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Off-Campus Study

Lake Forest College In the Loop

Lake Forest College In The Loop is a residential Chicago semester. Students complete up to 300 internship hours while completing coursework in the Loop campus, at our Loop partner universities and colleges, or on the Lake Forest College main campus. Students reside in downtown Chicago and study distinctive aspects of the city through academic programming and co-curricular activities. This program is offered during both fall and spring semesters.

Program Type

Lake Forest College Sponsored Program


Chicago, Illinois, USA

Languages of Instruction

English (multiple other languages may be offered for study)

Academic Disciplines



Please read our Loop Guidebook for frequently asked questions and important policies.

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must have and/or be:

  • A strong interest in experiencing the many resources offered by an immersive Chicago experience.
  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application and time of participation in program.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 for the academic program. Certain internships may require higher GPAs or specific coursework/experience.
  • Completed at least two semesters of study and hold junior status or above at Lake Forest College before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s start date.
  • Able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam periods.


Students reside at The Flats, a residential building located in the South Loop in the heart of the Wabash Arts Corridor.

Through the academic program and co-curricular activities, students learn about various distinctive aspects of Chicago, including the city’s history, economy, politics, architecture, art and relationship to the natural environment.

Students acquire a broader perspective and learn to relate their Chicago-based semester to their overall Lake Forest education.


Academic Environment

Lake Forest College In The Loop offers a wide-ranging, flexible, yet focused academic program featuring internships, courses taught by Lake Forest faculty, and courses from our Loop program partners: Roosevelt UniversityColumbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute, or ACM Chicago

The academic program is a full-semester, four-credit curriculum. While participating in the In The Loop program, you will complete an internship of 2 credits, totaling 300 hours over the course of the semester. Given the experiential/immersive nature of the program, the internship is a key component of the In The Loop program. 


You will also complete up to two additional academic credits, chosen from:

1. ITL option: Courses offered by the Lake Forest College In The Loop program (ITL) and taught by our faculty at the Loop campus.

The Loop always offers LOOP 202: Professional Development in the 21st Century (1 credit) – a mix of career and social networking instruction paired with Chicago history.

Each semester, the Loop offers a second course taught by Lake Forest College faculty. Recent courses include COMM 374: Rhetorical Chicago, BUSN 341: Global Cultures and International Business: Chicago, and THTR 250: Exploring Chicago Stages.

The ITL options are scheduled on a single day to provide maximum flexibility for your internship schedule. 

Further, the Loop offers the optional Loop 201: In The Loop Practicum, a .5-credit experience that can be used to achieve four transfer full credits if you choose to take courses from RU, SAIC, or CCC that do not transfer in as full credits. 

2. Campus option: Courses offered at Lake Forest College main campus.

3. Partner option: Courses offered at our partner institutions: Columbia College Chicago (CCC), Roosevelt University (RU), the School of the Art Institute (SAIC), and ACM Chicago seminars (ACM). Please note that the provided links will take you to view the course catalogs of each college so that you may understand their offerings, but that we cannot guarantee they will be offered each semester, nor can we guarantee admittance to any/all partner institution courses. Under this option, students may take up to two courses at any one partner institution. Students may take one course at a partner, and other courses with the ITL option or on-campus Lake Forest College courses.

For the ACM Chicago program option, the only courses open to Loop students are the following three seminars: 1) Arts Seminar: Art and Experience in the City, 2) Entrepreneurship Seminar: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and 3) Urban Studies Seminar: Human Rights and Creative Social Change in the Chicago Context. Students may take any one of the three, and any one other course from a partner institution or one of the ITL courses or on-campus Lake Forest College courses.

Students that choose the Partner option (RU, CCC, or SAIC) may also need to take Loop 201 to maintain 4 credits for the semester.

Please Note: Courses must support your academic programs and be approved by your academic advisors.

Incoming ISEP students must take courses on the ITL option or taught on Lake Forest’s main campus.

Experiential Opportunities

Given the experiential/immersive nature of the program, all students are required to complete a two-credit internship in the city. 

Students work with their assigned Faculty Internship Supervisor (FIS) with assistance from the Career Advancement Center, the Loop Internship Coordinator, and the Loop staff.  

Recent In The Loop Internships include:

ESPN Sports

Chicago Sun-Times Media

Joffrey Ballet

Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

United Airlines


Working Bikes Cooperative

Shedd Aquarium

Clear Channel-Chicago

ABC Channel 7, “Windy City Live” 

TimeOut Chicago

Museum of Contemporary Art

Student Life

Whether through class excursions and public performances such as concerts or plays, or through fun, co-curricular programming organized by Residence Life and the Center for Chicago Programs, ‘In The Loop’ offers students the opportunity to explore and experience all of what Chicago has to offer.


Housing and Meals

Students live on the fourteenth and fifteenth floors of The Flats, located in Chicago’s South Loop, and within walking distance to most of Chicago’s top museums and attractions, including Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and Museum Campus. 

Up to 28 students may live in double-occupancy bedrooms, two to three bedrooms in each apartment. Each bedroom is equipped with desks, bed, wardrobes, and dressers. Each apartment contains a common area, bathroom, and kitchen. Apartments are provided with cable TV in the common room and internet/wifi throughout the apartment. Many rooms have Lake Michigan views.


Financial Information

For all programs, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the In the Loop program includes orientation, housing, a UPASS for CTA travel, meet-ups with alumni, internship supervision, and a meal stipend.

Here is an estimated budget for your 2018/2019 program.  

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee


Program Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposit (non-refundable)


Total 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 2018.

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.

Loop students must live at The Flats, and the program cannot accommodate commuter students. Therefore, while the program costs are structured to be comparable to those for on-campus students, on-campus commuters will pay additional costs for Loop room and board.

Do check your student account on my.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

Experiences of Former Students

“Participating in the In The Loop program allowed me to further establish my Chicago ‘roots’. It also helped me become much more comfortable navigating the city. While participating in my internship, I learned how to network and so much more.”

“The In The Loop program is definitely a worth-while experience. It prepares you for ‘real-world’ living (compared to living on campus), while still providing a strong support structure.” 

“I would highly recommend the In The Loop program. It taught me a lot about myself as a person and helped me identify future goals.”

“I loved living in Chicago! Seeing new places, trying new foods, shopping - all while having an internship! The residence hall was pretty awesome, too.”