Concordia University first opened its doors as Addison Lutheran Teachers Seminary in 1864 and eventually evolved to become one of 10 universities in the country that practice the Lutheran faith. The university, located outside of Chicago in River Forest, emphasizes a combination of academics and faith as students prepare for their careers and lives after college.
A member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, this university works hard to share and live its core values: Dedication to their Lutheran faith and Christianity, belief that individuals should be celebrated, working toward and attaining excellence in every individual’s endeavors, and having the utmost integrity. Students and faculty members are also encouraged to live their faith through service to others, which is evident in the university’s mission statement:
As a distinctive, comprehensive university of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and based in the liberal arts, Concordia University Chicago equips men and women to serve and lead with integrity, creativity, competence and compassion in a diverse, interconnected and increasingly urbanized church and world.
Students have numerous opportunities to practice their faith on campus. Worship services are held daily and students can spread the word of God as members of the Youth Ministry.
With Chicago only 10 miles away, students will find plenty to do during their free time.
Chicago is a sports lover’s paradise with baseball’s White Sox and Cubs; basketball’s Bulls, football’s Bears, and hockey’s Blackhawks. Theatergoers will enjoy the Chicago Theater, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and Millennium Park while shoppers will find some of the world’s best shopping experiences at their fingertips. The Magnificent Mile in the heart of the city offers the very best of Chicago’s restaurants, hotels, and shops.
With a total student body of more than 5,000, small classes are offered with a 17 to one ratio, allowing for individualized attention. The student population itself is diverse with students from more than 12 countries and 19 states. More than 65 percent of students, however, hail from Illinois.
Concordia University offers over 100 programs for both undergraduate and graduate students in business, education, and the arts and sciences. Majors range from the traditional – including chemistry and English – to the innovative, such as exercise science and non-profit/church management.
Students also have access to plenty of educational resources to ensure their academic success through the Academic Center for Excellence. Peer tutoring and supplemental instruction are available to students as are a math lab and a writing center.
The Academic Center for Excellence focuses on helping students hone the skills necessary for academic success: how to effectively read textbooks, take notes, take tests, and manage time effectively.
Students are encouraged to study away – either in another country or another city in the United States – for a semester or an academic year to give them a deeper understanding of other cultures and to enhance their academic experiences.
Students may also opt for the Washington Semester, which allows them to take classes or intern in the nation’s capitol.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Applicants seeking admission, which accepts applications on a rolling basis, must complete several requirements. In addition to filling out an online or a paper application, applicants must request that their high school transcripts be sent from their high school directly to the university. SAT and ACT scores should also be sent directly from the testing facility to the school.
Applicants will be contacted by an admissions counselor with the status of the application. Students may be accepted on the basis of the application, or they may be asked to submit additional information, including letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
Students who are accepted can expect an official letter in the mail, containing the details of any financial awards that have been offered.
Graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply online and, in addition to the application for admission, must submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended in addition to letters of recommendations.
Applicants should contact the school or college to which they are applying to determine exact requirements, including whether GRE scores are required. MBA programs do not currently require GMAT scores.
All students here receive some type of financial aid through grants, scholarships, and loans with the average financial aid package totaling $24,100. The university itself contributes significantly to ensure students can fund their education and paid out more than $12 million in institutional grants and scholarships in a recent year.
The university requires that all students fill out a FAFSA form, which they can do online or on paper, annually to determine eligibility for federal financial aid.
Grants are financial gifts that students can use to pay for educational expenses, including tuition, fees, and books. Students may be eligible for federal grants, if they demonstrate financial need, including the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
Illinois state residents may apply for the Illinois Monetary Award Program. To be eligible for the grant, which peaks at $4,720, students must be undergraduate students, earning their first bachelor’s degree.
Upon acceptance, all freshmen and transfer students receive either an admissions award or a merit scholarship, ranging from $500 to almost $25,000, to help fund their education. Students generally have to maintain between a 2.00 and 2.75 GPA at the university to retain their scholarships and awards, which can typically be renewed annually.
Students may also be eligible for music scholarships, which are available to both music majors and non-music majors. Auditions are held to determine a student’s musical ability and how they will benefit the music department as a whole. Recipients may renew their scholarships annually.
