this time, Chicago is has reopened most businesses, restaurants and other establishments. As long as a resurgence of the virus does not occur, more of the city’s amenities and attractions will become available. 
    • Some of our smaller courses may offer optional in-person meetings. This will allow you to meet with your instructor and classmates at our facility, while maintaining proper distancing. 
  • What City Scholars activities will take place in person?
    • Our plan is to host optional social gatherings throughout the semester, as well as open our office space for common work and study space. 
  • Where should I live?
    • If you are from the Chicagoland area and/or have family in the area, we recommend you live with them this fall. If that is not an option, as always, UIC Housing has spaces set aside for City Scholars in their SSR building. This option is especially desirable considering the current uncertainties surrounding the fall semester. In Spring 2020, students who wished to leave UIC housing early due to COVID-19  were able to do so and were appropriately refunded. This is highly unlikely to happen in private housing in the city. UIC Housing is very accommodating to City Scholars students and provides a reliable and safe housing option. We strongly recommend this option if you choose to live in the city. 
  • What parts of this plan might change in the future?
    • As we have learned, the spread of the pandemic and the subsequent consequences of that spread are very hard to predict. We will keep all interested students updated via this website and our email distribution list.

Application Process

  • What do I need to apply?
    • 3.2 GPA recommended
    • Junior standing
    • Required courses:
      • CS students should have completed CS233. Completion of CS241 is highly recommended.
      • ECE students: there are no required courses.
    • An updated resume
    • Statement of Interest that explains why you are interested in the Engineering City Scholars program. Limit your submission to approximately 200 words.
  • What majors can apply?
    • Currently, City Scholars is open to students in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, CS+X and Electrical Engineering.
  • When is the application due?
    • The application deadline for Fall 2021 will be announced after the application is posted in late February 2021.
  • Where do I apply?
    • Applications are submitted online.
  • 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, which is attending the Networking Event on campus. Following the event, students will interview with companies and submit their preferences. Submitting internship preferences commits you to accepting any offer you receive.
  • How are matches made?
    • To better understand the matching process, we suggest watching this video that describes a process like the one we use.
  • When will I know for sure if I have been matched?
    • Matches for the Fall 2021 cohort will be announced by May 1, 2021.
  • Are all students who submit internship preferences matched with a company? 
    • A match is not guaranteed. Students are encouraged to rank as many companies as possible in order to maximize their chance of matching.

Classes

  • What classes are being offered?
  • How are the classes delivered?
    • There are three ways City Scholars courses are delivered:
      • fully-online classes
      • classes are taught Urbana-Champaign’s campus, lectures are recorded for City Scholars to view and faculty provide special discussion sections for City Scholars
      • in-person at Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago, specifically for City Scholars
  • Are my engineering classes taught by UIC?
    • No. All classes are University of Illinois courses and are taught by Urbana-Champaign faculty.
  • Where are the classes located?
    • If the course is delivered in person, classes will be held at Discovery Partners Institute, 200 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606.
  • When will I know what classes will be offered online?
    • The course schedule will be posted around the same time as the regular campus schedule is posted.
  • Can I take classes at UIC?
  • Do I become a UIC student for the semester?
    • No, you remain a student at Urbana-Champaign but have access to UIC student facilities (i.e. recreation center, health center, libraries).
  • Do I pay tuition during my semester as a City Scholar?
    • Yes, you pay tuition just as you would if you were on campus.

Internship

  • What companies are participating?
  • What will my work schedule be like?
    • You will arrange your work schedule with your employer, based on your course schedule and City Scholars activities.
  • How much will I be paid?
    • All City Scholars are paid the same rate of $25 per hour.
  • Where will my work location be?
    • All City Scholars will work inside “the Loop” or close-by.

Living in Chicago

  • Where will I live?
    • City Scholars are encouraged to live in the block of UIC student housing that is specially reserved for City Scholars. More details are provided on the Housing page and upon acceptance into the program.
    • Participants may also secure housing off-campus or live with family/friends.
  • Can I use student services at UIC?
    • Yes. City Scholars may use UIC Libraries, Recreation Centers, Health Centers and other student services included in campus fees.
  • How will I get around Chicago? 
    • City Scholars are charged for a U-Pass, which provides unlimited rides on CTA trains and buses during the semester.
  • Can I bring a car to Chicago?

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