What You Need to Know About The University of Chicago

What You Need to Know About The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the most prestigious private universities in the United States, located close to the heart of the city of Chicago. Founded in 1890, the university has a rich history of academic excellence and research innovation and is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. In this blog, we will delve into the key facts and figures about the university to help you decide if The University of Chicago is the university for you.



For more than a century the University of Chicago, more often shortened to UChicago, has been one of the elite universities in the United States and among the top universities in the world. Getting off to a shaky start the original university burnt down, the universities depiction on its coat of arms of a phoenix rising from the ashes is a reference to that event.

·      Location:

The University of Chicago is located in the Hyde Park neighbourhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. The campus is situated alongside Lake Michigan, offering stunning views of the water and the city skyline. The centre of the campus is dominated by ivy clad gothic buildings opening onto grass covered quads, all set in leafy suburbs where many of the university faculty have their homes. Go beyond the bucolic campus and you will find more modern buildings, many in a brutalist architectural style, including the iconic glass roofed library, home to around twelve million volumes. Buses and the metro system make it easy to travel between Hyde Park, the city centre and from there to O’Hare International Airport.

·      Student Cohort:

As of 2021, the university has a total enrollment of approximately 17,000 students, of whom approximately 7,500 are undergraduates. Nearly 16% of students are from outside of the United States with China, India and South Korea having the largest international communities. Known as the “haven for true intellectuals” its reputation is as a college filled with academically focused students looking for a liberal arts education and to learn outside of their subject interest. Freshmen are required to live on campus in one of the ‘houses’ which often become the centre of student social life, so much so that most students choose to remain on campus for the rest of their time at UChicago.


·      Acceptance Rate:

The acceptance rate at Chicago University is highly competitive, with only 6% of the nearly 38,000 applicants being admitted to the university in 2021.

·      Acceptance GPA:

Well over half of accepted students have a GPA above 4.0 and nearly 90% are above 3.75 GPA, indicating the high level of academic achievement required for admission. Although test optional, meaning that applicants don’t need to submit a standardised test score, approximately 75% did. The average SAT score was 1570, while it was 33 for those doing the ACT.

·      Types of Admission:

Chicago University offers four admission plans: Early Decision, Early Action, Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision. Both Early Decision options are binding, so if you are accepted, you must attend. Early Action and Regular Decision are non-binding admission options. Early Decision and Early Action are open to students who apply by November 1st and will receive a decision by mid-December. Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision need to submit their applications by January 2nd, those applying ED2 receive a decision by mid February while all decisions are released by April 1st.

·      Additional Admissions Requirements:

UChicago accepts both the Common and Coalition App, alongside two teacher evaluations a counsellor recommendation and a school transcript. The university is famous, or perhaps infamous, for its supplemental essay requirement. One is a short essay about why the student wants to attend UChicago while the second is an extended essay chosen from a list of prompts. These prompts require students to go beyond the normal type of college essays and tap into their creative side, examples include: What advice would a wisdom tooth have? or, What’s so odd about odd numbers?


·      Historically Chicago was very graduate focused but in more recent times its undergraduate offering has flourished and it is not considered in the same breath as Stanford and the Ivy League colleges. At its heart, UChicago is a liberal arts research university meaning that it aims to provide students with a holistic education that goes beyond the restrictions of a single area of study. It does this by requiring all students to complete its Core Curriculum, encompassing the humanities, social sciences, natural and mathematical sciences, delivered in small group sessions, the core will take up around one third of a student’s undergraduate studies.  All majors are delivered by one of five divisions: Biological Science, Humanities, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and New Collegiate, which covers interdisciplinary programs.

·      Standout Majors:

While offering 50 undergraduate majors across a range of disciplines, UChicago is particularly renowned for its economics and business programs, with the Booth School of Business consistently ranked among the top business schools in the world. Additionally, the university is also known for its range of area studies programs such as East Asian Languages and Civilization, it also offers the Accelerated Medical Scholars Program, enabling students to enter medical school after their third year.

·      Faculty/Student Ratio:

With approaching 2,000 members of faculty U Chicago has a faculty/student ratio of around 1:5. As a result over three quarters of classes have fewer than 20 students, meaning that students benefit from close engagement with their professors and a high level of individual attention.

·      Four-Year Completion Rate:

Helped by the strong faculty to student ratio and the high level of support and resources available to help students succeed academically U Chicago has a four year graduation rate of 91% and 93% of students have graduated by the end of the sixth year. This gives U Chicago one of the highest graduation rates of any university in the US.

·      Net Cost of Attending:

The net cost of attending Chicago University is approaching $86,000 although this can vary depending on a student’s financial need and eligibility for financial aid. This would cover all tuition, fees, room and board, books and the like. For US citizens U Chicago practices a need blind admissions process, and any student whose family earn less than $125,000 will have their tuition fees met by the university, in addition, room and board costs will be met for those whose family income is less than $60,000. International students can apply for financial aid at the time of their application, however, this will be considered when considering the application and can make it more challenging to get accepted.

In conclusion, Chicago University is a world-class institution offering a wide range of academic programs, a multicultural student body, and a supportive and dynamic learning environment. While admission to the university is highly competitive, students who are accepted can expect to benefit from exceptional resources and opportunities to help them achieve their academic and professional goals.

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