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Exploring 9 Exciting Enrichment Programs at the University of Chicago

Are you a high school student eager to delve into a world of academic exploration and personal growth? The University of Chicago offers various enrichment programs spanning STEM and non-STEM fields. Check out these 9 enrichment programs for high school students that promise a unique blend of learning, hands-on experiences, and networking.


1. Emerging Rural Leaders II Program


Program Overview

The Emerging Rural Leaders II Program, caters to high-achieving juniors from rural and small-town high schools across the United States. This week-long enrichment initiative, hosted at the University of Chicago, encompasses interdisciplinary classes and tours of cutting-edge research facilities. Participants also engage in activities that showcase Chicago's opportunities, providing a unique urban experience. The program includes on-campus classes, research facility tours, and college application workshops. 


What are the application requirements?

Eligible participants are current 11th-grade students, at least 15 years old, attending rural or small-town U.S. high schools. The regular application deadline is March 5, 2024. Required application materials comprise an online application, transcript, supplement and essays, at least one teacher recommendation, and a parent/guardian confirmation email.


The program will take place July 21-26, 2024

 

What are the associated costs & fees?

The application fee is waived for those selecting this program as their first choice, all program costs, including tuition, room and board, and roundtrip transportation, are covered, students are required to have their health insurance.


2. Quantum Quickstart Program


Program Overview

The Quantum Quickstart program at the University of Chicago offers an immersive opportunity for Illinois high school students passionate about STEM to delve into the forefront of quantum sciences and the foundations of quantum mechanics. This one-week accelerated program provides participants with a unique experience, engaging directly with faculty from the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering through a combination of lectures, theoretical discussions, and tours of cutting-edge lab facilities. Throughout the week, students explore the intricacies of the quantum world, gaining insights into quantum computers and even participating in quantum-adapted board games designed to enhance their understanding of concepts such as entanglement. Additionally, the program includes valuable sessions focused on STEM career preparation and insights into the college admissions process.


What are the application requirements?

To be eligible for this program, applicants must be current 9th or 10th-grade students, at least 14 years old, and enrolled in an Illinois high school. The regular application deadline is March 5, 2024. Required application materials include an online application, transcript, supplement and essays, and a recommended nomination from a counselor or teacher. Additionally, a confirmation email from a parent or guardian is requested.


When does the program take place?

The program is scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 2, 2024. Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 28, with the first session commencing on Monday, July 29. The closing session will be held on Friday, August 2, and move-out is scheduled for the same day.


What are the associated costs & fees?

For those selecting this program as their first choice, the application fee is waived. All costs, including tuition, room, and board, are covered. However, students are responsible for providing their own health insurance and transportation to and from the campus.


3. Parrhesia Ambassador Program


Program Overview

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program is deeply rooted in the University of Chicago's Principles of Free Expression, offering a unique curriculum centered on the theory and practice of public discourse and deliberation. This intensive one-week enrichment program is designed to instill in pre-college students the essence of Parrhesia—freedom to speak openly. Participants in the program actively engage in a curriculum that goes beyond traditional communication principles, emphasizing both theory and practice. As ambassadors, students not only learn about the significance of discourse but also actively advocate for it. The program encourages active involvement in rhetorical processes, shaping students into effective communicators who value and uphold the principles of free expression.


What are the application requirements?

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program is open to current 9th and 10th-grade students, aged at least 14, and enrolled in a U.S. high school. The application deadline is March 5, 2024. Required materials include an online application, transcript, supplement and essays, with a counselor or teacher nomination recommended, and a parent/guardian confirmation email. These criteria aim to assemble a diverse and qualified cohort for the program.


How is the program formatted and what are important dates?

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program offers two distinct sessions for participants to choose from: Session A, scheduled from July 7-12, 2024, and Session B, taking place from July 14-19, 2024. For Session A, participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 7, with the first session commencing on Monday, July 8. The closing session is scheduled for Friday, July 12, with move-out on the same day. Similarly, for Session B, participants are to arrive on Sunday, July 14, and the first session will begin on Monday, July 15. The program will conclude with a closing session on Friday, July 19, followed by move-out. These carefully structured timelines ensure a well-organized and engaging experience for all participants, offering flexibility in choosing the session that aligns best with their schedule and preferences.


