FAQ | The French Pastry School

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 Starting in 2019, the full-time programs at The French Pastry School will be offered in partnership with Robert Morris University Illinois.  FPS will no longer be associated with City Colleges of Chicago after January 15, 2019.

  1. Who can attend The French Pastry School? 
    There are no background or food industry requirements for becoming a great pastry chef. That fact is reflected in the diverse group that makes up our student body: some have culinary experience; over half are career changers.  No matter your experience level, the chef instructors at The French Pastry School will start from the basics and build your knowledge throughout the programs.

    Admissions are conducted on a rolling basis, and classes fill quickly, so it is in your best interest to apply early to ensure your space in the desired session. International students applying for student visas will be responsible for the additional application and processing fees set by the US government.   
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  2. Where is the school located?  Are there other locations?
    The French Pastry School is located in the heart of downtown Chicago (226 W Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60606) across the street from one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings, The Willis Tower (formerly The Sears Tower).  This is The French Pastry School’s only location but our chef instructors frequently travel all over the world to teach workshops.
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  3. Where do I park when visiting the school?
    The French Pastry School is conveniently situated near a parking garage that provides a discount to our visitors.


    Traders Self-Park, at 326 South Wells Street, is less than a block from the school. There are entrances to this garage on Wells (just south of Jackson), Van Buren (in between Wells and Franklin) and Franklin (just south of Jackson). See map.  Parking rates are normally $18 to $23 per day, but with the school discount voucher, visitors pay $16 (up to 12-hours) and $7 on evenings and weekends (after 3:00pm M-F and all day weekends). Contact us to learn how to obtain the required pass for your discount.
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  4. When can I come for a tour of The French Pastry School?
    Please contact an admissions representative at admissions@frenchpastryschool.com to schedule a weekday tour.  Tours take place Monday – Friday during business hours to ensure that you can observe students in class and meet the chef instructors.
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  5. What does a typical day at The French Pastry School look like?
    Students of Pastry and Baking (L’Art de la Pâtisserie), Cake (L’Art du Gâteau), and Bread (L’Art de la Boulangerie) programs spend 6-8 hours per day, 5 days per week, entirely in kitchen classrooms.  There is a maximum of 20 students in each class which allows our students to get a feel for what it’s like to work as a team in a professional kitchen but it remains small enough to also give them access to one-on-one learning experiences with the Chef Instructors.

    The class begins with mise en place, a French term meaning ‘to prepare for cooking’. After scaling ingredients for the day, the chef instructor demonstrates the recipes for the day.  Students then work in pairs to recreate all of the recipes demonstrated.   The Chef Instructor and a Chef Assistant will always be in the classroom to offer supervised instruction and answer all of your questions.
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  6. What does it cost to attend The French Pastry School?
    Tuition for the full time programs is as follows:
    Pastry and Baking:  $18,700 (20 weeks)
    Cake:  $9,350 (10 weeks)
    Bread: $9,350 (10 weeks)

    Additional student fees per program include:
    Application Fee:  $20
    Culinary Fee:  $1,310 per quarter
    Textbooks:  $225
    Toolkit and Uniforms:  $1,150
    Transportation Pass: $105 per quarter

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  7. Do you offer Federal Financial Aid and/or scholarships?  
    Federal Financial Aid and scholarships are available for Pastry and Baking and Cake programs for those who qualify.  For more information on how to get started, please visit our Financial Options page or contact us at the school.  Federal Financial Aid is reserved for citizens and permanent residents; international students do not qualify for Financial Aid or scholarships.  There is no aid offered for our Continuing Education courses.
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  8. Do you accept international students?
    Yes, we welcome many international students from all over the world to our Pastry and Baking and Cake programs.  For additional steps, you will have to take as an international student, please see our International Student Application Guidelines.
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  9. Can I work while attending the French Pastry School?
    While we encourage working during the program to gain experience in the field, all students must assess their individual capacity for extra physical and/or mental activity. Students must ensure that working will not negatively impact their performance as students.
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  10. Does The French Pastry School offer career counseling? 
    The faculty, career counselor, and administrative team build relationships with each student and offer in-depth assistance with career planning. We partner with our students to target employers, provide introductions, or offer advice to start a business. Even after you leave, these relationships continue as we provide career counseling and advice when you seek it. Using our network and experience to assist our students and help them reach their aspirations is important to us.
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  11. What careers are available in pastry after I graduate from the program?
    The French Pastry School offers extensive career education as a part of our curriculum.  There are many career directions that our graduates have taken: working in restaurants, catering companies, hotels, bakeries, wedding and celebration cake boutiques, food styling, food writing, food sales, teaching, research and development, country clubs, resorts, cruise ships, new business ventures, chocolate candy businesses, among others. Many alumni have opened their own businesses in all of these areas and continue to hire new graduates of The French Pastry School’s full-time programs.
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  12. How do students get experience outside of class? 
    Each student of The French Pastry School’s full time programs is encouraged to get as much experience outside of the class as possible.  This can be accomplished in several ways.  We recommend that our students start with stages – job-shadows in a professional kitchen during which you will get valuable hands-on experience and exposure to the industry.  At least two stages are required in order to graduate.  We provide students with a long list of establishments and contacts to get started. We also offer several volunteer opportunities at various events throughout the pastry community.
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  13. If I’ve already graduated from a full-time program at The French Pastry School, do I have to reapply for another? 
    If I’ve already graduated from a full-time program at The French Pastry School, do I have to reapply for another? Yes, alumni must apply for their new program of choice. The application process does differ for alumni; please see the application process page for details.
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  14.  Does THe French Pastry School provide housing for students? 
    The French Pastry School does not maintain a dormitory for its students.  We are, however, happy to guide you towards comfortable and affordable choices.  You can begin looking at the Living in Chicago portion of our website.  If you have questions about neighborhoods in Chicago, please contact us.  
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  15. Where Should I stay when I attend a Continuing Education Class or plan to visit the school?

