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Chicago Urban League Urban Scholars Program

  • Chicago Urban League Urban Scholars Program
  • 4510 South Michigan Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60653
  • 773-285-5800
  • 1916

Program Description

The Chicago Urban League is an affiliate of the National Urban League, the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Founded in 1916, the Chicago Urban League initially helped rural African Americans migrating from the south adjust to northern, urban living. Today, as one of the major civil rights organizations in Chicago, and one of the 96 affiliates of the National Urban League, the Chicago Urban League is committed to support and advocate for economic, educational, and social equality for African Americans.

Throughout our 96 years of service, African Americans have made tremendous gains in the journey towards equality and empowerment. However, current trends show that there remains much more work to be done. In 2012, with the input of its board, staff, and key stakeholders, the Chicago Urban League launched a strategic plan that identified three critical areas to focus its programs and services: educational equality, economic development and social justice. Under the leadership of the President and Chief Executive Officer Andrea L. Zopp, the Chicago Urban League continues to be a leader on issues impacting African Americans and a major resource for African American empowerment through advocacy, collaborations and innovation.

Our work reaches into the heart of the community and touches thousands of students, job seekers, entrepreneurs, homeowners, and families. Programming areas include: Education, Human Capital, Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship, and Housing.

Education Our Education Department offers comprehensive programs that give students from middle school through college the skills and confidence necessary to compete academically while exposing them to various careers, social and cultural opportunities.

Human Capital In our Human Capital Development department we provide life coaching, personal and employment counseling, academic assistance and mentoring to over 400 predominantly male clients. Through the Urban Youth Connection (UYC), we serve 70 - 100 male students from Chicago Public Schools who are at high risk of being perpetrators of or victims of violence.

Employment In our employment program we provide general work readiness training through our Success Strategies workshops that include resume writing, interviewing, computer training and other basic skills training. Entrepreneurship Our Entrepreneurship Center serves over 1,000 clients annually and provides strategic business consulting, intensive training programs and business development support to emerging and established African American entrepreneurs.

Housing Our Housing Counseling Department is a HUD-certified counseling agency and a City of Chicago Department of Housing Delegate Agency. We provide low-to moderate-income residents with professional housing counseling assistance through our programs and services.

The Chicago Urban League's urbanSCHOLARS program prepares rising seniors for the college admissions and financial aid process. The program assists students in pulling together all the components needed to successfully transition to college.

To be eligible to participate in the urbanSCHOLARS program a 2.5 GPA and an 18 ACT score are required.

To be eligible to participate in the Chicago Scholars Onside Early Admissions Forum a 3.0 GPA and a 20 ACT score are required.

The urbanSCHOLARS program runs from June-October. This portion of the program includes 10 workshops meeting bi-monthly on Saturdays from 10:00am-12:00pm at the Chicago Urban League's headquarters. After the Onsite Early Admissions Forum the urbanSCHOLARS program will include additional workshops from November-May meeting once a month on Saturdays from 10:00am-12:00pm at the Chicago Urban League's headquarters; dealing with enrollment into college after acceptance and what to expect before arriving on campus.

Services Provided

  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • College transition and retention support
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Parent/family services
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants


Race & Ethnicity

  • Hispanic/Latino: 1%
  • African American: 99%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 50
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • Academically High-performing


  • More than 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Alcorn State University
  • Ball State University
  • Central State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Howard University
  • Illinois State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • The University of Tampa
  • Trinity College
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • University of San Francisco
  • Xavier University