Student Services

Chicago Academic Achievement Program

COVID-19 Update: CAAP will be offered remotely in Summer 2021

The Chicago Academic Achievement Program (CAAP) is a year-long program provides early exposure to scholarly and social life at the University of Chicago to a group of academically talented incoming first-year students, many of whom are the first in their family to go to college or from lower-income backgrounds. 

Through an intensive six-week online program the summer before their first year, CAAP students engage in Core-level coursework, develop social networks, connect with campus resources, and remotely explore the city of Chicago.

During the first year, students continue their personal development and leverage their strengths through resource workshops, social events, and individual advising with College staff.

CAAP Summer Academy

Tuesday, July 6 through Friday, August 13, 2021

Over the course of the summer, scholars get a “head start” by becoming acquainted with the expectations of classes, meeting their peers, and learning about the campus, local neighborhoods, and the city of Chicago at large.

    CAAP Scholars will receive instruction in the following areas: math, lab science, humanities, and writing. All courses will have scheduled "real-time" (synchronous) classes in addition to videos and coursework that can be completed on a student's own time (asynchronous). All books and course materials will be provided by the program. 

    Humanities and Writing

    • The Humanities courses and accompanying writing workshops are based on the UChicago Core sequences. These classes are centered on small group discussion and are capped at 13 students.
    • Course descriptions will be available in May for admitted scholars and students will get to rank their interest in each course. Past course titles include "Detective Fiction and Its Discontents", "Speculative Fiction and Society", and "Orpheus and Eurydice Across Time and Medium" 


    • Math class offerings include introduction to proof-based calculus or statistics. 
    • Scholars will take an online placement exam to determine their CAAP course and will be advised if calculus is needed for their intended course of study.


    • The CAAP lab science class offerings are:
      • Biology
      • Computer science
      • Chemistry
      • Physics
    • Scholars will be assigned to a science class based on their intended course of study and its requirements (e.g. pre-med students will enroll in chemistry, potential physics majors will enroll in physics). There are no prerequisites for these courses.

    CAAP Scholars are expected to attend all course sessions and workshops plus a range of social and community building events and opportunities. Below is a sample weekly schedule (all times listed in Central Time).

    CAAP 2021 Virtual Summer Academy Weekly Schedule
    Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
    Science 11:00-11:50 a.m. Humanities 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Science Lab 11:00 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Humanities 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Science 11:00-11:50 a.m.
    Math 2:00-2:50 p.m.

    Math 2:00-2:50 p.m.

    Writing 2:00-2:50 p.m. Math/Stats 2:00-3:20 p.m. Writing 2:00-2:50 p.m.
    Office Hours/Problem Sessions Stats 2:00-3:20 p.m.     Social/Community Events
    House Meeting 7:00-8:00 p.m. Workshop 4:00-4:50 p.m. Study Break 7:00-8:00 p.m. CAAP Conversation 4:00-4:50 p.m. (Events may also be scheduled on weekends and other evenings)


    Developing a strong community and support network is a key component of the program. While the 2021 CAAP Summer Academy will not take place on campus, CAAP Scholars will still be supported by resident assistants (RAs), CAAP alumni interns, and professional program staff members. The CAAP Interns and RAs serve in a mentoring capacity and also design virtual experiences to help Scholars learn about residential life, campus resources, and the city of Chicago.

    CAAPers take part in weekly resource workshops and "CAAP Conversations" in addition to virtual house meetings, study breaks, and fun social activities like games, trivia, and neighborhood explorations. Scholars connect over group chats, support each other in study groups, and develop lasting friendships.



    Students will receive a stipend upon successful completion of the Summer Academy and compliance with program expectations, including required meetings and the academic year portfolio.

    The CAAP Stipend covers the student work expectation component of each student's financial aid package. $2,000 is paid over the summer and the remainder disbursed evenly at the start of each quarter. Please check your financial aid package to calculate your personal work expectation.

    Because these work expectations are met, it is a program requirement that Scholars are unable to take on any other paid work during the academic year so that they can fully focus on their transition and engaging with opportunities at the College.

    There is no charge to participate in CAAP!  The books and supplies required for online study through the Summer Academy are mailed to students prior to the start of the program.

Academic Year Program

During the academic year, students will receive a stipend to cover the work-study portions of their financial aid packages. During the time that would otherwise be dedicated to employment, CAAP Scholars attend workshops and events, and engage in additional experiential opportunities to augment their college experience.

CAAP Scholars are required to meet with program staff and complete a series of tasks outlined in our yearly CAAP Portfolio. You can see an example here. CAAP Scholars also receive loans of all required first-year math, science, humanities, and language textbooks.

Application Process

Students who have been admitted to the College may apply for participation the following academic year. Applicants must be admitted to the University of Chicago as first-year students in the College.  Any students currently living in the U.S. are eligible to apply, including students who are undocumented or DACAmented. International students and transfer students are not eligible to apply. 

We look for participants who want to take advantage of early exposure to the University of Chicago and are eager to engage in a rigorous academic program over the summer. CAAPers work hard and learn to leverage their strengths in the UChicago environment.

Applications will be available through the UChicago Admissions portal on March 1, 2021. In addition to the online CAAP application, students must complete a 20-minute video or phone interview with CAAP staff. Once applications are submitted students will receive details for scheduling their interview.


Application Opens Application Deadline Interviews Notification
March 1 April 4 March 15 - April 8 April 14


Program FAQs

    If you would benefit from taking preview courses, learning about campus resources, and developing relationships with peers, then CAAP might be a good option for you. Students who say they have gotten a lot from from the program have been first-generation college students (e.g. students whose parents have not completed a bachelor's degree); students who will receive need-based aid; students from very small towns or rural areas; and students whose high schools had few or no options for IB Higher Level and/or AP exam preparation.

    The virtual program is free of charge. Students receive a stipend of $2,000 over the summer and a quarterly stipend to cover their remaining work expectation (as established in your financial aid award letter). Students also benefit from textbook loans guaranteed through the program for all first-year humanities, math, science, and language books.

    No, CAAP courses do not grant credit. The grades received in CAAP courses do not appear on the transcript or factor into the GPA. The preview courses DO, however, prepare students for the pace and intensity of the quarter system.