Chicago, IL
University of Chicago


79 Ratings

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Yuzhou
What is your overall opinion of this school?

What matters most about college will be the people-- not the classes or professors, not the parties, not the dining halls and...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

What matters most about college will be the people-- not the classes or professors, not the parties, not the dining halls and residence halls-- it'll be who you're spending the next 4 or so years with. What attracted me to this school are the people who are passionate about something incredibly detailed or quirky, who are are able to have a deep conversation about everything, who have overtime acquired a large number of hobbies and interests. We are all intellectuals, but we are often artists at heart. We are ambitious in a non-standard way, and we want to do everything. As I write this response, I am sitting at the front of a student-run cafe, Hallowed Grounds, listening to the Open Mic-- a night where numerous student volunteers come to perform improv comedy, or slam poetry, or serenade us with their guitar. We enjoy beauty and expression, despite our rumored focus on academics. Tomorrow, I dance Argentine Tango outdoors and practice with the student circus, playing with fire, bodies, feathers, and stilts for a future show. Last Friday, I organized 40 people to give free hugs to everyone on campus. And in 6 hours of class today, I questioned the learning of number and language, the views of the world by Greek philosophers trying to decide if there is an answer to "What is?" and explored topology. We are not that big for a college, slightly over four thousand, but our number of activities is almost unmanageble. Sometimes, that is our weakness-- everyone is a leader or an idealist, and too much happens on those individual plots of land. We are still working on collaborating across groups. We are headstrong-- we WILL do what we have set out to do-- in fact, we dedicate 75k in school funds to fund these uncommon projects. I love that about us.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

First-years begin in their houses-- they pick their dorm and are typically related by a love of similar things and personality. These are the people typically spend late nights with, study with, and play intramural sports with. Often, this is where the friends come from. Right away, students are thrown into our mix of 350 registered student organizations. We have a large variety, from modern to shakespearean theater, to quidditch and archery, to drinkers with a writing problem and figure drawing, to circus and capoeira. It is very easy to create a club and get events funded once you have several people interested. The biggest events on campus are live concerts and shows, improv and sketch comedy, theater of various kinds, circus, the Lascivious ball, and various cultural shows. There are study breaks, info sessions, or smaller shows almost every day, and therefore opportunities for food. Our traditions are a major part of school spirit. On the smaller end, we have things like $1 Wednesday milkshakes and a capella arch sings. On the bigger end, we have Scav, a 4 day weekend that involves students answering ambiguous clues by traveling cross country, doing creative sports, building reactors, painting giant murals, and gluing large googly eyes to the tops of buildings; and Kuviya, a winter week of 6am aerobics, running naked through the quads, and going to sunrise at the point. Off-campus, Chicago is a city of art and commerce. We are a heart of music, of pubs and restaurants, of tourist attractions, and kayaking. We have everything another big city would have, but live about 15 minutes away, in a quieter lakeside area. It is balance.

Describe the students at your school.

Aside from a common passion and intellectualism, we are reasonably diverse. For our backgrounds and races you could look through our statistics, but I believe we are nearly 60% white, and a even mix of Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans. We have high religious diversity and secularism-- though there is a predominance of Jewish and Christian religions-- and almost students would view the world is a nearly secular way. We have an extremely active and supportive LGBTQ community, as well as cultural groups, Greek organizations, and multi-cultural Greek organizations. Our financial backgrounds are diverse as well, though the skew would probably be toward the upper-middle class. I'd say that our populations are generally more concerned with philosophy and theory behind the little things in life, rather than celebrities, pop music, or make up. Dining halls are filled with students discussing everything from Mad Men or Glee, to the meaning of life, to music, to worst tests. Politically, we might be less active and aware than other schools, though those groups are still quite large. We have a large number of human rights, green awareness and sustainability, etc activists who are making a lot of progress. I wouldn't say that many people are conservative, but that everyone has their beliefs and is open to other ones. Most importantly, our students are accepting of their uncommonness, their interest in academics, their random side athletic or artistic hobbies, and are generally less interested in money as a primary concern. We want to keep our thoughts provoking.