What are the associated costs and fees?

For participants selecting the Parrhesia Ambassador Program as their primary choice, the application fee is waived, providing an accessible entry point to this enriching experience. Additionally, the program ensures comprehensive support by covering all associated costs, including tuition, room, board, and roundtrip transportation. While these aspects are included, students are responsible for providing their health insurance, contributing to a well-rounded and transparent understanding of financial responsibilities associated with the program. This structure aims to make the opportunity more accessible while maintaining clarity regarding participant obligations.


4. Young Innovators Program


Program Overview

The Young Innovators Program, in collaboration with Invenergy, a leading force in renewable energy, and the Polsky Foundation, is designed to empower high-achieving students for success in STEM innovation. This initiative provides experiential learning opportunities, mentorship from industry leaders, and a network of like-minded peers.


The program is divided into online sessions in June and in-person sessions in July. In the virtual sessions, students engage in Zoom seminars led by UChicago experts and industry professionals. Topics include entrepreneurship, engineering careers, bioengineering, renewable energy, startup founding, and venture capital. The July in-person sessions include a capstone experience on campus, where students work in teams to pitch new ventures addressing business or social challenges using technology. Coaching from Invenergy and the Polsky Center, campus lab tours, city exploration, and guidance on applying to selective colleges complement this hands-on experience.

As part of the capstone, students visit Invenergy's Chicago headquarters for an office tour and a panel discussion with industry professionals, gaining insights into various STEM career paths.


What are the application requirements?

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program invites current 9th or 10th-grade students, aged at least 14, and enrolled in a U.S. high school to apply. The regular application deadline is set for March 5, 2024. To complete the application process, students are required to submit an online application, along with supporting documents such as a transcript and supplementary essays. While not mandatory, a counselor or teacher nomination is recommended to enhance the application. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to include a confirmation email from a parent or guardian. These application requirements aim to ensure a thorough and diverse selection process for the program.


What are important dates to consider? 

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program offers both virtual and in-person sessions to cater to diverse preferences and circumstances. While the dates for virtual sessions will be finalized in early 2024, the in-person sessions are scheduled from July 7 to July 10, 2024. For the in-person sessions, participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 7, with the first session commencing on Monday, July 8. The program concludes with a closing session on Wednesday, July 10, and move-out on the same day. Note that these dates are subject to change, and participants are advised to check for updates to ensure accurate scheduling information.


What are the associated costs & fees?

For participants prioritizing the Parrhesia Ambassador Program as their primary choice, the application fee is waived, easing the financial entry point to this enriching experience. The program further demonstrates its commitment by covering all associated costs, encompassing tuition, room, board, and roundtrip transportation. While students are responsible for providing their health insurance, the program recognizes potential financial constraints and offers financial assistance for transportation, along with a fee waiver for eligible participants. This comprehensive approach aims to make the program accessible while addressing specific financial considerations for the participants.


5. China Emerging Leaders Program


Program Overview

The China Emerging Leaders Program is a  residential program, hosted on campus, offering students the opportunity to engage in leadership, communication, and cultural competence through virtual and in-person sessions. The curriculum spans various topics, including global perspectives on learning and leading in the 21st century, building skills in leadership and understanding free expression through renowned texts. Participants enhance presentation and communication skills, engage in experiential learning activities, and gain insights into the highly selective admissions process. The program fosters a close-knit community and includes excursions to Chicago's landmarks.


What are the application requirements?

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program welcomes applications from current 10th-grade students, at least 15 years old, who are enrolled in a high school in China. The application deadline is set for March 5, 2024. To complete the application process, interested students are required to submit an online application along with essential documents, including a transcript and supplementary essays. While it is recommended, a counselor or teacher nomination is optional. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to include a confirmation email from a parent or guardian. These application requirements aim to ensure a comprehensive and diverse selection process for the program.


