FAQ

Would I live on campus or commute?

Would I live on campus or commute?
You would reside on campus in the Lincoln's Challenge dormitory. Each student is assigned to a team and each team has their own floor in the dormitory. Typically cadets are placed three to a room. 
     
What are the criteria for admission?

Volunteer; 16-18 years old high school dropout by the start of the new class; resident of Illinois and a US citizen or legal resident; not currently involved in the legal system or have a court case pending; drug free at the start of class.
    
What is the application process?

Applicants must complete the application packet, attend an orientation/registration session, have 2 completed mentor application packets, and receive a drug screen upon admission. Contact the Regional Coordinator for registration/orientation dates near you. 
   
What is my cost? Is there a tuition fee?

There is no tuition! The Lincoln's Challenge Academy is a Federal and state funded program. There is no direct cost to the family or cadet, except for initial toiletries and required clothing (approx. cost $150-$200). 
   
Do I have to have been in trouble to attend?

No! Most of our cadets have not been involved in the judicial system. We do accept some cadets who have been involved in the judicial system, however, those cadets cannot be court-ordered to attend and some type of charges will disqualify a student for admission. 
   
How long do I stay at Lincoln's Challenge campus?

Each class lasts for five and one half months (22 weeks, including the Pre-Challenge phase) and there are two classes per year. The class that starts in January will graduate in June and the class that starts in July will graduate in December.
   
What happens if I want to leave and go home?

Attendance at Lincoln's Challenge is voluntary. Cadets are allowed to leave at any time that they request to do so. However, every attempt is made by our staff to retain the cadet. 
   
Can I smoke?

Cadets are not allowed to smoke or use any tobacco products during the 22 weeks.

Do I have free time?
Yes, however even your spare time consists of structured activities. There are many extracurricular activities available for the cadets. These include basketball, chess club, art club, jazz band, choir, drill team, color guard, military club. Activities may vary from cycle to cycle.
 
What about breaks and visitation?

Cadets do have a scheduled break during the class and it is dependent upon the overall class schedule. Families also are provided opportunities for on-site visits. After the Pre-Challenge phase, the family will be provided a schedule for visitation. Generally, visitations are on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
 
What happens after I graduate from the Academy?

Upon Graduation of the Residential Phase, the cadets enter into a 12 month Post-Residential Phase. You will return home to your community and start the process of beginning your adult life. Post resident cadets are expected to find employment, enter vocational schools, enroll in college, or the military. You are also required to maintain contact with your assigned mentor, who will report monthly as to your status.
 
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    ... for volunteers/mentors

Where is Lincoln's Challenge Academy located?
Our campus is located at 205 Dodge Avenue, Rantoul, IL on the site of the former Chanute AFB.
    
Do you conduct tours of the campus?

Tours of the Lincoln's Challenge Academy are only conducted for educators and community leaders. For tour information, contact your nearest Regional Coordinator at 1-800-851-2166.
 
What is a mentor?

The mentor is a member of the cadet's community who volunteers to be a positive role model and who will reinforce and continue the cadet's revelopment. The mentor is a valuable asset who will aid in empowering the graduate to become a success. This cadet/mentor relationship is monitored and supported by a case manager from Lincoln's Challenge Academy's Office of Admissions and Graduate Affairs.
 
What are the requirements to become a mentor?

The individual must be over 21 years of age, a productive member of the community ( i.e., employed, retired, or a student ) and cannot be a member of the cadet's immediate family. Illinois residency is required and the mentor will be of the same gender as the cadet. You must live within a reasonable proximity of the cadet (50 miles) and able to pass a criminal background screening. 

 Where can I get more information about the Academy?
Brochures and application packets for both students and mentors are available from the Regional Coordinator. Call 1-800-851-2166.
 
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... for staff

Are there employee benefits?
As state contractual employees, the Lincoln's Challenge Academy offers sick leave, vacation, holidays and overtime compensatory. LCA also provides benefits of 15 days of paid military leave for annual training, worker's compensation, and the option to participate in Deferred Compensation. Vacation time is increased progressively for years of service and sick leave is credited at 8 hours per month. Currently there are NO health, dental, or life insurance benefits or 401k benefits offered.
   
What kind of teacher's certificate is required for instructors?

Any teacher's certificate recognized by the State of Illinois, including substitute teacher certifications. All instructors MUST have a teacher's certificate in order to be employed.
 
   
Can former cadets be considered for employment by the Academy?

Yes, as long as all the requirements for the position are met as posted in the announcement and the individual is selected for potential employment through the interview process.
   
Is there a military requirement of all positions at the Lincoln's Challenge Academy?

No. The only positions that require active military membership or retired (20 years) U.S. Armed Forces are: All Cadre positions, Budget Officer, Training Officer, Security Chief, Deputy Director, and the Director. Job postings for these positions will specify the required military status necessary for the position.
   
Are the positions federal technician, active guard/reserve, or active duty positions?

No. All positions are state personal services contracts.