What are the academics like at your school?

We are reputed the school that has grade deflation-- we'll make sure your GPA is a below a certain limit. While that is not true, we do hold all of our students to high standards, and require a depth or amount of writing that is not typical. Our classes are meant to use the Socratic method-- leading learning and discussion with questions and our own initiative. We often delve into things that people might consider ridiculous such as what an image says about the nature of images, or the views of sex by various Greek authors, or applications of calculus you'd never dream of. And yes, sometimes you'll have professors that are quite the personality, or perhaps another that treats you as a PHD student. That's the trade-off with having the most nobel laureates. Once you've come to terms with that, the fact that you will not always get an A, you'll realize that after all that you've been inspired to do and change, that it does not matter. We seek to teach you how to break down the world and it's parts, how else to think, to open your eyes. We don't want to just usher you through with a sheet a paper.

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

Where the fun goes to die-- you've all heard it-- the rumor that UChicago is a place to go be with a lot of anti-social, unattractive, book-absorbed, and awkward folk. You can let the fun die whereever you'd like, that is always your choice. People most often reference the party scene, so I'll say now-- Our Greek life has increased dramatically in the past years, and there are multiple parties every night, of different types, starting Wednesday nights. We study hard, party hard-- turn all of the meters up to 11 out of 10. But that is generally not the kind of fun that we care most about, though it does matter to us. We look for the UChicago moment-- the philosophy behind the popular show, different ways to understand time, outrageousness from our professors, theater and the circus arts, pub crawls and city life, Scav and three days of madness, the polar bear run and other brave Winter traditions...We want to push the boundaries and break them, and that is what is fun to us. Yes, we are intellectual, even when intoxicated, but we are not afraid. And we are certainly not for everyone.

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

The University of Chicago is known for, well, being intense. This is pretty true - we're hard working, ambitious and dedicate...

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

The University of Chicago is known for, well, being intense. This is pretty true - we're hard working, ambitious and dedicated to the Life of the Mind, and you'd be hard pressed to find a student here who doesn't go to the library, or isn't a bit of a genius. But if you come to UChicago and expect 'fun to die' the second you step on campus, please don't. Because despite the nerdy stereotype, we aren't just nerds about our academics. We're nerds about EVERYTHING. Nerds are people who are dedicated, fascinated and compelled by a subject. True, this can be taken to apply to the kind of subjects you can get homework in, but we also love Scavenger hunts, athletics, circus skills, gourmet cooking, Greek life, creative writing, orchestra and fashion shows. We go dancing downtown and on apple picking trips. We study in Paris and South Africa. We do yoga at sunrise by Lake Michigan, laugh at the on-campus comedy groups, sing. We ice-skate and roller-skate and know our Plato back to front. If you're interested learning lessons that expand beyond the (ivied) walls of your classrooms, this is the plac

Drew
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Intelligent, hardworking people.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Intelligent, hardworking people.

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

Apply to a few schools - 4 at most. Don't apply to schools based on their ranking; GO to the campus and experience the people and then decide! Theres'a good chance if you get bad vibes from the students on campus during your visit, you won't end up loving your education there as much as you might. Don't discount a school just because it's not one of the top 10 in the nation. Don't get into a serious, long-term relationship, especially not with anyone who makes you feel inferior to them. It makes everything harder; especially when you then are faced with finals, a breakup and a flu. Don't ignore your social life; destressing is just as important as studying. Don't worry about taking the easier courses. No one is going to look to make sure you took all the honors courses that you could. Don't feel stupid in a class; if you're having trouble, everyone is probably having trouble, and that's the truth! And last but not least...don't worry about your GPA. College is different than high school. Take math courses, because you'll need them.

