Chicago, IL
University of Chicago


78 Ratings

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Otto
Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

It provides world class education without the grade inflation and career focused fluff of the ivy league

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

It provides world class education without the grade inflation and career focused fluff of the ivy league

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

This may be the only time you get to do this so make the most of your college experiance. Try different classes early on before you have settled on a major because you may be surprised by what excites you. If possible, live on campus for more than just your first year. The dorms are convenient and can introduce you to a lot of friends and study partners. Don't try to graduate early by powering through the mandatory classes for your major in order to start working early--you can work for the rest of your life but you can't always throw in a class on art history or a year of Norweigian language study. Most of all, be serious about your education but don't take your classes too seriously. Nobody tells you that every semester you are also taking a class on how to balance your busy life--4 years of stress is not worth an extra tenth of a point on a GPA.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

negative attitude and reputation relating to the social life and study habits of students

Ariadne
Describe the students at your school.

University of Chicago students are self-selecting in that they are ready to enter an intense learning environment and become ...

Describe the students at your school.

University of Chicago students are self-selecting in that they are ready to enter an intense learning environment and become a resident of the city of Chicago; if you think you belong there, then you probably do.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Finding the right college may seem like a daunting task: it requires choosing the school with the best balance between academics, extracurriculars, location, and whatever other criteria the student thinks are important. But it's not even as simple as just that. Sometimes the student may not have any idea what he or she actually wants, and the schools in question require a deeper inspection in the form of a prospective student visit. When you find the right school, you will know. There may be one that the parents think is best for the student, but in the student's opinion, however unvoiced, there will be one or two schools that just feel "right". It may have been a particular quote in the prospective student mailings that really hit home, or perhaps the student made a personal and intellectual connection to other students during a "prospie" visit. But, in the back of that student's mind, all other schools will be compared to this school, and probably won't measure up in the end. It's important to tune in to that calling desire: many schools are self-selecting, and those students that believe they belong there probably do.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

Someone who cannot laugh at the school's pseudo-motto, "Where fun comes to die"; someone who doesn't enjoy exploring big cities; someone who can't stand theory-based arguments; someone who doesn't love a challenge.

Caroline
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Definitely visit the college--talk to students and sit in on some classes--to see if you feel comfortable in this setting. Pl...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Definitely visit the college--talk to students and sit in on some classes--to see if you feel comfortable in this setting. Place yourself in the physical space. If that's not possible, talk to alum (do those optional interviews) and try to connect with students on campus. Read a campus publication or two. Try to get the real feel of the place and how you relate to it, instead of how the school presents itself. (Usually the two are similar, but they can be different in ways that are important to you). Finally, figure out why you are going to college, and try to mesh this idea with the focus of the univeristy or the university's programs.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

The way students feed off of each other's stress. There is absolutely a culture of stress caused by the overwhelming number of students who are perfectionists. If you are not stressed by your workload, you stress because you are not stressed and feel like you should be stressed otherwise you are doing something wrong (really, people have said that). Fighting against that tide is frustrating and not a healthy way to approach life.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

Dating doesn't happen. Most people go from hanging out as friends to practically married.

Emily
Describe the students at your school.

Not everyone knows where they want to end up in life, but everyone has something that they feel passionately about.

Describe the students at your school.

Not everyone knows where they want to end up in life, but everyone has something that they feel passionately about.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Pay attention to the people who pick the school - those are going to be the people you're surrounded with for four years, so if you get bad vibes from them, then that's probably not a good choice for you. On the other hand, it's not always a make or break deal if you don't mind the vibe you get from the people at that school - that just has to be considered with everything else.

What's unique about your campus?

I came here to be surrounded by smart people, essentially - to make a good learning and living environment - and I got what I came for. Everyone here can carry their own in really worthwhile conversations, but at the same time, people are silly enough to make fun of themselves and acknowledge and enjoy the silly things in life.

Stacy
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Strong academics and a social life full of nerds. However, it's ok to be socially awkward here because everyone else is as we...

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Strong academics and a social life full of nerds. However, it's ok to be socially awkward here because everyone else is as well! Most people are really smart and interesting to talk to, and we do have lots of fun (we're known as the place where fun comes to die). There are cultural events, student clubs, and traditional college parties - but they all compete with a night of strong intellectual debate.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

To parents: please let your child choose what's best for him/herself! You are at an important moment in each of your lives - know that whatever decision your child makes, it'll work out for the best. Have hope, and trust in their ability to make wise decisions. Even if they mess up a little at first, it's all part of the learning experience. To students: recognize that the decisions you make now will affect your future. You're out in the real world, trying to deal with so many things it can seem impossible: how do you manage to feed and bathe yourself when you have a 15-page paper to write and a job at the library? (Sometimes it's ok to not bathe and re-wear dirty clothes - hey, it's college.) However, remember to relax. You're not on your own. All your friends are in the same boat, and hopefully your college has a support system to catch you. We're all in this together. Have fun, work hard, love yourself, and call home occasionally.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

The weather and the lack of breaks during the academic year.

