What to Know Before Moving to Chicago for College

Starting college marks an important milestone and a fresh start in life on your road to adulthood. As the third largest city in the country, the City of Chicago is a high-energy city with a thriving art scene, cultural diversity, incredible food, and a bustling economy. While moving here will undoubtedly be a great experience, there are a few things you should know first. Before you pack up and leave the parental units behind, here are some Chicago moving pointers courtesy of Cheap Chicago Movers ( Whether you decide to live in a dorm or an apartment, these guys can help you get all moved in before classes start.

Housing is Expensive

College dorms present easy access to classes, offer affordable living, and provide ample opportunities to socialize while you acclimate yourself to a new city. So if you’re considering the less affordable option of moving into an apartment, make friends fast because you’re going to need a roommate. Chicago remains on the top 10 list of expensive rental markets in the country, with the average apartment rent coming in at $1,958. Each of the 77 neighborhoods presents their own charm and heritage, but consider living just outside of South Loop to cut your expenses. One mile and one train stop could save you hundreds of dollars per month.

It's really expensive to rent an apartment in Chicago, so you may want to consider living in a dorm instead.

It’s really expensive to rent an apartment in Chicago, so you may want to consider living in a dorm instead.

You Won’t Need a Car

Chicago Transit Authority services the entire City of Chicago and its 40 neighboring communities and airports via bus and rail, making it one of the easiest cities in the country to get around. A single ride of the “El” – aptly named for its elevated segments built in the 1880’s – will cost you $3, but a monthly pass will cost you just $100. This means that the more you ride, the more you save! As an added bonus, taxis and Ubers are aplenty, so you won’t need to be a hermit to explore the City of Big Shoulders.

You Can Eat and Drink Out 21 hours a day

Skip the college cafeterias and sample the local dive bars, trendy eateries, and ethnic take-outs offered in this late-night foodie city. Try the popular joint El Burrito Mexican after a game at Wrigley Field where a burrito as big as your head will cost you about $5, or Weiner’s Circle on Clark St. in Lincoln Park. Many bars are open until 4:00 a.m. and liquor establishments open at 7:00 a.m. six days a week, which means you can eat and drink out 21 hours a day (once you turn 21 of course)!

You’re Going to Need a Winter Coat

The daily average high temperature in January is 31 degrees Fahrenheit, and this city definitely lives up to the moniker “the Windy City”. Wind chills can drop down to negative temperatures as early as December, so skip the fashionable pea coat and invest in a good down winter coat.

Winters here are brutal, so make sure you are dressed appropriately.

Winters here are brutal, so make sure you are dressed appropriately.

It’s Great for Dating

When it comes to affordable date nights, Chicago delivers. Cultural institutions like the Art Institute, Field Museum, and Museum of Science and Industry are all FREE for Chicago residents when you pick up a Museum Passport at your local library. And with more than 500 storefront theater companies Chicago, including famed late night sketch comedy venue Second City which helped launch the careers of entertainers like Bill Murray, John Candy, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert, Chicago is also considered the theater capital of America. In the summer, you can hop on the Metra train northbound and check out the Chicago north shore’s world-class music festival, Ravinia Festival.



Settling In: Exploring Our South Loop Neighborhood

Whether you’re a new student at Columbia College Chicago or an alumni who has been away for awhile, we’ve written a guide to South Loop just for you. Columbia College Chicago moved to its current address at 600 Michigan Avenue back in 1975, and we’ve loved living in the heart of the vibrant South Loop area ever since. Here you’ll find fantastic dining experiences, endless amounts of shopping, and many other attractions that are waiting to be explored. Check out a few of our recommendations below in order to best introduce yourself to this amazing part of the city.

South Loop Restaurants

You can find almost anything that you’re hungry for in Chicago’s South Loop restaurants. If you’re looking for cheap, casual, and delicious eats, pop over to Cafecito at Wabash and LaSalle. This Cuban eatery offers amazing salads and pressed sandwiches in an unpretentious atmosphere. It’s also one of the only places around where you can find authentic Cuban espresso, which is perfect if you’re planning on a late night study sesh.