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

Lack of tolerance for others with different economic backgrounds. Even the dorm-planned events are expensive.

Josh
Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Otherwise, yes, it's expensive and there are a lot of geeks. Be prepared to bust your butt to get an OK GPA.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Otherwise, yes, it's expensive and there are a lot of geeks. Be prepared to bust your butt to get an OK GPA.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

I am African American and don't understand the review stating racial issues here. This is a very "liberal" university, and as you might expect, essentially everyone here seems very neutral with respect to race. Race seems a non-issue. Not sure what the reviewer is talking about.

Mahjeed
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are very intelligent for the most part.

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are very intelligent for the most part.

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

Actually there is nothing. I feel my high school prepared me well for the academic world of The University of Chicago.

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

I do not consider any of my school to be labeled as being bad.

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

My school requires students to think critically in all their their classes. My coursework has focused more on reading and wr...

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

My school requires students to think critically in all their their classes. My coursework has focused more on reading and writing than any of my friends' at other schools--writing well and often is necessary. The students have a quirky sense of humor (look up the T-shirts we make; if they make you laugh, you'd probably fit here). Everyone comes from different regional and socioeconomic backgrounds, and no one cares at ALL. If anything, we're more interested in people who are different, and we don't try to fit others into boxes for our own comfort.

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

I've done a lot of thinking in the past months--not idle musing, but actual, deep, conscious thinking--because my studies are so interesting. My classes have required me to write a lot, which I don't love but I know is good for my intellectual development. I love being around so many intelligent people who are all so passionate about learning new things. The friends I have made here are so fabulous; I love the niche I've made for myself. I don't plan to go to graduate school (at least not immediately after graduation), but even still, if I don't use the specific knowledge I've gained here, I've gained valuable writing skills and developed unique ways of looking at problems that will be applicable, I am sure, to the rest of my life.

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

How cold Chicago really gets in the winter. Wool tights daily save my life.

Steph
What is your overall opinion of this school?

UChicago is absolutely amazing. I love the people, the classes, the core (the requirements every student has), the campus, th...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

UChicago is absolutely amazing. I love the people, the classes, the core (the requirements every student has), the campus, the house system (the dorm system here), the location, etc. If I had the option, I’d change the weather (which tends to oscillate wildly and be freezing during the winter). The size is perfect for someone who wants to always meet new people, but always see familiar faces around as well. Also, despite the large amount of people that go here, UChicago’s house system (which breaks down undergraduates into various dorm ‘houses’) allows people to find a smaller group of people to depend on as their family. It’s really nice, and definitely one of my favorite parts about being here. When I tell students (from my high school, for example) that I go to UChicago, I can tell people don’t really know about the school’s reputation and prestige. However, talking to people who go to other top schools and employers, they’re always very impressed. On campus, my time is evenly spread out. I’ll hang out in my dorm/dorm lounge, go over to the library to study, meet friends at a coffee shop/dining hall to talk, go to the main quad for classes/other activities, etc. Everything’s close enough that walking everywhere is convenient and generally, pretty pleasant. Also, the location/surrounding college town is incredible. We’re very close to downtown and surrounded by some of the most interesting neighborhoods of Chicago. I wouldn’t change it all. There’s also a cute strip of small restaurants and things near campus and convenience stores/grocery stores within a small walking distance away. Public transportation for students go into the city is also very readily available near/on campus. And despite what I heard before I came to this school, UChicago certainly has pride. I wouldn’t say it’s as intense as a state school’s, but people do go to athletic events (like homecoming) and go to support teams. On an average day here, you’ll see many people walking around with UChicago gear. Students have some complaints – about the weather and the core – but nothing too major. . I’ve noticed that people that go to this school generally really like it and are proud to be here.

Describe the students at your school.

