Starting your journey as a new college student may feel both exciting and overwhelming, especially in a time when the world is unpredictable and chaotic. Our Rise Scholars program provides comprehensive resources that help kick-start your entry to college and guide you through your entire first year—academically, financially, and emotionally.

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What is a Rise Scholar and how do I join?

All full-time freshmen students who successfully complete Rise Academy are designated as Rise Scholars, and receive a full tuition and fees scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year. It is simple to become a Rise Scholar. First, apply for undergraduate admissions. Second, once you are admitted to the university, register for Rise Academy. For any questions on getting started, contact our Admissions Office at 773-995-2513 or by emailing

Rise Scholar Benefits

What is Rise Academy and how does it work?

Rise Academy is a year-long program designed to kick off your freshman year at Chicago State University by offering you all the tools you will need to succeed in your first year of college, including a strong community of classmates, professors, and advisors. The Academy starts with a five-week intensive program before classes start. During the intensive course, you earn 3 college credits, get to know your professors and freshmen classmates; discover how different college majors lead to career paths and which is right for you; and explore the Chicago State campus and student resources.

In response to COVID-19, Rise Academy is offered in an e-learning format. Rise Academy is now accepting applications for the Spring 2021 Semester, with start dates of Sept 14 and Oct 19.The course includes instruction in the morning, Monday - Thursday and workshops in the early afternoon, Monday - Friday.

Key Dates



Rise Scholars 

Fall 2020 Session


Rise Scholars

Spring 2021 - Oct Cohort

Apply for Admission    Oct 1, 2020
RISE Information Sessions  


Oct 1st, 2020


Deadline to Apply to CSU & Register for Rise Academy Deadline has passed Oct 10, 2020
Rise Academy Starts Aug 10, 2020 Oct 19, 2020
Classes Start Sept 14, 2020 January 11, 2021


Rise Scholars FAQ

A: All incoming full-time freshmen students, including transfer students with less than 24 credit hours, who complete Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) are eligible. Students must successfully complete the Rise Academy program.

A: 12 or more credit hours in the fall and spring semesters.

A: If you’ve already been accepted as a freshman student to Chicago State, then you just need to RSVP for one of the Rise Academy sessions this fall (start dates of September 14 and October 19).

If you have not applied to Chicago State yet, it is not too late. Apply for the Spring 2021 term here.



A: In the Rise Academy, you will participate in workshops, build relationships with classmates, explore career options and learn the “ins and outs” of college life. The program starts with a 5-week intensive course in the summer and continues throughout the academic year. You need to RSVP to one of the two summer sessions to save your seat.
A:  If you're not yet admitted to CSU, apply for undergraduate admissions. Once you are admitted to the university, register for Rise Academy. For any questions on getting started, contact our Admissions Office at 773-995-2513 or by emailing

A: No. If you successfully complete Rise Academy, you will become a Rise Scholar and receive the 2020-21 academic year scholarship. It’s really that simple!

A: Rise Academy is a year-long program, starting with a five-week intensive program over the summer or the fall. The exact time commitment of the five-week preparatory program varies slightly based on classes you take. Monday - Friday, there is an English course at either 8 - 12:15 or 10:30 - 12:45 and workshops in the early afternoon.
A: Students successfully completing the Rise Academy program receive first-year scholarships that cover tuition, mandatory fees, and textbook costs not covered by grants.
A:The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff continue to be priorities for us during this unprecedented time. Chicago State has remained open and fully operational; however, we are offering the five-week intensive preparatory program in an e-learning format. We are providing students with laptops for that purpose. We will plan a socially-distanced campus welcome and orientation, in accordance with state and city re-opening phases, so that you can experience our beautiful campus in person and meet your professors, advisors and classmates.

A: You can contact the program director, Dr. McKnight, with any questions.

Attend RISE Information Sessions

Sep 7, 2020 5:30pm-6:30pm

Oct 1st, 2020 5:30-6:30pm

A: This session has a shortened schedule. Those classes cover the same amount of content as classes that start in Aug, but in a shorter period. This means classes meet for longer periods of time in order to cover all the content. The classes end at the same time as regular fall session classes.
Rise Scholars who start in Rise Academy on Aug 10 will start their regular coursework on Sept 14, when the Special Fall Session starts. 
A: Yes! Students who start Rise Academy in the fall receive the same benefits as students who started over the summer. This includes a free tuition, fee, and textbook scholarship for their first year of college (after accounting for grants and scholarships). The free tuition scholarship and full-time class schedule will cover spring 2021 and fall 2021 classes for Rise Scholars starting the Academy in the fall 2020. 


Steps in becoming a Rise Scholar



Spring Session -

Oct Cohort


Apply for Admission  Oct 1, 2020  
Deadline to Apply to CSU & Register for Rise Academy Oct 10, 2020

If you have not applied to CSU, submit the application and your records. Once admitted, you can register.

RISE Information Sessions  

Oct 1st, 2020



Prepare for Rise Academy: Meet with Advisor, take placement test, and pick up ID and computer


Once you register for Rise Academy, an advisor will work with you on the next steps.

Parent Orientation

Oct 14, 2020


Student Orientation & start of Rise Academy

Oct 19, 2020


Classes Start

Jan 11, 2021