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University of Chicago

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

The Unveristy of Chicago is unique because it places emphasis on learning for the sake of learning and asks students to quest...

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

The Unveristy of Chicago is unique because it places emphasis on learning for the sake of learning and asks students to question peers and professors before taking information as fact. Even though it has a relatively large campus, the way in which housing is organized creates a familial atmopshere and dilutes competitiveness between students.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

The most frustrating thing about the University of Chicago is the lack of non-work-study job opportunities available to undergraduate students. Most jobs only pay students that are qualified for work-study, while others are required to work just as much but are only considered as "volunteers." Despite the fact that some students have a family income above the set amount to be considered work-study, the majority job opportunities on campus neglect to provide some monetary income regardless of whether or not the student is receiving financial aid.

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

To quote the writter, revolutionary Ram Dass, "Be Here Now". Which still today I havn't fully embodied this way of life, but...

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

To quote the writter, revolutionary Ram Dass, "Be Here Now". Which still today I havn't fully embodied this way of life, but I know its power. I don't regret my senor year in high, though I am a drop out. I was proposed a situation to summit or rebel, I rebeled. I was acussed of hacking into my high schools web site and posting pornografy to the home page, which I never did I'd like to add. At the time life seemed full of possibilities. I had life by the short and curly. I was working full time living on my own. Getting good grades, even taking Italian courses at the local community collage. I hastily made a grand scene in the principles office with curse words flying as well as books. I felt there was nothing I could say or do to change my path in life. So I left, dropped out as they call it. Since that day I have had to work twice or three times as hard to make my way. So I say to Abaris at any age, especially the one that recklasly abandanded his future at 17, be here now!

Andrea
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Rigorous, at times feels impossible, but guarantees a sense of accomplishment upon completing your studies.

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Rigorous, at times feels impossible, but guarantees a sense of accomplishment upon completing your studies.

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

As a high school senior, I was excited about the opportunity ahead of me. I was looking forward to living on campus, taking classes with renowned professors, and making new friends. At the same time, I was feeling nostalgic. I was sad about leaving behind a school that had become home for four years, separating from great friends, and worried about the independence that comes with college. Knowing what I know now, I would tell myself to open myself up to the possibilities and opportunities available. I would say to not be afraid to try new things and put yourself out there. Treasure the memories and experiences that you have every day and learn from them. Do not be afraid to leave a safe space and separate from friends because you can create a new space in college and friends will remain in touch if there is an effort on both parts. I would tell myself to join in on different activities and as tired as you are, get up early and exercise as it is a good start to the day. Lastly, because you have a big meal plan, treat more people to lunch.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

The thing I brag about most is the academic rigor. In detail, I highlight the high expectations that professors had, the goals students set for themselves, and the quality of work that was encouraged. My undergraduate career prepared me well for graduate school. The expectations that were set helped me focus, work hard, and learn more about my capabilities. The skills I acquired at the University of Chicago have proved valuable adn necessary for graduate school.

Esther
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Although some people claim that UChicago is the place "where fun goes to die", that's definitely been changing over the last ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Although some people claim that UChicago is the place "where fun goes to die", that's definitely been changing over the last few years. The campus is one of the most beautiful in the country--think Hogwarts with a pretty quad. The College at the University, which is for undergraduates, is just the right size--hovering around 5000 students, it's large enough so that you'll never feel bored, but small enough so that you'll be sure to find your place. Hyde Park has a few "college-town" sort of hangouts, mostly in the form of bookstores and cafes, but the real draw is the city of Chicago (a short 20-minute Metra ride away!) University of Chicago is located just blocks from the lake too, which makes for great beach trips during those precious warm days.

What do people really wear to class?

People at UChicago have an eclectic, yet pulled-together style---you definitely don't see people wearing full-body sweatpants all day every day here. Since the weather can be pretty horrid, you see tons of snow boots and long puffer coats, along with Hunter rain boots. Most people seem to have a pretty polished aesthetic, but this question is so hard to answer simply because everyone's style is so varied. UChicago does have more than its fair share of hipsters, though, so think skinny jeans and huge grandpa sweaters, beanies, etc.

Where is the best place to get work done on campus?