Benjamin
Describe the students at your school.

Competetive and intellectual

Describe the students at your school.

Competetive and intellectual

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Students must find a school that will enable them to grow just as much socially as they can academically. Most schools tend to market their class curricula without informing students and their parents of the diversity of social organizations on campus. By social organizations, I do not simply mean clubs, teams, and other RSOs (Registered Student Organizations), but, for example, the presence and intensity of Greek Life, or the availability of special interest dormitories. In addition, applicants need proper samplings of the interests and backgrounds of their classmates. They should know whether a particular school draws generally academic-minded students from upper-middle class backgrounds, or has established a pattern of increasing economic and racial diversity among the student body over recent years. Otherwise, students can feel seriously out of place at an institution they thought would be a perfect fit with their character. In my opinion, the more demographically and culturally diverse a student body is, the greater the number of opportunities for students to experience different social scenes, and perhaps settle on one in particular.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

People can be very full of themselves.

Tova
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I found that schools suggested by my high school were not necessarily schools that were right for me. Instead, I chose the ...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I found that schools suggested by my high school were not necessarily schools that were right for me. Instead, I chose the University of Chicago through my own searching, using books such as The Princeton Review's books on colleges as guides. I read what students wrote about the colleges, as well as the requirements to get admitted, and started to narrow my search. My "top schools" only included ones that I had at least a slim chance to get into, which seemed to offer environments I wanted to live in. Finally, I visited the top schools on my list, and interviewed where I could. From the questions asked in the interviews and the atmosphere on campus, I tried to determine if what I read were accurate descriptions of the colleges and if I would enjoy the atmospheres I observed. Once I found out which colleges I was admitted to, I thought about why I applied to each of the schools and which reasons were the best ones. Finally, on campus in the Fall, I embraced the things that drew me to the U of C from the beginning, experiencing the reasons why it was the right college for me.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

Sometimes the stress gets to the students. I don't think that the professors teach too much, but they demand a lot and at times it's overwhelming.

What kind of person should attend this school?

Someone really interested in learning for the sake of learning. Someone interested in the pursuit of truth and knowledge, and who is willing to work very hard searching for them.

Kyle
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

The right college is anywhere you choose to go, whether based on money, prestige, or any other reason you choose to go there....

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

The right college is anywhere you choose to go, whether based on money, prestige, or any other reason you choose to go there. College is what you make of it. No matter where you go, you'll have the opportunity to do and seek out whatever you want to do. If the certain thing you are looking for doesn't exist, than create it. Colleges accommodate for most things as the students are what pay the colleges' bills. Be and do whatever you want, college is a time for trial and error.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

The lack of support for sports. It should be better than it is.

Sarah
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Leave home. Get as far away from home as possible, either geographically or psychologically/emotionally. Forcibly remove your...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Leave home. Get as far away from home as possible, either geographically or psychologically/emotionally. Forcibly remove yourself from your comfort zone. Chase down schools that will be most challenging for you where you still have a chance at getting in, and if you get accepted, go there. Remember that this is really the only time in your life when you will be allowed--encouraged, in fact--to try a variety of new things, and you will be protected, in a sense, while doing so. To this end, try out things that interest you, even if they're totally out in left field. Choose classes by professor reputation often. It will help you discover new things to love. Develop one skill or get involved in one new thing that would surprise your friends at home. Remember that in most cases, schoolwork is a matter of prioritization, not total completion. Learn as much as you can about anything and everything. Parents, don't worry or put unnecessary stress on your student; they are expanding their world.

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

I almost want to say nothing, because I was able to learn so much. But I do wish I had more experience reading well, writing academic papers, and engaging in discussion with my peers. Then I wouldn't have spent so much time catching up. It also was embarrassing sometimes just in casual conversation that I knew so little about our world's current geopolitical landscape, but this did not affect me academically.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

This school may make you depressed, because you will realize (if you don't know this already) that you cannot possibly do and see and learn everything you want to. But I think that's a good thing, within reason. Honestly, for me, the worst thing about the U of C was having to leave it.

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