If you’re looking for a good place when the parents come to visit, then consider the Maine-inspired Acadia where you can indulge in a 5 or 10-course tasting menu. Acadia’s famous Deer Island Maine shrimp is served on a bed of noodles made from cuttlefish, and the savory Stoning Maine lobster pie is a local favorite.

There are plenty of fun dining experiences to be had in South Loop.

There are plenty of fun dining experiences to be had in South Loop.

After a rough day of classes, be sure to head to Devil Dawgs for some good ole Chicago-style comfort food. Guests can choose from over 15 different toppings, making it easy to create a hot dog just to your liking. If you aren’t in the mood for a hot dog, Devil Dawgs also serves tasty chicken sandwiches and hamburgers.

Shopping Destinations

If you love arts and crafts projects, or just need some inspiration for your next school project, then make sure to visit the two-story Artist and Craftsman Supply. The creative staff will be happy to help out with crafting ideas or help you locate the supplies you’re looking for. From watercolors to carving tools, this large shop is filled with almost every type of art supply that you could possibly need.

If you’re a stud looking for the latest streetwear, then Jugrnaut is the perfect shopping destination.This store began as is a home-grown apparel boutique that specializes in comfortable and casual urban clothing for men. If you want to rock comfy clothes for class without sacrificing your style, Jugrnaut is the place to shop.

Activities in South Loop include fitness opportunities in the park.

Activities in South Loop include fitness opportunities in the park.

Endless Activities

Columbia College really couldn’t be located in a better Chicago neighborhood. Campus is tucked right between Millennium Park to the north and Museum Campus to the south, which are both two of the most desirable destinations in the city. You could spend weeks just discovering all the of museums and parks in our neck of the woods, but we’ve seen it all and have a few favorites. Just a short 20-25 minute walk from campus, the Adler Planetarium is one of the premier observatories in the world. Here, you can see compelling exhibits like “Mission Moon” and watch informative shows like “Cosmic Wonder”. Each month, the planetarium puts on a show called Adler After Dark, that provides live entertainment, guest lectures, and amazing glimpses at the cosmos. A little farther south, in the Prairie District, the Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens offers visitors the chance to honor the contributions of women in Chicago and the United States while participating in the many activities that the park offers, such as yoga, movie nights, or taking one of the many classes offered in the field house facility. This quaint park is a great place to spend a warm Spring day studying or to escape the grind of exams.

Thanks to our partner Great Guys for contributing to today’s post. Great Guys offers cheap long distance moving services to get you where you need to go without breaking the bank. Whether you’re moving to a new dorm on campus or you’re moving somewhere to start your first job after graduation, keep Great Guys in mind for your next move!



5 of the Coolest Degree Programs Offered by Columbia College

Columbia College offers students a lively, engaging campus atmosphere and a great location near the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, but that’s not all. This unique university also offers undergraduates several interesting, modern degree options that can lead to awesome jobs. Could one of these unique degree programs be the perfect fit for you?

1. Social Media and Digital Strategy

If you’re a budding social media expert, why not earn a degree in it? Columbia’s social media and digital strategy degree gives you a thorough grounding in creating online content that resonates with viewers, collecting and analyzing data, and building effective PR and marketing strategies. Students in this degree program synthesize information from courses in business, communications, and the arts. Austin search engine marketing firm, Moonraker Marketing, says that nailing social media strategy is critical to the future of businesses large and small, so there will be many career opportunities for students who complete this program including:

  • Public relations positions
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Journalism
If you're a pro at getting "likes", then a career is social media marketing could be for you!

If you’re a pro at getting “likes”, then a career is social media marketing could be for you!

2. Live and Performing Arts Management

Columbia’s degree in live and performing arts management is part of its school of business and entrepreneurship. Students in this program learn how to plan and execute live events, such as concerts, plays, and other types of entertainment. If you love working with people, organizing events, and making your vision become a reality, this major might be ideal for you. After completing this degree program, a few fields where you’ll be able to find work include:

3. International Arts Management

If you have a mind for business and a passion for the arts, a BA in international arts management might be right up your alley. This degree program will give you a good understanding of the business of arts management worldwide. You’ll learn about the intersection of art and business across different cultures, economies, and political landscapes. You’ll also have opportunities to study abroad! After earning this degree, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a wide variety of fields relating to business or the arts anywhere in the world. Who knows, maybe you could be next director at the New York Met or the president of Chicago’s own Field Museum.

