What is College First?
College First is a high-school internship program at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It is a paid internship for eight weeks during the summer and monthly meetings during the school year. A school bus provides transportation from various designated stops throughout Chicago to bring students to the Garden by 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Students leave the Garden at 3 p.m. each day.
What do students do?
- Learn about plants, prairies, woods, and other outdoor natural areas
- Work in horticulture, education, plant research, and more
- Guided by a mentor, conduct individual scientific research and present their findings
- Visit colleges and other science sites
When is the program?
Paid internship: June 23 – August 15, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (No session on July 4)
Unpaid training: Thursday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
School-year meetings: Once-a-month meetings (usually on school holidays or Saturdays) during the school year—schedule to be determined.
Who can participate?
Students who are currently sophomores or juniors and are enrolled in a Chicago Public School can participate. Students should demonstrate an interest in science and nature as well as the ambition to pursue a college degree. Students and parents must commit to the unpaid Thursday training, all eight weeks of the summer program, and the once-a-month school-year meetings. Students are responsible for getting to and from the designated bus stops. Students who are from a racial or ethnic background that are underrepresented in the field of science (African American, Latino, and Native American) and who would benefit the most from college and career support (low-income, first generation to attend college) are encouraged to apply.
College First application checklist
Thank you for your interest in College First! We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014 season.
What do you need to submit to apply?
- A completed application form.
- A copy of your second-quarter report card (January) OR the most recent one you have. Please do not submit progress reports. (Do not hold back on submitting your application because you are waiting for a report card. Just submit the most recent one you have to ensure the application is received by the deadline.)
- Recommendation form, filled out by a science teacher or community leader (pastor, youth group leader, etc.) who knows you well. It cannot be filled out by someone related to you.
- Program permission waiver, signed by you and your parent/ guardian.
Apply online (including recommendation form, permission slip with parent signature, and uploaded report card) OR
Scan and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org OR
Mail to the address below:
Amaris Alanis Ribeiro
Manager, Secondary Education Programs
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
It is your responsibility to obtain the report card and all application components, as we do not work with schools to get this information and will not accept it after the deadline. Incomplete applications—those not accompanied by a report card or completed recommendation form—will not be considered. If you have any questions, please call Amaris Alanis Ribeiro at (847) 835-6871.