College Programming and Orientation

Chicago Urban Explorers

September 18 - 23, 2024

Chicago has been given a number of nicknames throughout its history such as "The City of Big Shoulders," "Paris on the Prairie," and "The Windy City", each of which has attempted to sum up the essence of the city. But there is one name that we think might be more appropriate than any other: "home." For at least the next four years, you will be a Chicagoan, and Chicago Urban Explorers (CUE) is your introduction to important aspects of the city.

Through a focus on key themes such as politics, history, art and architecture, and the environment, you will delve into the richness and diversity of Chicago while also building a strong social network with other members of your incoming class. By day, you will travel the city in small groups, meeting with civic leaders, touring important landmarks and cultural institutions, and engaging with faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of Chicago. At night, all of the groups will come together for dinner, discussions, and lots of fun activities. Housing, meals, and transportation are provided throughout the program.

    Dates: September 18-23, 2024

    Spaces Available: 150

    Cost: $500. Housing, meals, transportation, and any applicable admissions fees are included in the cost of the program. Students are responsible for incidental/personal expenses and transportation to campus before the start of the program.

    CUE is a need-blind program—financial assistance is available for qualifying students and there is a place to request financial aid on the program application.


    • Applications will open on April 5, 2024
    • Applications close on Monday, June 10 at 10 AM CDT
    • Applicants will hear back by the end of June regarding their application status

    General Information

    • Spots are limited
    • Students may apply to as many Pre-Orientation Programs as interested, but if accepted, will only be offered a spot in one program. 

    All students participating in a Pre-Orientation program will stay in one residence hall for the duration of their program. Upon arriving on campus, students will be given a chance to drop their term-time items into a storage room in their residence hall before checking in for their program at the Pre-Orientation residence hall. 

    If you are participating in a Pre-O program, you may bring all of your belongings for the academic year with you, though you will be responsible for getting those items into your term-time rooms upon arrival, so we recommend limiting how much you bring with you. All items you bring should be labeled with your name and phone number. Students should pack a separate bag for the week to bring to the Pre-Orientation residence hall.


    Past years of CUE have included the following virtual programs:

    • A History of Housing and Policy in Chicago with Brad Hunt
    • Live improv comedy with the Second City
    • The Folded Map Project featuring artist Tonika Johnson
    • Student Life Panel Q&A
    • Social activities in the city like visiting local museums, neighborhood food tours, attending a professional sports game, and more


    You may still apply without your CNetID. However, you should ensure that you claim your CNet ID submit your UChicago Card ID photo before you come to campus for CUE. You will receive information on both of these processes over the summer.

    Students with questions regarding the Chicago Urban Explorers program should contact the College Programming and Orientation via email at