The best place to get work done is the Regenstein Library, although it's not the prettiest place in the world. The Reg, as it's called, is also a good place to study because it offers everything you'll need to pull an all-nighter in one place. There's a recently opened cafe, which means you won't have to trudge out into the cold to get your coffee. A great way to study at the reg is to grab a study room with some of your friends! It also has carrels that are quite private if you need to get serious studying done. There is also a computer lab in the basement, and the first floor has tons of brand new, beautiful computers for student use.

When you step off campus what do you see?

The few blocks surrounding campus offer a variety of restaurants, cute coffee shops, and other essentials, like drugstores and a couple of grocery stores. A few blocks east, you see beautiful Lake Michigan! I personally love going to the 57th Street beach in the warmer months--and yes, it is just like a real beach, minus the saltwater smell! To the south, things get a tiny bit dicier, but most students don't have a reason to go there.

What's unique about your campus?

The unique thing about our physical campus would have to be the beautiful gothic architecture, which is lovely whether under the changing colors of fall leaves or covered with a dusting (or a blanket, let's be real here...) of snow. The other truly unique thing about UChicago is its tradition of free and open discourse. Everyone is encouraged to respect the opinion of others, and you'll find that many students, if not all, respect your opinions and want to engage in debate, not tear you down. It can be an exciting place for the mind!

Describe the dorms.

The dorms at UChicago vary widely, both in location and character. I lived in Pierce Tower, on the north end of campus, which is eleven stories tall and has a dining hall in the basement. Pierce rooms are very small but efficient (about 90 sq feet) and have a mix of doubles and singles. It is possible for incoming students to get singles if they want. Pierce has a great house culture (each house has 30-100 students) and a house lounge where people study and hang out.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

Obviously, the University of Chicago is high up in the rankings. I also wanted to go to a college that offered me more than just the classroom experience--not only a great community on campus, but also an interesting life off-campus. The city of Chicago is so close to the University that you get the best of both worlds.

What are your classes like?

Classes go by fast because of the ten-week quarter system, so professors usually plunge right in to the material. As an English major, I attend mostly seminar (small discussion) classes of about 8-15 people. I have about 100 pages of reading per class per week, which is definitely manageable. For these kinds of smaller classes, attendance is important because it also affects your participation (you can't speak if you're not there, duh), but for bigger lecture classes, skipping a couple isn't noticeable.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

It's hard to say what the most popular organization on campus is, because there isn't really one that dominates UChicago's diverse student clubs scene. I am involved in Rhythmic Bodies in Motion, a dance group that puts on a spring show and has participants from every major and lots of different interests! Dorms have their own culture--the dorm I lived in my first two years, Pierce, was known for its camaraderie, and people usually left their doors open. Athletic events are not the most popular thing to do on campus, but if you want to watch a sporting event, there are always some people there. Guest speakers are more popular, especially because University of Chicago is able to draw some big names. Theater is also fairly popular--the University has several student productions a quarter, as well as the nearby Court Theater, which puts on professional and acclaimed shows. The dating scene is a little thin, but not hopeless! It just depends on how much you put yourself out there in situations where you might meet new people. I've been dating my boyfriend for two years now! People party pretty much every weekend, and fraternities and sororities have a growing influence on campus. My boyfriend and I are both involved in greek life, which is how I've met some of my closest friends. Off-campus, people usually go downtown or explore some of the fantastic Chicago neighborhoods (Chinatown, Wicker Park, etc.). Chicago has fantastic shopping, culture, and nightlife, obviously.

Describe the students at your school.

The University of Chicago is fairly diverse, with especially strong Jewish and Asian populations. However, the interests of its students are so varied that it would take days to name every student organization and club on campus. The only kind of student who would feel out of place here is one who hates studying. Different types of students definitely interact--I'm part of Greek life at the school, which has lately been growing its presence on campus, but I have friends and acquaintances that span the spectrum of personalities and interests here at UChicago. Describing the tables of students at the dining hall is a little silly, simply because every table at the dining hall is assigned by house. A house is typically anywhere from 50-200 students, and this is your home base (a social group you can rely on) while you live in housing, which is typically for the first two years. So every table in the dining hall boasts a unique mix of students! Most students are politically aware, and many love debating current issues. A few students participated in Occupy Chicago this year!