    The French Pastry School is located in downtown Chicago. There are many hotels to choose from. We have located a few for you.

    Best Western River North, at 125 W. Ohio St. #800-727-0800 - The Best Western River North is about 1.5 miles from the school.  Ask for Reservations and mention you are visiting The French Pastry School. They offer visiting FPS students/visitors the rate from $149.00 a night, unless their current rate is lower. Included in the rate is two (2) Breakfast Vouchers, free wireless internet, and parking is $15.00 per day.  These rates are dependent on room availability.

    Crown Plaza - Chicago West Loop, at 733 West Madison Street #312-829-5000 - The Crown Plaza is about one mile from the school.  Ask for Reservations and request The French Pastry School.  Depending on availability, they will offer up to 20% discount on current room rates. 

    La Quinta Chicago Downtown, 1 South Franklin, #312-558-1020 - La Quinta Chicago Downtown is two blocks from the school. Ask for Reservations and mention you are staying with The French Pastry School.  They offer a 10% discount rate depending availability and current rental rates.

    Wyndham Grand – 71 East Wacker, #312-346-7100 – Offering many luxurious amenities, the Wyndham Grand is about one mile from the school, with great view of the city and Chicago River. Depending on availability, the Wyndham Grand offers visiting French Pastry School students a discounted rate for single or double occupancy rooms. Click here to see what rates are currently available. Once the reservations page displays, click on the “Corporate Rates” link in the top navigation bar. When the “Corporate/Promotional Rates” box pops up enter “FPS” as the access code to view French Pastry School rates.

    Freehand Chicago, 19 East Ohio Street #312-940-3699 - The Freehand Chicago is a boutique hotel located in Downtown River North area.  Freehand is ideal for travelers and students looking for affordable and stylish accommodations.  Penthouse, King, Queen, and Quad rooms are available.  Rates include continental breakfast in guest kitchen, free wireless internet and a fitness center. Use promo code “STUDENT” for a discount depending on availability and current rental rates.

    Club Quarters, 111 W. Adams Street - Located about two blocks from The French Pastry School, amenities include a fitness center, free wireless internet, and complementary coffee, tea, and snack throughout your stay.  Search for very competitive rates at this hotel online through Hotels.com, Travelocity, or Expedia. Special rates for non-members may be available online depending on availability. You may reserve a room ONLY through the internet in order to get their special club rate.

    Chicago Getaway Hostel, 616 W Arlington Pl #773-929-5380, Located in Lincoln Park, amenities include free wifi, complimentary daily breakfast, and on-site parking.  Ask for reservations and mention you are visiting The French Pastry School.  If you are booking over 20 consecutive nights, they offer a discount up to 20%, depending on the length of stay and availability.  If you are coming for minimum of 4 consecutive nights, they will do “Book Direct” which is a 5% discount. 
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  16.  How do I qualify as a Professional for the Continuing Education Courses? 
    Most professionals currently working in the pastry industry or graduates of Pastry and Baking programs will feel comfortable taking these courses.  In order to focus on other techniques, the chef instructors of Professional-level courses will take for granted that studnts understand the basics of the topic they are teaching.  There is no official prerequisite for taking a professional course but we want to be sure that our students learn at a pace that is most comfortable for them.  If you're not sure, we recommend starting with a Food Enthusiast-level course. 
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