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Discover vs. Explore Chicago

Awesome. So you’ve made it to the portion of your Orientation sign up where it asks you to select a Discover or Explore class. Follow these steps to ensure an informed and successful decision about your first class at DePaul.

Step One: Breathe. You’re going to take roughly 48 classes during your time here at DePaul, today you’re choosing just one of them. Any class you choose from the options listed will fulfill the same Chicago Quarter Liberal Studies requirement. ​

Step Two: Know the difference between these three terms: Discover Chicago, Explore Chicago, and Chicago Quarter. Discover Chicago includes immersion week. Since immersion week starts the week before classes, you’ll step five days focusing on just one class – which leaves plenty of time for class led excursions and discovery of Chicago. Once regular fall classes begin, your Discover class will meet once a week for 2.5 hours during the first eight weeks. Explore Chicago begins with regular fall quarter classes. Your class will meet a total of 4 hours a week for all ten weeks. You’ll still have plenty of time to explore Chicago, but your excursions will be spread throughout the quarter. Chicago Quarter is simply the overarching name of the program that includes both Discover and Explore Chicago classes.

Step Three: Decide which type of course is best for you. I recommend Discover if you’re looking for the opportunity to meet new people and are new to living in a big city. If you’re living on campus, you’ll have an early move-in to your residence hall – for no extra charge! You’ll have access to your meal plan early as well. If you’re commuting to campus, keep in mind that Immersion week days can start early and go late. You’ll be need to make arrangements to and from campus. On the other hand, I’d recommend Explore for anyone who’d rather start classes in September, has a less flexible schedule, or wants to get in extra hours at a summer job before starting school full time.

Step Four: Look through the course options here and choose your top five. 

Step Five: Sign up as soon as possible through Campus Connect as some classes fill up faster than others. Make sure you’ve completed your placement exams at least 24 hours prior! If you have difficulty signing up contact New Student and Family Engagement at (773)325-7360. 


What’s Premiere DePaul?

Attention incoming first year students! Orientation sign up is now open! During your time on Campus Connect you’ll be selecting both your Premiere DePaul Orientation dates, and more excitingly, the first academic class you will take at DePaul University (see my next blog for more info). You might be feeling some butterflies and stress, but reading the below Q&A will hopefully lessen those feelings!​
At Premiere DePaul you'll have an Orientation Leader to show you the ins and outs of DePaul

What’s the difference between Orientation and Premiere DePaul? All students go through some sort of Orientation; as in incoming first year student your Orientation is called Premiere DePaul.

Do I have to attend Premiere DePaul? It’s not that you have to attend, you GET to attend!

Do we sleep at DePaul overnight? Yes – in the infamous Munroe Hall! Unless you are not living on campus next year and plan to attend Premiere DePaul Session 12 or 13. If you have extenuating circumstances, email orientation@depaul.edu.

Should my parents or supporters come to Premiere DePaul? Bring them along! There’s a two-day guest program that runs along side the student program. You’ll have the opportunity to see your guests at meals and a few conjoined sessions.

Is Premiere DePaul boring? NO WAY! In addition to meeting new people and scheduling your first quarter classes; three meals are provided, there’s two tours of campus, a theatre performance, and friendly competitions at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center that always begin with a dance party!

Speaking of food, what if I have allergies or dietary restrictions? When you sign up for Premiere DePaul, make sure you list any accommodations you’ll need during the program. Someone from the Orientation team will follow up with you if they need more information. If you forgot to list your accommodations when signing up, you can email orientation@depaul.edu.

Do I have to pay for Premiere DePaul? There is a fee, but it will be assigned to your student account. The money is not due when you come to Orientation, instead it will be added to your Fall Quarter tuition bill.

Will there be time to explore Chicago? The Premiere DePaul schedule is jammed packed with DePaul campus events. Don’t worry! The exploration of Chicago is coming – check out my next blog on Discover and Explore Chicago for more info! 


Top Five Lincoln Park Lunch Spots

With admission processes in high gear and the beautiful fall weather Chicago has been having recently now is definitely the time to visit​ DePaul’s campus! When I first visited DePaul I chose to do the Admission Information Session and Lincoln Park Tour back to back. These programs generally run 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm on the weekdays, as well as Saturday mornings. Before or after your tour be sure to check out one of Lincoln Park’s award winning restaurants.  Below you’ll find my top five lunch spots within walking distance of campus.

