Chicago, IL
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1032 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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3 College Junior

Scholarships: There are a lot of forms, but the people at the financial aid office are very helpful.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Weather: It rains a lot and they don't call it the Windy City for nothing.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Drug Safety: Most students will make the right choice as far as drinking and drugs go.

4 College Junior

Academics: They tailor degrees for the careers of the student's choice.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Perfect. Words cannot accurately express the love-hate relationship I have, but even the hate is a good, healthy sort.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Tons of internship/research opportunities, great classes, great professors, great students.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: There's aggressive acceptance of anyone, and a variety of different nationalities, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities, economic statuses, etc.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: There are plenty of attractive guys & girls of all sorts of styles (except perhaps preppy). If you make the time, you can find a very fulfilling relationship.

5 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Chicago has a host of different neighborhoods will all sorts of different types of restaurants, and at almost any one you can get an excellent meal with lots of food for less than $14 per person. In Hyde Park there are of course only so many options, but they're diverse, pretty good, and not expensive.

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the US! There's plenty to do, see, etc.

1 College Freshman

Greek Life: The Greeks throw mediocre parties full of sad and resentful people. No one likes or appreciates them otherwise. If they were to suddenly vanish, some underground student organization would definitely step up to continue Wednesday Bar Night.

2 College Freshman

Weather: So it gets really cold and snows a lot, but it's doable. I actually found myself enjoying the cool spring and fall.

5 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: The incredible availability, variety, and affordability of off-campus housing makes it incredibly popular.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Yes, Hyde Park sees crime etc, but it's actually one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago, and the UCPD is large, well-distributed, attentive, and quick to react.

5 College Freshman

Majors: The process of declaration is very easy and informal, can happen late in the game, can easily be changed/switched, etc. The major requirements make sense, are often very modular and flexible, and you can request for certain classes to count towards your major (though it might take awhile for the request to be processed, it very often is accepted). There of course is a wide selection of majors, and double majoring even in completely unrelated subjects is quite doable. In fact, it is (in theory) possible to get a quadruple major without taking extra classes.

5 College Freshman

Majors: The history classes are all quite specific and focused, leading to a very deep and intricate understanding of key issues. The general survey courses are also quite good, though, and acquaint you with the most important figures and events and the trends in a meaningful, considerate way.

5 College Freshman

Transportation: The long-running shuttles are fantastic, consistent, frequent, and cover all your possible options. They're also incredibly easy to understand. Everyone complains about the CTA, but it's actually relatively cheap, and if you ACTUALLY LOOK AT A MAP it's remarkably easy as well. Starting from your dorm, you'll seldom have to walk more than a total of 4 blocks to get to your destination anywhere in the city.

1 College Freshman

Athletics: So this is VERY qualified: the students generally love intramural sports, there's huge participation, there's great spirit and competition in them, etc. BUT there is absolutely no spirit or appreciation for varsity sports. No one cares. There is a similar level of involvement. Likewise, there is no school spirit as regards sports or athletic ability. I don't even know how good our teams are.

College Freshman

Drug Safety: This obviously depends on your view of whether this is "good" or "bad," but there is little "safety from drug usage." The UCPD will never actually punish offenders, and RA's tend to not be very strict. Getting your hands on alcohol or marijuana is also generally fairly simple. The good thing, though, is that due to some now mandatory drug/alcohol information-sessions, your friend group should all be very knowledgeable about alcohol/drug safety, and if your friends care about you, they'll ensure that you're safe from drug abuse.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: The dorms range wildly as regards various qualities--some have massive singles (available to 1st years) and some have the smallest double you'll ever see; some are shining, sparkling new buildings with wonderful amenities, and some are centuries-old antiques with radiators that ooze brown filth. Some dorms are a 1-minute walk from nearly any class on campus, and some require a ~10 - 15 minute shuttle ride to get to class. So, you can choose your dorm based on your own preferences and priorities, and the system is pretty easy and fair. Almost no matter where you are, you'll have a great community and very relaxed policies.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: There are several under-21 clubs in Chicago (and many more over 21, obviously), and bars abound. There is regular Wednesday bar night for those under 21, and the frats frequently have weekend parties. Beyond that many upperclassmen simply keep copious amounts of alcohol in their rooms which they would be willing to share with friends. Usually you won't find both dancing and drinking at an on-campus event, which is unfortunate, but the dancing and drinking independently are both great, both accessible, and both frequent. The CTA, once you get used to it and start using TransLoc, is fantastic and perfectly safe, despite what some might want to tell you.

3 College Freshman

Computers: Personal computers are relatively important, especially if you don't live near the Reg. Stories about the network & connectivity vary wildly.

5 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: The UCPD doesn't care at all about underage drinking or illegal drugs--just making sure people are safe and neighbors aren't disturbed--and on the streets they're very warm and friendly. Having guests in dorms is incredibly easy, and only really requires that you check them in at the front desk; after that, they could stay several nights provided you can get them a place to sleep. In lectures (and some seminars) attendance counts for essentially nothing. How alcohol and noise are viewed in your dorm depends on the RA, but generally they're very lax.

College Freshman

Scholarships: I did not apply for financial aid.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Even if you somehow get an apathetic or mediocre professor, the nature of the material you're confronted with and expected to grapple with will still be incredibly interesting, stimulating, rigorous, and challenging.


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Entrance to Hull Court
Entrance to Hull Court

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Liane Rousseau
Cincinnati, Ohio
English Language and Literature
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

The University of Chicago is a unique place, and you won’t find a common opinion about the school. Some people will say it’s too nerdy. Others will say people are pessimistic. And even others will claim that they didn’t have access to the city of Chicago. The truth is the school is what you make of it. The academics are challenging—there is no way you can coast through; however, they’re also manageable. You will definitely meet great and interesting people in your classes. You can also develop fantastic relationships with professors that you’ll still have in 20 years. You will learn more than you ever thought possible, and just the process of discovering a new way to think will have a lifelong impact.

At U of C, there is an opportunity to be social on so many different levels. You can get involved in a new organization or try Greek life. While there might not be a raging party going on every night, that doesn’t mean you need to stay holed up in your room, pouring over calculus problems. There is enough of a party scene if you’re willing to take risks and try hanging out with different people. If you don’t have anything to do on campus on a Friday night, you still have the entire city of Chicago at your disposal. With so many events going on downtown, it’s impossible to be bored. If you don’t learn to use public transportation, you will feel a little stuck in Hyde Park. However, once you get your feet wet and experience your first CTA train, you’ll never fear public transportation again. Most people come out of this school looking back at Hull Gate and thinking, “It was worth it.” You’ll have your ups and downs. There will be nights you throw a textbook across the room or go through an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s. However, in the end, this place is special.

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