The Chicago School’s distinctive educational model is based heavily on hands-training in real-world settings—including the diverse and challenging real world that surrounds our own campuses. Through our unique community partnership model, we have built relationships with countless local agencies and organizations at which our students are able to contribute their expertise, helping to address genuine community needs while honing their skills and building a resume of experience that extends far beyond a single required internship or practicum.
From your first semester on campus, you will enjoy the following types of opportunities:
Our community assistantships program provides students with opportunities to work or volunteer (generally between two and 15 hours per week) as mentors, advocates, and program assistants at local agencies and organizations—addressing key community needs while gaining career-relevant exposure and experience. Some of these positions utilize Federal Work Study funding, enabling students to be paid for their valuable service.
Many Chicago School students participate in community-based research—working with local community organizations, community members, and academics to research and provide actionable insights to address an issue of importance within a given community. Unlike traditional academic research—in which community members are typically involved strictly as “human subjects” and the research is intended first and foremost to serve the academic community—community-based research actively involves the local community throughout the research process and the outcomes are intended to directly benefit the community. Students who participate in community-based research projects typically receive supervision from a faculty or staff member who has research experience, and they are often paid through Federal Work Study funding.
A number of Chicago School courses include service learning components—structured opportunities to explore concepts and knowledge gained in the classroom by providing direct or indirect service at local community agencies. Students involved in service learning will typically spend roughly 2-4 hours per week in the field, applying what they are learning in the classroom in ways that bring those concepts to life and deepen understanding.
Clinical Service Work
In keeping with our mission to serve the underserved, many Chicago School students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty to bring psychology services to local organizations that would like to offer mental health programming but do not have the resources and capacity to do so—by essentially setting up and staffing counseling centers within existing agencies. These projects broaden our students’ clinical experience while helping countless organizations meet the needs of those they serve.
Internships and Practicums
While many schools assist students with securing their required internships and practicums, The Chicago School goes even further to ensure that these critical experiences are as enriching and successful as they can be. All of our campus-based students receive comprehensive support from our Office of Applied Professional Practice (APP)–from training on interview skills, to assistance with the logistics of acceptance, to small-group and individual mentorship around negotiating professional relationships, ethical decision-making, and professional comportment.