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.


Read More »

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.


Read More »