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 partner universities and colleges, or on the Lake Forest College 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 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

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 departure date.
  • Able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam periods.



Students reside in Hostelling International CHICAGO (HI-Chicago), a large and well-appointed hostel located in the Chicago Loop.

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 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 Loop program, you will complete an internship of 2 credits (150 hours each), totaling 300 hours over the course of the semester. Given the experiential/immersion nature of the program, the internship is a key component of the Loop. 


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 our regular spring offering, 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 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 (ACM). 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 LFC 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 LFC 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.


Experiential Opportunities

Given the experiential/immersion nature of the program, all students are required to complete a two-credit internship in the city or adjoining suburbs. Internships are supervised by a Lake Forest faculty member.  

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

Rolling Stone Magazine

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

Axiom Consulting

Chicago Mexican Consulate

Student Life


Whether through class excursions and public performances such as concerts or plays, or through fun, co-curricular programming organized by HI-Chicago 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 seventh floor of Hostelling International CHICAGO  (HI-Chicago), located in the Chicago Loop, and within walking distance to most of Chicago’s top museums and attractions, including Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and Museum Campus. 

Up to 33 students may live in single rooms, four to a suite, each equipped with a bunk bed for guests. When program capacity exceeds 33, students may elect to take doubles at a cost reduction. Each suite contains a common area, bathroom, and kitchen. Suites are provided with cable in the room and internet/wifi.  

Please Note: HI-Chicago is an alcohol-free location, even for those of legal drinking age.


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, meet-ups with alumni, internship supervision, and a meal stipend.

Here is an estimated budget for your 2014/2015 program:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee


Recreation fee (billed once per year)


Program Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposit (non-refundable)


Additional Meals not included in program


Meal Stipend 


Travel Stipend


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 August 2014 for the 2014/2015 academic year. The rates for 2015/2016 are likely to be updated closer to January 2015.  When program capacity exceeds 33, students may elect to take doubles at a cost reduction of approximately $600.

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 in the HI-Chicago facility, and the program cannot accommodate commuter students. Therefore, while the program costs are structured to be the same as 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:

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.”

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