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics at the University of Chicago are rigorous, there's no getting around it.One of the great things about this school is that class sizes are generally small, especially in Humanities major like mine (English), and that means that if you take a class with a well-known professor (like one of the 90+ Nobel laureates the University can claim), you have a chance to work closely with a giant in the field! Teachers will know your name if you put yourself out there by speaking in class and going to office hours. Students study quite a bit--it is a top 10 university, after all. Finals week is especially grueling, and the quarter system is really fast-paced, so students should know how to stay on top of their game. The education at the University of Chicago is famously geared toward learning for its own sake. Classes, especially the unusual ones like the Reality TV Analysis class I took this past quarter, are focused on thinking about old issues in new ways. However, there's no doubt that a degree from University of Chicago is a foot in the door in many industries, and the University has a fantastic career services division (CAPS) that works incessantly to help students find jobs and internships.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Students at University of Chicago are really intellectual and focused on schoolwork. This isn't all bad though--they actually love discussing hot button issues, debating everything from politics to philosophy to this year's Oscar picks at the dining table.

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

If I could go back in time and talk to myself during my senior year, I would tell myself to cherish the time I have with my f...

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

If I could go back in time and talk to myself during my senior year, I would tell myself to cherish the time I have with my friends, family, and my little town. Going out of state for college has made me realize that we cannot take the people who love us for granted. I have a newfound appreciation for my quiet, little home town that I was constantly trying to break away from. I would tell myself, "things won't be the same when you leave this place. Love everyone as much as you can before you're far away." I would tell myself that college is the most exciting experience of my life, but also to take every opportunity to make memories with the people you grew up with before things change. I would tell myself as a senior that the people at this college will change your view of the world and to embrace that change. I would say above all, however, that no matter where you are going, remember where you come from and keep it in your heart.

What kind of person should attend this school?

Someone who is prepared to work hard. Someone who seeks and appreciates diversity in all its forms.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

I prefer not to brag, but I am very proud of the fact that my university is fourth in the country and it has the best economics program in the world. If I am bragging, I just talk about how diverse it is and how much I love that fact.

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

If I had the opportunity to talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself the importance of living a balanced c...

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

If I had the opportunity to talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself the importance of living a balanced college life. I eventually discovered this on my own, but if I had known this from the beginning, my transition to college life at the University of Chicago would have been a lot smoother. For one, make use of your time. Procrastination does not translate into college life. You have strict deadlines for multiple projects, exams, and papers. Therefore, budgeting your time will help you avoid extra stress, ensure that you do well on your assignments, and reward you with an understanding of the concepts you are studying. Of course, it is crucial to leave time for yourself and personal matters. However, you can still be productive academically outside of the classroom. Get involved in student organizations that are of interest to you. Explore fields of study that you have little prior knowledge on. Do not shy away from talking to different students or professors. Outside sources to learning are valuable. You will be surprised how much your interests and perspectives will develop once you open yourself up to something outside of your definition of normal.

What kind of person should attend this school?

A person who craves a challenging environment that encourages critical thinking should go to the University of Chicago. This person should be e ready to test their tolerance for uncertainity, think outside of box, and be confronted by ideas that are completely foregin to them.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

What I brag about most when I tell my friends about the University of Chicago is the demanding yet rewarding environment. The University of Chicago involves hard work, self-discipline, and initiative. My undergraduate studies have rounded my individual being by exposing me to various academic fields, areas that I may have not necessarily explored on my own. Rather than considering graduation to be a hiatus to my intellectual development, I found it to be a catalyst. Reflecting on my experiences, I have realized the importance of academic excellence accompanied by a diverse body of knowledge.

Anna Lee
What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The University of Chicago has over 500 registered student organizations, over 400 of which are for undergraduates, so there i...

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The University of Chicago has over 500 registered student organizations, over 400 of which are for undergraduates, so there isn't really a group of "most popular" groups. There is literally a club or organization for everyone. A list of all of them can be found at https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/studentlife/activities/clubs.shtml As for activities, most students study/procrastinate more than they do anything else. Indeed, students have to do so much work to succeed at this school. However, we also know how to have fun. Here are some of the things students do: --Fraternity parties on Friday and Saturday nights --Concerts and shows by Off-Off Campus (a well-known improv group) and other student organizations --Free food all over campus all the time --Summer Breeze, a huge concert and carnival held in Spring Quarter (the headliner this year is Ludacris) --Scav, an enormous scavenger hunt that takes place Spring Quarter --Go downtown for concerts, shows, shopping, lots of stuff. The Resident Masters of all the dorms also sponsor awesome trips to Cubs games, concerts (Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang, for example), and other fun things. --Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Fall Quarter --Skating on the outdoor Midway ice rink in the winter --Intramural Sports (think ultimate frisbee and inner-tube water polo) School can be tough, but there are always fun and interesting things to do here.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

