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Emerging Rural Leaders II

Top juniors from rural and small-town high schools are invited to apply for an opportunity to participate in a Summer Session course free of charge. Students selected will receive a full scholarship to enroll in a 4-week academic program. The program is comprised of 2 parts:

  1. Phoenix Week, a one-week series of workshops and activities; and
  2. 3-week academic course remotely taught online.

For Summer 2021, Phoenix Week will be conducted online and is designed to introduce students to UChicago, prepare them for college-level work, provide insight to the highly selective admissions process, and allow for students in the program to get to know each other prior to the start of class. Students should expect to be engaged in work or online activities 2-4 hours per day.

Following Phoenix Week, students will spend 3 weeks immersed in an online academic, credit-bearing course. These courses typically require 5-6 hours of work daily, comprised of engagement with faculty, teaching assistants, or peers, and also including time spent on homework, problem sets, papers, or other independent work. For the academic courses, ERL students will be in class with students from other scholarship programs. Students will be graded for their work and receive a grade for the course.

Attendance at all scholarship program events is required of students to receive their certificate of completion.

Application Requirements


Applications will be accepted online beginning early January 2021. The final deadline is March 1, 2021. There is no application fee to apply.

Application materials include:

  • Online application
  • Transcript (official or unofficial)
  • Writing sample
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • At least one parent confirmation email received

Applicants must complete the Summer Session Application, and all the related requirements which can be reviewed in the How To Apply section. Students who wish to apply for this program should select it as their first-choice program, and then identify which courses from the list below they are most interested in.

All courses will be taught remotely online for Summer 2021. These are the courses offered as part of the Emerging Rural Leaders II program:
  -    Collegiate Writing: Awakening into Consciousness
  -    Confronting a Political Economy in Crisis: Examining Causes, Creating Change
  -    Freedom of Expression and the Politics of Social Media
  -    Pathways in Molecular Engineering
  -    Science, Technology, and the Body

Course details can be found here.

The order in which the courses are selected will be considered the order of preference. Students who wish to be considered for this program do not need to complete the rest of the Scholarship Application or provide financial documentation. 

Applicants to ERL II will be asked to respond to the following essay questions in the application:
     -    Why did you choose the particular program/courses for which you have applied? How are they related to your current interests and future plans? Please be as specific as possible, and make sure your response covers each of the courses you elected. (Limit: 500 words)
     -    Chicago is a city of diversity and each one of our 77 neighborhoods has its own unique culture. Tell us what your culture means to you. How will this program impact your life and your community? (Limit: 500 words)
     -    There are more than 4,500 colleges and universities across the United States. Why would you like to spend your summer with the University of Chicago? What about our academic community excites you the most? (Limit: 250 words)

Applications will be accepted online beginning in early December. The Regular deadline to apply is March 1, 2021. Rolling admissions is not offered for this program. There is no application fee to apply. 

All questions should be directed to Marjorie Betley at

Course Dates

JUNE 14 - JULY 9
Phoenix Week: June 14-June 18 (Required of all participants)
Class starts: June 21
Class concludes: July 8
Closing session: July 9