5 Things to Know Before Applying to UChicago

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‘5 Things to Know’ is a bi-weekly blog series showcasing stats, insider tips, and fun facts about the world’s top undergraduate institutions. This week’s post is focused on The University of Chicago.


The University of Chicago is known for providing a rigorous academic experience coupled with access to the resources of the Midwest’s most vibrant city. The school boasts impressive academic and research achievements across the board, from physics to public policy. And who could discount famous alumni, the likes of Nobel Laureates, McArthur “Geniuses,” Rhodes Scholars, and, well, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama? It’s no wonder applications have increased in the past few years.

President Barrack Obama

 

UChicago tied for the #3 spot in US News’ annual college rankings for the second year in a row. Over the past decade, the school has slowly risen through the ranks, due to increased emphasis on faculty resources and increased numbers of applicants. This year, it left Columbia and Stanford in its dust and loosened Yale’s long-held grip on third place.

We’ve previously described this place as “a school for overachievers” and we stand by it in the best possible way! UChi’s students are intense thinkers with a desire to constantly ask “Why?” and push themselves to the limits of their intelligence. With this academic rigor on campus and the Windy City as a backdrop to it all – UChicago is for those who want the one-two punch of hands-on and nose-in-the-book learning. It’s an education for those who want to lock themselves in a library without forgetting the outside world.

Here Are 5 Things to Know About University of Chicago

1) The University of Chicago has a unique relationship to “fun.”

While students disagree on the accuracy of UChicago’s infamous “where fun comes to die” moniker, the College’s famously creative essay prompts point to the kind of “fun” you can look forward to at UChicago. The suggested topics on this year’s application range from Sharknado to the basic elements that make up our world, but if none of the options provided get your intellectual juices flowing, you can choose from past years’ questions or even invent your own. If you’re curious, if you like the idea of engaging with provocative questions that are equal parts silly and serious, than UChicago’s “fun” may be just the kind you’re looking for.

2) You’ll get “The Chicago experience.”

Home of deep dish pizza and a newly successful baseball franchise, Chicago is a crucial part of the UChicago experience. Living in Hyde Park, you can visit Obama’s favorite breakfast spot or walk along Lake Michigan, as well as access the Windy City’s amazing cultural offerings. At UChicago, you can pursue a major or certificate in Chicago Studies, and take classes about the city in almost every department of the university: from Reading the Suburbs (English Language and Literatures) to Prarie Ecosystems (Biology). Or you can simply take advantage of the Chicago Studies Program’s neighborhood explorations and excursions.

3) You’ll Study in libraries that make you want to do your homework.

From neo-gothic Harper Memorial to the sci-fi-esque Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, UChicago upholds its reputation for rigorous study in both vaulted reading rooms and vast underground collections. UChicago’s research library is the only one of its kind in North America committed to maintaining its entire collection on campus for the next 20 years – so we can guarantee that, if you attend the University of Chicago, the books will never be too far away.

4) UChicago Students’ research opportunities are vast.

Speaking of books, UChicago’s acclaimed reputation for research means that even as an undergrad, you could be part of the next groundbreaking discovery in fields from economics to literary criticism. From the recent discovery of gravitational waves, to making matter out of light, to reuniting lost fragments of ancient sculpture, University faculty are contributing to research efforts across the disciplines. With all this inspiring research going on, UChicago undergrads are more likely than those at any other college in America to want to keep studying, with 85 percent attending graduate school within 5 years of graduation.

5) Hogwarts UChicago housing is pretty cool.

Lest you worry all your time will be spent in the lab or the library. UChicago’s 38 “Houses” provide a place to live and hang out, a sleet of fun activities, and your self-described “family” on campus. In true nerd form, UChicagoans like to compare their Houses to Hogwarts’ famous four. Between House tables in the dining hall, intramural competitions for House glory, and this shirt, they’re perhaps justified in doing so. Each House has its own traditions, storied and new, including midnight soccer tournaments, karaoke nights, and, perhaps most importantly, self-deprecatory T-shirts. In an academic environment as tough and a winter as brutal as Chicago’s, House communities provide a sense of community on campus.

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