After all the acceptance and rejection letters arrived, I was left with two schools to choose from. The first school had awarded me an outstanding scholarship, while the second, the University of Chicago, was simply excellent. After visiting the first school, I realized that it was simply a larger version of my high school: same types of people, same easy and uninteresting classes, same low standards of academic excellence, same overemphasis on sports and partying. The benefits of the scholarship would not have outweighed the misery that being at that school would have caused. Deciding where to go to school is about deciding where you will be most fulfilled. Every school will have some trait that you don't like, but if what you like about the school outweighs what you don't like to such a degree that you think you could be happy and successful, then that is the school you should choose. The price tag, reputation, prestige of a school are worthless if you aren't able to thrive there.

Tell us about the sports scene on campus.

With relation to sports, there are three groups of people on campus, with each successive group being larger than the preceding group. First, there are the student athletes who train and compete in official NCAA athletic competitions. (Participants in a few of the more intense sport clubs such as crew and water polo may also belong to this category.) These students tend to live in the Max Pavlesky dorm (because it is the closest to the two athletic centers), they tend to all be friends (or at least know each other), and they are the students who are most likely to attend sporting events at the university. The second group includes students who participate in sport clubs or intramural sports and/or who exercise on a regular basis. This second group is the largest and consists of widest variety of students. Finally, the third group is composed to those students who do not participate in intramural sports and who exercise irregularly or not at all. In the past few years, the prominence of Greek life on campus has increased while the overall level of quirkiness of the student body has decreases. A side effect of these developments has been that the sports scene on campus has become slightly more prominent as well, and this trend is likely to continue in the same direction. For more information about athletics at the University of Chicago, visit http://athletics.uchicago.edu/index.html.

What do students complain about most?

Honestly, what students complain about most is the weather. The academics are difficult, sometimes insanely so, but we get used to that. The weather, on the other hand, is completely out of our control, and it can get extremely cold and extremely windy here.

What are the academics like at your school?

The academics at the University of Chicago are tough but excellent. On one hand, there are the classes like calculus and chemistry which can seem impossible. Calculus is difficult because the university requires that all first-year students learn how to do proofs (i.e. proofs by induction, delta-epsilon proofs, etc.--not the easy things you do in geometry) and all first-year calculus courses are taught by graduate students who don't always speak English very well. Chemistry is difficult because of the subject material and the time commitment. For example, labs last about three and a half hours each week, and students go into exams worrying that the fourteen hours they spent studying weren't enough. Calculus, chemistry, economics, and some other classes are graded on a curve, which is good in the sense that getting a 40% on a midterm might earn you a B+, but it also means that the number of A's and B's awarded is limited. On the other hand, there are classes that are as awesome as calculus can be awful. This year I took a social science sequence called Self, Culture, and Society. We read books like Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Emile Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. The books and the class discussion about them were fascinating. Going to Self became one of the best parts of my week. Students here study a ton. We still have fun, but getting away with not studying for an exam or not doing extra problems to understand the material just does not happen. Most weeks students go out to frat parties or other events on Friday nights, but then they stay in on Saturday nights to get work done. The University of Chicago fosters an excellent learning environment, so students here are not very competitive. Although in some classes like chemistry and economics students are competing with their classmates for the higher grades, mostly the attitude is that "we're all in this together," where "this" is surviving exams, studying for crazy amounts of time, and making it through this school. Also, with so many student organizations (over 500) and other things to be involved in, everyone can excel in their own way, so neither the academic or extracurricular environments are highly competitive. Professors are very accessible, and they are always available to help you and answer your questions. Many classes, such as calculus and chemistry, also include discussion sessions and problem sessions led by T.A.s that are designed to help students better understand the course material. Granted, these sessions are not always useful, but in the case that they aren't, there are college tutors and other resources for students. The university puts forth equally as much effort and resources toward creating a thriving learning community as it does toward preparing its students for post-graducaiton. The Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS) is absolutely outstanding. CAPS advisors are available to help students write excellent resumes and cover letters and work on interview skills. Also, the Chicago Careers In... (CCI) programs are truly incredible. They are an excellent way to explore careers, make connections, and get internships and jobs. The CCI programs consistently hold events designed to give students the opportunity to talk to people in different fields, hear experts speak, and network. For example, over spring break, I went to Washington, D.C., with Chicago Careers in Public and Social Service (CCIPSS). We met with alumni at the White House, State Department, Peace Corps, USAID, the Brookings Institute, and Senator Durbin’s office. We had lunch with a Senior Advisor to the President and dinner with a Foreign Affairs Officer with the State Department who spent six months in Iraq working directly for General Patreus. The university completely understands the importance of career exploration and networking in order to get internships and jobs. CAPS also runs Chicago Career Connection (CCC), an online resource for students. Through CCC, students can schedule appointments with CAPS advisors and research and apply for thousands of jobs (there are at least 60,000 posted on CCC). The only downside to CAPS is that it takes about two weeks to get an appointment.

