Chicago, IL
University of Chicago


74 Ratings

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Jackie
Describe the students at your school.

They are either extremely science/math minded or social science minded, and they all care very much about whatever they have ...

Describe the students at your school.

They are either extremely science/math minded or social science minded, and they all care very much about whatever they have chosen to study, some times to the point of obsession; many are people who were very sucessful in high school but are humbled by the difficulty of our school once they come here and earn C's and D's for the first time.

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

Do not be afraid to attend a difficult school. Even if your GPA is not perfect, it is worth it for many reasons. It is ok to make mistakes as you adjust to college life, as long as you keep your priorities straight. There were times when I felt I had hit rock bottom because I was not doing well in my classes, but the pressure of dealing with the possibility of failure taught me important life lessons. Besides learning to cope with challenges, you appreciate how much you must love a subject before you commit to it and how much independent work is necessary to achieve your goals. Approaching professors and TAs, doing experiments on your own, and reading material beyond what is required for class is at least as important as doing your required classwork. As a college student, I have stayed up all night studying, wept over my grades, begged professors for extentions, and even temporarily dropped out of school, but all these experiences were necessary for me to figure out what I want out of life. Now, I know exactly what I want to do, and successfully on my way to a satisfying life.

What's unique about your campus?

Learning for its own sake is emphasized, and the professors and TAs are always willing to talk to you--many of mine have taught me about the subject beyond what was taught in lecture just because I was curious; they are excited to share their research and ideas with students. In addition, there is almost no competition for grades even though most classes are graded on a curve. Almost everyone will help you out with your classes, give you notes if you missed class, work with you on problem sets, etc.

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

It is an ivy-league quality education in an urban center in the midwest. The students are nerdy and quirky and take academic...

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

It is an ivy-league quality education in an urban center in the midwest. The students are nerdy and quirky and take academics seriously. The library system is fantastic. The community service center is highly developed and continues to improve. There is the oppertunity to become meaningfully involved in urban issues and make a tangible difference. We have an outdoor iceskating rink and beautiful gothic architecture. The undergraduate dormitories and dinning halls foster "house life" that builds a unique sense of community.

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

Trust your instincts when looking for a college. The marketing materials an institution sends you are usually an accurate dipiction of its general environment and will help you begin your search by identifiying values of the community. Find your dream school and focus your resources on it; for example, visit overnight before you apply and complete an on-campus or alumni interview. Conversations with the students or faculty you meet while visiting will not only help you be sure that college is a good fit for you, but will also be useful to cite in making your case that you are a serious applicant and will be an asset to the school. Don't be afraid to apply to a school that you think might be a reach for you. Consider schools that accept early applications as long as admission is not binding. Once you arrive on campus, sample a variety of activities before becoming heavily involved in any one thing. You don't have to participate in the same activities that defined you in high school! Most importantly, don't let school get in the way of your education! Get involved off campus and attend lectures outside of class.

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

About half of students do not receive financial aid; that means that about half of students come from families that can afford to pay about $50,000 each year out of pocket. Be prepared to meet people whose parents are academics or wealthy professionals, who are not accostumed to seeing poverty, and have covered at least the first year of a typical college's curiculum while still in high school. Students from more humble backgrounds can and do find their niche and succeed, but you must have confidence in yourself and ability to work hard to catch up to others.

Elizabeth
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Our school is best known for its academic success. We are not known for our success in athletics, or a fun social atmosphere....

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Our school is best known for its academic success. We are not known for our success in athletics, or a fun social atmosphere. A saying associated with my school is that the university of chicago is "where fun comes to die," but I strongly disagree. Our school is not only about being a good student, but also about being an educated and aware individual. Although much is expected of us, we are capable of keeping up. Also, we definitely have, or make, time for fun, as well; at least I do!

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

First and foremost, do not worry so much; it's an important decision, but if you don't choose the perfect college on your first try, just breath, it is not the end of the world. For me and my parents it was particularly difficult since neither of them had attended college and knew nothing about schooling in the states. The system is different in Poland, which is where my parents are from. There was a lot of stress, but it was unnecessary. Really what one needs to focus on is what you are interested in and where you'd like to spend at least 4 years of your life. If you've never been away from home for an extended period of time, like me, you may be tempted to stay close to your hometown, but I advise you to be at least an hour away and live on campus. I believe living on campus is essential to developing a sense of independence and really utilizing your school and its resources. Lastly, if you cannot visit every school you are applying to don't worry, but please do make plans to visit your top choices!

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

The only topic I would have liked to be better informed on would be what university of chicago calls "the core." I would have liked to more about this system and its requirements.

Chae
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Political science and economy majors

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Political science and economy majors

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

I would tell parents and/or students to simply consider these four things: their financial ability to pay for it, the location and surroundings of the college. the atmosphere, and the curriculum.

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

Mostly a lot of super-intellectuals who will go to ivy-league graduate schools plus some econ majors who can't wait to be iba...

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

Mostly a lot of super-intellectuals who will go to ivy-league graduate schools plus some econ majors who can't wait to be ibankers.

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

Think of who you want to be on your campus. I decided to be the artsy, athletic person on an intellectual campus rather than the dorky person on an artsy, athletic campus, and I'm happy I did. Also, think of things you might want to do, and make sure the campus has a range of resources for your interests. Don't just go with the school that has the best program in what you're pretty sure you want to study, as it is very likely that will change.

What's unique about your campus?

The best thing about the U of Chicago is that even though every one was working harder than they ever worked before, everyone was passionate about something, and they were pursuing that passion and engaging each other in it. My classmates were muti-talented and intelligent. The school has a considerable core curriculum so most students were interested and good at bth the sciences and the humanities. If you are serious about academics, and want intellectual pursuits to take up most of your time at college, there is no better place than the U of Chicago.

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.

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  • Enrollment
  • 5,703
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $47,514
  • Acceptance rate
  • 13%

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