​5th Place: Uncle Sammy’s​

Named ‘One of the Six Serious Sandwich Shops of Chicago’ by Time Out magazine, Uncle Sammy’s is a great soup and sandwich shop located below the 1237 West student apartments. I recommend roast beef, ham, and provolone cheese on freshly baked bread, also known as the ‘Windy City’. Another must is Uncle Sammy’s Ghirardelli brownies. They’re the perfect dessert to save for your trip home!

4th Place: Jam 'n Honey​

Calling all Nutella fans! You’re college decision will easily be made once you see Jam & Honey’s Nutella jars on every table! Serving breakfast all day, you can’t go wrong with the Banana Nut French Toast or Eggs Benedict. You’ll just want to remember to stop at the ATM before heading to this cash only restaurant.

Third Place: State​

State (at the corner of Webster and Bissell) takes sports and food to the next level! 80% of ingredients are locally produced before they are prepared in State’s full scratch kitchen and served to your table surrounded by 124 flat screen TV’s.  On Wednesday through Fridays State has different specials that bring many menu items down to just $5.99 or $6.99 each, including their signature Buffalo Skillet Dip and Signature Rock Shrimp.

Second Place: Homeslice​

Just across the street from State is Homeslice. Their 31 types of pizza (Yes 31, that is not a typo!) are perfect for groups of two, four, or even more! Can’t decide which pie to try? Calzones are also an option! I recommend the Smoked Ham & Avocado - it’s a new twist on a time old classic. Homeslice also offers whole grain crusts and gluten free options to please all pizza lovers. 

First Place: Pasta Palazzo​

Locateat Halsted and Armitage, Pasta Palazzo offers classic Italian cuisine with reasonable prices.  The grilled calamari appetizer in lemon-herb vinaigrette offers a refreshing twist to traditional fried calamari. Next I’d suggest the handmade gnocchi with your choice of sauce. After these two dishes your room for dessert may be limited, but if you’re up for the challenge you won’t regret the tiramisu!​ 


What Really Matters Through the College Decision Process

​​​​​I grew up in a town where the question was never, “Are you going to college?” but instead, “Where are you going to college”. With this you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you the first time I took the SAT – yes the real SAT – was in 6th grade.  I spent most of middle school obsessing over the Ivy Leagues, as I wanted nothing else but to be Rory from Gilmore Girls. However, in high school I learned that if you want to be a teacher it makes the most sense to go to college in the same state where you eventually want to teach.  So I traded my east coast Rory Gilmore dream for collegeboard.org​

Out of all the schools I applied to I was serious about three of them. DePaul was the only school out of my top three where housing wasn’t guaranteed to first year students, so we put down both the tuition and housing deposits early on just in case. It’s pretty obvious now that, to my parents liking, those three hundred nonrefundable dollars certainly did not go to waste! 

Even with the deposits down I didn’t end up making my official college decision until April of my senior year. One of my Student Council advisors, Mrs. Manheim, was the one who helped me make that final choice. We were in the car on the way to a district board meeting when she had me list the pros and cons of each university. I remember sitting there and telling her, “and DePaul’s version of student council is called Residence Hall Council​, RHC for short. They have a website and everything. I’ve already read their whole constitution. They elect three senators from each hall, and one day if I’m President I’ll get to spend the whole summer on campus just planning RHC stuff”. Continuing to drive she said, “I think you should go to DePaul, but it looks like you’ve already made up your mind”. It was there ladies and gentleman that deep down in my heart I found my answer. 

The sixth grade SAT studying me knew that academics were important, and the twelfth grade me knew that student activities ranked in at a close second. The best advice I can give anyone heading into the admissions process is that picking the right school involves more than just looking at the fast facts. Do your research about everything else the campus has to offer, and most importantly trust your gut. No matter what you’re never going to know what exactly the future has in store. After all, three and a half years from now you might be the one who just wrapped up their summer “planning for the next year of RHC."