The diversity in the student body is great, which makes this place interesting as well as extremely open and accepting. I can’t really picture any student that wouldn’t fit in here. There are so many students here that it seems like everyone will be able to find a niche, even students that really want to go out every night. The party scene isn’t as crazy as state schools I’m sure, but if you want to go out, you will find a way. Bar nights on Wednesdays, frequent apartment parties, frat parties on Friday/Saturday nights, etc. What students wear to class is up to them. On any given day, it’ll vary from dressy clothes to sweats and a t-shirt. No pressure is put on what students wear. The student population really is very open. Different kinds of people are friends with each other. Particularly, with the house system, it encourages different types of people to interact because of house activities and the house table (the table in the dining hall designated for every individual house). I love this about the student population. Students here tend to become very close with their housemates, but also make friends outside of the house through classes and extracurricular activities. Some people become closer to other people – it’s natural – but the presence of cliques here is very minimal. Students here are from everywhere around the world, which I love, and come from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. People are generally politically aware, but activism on campus isn’t overwhelming. A recent survey of the student population shows that most students are liberal. And no, students don’t usually talk about the money they’ll make in the future. UChicago is great for both graduate school and job placement, but education here really focuses on learning for learning’s sake.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Not at all. I was worried about the same stereotypes before coming here, but after coming here as a student, I realize that these stereotypes aren't true at all. "Where fun goes to die"/"where the squirrels are cuter than the girls and more aggressive than the guys"/many other UChicago stereotypes were t-shirt slogans made up by the dorms here for fundraising purposes, but people that don't go to this school take them seriously. You will have fun if you want to have fun. The students here are amazing, really intelligent, and incredibly diverse. Of course, there are some nerdy, anti-social people here like there are at all great schools, but by no means are they the majority. In addition, classes here are rigorous, but by no means impossible or overwhelming. And despite common belief, there is a lot of time to do things other than homework at this school.

What are the academics like at your school?

The academic life here is incredible, and definitely one of the best things about UChicago. Professors here are open and helpful to students. In smaller to medium sized classes, even in math classes where participation isn’t important, professors make an effort to know names. In larger introductory classes, probably not. I’m not a huge humanities or discussion person, but the humanities classes here have proven to be my favorite. They’re pretty small (capped at about 15 people) and are aimed around discussion of novels rather than pure lecture. Participation is definitely valued here, except for in the larger introductory classes. Students study here a decent amount, but it really is based on individual courseload. There are some people here that go out four nights a week or spend all of their nights playing Super Smash Bros in the lounge until 4am, but there are also some people here that study every night. It depends on the classes, but again, that’s self-selecting. UChicago students are really intelligent and diverse, and therefore, conversations are also very intelligent and diverse. We’ll have discussions about everything from our humanities readings and world events to TV shows and recent happenings on campus. Students here are also very helpful to one another – particularly upper classmen to lower classmen. I haven’t experienced any kind of fierce competition yet, even in classes where the grades of students are based on curves. Also, all UChicago students are familiar with the Core, the academic requirements for all of its students. Personally, I really like it. Many things are avoidable with AP credits (which are very useful here!) but I like how everyone has to take a humanities class or an art class or classes in different subjects. Unlike other schools, UChicago doesn’t require specific courses. Rather, they have a requirement with a wide variety of classes that fills that requirement. So even though you may have to take classes in specific subject areas, students still have choice and variety. Also, one important thing to note about UChicago academics: learning here is for learning’s sake. However, UChicago has great programs for pre-professionals, including those that won’t to go into law, medicine, business, non-profit work, etc.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Some popular groups on campus include RBIM (Rhythmic Bodies in Motion) which puts on a dance show every year, MODA (which does fashion shows/magazine publications), Model UN (for both college and high school kids), acapella groups, Off-Off and Occam’s Razor (Improv/comedy group), etc. There are hundreds of activities and clubs here. If you want to do something, you’ll find it. And if not, you’ll be able to start it. Students here generally leave their doors open, but it highly depends on what dorm you live in. Pierce, Max, and South are known as the most social dorms. Other dorms, such as Snell-Hitchcock, BJ, etc., have a reputation for being where more typical/stereotypical UChicago kids tend to live. However, I hear they’re very nice and that those dorms tend to have closer, tighter houses. Athletic events, guest speakers, and theater are just a few of the things available on campus. Students here are very involved, and on any given day, you can find something new and interesting to do. The dating scene is what you make of it, but it’s certainly not as bad as people make it seem. I can say meeting people is the same way. Some people choose to solely hang out with their housemates, but lots of students try to branch out by meeting people in classes, activities, at parties, etc. If I’m awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I’m most likely “doing homework” in the lounge while actually watching a movie or playing some ridiculous game with my housemates. UChicago also has really nice traditions and events that happen every year. $1 milkshakes at the C-shop every Wednesday, Blues + Ribs, 24-hour dance marathon, Fall Formal, Summer Breeze (huge concert), etc. People party as much or as little as they want. I know students who go out once a week to students who go out four nights a week. It depends on your schedule and how you balance your work, but it’s definitely possible to do both. Sororities and fraternities aren’t the most important thing on campus, but they definitely have presence. It’s not overbearing, but it’s here if you want it. Last weekend, I laid out in the main quad, played Frisbee, studied outside, went to a frat party later that night, came back and watched a movie with my housemates, went to a free hip-hop class through RBIM, worked out at Ratner (gym) and caught up on some TV, went downtown for Saturday night dinner, came back and went straight to an apartment party thrown by an upperclassman in my house, and spent the rest of the weekend taking pictures of Chicago for a photography project. There’s also no pressure to drink here. If you want to, alcohol is definitely available. But for those who don’t, it’s no loss. You can go to frat parties, but there’s also tons of things to do downtown in Chicago, docfilm movie showings on campus, etc.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Where fun goes to die. That all students here are nerdy and boring. "Where the squirrels are cuter than the girls and more aggressive than the guys." That it's super cutthroat and competitive here. That all students do homework all day long.

