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UNITED STATES - Chicago Semester for Student Teaching

Students majoring in Elementary, K-12, Secondary, or Special Education may fulfill their student teaching requirements through the Chicago Semester program. Prospective teachers are placed in Chicago classrooms to work cooperatively with qualified, experienced teachers. While in the schools, the student teachers are responsible for planning lessons, teaching students, and collaborating with school staff, faculty, administration, and parents. Student teachers learn about the characteristics of their school and its neighborhood in order to better understand the unique attributes, assets, and challenges of urban life.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 for student teachers  

Chicago Semester is an incredible program - a program you will love!

When you participate in Chicago Semester you’ll experience the bustling buzz of city life. You’ll work as a professional in one of our top-notch internship sites. You’ll discover the fascinating complexities of city living. You’ll see the best of the best performances, from the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra to start-up theater and dance companies. You’ll visit some of the city’s most vibrant and historic neighborhoods. You’ll ask challenging questions about how Christians are called to engage in urban life. You’ll meet new people and build meaningful relationships as you live for a semester in this great city.

For many of you, this urban living will be a new way of life. That’s why we are so excited about the Chicago Semester Program and the life-changing experiences- both personally and professionally- that it will offer you.



Student teaching in Chicago provides an opportunity to study and serve the many cultures in a large city. Students are placed in Chicago Public Schools that meet their home college’s accreditation requirements and offer an urban teaching experience that can only be found in a city like Chicago. Students are placed in one classroom for 14 weeks unless licensure requirements mandate more than one placement. Student teachers work five days a week and attend a weekly professional seminar.

Desmond Odugu, Education Department Chair, confirmed that completion of this program earns students 12 semester-hours.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

Please Note– Once you have been admitted to the Chicago Semester Student Teaching Program, you will also need to apply to student teach in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  CPS requires that you be tested for TB and be fingerprinted.  The cost for fingerprinting for an FBI background check is approximate $58.  Be aware that even minor offenses will likely disqualify you from student teaching in CPS.  More information about the CPS application process will be further explained after your acceptance into the Chicago Semester Student Teaching Program.

Syllabus Spring 2016


Supplementing the teaching internship is a weekly professional seminar, which gives students the opportunity to share experiences and discuss various urban issues. The unique attributes, assets, and challenges of a specific Chicago neighborhood are also investigated. Weekly journals enable students to apply the action-reflection model to their student teaching experience. Students will explore a range of educational issues and prepare themselves for entering the job market as a first-year teacher.

Seminar topics

  • Neighborhood Research
  • Teaching in a Diverse Society
  • Language & Culture
  • White Privilege & Social Justice
  • Love and Logic in the Classroom
  • Classroom Management
  • Parents as Partners
  • Resume Writing
  • Mock Interviews
  • Teaching in Chicago

edTPA – Beginning Fall 2013

All Illinois teacher preparation programs, and many programs around the country are preparing for a new mandate to complete the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) while student teaching.  edTPA was launched by educators to create a nationally available assessment for new entrants to teaching – designed by teachers and teacher educators to reflect the real work of teaching, to support the learning of candidates, and to give useful feedback to programs that prepare teachers.  The edTPA is comparable to entry-level licensing exams that demand the application of skills in other professions such as medicine, law, and architecture.  It includes three tasks that are completed by all Chicago Semester student teachers during the first half of the semester: Planning for Instruction and Assessment, Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning, and Assessing Student Learning.


Each semester, student teachers who have been accepted into the Chicago Semester Student Teaching Program are invited to travel to Chicago and visit schools where CS student teachers are working. Students will have an opportunity to talk with current student teachers and to meet their supervisors. After this visit, prospective students will have a better understanding of the wide range of school settings available in Chicago.

Student Life

Whether you’re looking for a live blues show or a national collection of Mexican art, there is fun around every corner in the city. Living in the heart of Chicago makes it easy to explore the city’s world-famous museums, legendary sports teams, and vibrant neighborhoods.

While the urban environment is fast-paced, you can still take the time to walk in a park or relax at the beach. CS also organizes group activities to build community and see the sights. Throughout the semester we might catch a Bulls game, see a Broadway musical, or enjoy a pizza party with Chicago’s famous deep-dish delight.

The city provides an environment where you are exposed to numerous languages, ethnic celebrations, and cuisines from around the world. You will learn about yourself and others as you make sense of the wonder of Chicago and think about your calling in the world.


One of the first things you will learn after arriving in Chicago is how to get around using public transportation. During orientation week, the CS staff will fill you in on how to navigate the city.

CS has partnered with the Chicago Transit Authority to enroll all students in the U-Pass program. This program grants you access to unlimited CTA public transportation, saving you upwards of $175 a semester. We are excited to offer this cost-saving and reliable means of transportation to you during your stay here in Chicago. We discourage students from bringing a car because of the inconvenience and high cost.

Housing and Meals

Chicago is truly a city of neighborhoods – rich in history, architecture, and diversity – and we want our students to experience these neighborhoods as residents, not just as visitors. CS works with buildings each semester that are safe, affordable, furnished, and convenient for our students. We arrange enough apartments for all students opting to use CS housing. Students may request their roommate(s) or submit a roommate questionnaire which the housing coordinator uses to assign students their roommate(s) and apartment suite.  Meals are not included in housing, but students have kitchens in which to prepare their own food.  Grocery stores are nearby.

While we certainly encourage responsible independence, CS housing requires student cooperation with some basic housing-related policies and tips:

1. Only CS students can live in CS housing.
2. No co-ed housing arrangements are permitted (with the exception of married students).
3. We encourage participants to consider rooming with students from other colleges. This provides an opportunity to widen one’s circle of friends, while still keeping in contact with students from their home institutions.
4. If a student chooses to live in housing arranged by CS, the rental agreement will be a contract between the student and building management. CS is not a party to the rental agreement. Students are bound to all terms and expenses of a rental agreement, including rent payments, and are responsible for fulfilling the conditions of the rental agreement.

Financial Information

There is not a program fee for the Chicago Semester program, as housing/fees are paid directly to the program.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Chicago Semester Enrollment and Deposit Fees



Anticipated Housing (arranged by Chicago Semester, but paid directly to the landlord)




Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office