Anna
What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Of course, most of us have heard the infamous saying, "University of Chicago - the place where fun comes to die." As true as ...

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Of course, most of us have heard the infamous saying, "University of Chicago - the place where fun comes to die." As true as that may have been in the past, currently the university has seen a dramatic shift in terms of the student population and sociability. Within the last decade, dozens of new buildings have been erected in UChicago's gorgeous Hyde Park campus, including: Gerald Ratner Athletic Center, Max Palevsky dormitory, South Campus dormitory and dining hall, the Gordon Center for Integrative Research, the Mansueto Library (endearingly called the "reg egg" after the Regenstein Library to which it is connected), and finally the brand new Logan Arts Center. Collectively, these additions have made UChicago a more appealing option for many prospective students and brought more viable resources to the campus. But to answer the original question at hand, at UChicago it is very difficult to pinpoint one stereotype. The university presents an international, eclectic mix of students; 10% are from Chicago while the remaining 90% are from all corners of the world, representing all 50 states and over 70 countries. Because of this cosmopolitan "melting pot," students frequently break through common stereotypes and work together on problem sets, play on intramural sports teams, and yes, go out together too. While it is only natural that students eventually form their own groups and such, the university does not reinforce the typical stereotypes of the jock, frat kid, or geek, but instead allows for ample opportunity to meet students from all walks of life. To some, it can be even seen as the place where "fun comes to thrive."

Keira
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing has to be the classes and class sizes--the personal attention and diversity of offerings is unparalleled. One ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing has to be the classes and class sizes--the personal attention and diversity of offerings is unparalleled. One thing I might change is to make the "core" courses take a little less time. It's great to get such a well rounded experience but for kids who really have a passion for a specific major early on it's difficult. Our size is perfect--we're medium, campus is walkable, you often run into people you know. People are always impressed when I tell them I go here. Most of my time on campus is spent on the quad in summer, in the library in winter. The most frequent complaint is probably the lack of grade inflation tied with the weather (Chicago winters can be killer)--but kids generally bond commiserating over both.

Describe the students at your school.

We are international, quirky, very welcoming, all religions, races, nationalities, all types. We are a complete amalgamation of the world and we accept everyone.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

They are all important--everyone will have an argument as to why!

What are the academics like at your school?

Classes are small and personal for the most part--especially as you get more advanced in your major. My favorite class has to be a Human Rights Seminar aptly titled What is a Human? We read such diverse materials and the class was small--we had really rousing discussions and the professor let us choose our final paper topics--mine ended up motivating my BA thesis. My least favorite has to be anything in the math requirement. I just feel like our basic level math professors are generally not that easy to follow, but then again I'm not all that great at math! Class participation is very common--you will always be encouraged to speak up--but professors realize not all students are outgoing and they are often understanding. My major is so cool (Comparative Human Development) because it's interdisciplinary. I can take classes in all the subjects I'm interested in--anthro, philo, socio, human rights, law--and generally I can make them count toward my major. It's given me a really wide breadth of knowledge and interests that I'll keep with me for life. Education here is definitely about learning for its own sake, but having the Uchicago name behind you is great on the resume too.

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  • Tuition & Fees
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