1. Who should apply for LINK?

Any African American 8th grader student with high potential and demonstrated financial need is eligible to apply to LINK Unlimited Scholars. Competitive candidates are confident communicators who are highly-motivated, focused, involved in school and community, desire mentorship, and are college-bound. We seek candidates with strong academic records and good moral character.

Students who are already in high school are not eligible to apply to the LINK Unlimited Scholars program.

2. What is considered a strong academic record?

While we will evaluate students’ end of 7th grade report card and standardized test scores (NWEA/MAP), we know that academic potential can be measured in many other ways. For this reason, we look closely at the recommendation letters from each applicant’s 7th grade English/Language Arts and mathematics teachers. Those recommendations will give us a sense of the applicant’s study habits, work ethic, academic discipline, motivation and drive.

3. My student has an IEP and/or 504 Plan. Can they still apply to LINK Unlimited Scholars?

Yes, we encourage students with IEP and/or 504 Plans to still apply to LINK. 

4. 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 the guidelines below.

Household Size     Area Median
Income Limits
2019 (Effective
April 1, 2019)
  50% 60% 80% 100%
1 $31,200 $37,440 $49,950 $62,400
2 $35,650 $42,780 $57,050 $71,300
3 $40,100 $48,120 $64,200 $80,200
4 $44,550 $53,460 $71,300 $89,100
5 $48,150 $57,780 $77,050 $96,300
6 $51,700 $62,040 $82,750 $103,400
7 $55,250 $66,300 $88,450 $110,500
8 $58,850 $70,620 $94,150 $117,700

5. Do I need to submit financial information even if my student will not be attending a tuition-based high school?

Yes, each application must include financial information, regardless of the type of high school your student plans to attend. Even though not all LINK Scholars receive a financial scholarship, LINK seeks to service a specific subset of students- high potential African Americans with demonstrated financial need. 

6. Does the scholarship apply to any school?

The LINK scholarship only applies to our Partnering High Schools

7. Does the family have to pay anything?

LINK tuition scholarships are meant to supplement the financial aid awarded by partnering private schools to reduce the amount of expected family contribution. 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.

8. I am only interested in the scholarship offered. What if I do not want my child having a mentor through LINK?

In addition to our parents, LINK mentors are an integral part of the success we have here at LINK.  It is expected that each family applying is interested and committed to ALL aspects of our programming including having a mentor for your child.  The mentor relationship is viewed equally with our scholars’ academics performance and full participation in our programs. Parents play a crucial role in the growth of the mentor/Scholar bond.

9. How do I apply for the high schools on your list?

Visit each school’s website or call them directly to learn more about the school’s application process. LINK cannot guarantee you acceptance into one of our partner schools, nor can we help you get into a school after their deadline. 

10. When is the application deadline for LINK?

The application deadline for the Class of 2025 is November 23, 2020 at 11:59PM. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

To learn more about LINK and to meet current LINK scholars, parents, and staff, please join us at one of three information sessions. Potential Scholar Info Sessions for the Class of 2025 will be held on:

    • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 6PM
    • Monday, October 26, 2020 at 6PM

All Information Sessions will be virtual this year because of COVID-19. You can RSVP here

11. Is attending an info session a requirement to apply? 

No, you do not have to attend an info session to be eligible to apply; however, it is strongly encouraged. 

12. Can I submit additional recommendation letters (from other teachers, mentors, or community leaders) with my application?

Applicants are not able to submit additional recommendation letters.

13. What are the requirements for LINK Scholars and families?

Beyond the requirements listed under “Program Expectations” on the Become A Scholar page:

  • Scholars and families are required to check email frequently and reply in a timely manner (48 business hours) to all communication, unless a different deadline is specified.
  • Scholars and families are required to attend all mandatory programming, including but not limited to: annual orientation meetings, college counseling sessions, Saturday Academy, and Summer Learning.
  • Scholars are expected to maintain regular communication with their mentors.