4. Sports Management

Love sports? A degree in sports management from Columbia gives you the opportunity to turn your passion into a career. When you study sports management, you’ll learn about all the behind-the-scenes details of how the sports industry runs, from talent recruitment to funding and marketing. After you earn this degree, a few of your employment options include:

  • Coaching at the high school, college, or professional level
  • Scouting for talent
  • Marketing
  • Sports broadcasting
The players might steal the show, but professional sports teams require behind-the-scenes experts to keep things running.

The players might steal the show, but professional sports teams require behind-the-scenes experts to keep things running.

5. Television Executive Producing and Entrepreneurship

If you enjoy working with television and digital media, this could be the perfect major for you. As you complete a degree program in television executive producing and entrepreneurship, you’ll study the creative, technical, and business aspects of digital media. After finishing the program, you’ll have a strong background for working in the television industry. You’ll also be equipped to work as an entrepreneur or a freelancer.

These are just a handful of the interesting and cutting-edge majors that Columbia College Chicago offers. Find out more about what this school offers by taking a campus tour or browsing the online catalog!

4 Notable Columbia College Alumni

Columbia College Chicago is known as one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and is especially esteemed for its media and fine arts programs. It’s no wonder then, that there are several notable alumni who have made a name for themselves in television and film.

Josefina Lopez

Born in 1969 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Josefina Lopez is a member of the class of 1991. As a child she moved to Los Angeles with her family and later attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, the same high school that produced the likes of Christiana Milian and Michael Fitzpatrick. After graduating, Lopez went on to attend Columbia College Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in film and screenwriting. Upon completing her undergraduate coursework, Lopez returned to the West Coast, where she obtained her MFA in screenwriting from the School of Theater, Film, and Television at the University of California at Los Angeles. An artistic director, Lopez is best known as the playwright of Real Women Have Curves, which was adapted into a movie of the same title in 2002. Most recently, Lopez’s work has been showcased at CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, California, where she is listed as Founder and Artistic Director.

Lopez is best known for writing Real Women Have Curves, which was later adapted for the popular film starring America Ferrera.

Lopez is best known for writing Real Women Have Curves, which was later adapted for the popular film starring America Ferrera. Picture credit Ethical Focus.

Scott Adsit

Born on the North Shore of Illinois on November 26, 1965, Robert Scott Adsit was known in his early school days as a class clown. After discovering his talent for acting while enrolled at Columbia College Chicago, Adsit signed on with local improv troupe The Second City in 1987, shortly after graduation. He then co-wrote, co-directed, co-produced and voiced characters for the show, Moral Orel, which ran from 2005 to 2008. His break-out role came when he was asked to play Pete Hornberger, the executive producer on NBC’s TV show 30 Rock. In 2008, the program scored a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Most recently, Adsit provided the voice for the robot Baymax in Disney’s 2014 animated movie Big Hero 6.

Pat Sajak

A member of the class of 1968, Pat Sajak was born in Chicago on October 26, 1946. Perhaps best known as the host of the famous American game show Wheel of Fortune, he is also an actor, talk show host, and former weatherman. Raised in Chicago, Sajak graduated from Farragut High School in 1964. For college, he opted to stay close to home, working as a desk clerk at the Palmer House Hotel while attending Columbia College Chicago. Though eventually famous for his role as a television personality, Sajak got his start on radio. During the Vietnam War, Sajak was a DJ on Armed Forces Radio. Upon discharge from the service, he went onto DJ as a civilian, then worked briefly as an L.A. weatherman before getting tapped to host Wheel of Fortune.

Pat Sajak has hosted the beloved American game show Wheel of Fortune since 1983 with his lovely co-host Vanna White. Picture credit TV by the Numbers.

Pat Sajak has hosted the beloved American game show Wheel of Fortune since 1983 with his lovely co-host Vanna White. Picture credit TV by the Numbers.

