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Illinois 4-H is proud to offer this hi-fidelity college exploratory experience on the University of Illinois campus. Participants attend academy sessions led by university professors and enjoy a variety of engaging activities that provide a taste of just how cool college life can be. Imagine getting to work alongside university professors while you’re still in HIGH SCHOOL! Imagine getting to hang out on a college campus. Imagine spending five days with kids your age from all across Illinois. That’s what happens at Illini Summer Academies, so stop imagining it and just do it! This program offers teens the opportunity to explore the University of Illinois campus and many degree programs and careers. Illini Summer Academies is supported through the Illinois 4-H Foundation and intended to serve youth living in Illinois. A limited number of registration slots are available to youth living outside Illinois.


  • Check in runs from 4 to 6 PM Sunday, June 24. Check-out runs 8 to 11 AM Thursday, June 28. 
  • The conference is open to youth who have completed eighth grade by June and and will be at least 14 by Sept. 1, 2018
  • You’ll stay in Bousfield Hall, 1214 South First Street, Champaign
  • Your cost is varies depending on which Academy you choose from the list below. Payment by credit card is required at the time of registration.

Registration Details:

  • Current 4-H members whose counties are covering all or a portion of their fee should contact their Extension office before completing the online registration.
  • Youth requesting a scholarship from the State 4-H office should not use the register button on this page. See additional details below on how to apply and register.
  • Registration closes May 15, but popular Academies will fill up before the end of registration.
  • Cancellations must be requested in writing to @ illinois4H@illinois.edu. Requests received before April 1 will receive a full refund. Requests received from April 1 to May 1 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be permitted after May 1.  


The Illinois 4-H Foundation and its donors support the conference and provide a limited number Trail Blazers Scholarship for each Academy in order to make college exploratory experiences accessible to all youth. Preference is given to youth who are under-represented in certain career fields and who may find the cost of attendance to exploratory programs a significant challenge.

TO APPLY & REGISTER FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP, CLICK HERE. Do not register through the button on the right.

This scholarship is available to scholars who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The participant is a member of a group that is under-represented in the industry of their chosen academy such as women who are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields and men who are under-represented in Human Development fields
  • The participant would be the first among their immediate family members to earn a degree from a 4-year college or university
  • The participant can demonstrate financial need based on household income and the number of members in the household.

Choose from these Academies 

Check out details about each Academy in the featured boxes at the bottom of this page. All Academies feature project-based learning where youth are either conducting experiements, making something, or discovering some aspect of the world few people ever get to see. New Academies for 2018 are: 

  • Companion Animal Nutrition & Pet Food Manufacturing
  • Game Design: Digital Art, Storytelling, and Fabrication
  • Advanced Micobiology
  • Plant Biology: Life Beneath our Feet
  • Work Hard/Play Hard: Careers in Health Sciences, Sports, and Wellness

Returing Academies include:

  • Aerospace Engineering 
  • Ag Communications 
  • Animal Science 
  • Anthropology 
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering 
  • Honeybees & Beekeeping 
  • Human Development & Family Studies 
  • Grand Challenges of Family Studies
  • Molecular & Cellular Biology 
  • Theater & Fashion for Stage 
  • Theater & Hip Hop
  • Vet Medicine 


Illinois Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services, Growmark, Women Changing the Face of Agriculture, H. Richard and Sarah McFarland Endowment for Youth Leadership, DuPont/Pioneer, Illinois 4-H Foundation, Human Development and Family Studies Department.

Youth Planning Committee

  • Rachel Fishburn, Sangamon County
  • Jazmine Hall, Rock Island County
  • Julian Heidrich, Kendall County
  • Timothy Johnston, Jr., Henderson County
  • Ashlie Ledbetter, Rock Island County
  • Sowmya Monroe, Winnebago County
  • Amareon Naudain, Sangamon County
  • Doris Russo, Winnebago County
  • MyKeisha Wells, Rock Island County