For those individuals bold enough to change the trajectory of their future, please apply here.

If you’re interested in becoming a LINK Scholar, carefully read the information below to better understand our process and identify the application that best fits your plans for high school. If you’re interested in a private partner high school, we strongly encourage you to submit the scholarship application. We wish you the best of luck and hope to see you in our next group of scholars.

NOTE: Application information is not automatically transferable from the non-tuition application. 

Application Timeline

The 7th grade year is the optimal time to begin researching high schools. You want to explore the variety of options available to your family and consider which environment is the best fit for your child.

Between August and November of the 8th grade year, you should start to visit high schools (i.e. Shadow Days), attend high school fairs, join one of LINK’s Information Sessions (October 9th, 6:30pm-8:00pm or October 20th, 10:00am-12:00pm), and watch for the October 1st application launch to apply to LINK Unlimited Scholars. All complete applications received by the December 1st deadline are reviewed by the end of the year, and a select number of families (typically between 125 and 150) are invited to interview.

Interviews take place in January.

All LINK applicants are notified of their final status by February 22nd.

Final program acceptance will be granted when the following criteria have been met:

  • Signed LINK Unlimited Scholars Agreement
  • Acceptance and enrollment at a LINK partnering high school
  • Attend the mandatory New Scholar Orientation on April 18th 6:30pm-8:30pm.
  • Successfully complete the mandatory 6-week Summer Bridge Program from June 24th-August 2nd

Eligibility Requirements

  • Student must be a high-potential African American currently in 8th grade. 
  • Student must reside in the Chicagoland area and plan to attend a LINK Unlimited Scholars partner school or CPS High School.
  • Competitive candidates are confident communicators who are highly motivated, focused, involved in school and community, want mentoring and are college bound. We seek candidates with strong academic records. 
  • Student must exhibit good moral character, integrity, and strong values.
  • LINK is a family-centered college prep and career readiness program that requires students and parents to exhibit commitment, responsibility and a willingness to actively participate in the organization.  Attendance is critically important.

Program Expectations


We ask our students and parents to be mindful that LINK Unlimited Scholars is a college prep and career readiness organization that requires scholars to participate FULLY in support programs and activities.

We expect LINK Scholars to:

  • Study at least 2 hours every night
  • Maintain A’s and B’s in all subjects
  • Participate in at least 2 extracurricular activities each school year (at least 1 activity must be a school-related activity)
  • Contact mentor at least two times a month
  • Write thank-you’s for mentor at least two times a year
  • Attend all required activities as designated by LINK
  • Uphold the LINK Core Values at all times: Integrity, Resilience, Accountability, Drive, Selflessness, and Intellectual Curiosity
  • Communicate in a timely and professional manner


We expect LINK Parents to:

  • Ensure scholar fulfills all requirements of the program
  • Monitor your child’s academic progress and communicate with the school often
  • Attend all required meetings
  • Volunteer as needed at LINK and the high school
  • Assist in the development and health of the student/mentor bond
  • Communicate in a timely manner
  • Pay Summer Learning fees for three years


Three letters of recommendation are required – To submit recommendation letters online click on the appropriate form:

English Recommendation

Math Recommendation

Administrator Recommendation

or download the recommendation forms below to give to your teachers/administrators. These forms must be returned with you application:

English Recommendation
Math Recommendation
Administrator Recommendation


1. What is LINK Unlimited Scholars?

LINK Unlimited Scholars is a 50-year-old Chicago-based institution working to change the trajectory of high-potential African American youth, through unique programming and mentorship opportunities in the classroom and beyond. With educational support, mentors and financial subsidies, LINK provides the necessary backing to help close opportunity gaps and help ensure economic stability for our scholars.

2. What is considered “financial need”?

Each family’s ability to contribute toward the educational cost of the student will be evaluated by LINK staff. If selected for an interview, applicants must provide verification of income and assets. Generally, scholarships have been awarded to students from families with 80% or less of Chicago Area Median Income (AMI). See guidelines below.:

Household Size Area Median
Income Limits
2018 (Effective
April 1, 2018)
  50% 60% 80% 100%
1 $29,650 $35,580 $47,400 $59,300
2 $33,850 $40,620 $54,200 $67,700
3 $38,100 $45,720 $60,950 $76,200
4 $42,300 $50,760 $67,700 $84,600
5 $45,700 $54,840 $73,150 $91,400
6 $49,100 $58,920 $78,550 $98,2000
7 $52,500 $67,020 $83,950 $105,000
8 $55,850 $62,580 $89,400 $111,700

3. Does the family have to pay anything?

Yes. ALL families will be responsible for paying $300 for participation in our 6- week academic and cultural enrichment summer program.

In addition, LINK tuition scholarships are meant to supplement the financial aid awarded by partnering private schools to reduce the amount of expected family contributions. Families are responsible for the cost of tuition and school related fees outside of the financial support that LINK and/or outside scholarships may provide. If awarded a LINK scholarship, families must verify eligibility each year of the scholar’s participation in LINK. The number of scholarships available to each incoming class may vary.

4. What are the requirements for LINK scholars and families?

  • Scholars and families are required to attend all programs related to college and career readiness, personal development activities, class retreats, and our signature summer learning program. LINK programs typically take place in the evening between the hours of 6:00 and 8:30 pm or on occasional weekends.
  • Scholars are also expected to maintain regular communication with their mentors.
  • Student success depends on family involvement, therefore all LINK families are required to fulfill at least 1 hour of volunteer service to LINK. Several options are available and may be fulfilled at the LINK office, at LINK events or remotely.