Glenna Smith Tinnin

One of the earliest graduates of CCC, Glenna Smith Tinnin received a diploma as a member of the class of 1897. After completing her degree, Tinnen went on to become a theater professional and women’s suffrage leader, serving as the first chairman of the Equal Franchise League in the District of Columbia. Tinnen also had a passion for playwrighting, penning many wonderful plays for children including One Night in Bethlehem: A Play of the Nativity which she co-wrote with Katharine S. Brown in 1925 and Arthur Wins the Sword in 1928. Tinnin also co-produced Paul Kester’s Tom Sawyer with Brown on Broadway in December of 1931.


From Oratory to Online Media: The Evolution of Columbia College Chicago

Since its founding in 1890, the Columbia College Chicago has always been interested in helping young people express themselves. Today, this fine liberal arts college has many programs for students interested in the performing arts, media studies, writing, and even entrepreneurship. However, this college didn’t start out that way. In this article, we will take a brief look at how Columbia College Chicago went from a small proprietary business for orators to the highly successful non-profit liberal arts college it is today.

A School Founded on Oratory

Of course, back in 1890 people didn’t have the communications technologies we currently enjoy. Instead, the main forum for public discourse was good old-fashioned public speaking. Columbia College Chicago was first designed to train a new generation of professional orators. The founders and first presidents of this school were Mary A. Blood and Ida Morey Riley. Both of these strong women were trained in public speaking at the Monroe Conservatory of Oratory in Boston, MA (modern day Emerson College). Blood and Riley created the Columbia School of Oratory in 1890 to train public speakers in the area specifically for Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. This fair was set to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the “New World.”

Columbia College was founded as Columbia School of Oratory, a school intended to create great orators.

Columbia College was founded as Columbia School of Oratory, a school intended to create great orators.

Leadership After Blood and Riley

As the years went on, Blood and Riley added a few courses in teaching, and they changed the school’s name to the Columbia College of Expression. The school also became incorporated into the state of Illinois in 1904. In 1924, George L. Scherger, a former member of the Board of Directors, took over the position of president after both Blood and Riley passed away. Scherger’s major achievement was to help expand the college’s education department. Scherger was eventually succeeded by Bertha Hofer Hegner, a leader in kindergarten education, in 1929. Hegner led the college into the radio age by hiring experts from around the nation involved in radio broadcasting. During the 1940s, this college officially became a not-for-profit organization, and was formally recognized as Columbia College.

1950s Media Expansion

It wasn’t until the 1950s that Columbia College Chicago expanded its coursework in a major way. To meet the demands of the new media landscape, Columbia College began offering coursework in TV, marketing, and journalism. At this time, Norman Alexandroff, a former consultant on radio technology, became the president of the college. Alexandroff expanded Columbia College’s influence by founding sister schools in Mexico City and Los Angeles. Despite these efforts, and despite the new programs of study, Columbia College did rather poorly throughout the late 50s and 60s.

The introduction of a radio broadcasting program was a total game changer Columbia College's future.

The introduction of a radio broadcasting program was a total game changer Columbia College’s future.

Social Action: “Hands On Minds On”

Mirron Alexandroff took over for his father as president in 1961. Mirron was Columbia College’s most ambitious leader. He supported the idea of “hands on minds on” progressive liberal arts education, and worked to get the most experienced men and women in the media industry to teach practical skills at the college. He also made it easier for thousands of high school graduates to attend some of Columbia College’s great seminars. Throughout Mirron’s long tenure, which lasted until 1992, the student population grew to around 6,000, the college gained accreditation for all-of its graduate programs, and Columbia College gained enough funds to purchase a brand-new building on South Michigan Avenue.

Columbia College Chicago Today

This college has done nothing but expand since Mirron Alexandroff’s term. Columbia College Chicago recently made connections with University of East London and Dublin Institute of Technology to bring its media programs into the globalized age. Members of the Columbia College Chicago staff have won Emmys, Guggenheims, and even Oscars in their respective fields. Whatever way students feel comfortable expressing themselves, they are sure to pick up the skills they need in one of Columbia College Chicago’s programs.