NOTE:

English Proficiency Requirements

- Competitive English language proficiency required

- No ESL support provided


What are important dates to consider?

The Parrhesia Ambassador Program session from July 14-19, 2024, includes a schedule as follows:

  • Arrival: Sunday, July 14

  • First Session: Monday, July 15

  • Final Session: Friday, July 19

  • Move-out: Friday, July 19


Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 14, with the first session commencing the following day, Monday, July 15. The program concludes with the final session on Friday, July 19, followed by move-out on the same day.


What are the associated costs & fees?

Applicants choosing the Enrichment Program as their first choice will have their application fee waived, providing an accessible entry point to this valuable experience. For selected participants, a non-refundable program fee of $1,000 is required, covering housing and dining during the program. Participants are responsible for arranging their own U.S. health insurance and managing roundtrip transportation, ensuring a comprehensive and transparent understanding of associated costs and responsibilities for a well-rounded experience.


6. Voltage Scholars Program


Program Overview

Experience economic exploration through the Voltage Scholars programan opportunity for high school students fascinated by economics to delve into the distinctive approach and rich academic offerings of the University of Chicago. Centered around "The Voltage Effect" text, this enlightening experience unravels the intricacies of both macroeconomics and microeconomics. The program offers a three-day, two-night immersive journey, providing interested students with a chance to engage directly with UChicago's unique economics approach. This accelerated experience, in collaboration with the Becker Friedman Institute's Expanding Diversity in Economics undergraduate program, includes hands-on lectures and networking opportunities with college students, enhancing the overall learning adventure.


What are the application requirements?

The Voltage Scholars program is open to current 10th-grade students, with a minimum age of 14, enrolled in a U.S. high school. The application deadline is March 5, 2024. To complete the application process, interested students are required to submit an online application along with essential documents, including a transcript and supplementary essays. While it is recommended, a teacher or counselor nomination is optional. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to include a confirmation email from a parent or guardian. These comprehensive application requirements aim to ensure a diverse and qualified selection of participants for the program.


What are important dates to consider?

The Voltage Scholars program invites applications until March 5, 2024. Eligible students, aged at least 14, can apply by submitting an online application, transcript, supplement and essays. A teacher or counselor nomination is recommended, and a parent/guardian confirmation email is encouraged. The program, scheduled for June 9-11, 2024, promises an insightful exploration of economics at the University of Chicago. The structured timeline includes arrival on June 9, the first session on June 10, a closing session on June 11, and move-out on the same day. This concise schedule ensures a focused and engaging experience for participants.


What are the associated costs & fees?

The Enrichment Program waves the application fee for those choosing it as their first choice. This program ensures comprehensive coverage, including tuition, room, and board, providing an all-inclusive experience for participants. While students are responsible for arranging their U.S. health insurance and transportation, financial assistance is available for roundtrip transportation, ensuring accessibility and support for all participants.


7. NEUBAUER FAMILY ADELANTE SUMMER SCHOLARS 


Program Overview

The Neubauer Family Adelante Summer Scholars program features interdisciplinary classes led by the faculty of University of Chicago, tours of UChicago's cutting-edge research facilities, and workshops on the college application process. In addition to the academic focus, students will explore the diverse academic and professional opportunities available in the vibrant urban setting of Chicago. Engaging activities include attending improv shows, baseball games, architecture boat tours, and dining at some of Chicago's most renowned restaurants. This holistic experience aims to provide students with not only academic enrichment but also a broader understanding of the dynamic cultural and professional landscape in a major urban center.


What are the application requirements?

Invitations are extended to current 11th-grade students, aged at least 15, enrolled in a U.S. high school to apply for a unique opportunity. The application process is entirely online, with a Regular Deadline of March 5, 2024. Decisions will be released simultaneously in late April. Required application materials encompass an online application, transcript, supplement & essays, at least one teacher recommendation, and a confirmation email from at least one parent/guardian. This comprehensive approach ensures a thorough evaluation of candidates for this enriching program.


