Chicago Urban Experience (CUE)

Chicago has been called a number of things throughout its history. Nicknames like "The City of Big Shoulders," "Paris on the Prairie," and "The Windy City" have each attempted to sum up the essence of the city, but there is one name that we think might be more appropriate than any other, "home." For at least the next four years, you will be a Chicagoan, and the Chicago Urban Experience is your introduction to the culture and history of the city.

Through a focus on the key themes of politics, history, art and architecture, sociology, and Chicago as a modern city, you will delve into the richness and diversity of Chicago while also building a strong social network with other members of your incoming class. By day, you will travel the city in small groups, meeting with civic leaders, touring important landmarks and cultural institutions, and engaging with faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of Chicago. At night, all of the groups will come together for dinner, discussions, and lots of fun activities. Housing, meals, and transportation are provided throughout the program.

Program Overview

Dates: September 10 - 15
Spaces Available: 80
Cost: $900 per student (Financial assistance may be available to qualifying students. Please complete Request for Financial Assistance webform to be considered for aid. Priority will be given to students participating in the Odyssey Scholars program or those receiving significant financial aid from the University. Requests for aid must be submitted by July 14th.)
Inclusions: Housing, meals, transportation, and any applicable admissions fees are included in the cost of the program. Students will be responsible for incidental/personal expenses.

To apply, please complete our online application. Please note that students may apply for more than one pre-orientation program, but may only participate in one program.


Application Available: Monday, May 1
Application Due: Friday, June 16
Decision Announcements Begin: Friday, June 30
Student Confirmations Due: Friday, July 14
Program Move-in Date: Sunday, September 10

Sample Events

  • Visits to Chicago neighborhoods for meetings with city aldermen
  • Discover the history behind Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and other Chicago landmarks
  • Thoughtful discussions about Chicago's past, present, and future with UChicago faculty
  • Cruise of the Chicago River and lakefront to examine the city's architectural heritage
  • Guided tours and special programming to give you a taste of Chicago's rich arts scene
  • Nighttime trips to major Chicago cultural institutions, like a Chicago improv theater and the Chicago Cubs

The application for this program has now closed.

Applications are due by Friday, June 16. If you have any questions about this program or about the application process, contact the College Programming Office at or call us at 773-702-8616.