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

So far,I have learn to live,eat and clean with others.

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

So far,I have learn to live,eat and clean with others.

What's unique about your campus?

The conversation with other students is very stimulating.You read and write a lot. I lke the interaction with the professors most of all.

Julie
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Uchicago has a great reputation in academia but most people think you go to UIC. If you want people to think you're the bees ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Uchicago has a great reputation in academia but most people think you go to UIC. If you want people to think you're the bees knees go to an ivy. if you are okay with just educated people knowing how good your school is then you'll be okay with uchicago.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

to some extent. kids tend to be very cerebral and not have very high social skills or a high need to be social. there are the kids that go out, but the crowd is relatively small.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

kids that spend their entire lives in the library. the whole, 'were fun goes to die' is a popular stereotype about Uchicago.

Jing
Describe the students at your school.

They are quirky, funny, intellectual beyond belief, way smarter than me, and successful like I one day want to be.

Describe the students at your school.

They are quirky, funny, intellectual beyond belief, way smarter than me, and successful like I one day want to be.

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

Their essay questions were wacky and interesting to think about. They love to have fun and made sure to emphasize their awesome annual scavenger hunts and other interesting traditions. They emphasize growing as an intellectual and learning how to think intuitively instead of just learning how to memorize effectively.

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

I haven't gotten to college yet as I'm an incoming freshman, but my college visit was valuable as I was able to experience the feeling of walking through the college campus and being able to imagine myself there in the fall as an attendee. I also got to find out more about what students at UChicago are like from the tour guide who seemed to be everything I admire in a person: successful, interesting, and strong. She also obviously had a thirst for knowledge as she told us about her research on UChicago and taught us some of the more quirky maybe-facts about the school (Indiana Jones was apparently based off of a UChic professor!) I loved the idea of going there from that visit, and that motivated me to apply and write a compelling essay.

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