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3424 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60616
p. 312-235-3500
w. www.shimer.edu

Shimer College

Shimer College Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes)

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Information Summary

Ranks 16th in Illinois and 488th overall
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At Shimer College, students who love to read, think, and discuss ideas come together in small classes to experience learning like they’ve never known it before. Shimer classes are conversation at its best: everyone works together to make each meeting an adventure in intellectual discovery. If you like to read and think and have meaningful discussions—in the classroom and beyond—then Shimer is the place for you.

As a Shimer student, you will become part of a community whose very purpose is to explore the great works of the Western intellectual tradition. These comprise the College’s core curriculum. By studying texts that are widely thought of as “classics,” you will take part in the Great Conversation about ideas that have shaped our world. You will learn to puzzle over and appreciate beauty, analyze theories, and grapple with old and complex problems that have challenged human thinkers for centuries.

Shimer is about education in the noblest sense of the word. It’s a place to learn how to think, not what to think. It’s a place to develop a breadth of knowledge in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences that is very rare in our age of specialization, yet extraordinarily useful in today’s ever-changing world. It’s that rare place where everyone’s views are valued, where careful and caring discussion and respect for difference are the rule, not the exception. Shimer College is an intentionally small, exceptionally student-centered liberal arts college. Perhaps it is just what you’ve been looking for.

What programs does Shimer offer?

Undergraduate Weekday Program: if you are a traditional-age college student, you’ll want to enroll in this program. Courses are offered Monday through Friday during the academic year. By taking a set group of core (required) courses and your choice of electives over four years and writing a Senior Thesis, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Humanities, Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.

Undergraduate Weekend Program: This innovative program is for adults who work full- or part-time but still want the full Shimer educational experience. If coming to college during the week is difficult for you, you can sign up to take Shimer classes on campus every third weekend during the school year. The reading load and course expectations are the same as in the Weekday Program, which means you can complete the entire program in four years. And if you have credits from another college or university, Shimer will work with you so that you can graduate even sooner.

Early Entrants Program: Are you a highly motivated high school student who is eager to start college a year or two early? Shimer has for over fifty years been enrolling qualified applicants.

Study Abroad Program: If you enroll at Shimer you can spend a semester or two studying in Oxford, England during your third or fourth year.

Teaching Fellows Program: If you are a K-8 teacher looking for courses that emphasize rich academic and subject area content, and are seeking an alternative to the predominant focus on method and pedagogy at schools of education, consider this new route for professional development, based on the Core Knowledge Sequence.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Financial Aid

Shimer College holds that quality education should remain affordable. We will do everything we can to ensure that no student is denied a Shimer education because of costs. Students who need financial aid are expected to apply for and accept all Federal and State government grants, loans, and employment scholarships for which they are eligible. If these are insufficient to meet the student’s financial needs, Shimer College has a number of scholarships and other programs available.

All students who wish to be considered for Shimer College scholarships must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Shimer College code for your use when you complete the FAFSA is 001756. The Financial Aid Office will review the FAFSA of each student and inform the student of any additional awards for which they are eligible. The award may be accepted by the student or appealed to the Financial Aid Appeals subcommittee. The committee will consider such items as the student’s financial need, special circumstances, academic record, timeliness of application, full use of Federal and State awards, and funds available in making a decision to increase the amount of Shimer College aid.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3359th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Illinois.


Shimer attracts a wide variety of students and encourages a respect for differences and the values of tolerance and personal responsibility. Shimer students tend to be individualistic, creative thinkers, and many have not found personal satisfaction in more conventional educational settings. Because they read original sources—works often thought to be too difficult for the undergraduate—Shimer students learn that no material is too complex, no subject is too arcane to be approached and mastered.

Says a graduating senior: “I have gained as a writer and I have gained knowledge about things I never dreamed of knowing. My analytical skills, my comprehension, my communicative skills, my creativity, my ability to co-inquire with dignity and grace, all of these things have improved at Shimer.”

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The following sports can be found here:

  • Men’s Intramural and Women’s Intramural Flag Football
  • Men’s Intramural and Women’s Intramural Soccer
  • Men’s Intramural and Women’s Intramural Volleyball
  • Men’s Intramural and Women’s Intramural Kick Ball

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