Funding is also available through federal student loans, such as the Parent Plus Loan, and private loans through companies like Sallie Mae. Students may also participate in the Federal Work Study Program.
On-campus students live in one of five residential halls: Brohm and Krauss Hall, David and Jonathan Hall, Gross Hall, Kohn and Lindemann Hall, or Mary Martha Hall. Each residential hall is home to the Freshmen Residential Experience.
The Freshmen Residential Experience is a Living-Learning Community designed to help make the adjustment to college life easier for students. All freshmen who live on campus must live in one of the freshmen Living-Learning Communities. The program’s goal is “To aid the first year student in their transition to college life at Concordia University Chicago academically, socially and spiritually, through empowerment, education, the development of critical thinking, and increasing their desire for learning and seeking out knowledge and new experiences.”
Upperclassmen may live in one of the other halls. David and Jonathan Hall, which cater to male and female students respectively, feature three floors of suites with community lounges on each floor. Mary Martha Hall, on the other hand, offers single, double, and triple rooms with a private sink in each room.
All residential halls feature a full range of amenities, including wireless internet access, microwave, laundry facilities, ironing boards, and a vacuum cleaner. Each room also includes cable television, telephone service, and voicemail in addition to full furnishings such as beds, desks and chairs, garbage can, and dressers.
Commuter students also enjoy their own amenities here, including The Commuter Lounge. Complete with a flat screen television and plenty of comfortable spots to kick back and relax, The Commuter Lounge allows students to hang out and to find fellow commuters who are interested in carpooling to class.
All commuters also receive a locker, so they don’t have to lug their books and other belongings around campus and their own mailbox. Student fees help pay for the $75 in Cougar Cash each commuter student receives. Cougar Cash can then be used to pay for food or meals on campus.
Students interested in theater and the arts will find themselves at home here. The university lays claim to the Ferguson Art Gallery, Werner Auditorium, and Bergmann Theater, all located on campus and featuring productions by both student groups and off-campus groups.
Music also plays an important role on campus – dozens of concerts are held on campus each year – with various ensembles run by the music department. Students can join such ensembles as the flute ensemble, the percussion ensemble, the trombone ensemble, and the wind symphony.
In addition to its theater, music, and art productions, the university hosts speakers throughout the year, among them critically acclaimed author Eric Metaxas who has written several books, including “Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery,” which became a New York Times’ bestseller.
Students are also treated to a variety of events, sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership, throughout the academic year. Jump Start, for example, is an annual orientation held for students and their parents to give them a more intimate look at life on campus.
Students are encouraged to become involved in the campus community by joining clubs and organizations. Among the eclectic student groups on campus are the American Guild of Organists, the Fellowship for Christian Athletes, the Ping Pong Club, and the Natural Sciences Club.
Students are kept up to speed with campus happenings through The Spectator, the student newspaper and WCGR, the campus radio station and television stations.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Cougars, who wear the school’s colors of maroon and gold, are members of the NCAAIII division and play in the Northern Athletics Conference (NAC). Charlie T. Cougar, the university’s mascot, cheers on the school’s teams with the help of the CU Dazzlers, the spirit squad.
The university is well represented by its sports teams, which have garnered their fair share of attention in collegiate sports. The Cougars baseball team has been on fire in the 2011 season, earning the sixteenth spot on the American Baseball Coaches Association poll and securing the twenty-fifth slot on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association poll.
The women’s basketball team made history of its own in 2011 when Marche Smith, a senior point guard, became the NAC’s all-time leading scorer while the 2010 cross country team earned the distinction of being named an All-Academic Team by the United States Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association for its collective academic achievements.
Track and Field
Track and Field
Students can enjoy competitive play by participating in the intramurals program. The program currently features an array of sports, including basketball, dodgeball, floor hockey, flag football, softball, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball.
All students are welcome to participate with one exception. Athletes on the university’s teams are not allowed to play intramurals in the sports for which they officially play. However, they can become referees or play in other sports.
In addition to holding accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, the university is also accredited by the National Council for Teacher Education, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and the National Association of Music Schools.
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