What are the associated costs & fees?

The application fee is automatically waived for applicants selecting any Enrichment Program as their first choice.

All program costs, including tuition, room and board, and roundtrip transportation, are fully covered. Students are required to have their health insurance.


What are important dates to consider?

The program is scheduled to take place from July 21 to July 26, 2024. Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 21, with the first session commencing on Monday, July 22. The program will conclude with a closing session on Friday, July 26, followed by move-out on the same day. This well-organized schedule ensures a structured and engaging experience for all participants throughout the week.


8. Woodson Summer Scholars Program


Program Overview

Beneath the iconic Cloud Gate "The Bean," the Woodson Summer Scholars program pays homage to Carter G. Woodson by bringing together students actively involved in Black/African American communities across the United States. This week-long enrichment program invites students to participate in interdisciplinary classes led by esteemed faculty, tours of UChicago's cutting-edge research facilities, and specialized college application workshops. Beyond academic pursuits, participants will immerse themselves in Chicago's vibrant urban landscape through diverse activities, including improv shows, baseball games, architecture boat tours, and dining at the city's finest restaurants. The program not only celebrates academic excellence but also fosters a holistic and enriching experience for students engaged in Black/African American communities.


What are the application requirements?

Eligibility for the Woodson Summer Scholars program is open to current 11th-grade students, at least 15 years old, actively engaged in Black/African American communities, and enrolled in a U.S. high school. The application deadline is March 5, 2024. To complete the application process, interested students are required to submit an online application along with essential documents, including a transcript, supplement & essays, at least one teacher recommendation, and a confirmation email from a parent/guardian. This comprehensive approach ensures a thorough evaluation of candidates who embody dedication to Black/African American communities and academic excellence for this unique enrichment program.


What are important dates to consider?

Participants in the Woodson Summer Scholars program are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 21. The week-long program will commence with the first session on Monday, July 22. The program's closing session is scheduled for Friday, July 26, and participants are expected to move out on the same day. This well-structured timeline ensures a seamless and engaging experience for all attendees throughout their time in the program.



Program Description

In collaboration with Invenergy, a renowned name in renewable energy, and the Polsky Foundation, this residential program provides high school students with insights into potential climate and energy policy careers. Led by experts from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and other esteemed institutions, students engage in dynamic discussions, readings, lectures, and collaborative projects. They also delve into the vibrant urban environment of Chicago, exploring academic and professional opportunities and enjoying activities that showcase the city.


What are the application requirements?

The Woodson Summer Scholars program invites current 11th-grade students, aged at least 15, and enrolled in a U.S. high school to apply. The application deadline is March 5, 2024, and there is no application fee. To complete the application process, interested students are required to submit an online application, along with necessary documents such as a transcript, supplement & essays, at least one teacher recommendation, and a confirmation email from a parent/guardian. This inclusive approach ensures a thorough evaluation of candidates, making the program accessible to eligible students without an associated application fee.


What are the associated costs & fees?

For those prioritizing the Enrichment Program as their first choice, the application fee is waived, facilitating accessibility to this valuable opportunity. The program covers all associated costs, encompassing tuition, room, and board, ensuring a comprehensive and immersive experience for participants. While students are responsible for arranging their health insurance and transportation to and from campus, financial assistance is available for transportation costs through the Financial Aid Application, aiming to support participants and make the program accessible to a broader range of students.


What are important dates to consider?

The Enrichment Program is scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 2, 2024. Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, July 28, with the first session commencing on Monday, July 29. The program will conclude with a closing session on Friday, August 2, followed by move-out on the same day. This well-organized timeline ensures a structured and engaging experience for all participants throughout the week.



If you are interested in pre-college programs focused on history, consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also, check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.


Tenzing Dolma is a Masters student specializing in research following the Nechung Oracle and the historical, religious, and cognitive approaches to its presence. She has a bachelors in Neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago and is currently completing her graduate studies at Columbia University. She hopes to help students find their passions through access to programs and organizations the same way she found hers!


Image Source: University of Chicago logo


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