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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. For more information, contact Alvarez Dixon (below).

Choose from these Academies 

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. Learm more about each Academies by clicking the boxes below. It wouldn't be college without lots of time for socializing, meeting new friends, and exploring campus. Some of the academy hosts we've had in the past have been: 

  • Aerospace Engineering 
  • Animal Science 
  • Anthropology 
  • Chemistry 
  • Digital Manufacturing & Rapid Prototyping 
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering 
  • Honeybees & Beekeeping 
  • Human Development & Family Studies 
  • Molecular & Cellular Biology 
  • Vet Medicine 
  • Ag Communications 
  • Journalism: Activating Your Voice of Inclusion in the Media 
  • The Science of Family Experiences 
  • Theatre & Fashion for Stage 
  • Theatre & Hip Hop


Dates for the 2018 sessions are 6 PM Sunday June 24 through 11 AM Thursday June 28.


The conference is open to youth who have completed 8th grade by June and and will be at least 14 by Sept. 1, 2017.


You’ll stay in the newer living quarters on campus, Bousfield Hall, 1214 South First Street, Champaign

Cost & Cancellations

The cost of the Conference varies depending on which Academy of study you choose. Payment is requested at the time of registration via credit card. Payments made by check must be received within 1 week of registration or the registration will be canceled. Registration closes May 15. Financial need scholarships will be available from Illinois 4-H Foundation. Email illinois4H@illinois.edu for application. 

Cancellations & Refunds must be sent in writing to us @ 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. 


We offer the Trail Blazers Scholarship to make college exploratory experiences accessible to all youth by encouraging participation of scholars who are under-represented in certain career fields and who may find the cost of attendance to exploratory programs a significant challenge. This scholarship is available to scholars who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The scholar 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
  2. The scholar would be the first among their immediate family members to earn a degree from a 4yr college or university
  3. The scholar can demonstrate financial need based on household income and the number of members in the household.