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Reviews 1201 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: I live on campus and am not planning on leaving campus for next year, so I don't know much.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Expensive, but it's Chicago. You can find anything you want.

4 College Freshman

Administration: They understand that we are college students, and there are certain things we are going to do (drink, party, etc.)

3 College Freshman

Party Scene: The party scene is okay, pretty rape-y. Frats suck, and there aren't many other options.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Freshman

Scholarships: They don't really give out aid. I didn't get any, and a lot of my friends couldn't come here because they couldn't get aid either.

2 College Freshman

Campus Food: Doesn't taste good, never have plates or silverware, too salty, no good vegetarian protein options.

3 College Freshman

Campus Housing: The rooms are great, but I am not crazy about the social life.

3 College Senior

Off-Campus Housing: Living off campus is generally much cheaper than living on campus, but you have to do a lot more - find a place, maintain it yourself, cook for yourself, be an adult. Availability is good, through both older students moving out and directly calling the landlords. Mac Apartments is the dominant landlord, and they have a lot of nice places but are known to not respond very quickly to maintenance issues. Some apartments have heating issues, which is a HUGE problem in the winter and is something you really need to check for when you're looking for a new place. Blackstone Management has some prime real-estate right between campus and the 53rd Street shopping corridor (they dominate the 54th and Woodlawn corner); they are better about maintenance and have nice apartments, but they can be a bit strange.

There are certain areas where the vast majority of apartment units are rented by students - immediately east and north of campus. These areas are generally fairly safe, but if you go west of Drexel or south of 62nd, you will enter much more dangerous neighborhoods and lots of crime, which sometimes spills over into student areas. Break-ins and muggings happen to students multiple times a year.

Almost every apartment has the same basic layout - a long hallway with rooms off one side and a kitchen at the end. Almost every building has three floors, two apartments per floor. This makes off-campus housing kind of boring - if you've seen one apartment, you pretty much know what all of them look like.

3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: A good number of interesting ethnic options - Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, sushi, Mexican, Italian, to name a few. Harold's Chicken is dirt-cheap and tastes absolutely heavenly, but it's loaded with grease and salt. Walgreen's and CVS are both open 24/7 in the area and have some basic snacks. Hyde Park Produce is awesome for cheap fresh produce, but the rest of their stuff is rather overpriced. The only real grocery store in Hyde Park is Treasure Island, which is huge and has lots of options but is again overpriced and also fairly far from campus. I usually only go there for meat and specialty stuff and stick to Hyde Park Produce, CVS, and this little Middle Eastern grocery called Valley of Jordan for everything else.

5 College Senior

Administration: The University of Chicago uses its gigantic private police force to selectively enforce the laws that protect rather than inconvenience its students. Chicago police are far too busy to come on our campus much. The UCPD doesn't care at all about students drinking, partying, or using drugs, as long as they aren't also destroying property or committing some other more serious crime. UCPD officers see kids smoke marijuana all the time, for example. The neighborhood around campus is absolutely crawling with UCPD officers after about 9 or 10 PM, which is understandable given the campus is very close to Englewood and other rougher areas, but it's a little weird seeing a car parked on every block. The surveillance is extensive and a little unnerving, but again, they aren't in it to arrest students, just protect them.

In terms of alcohol use in the dorms, it's allowed under certain fairly lax conditions, and even if those aren't met, real consequences are few and far between. Some students have been kicked out of housing for dealing illegal drugs, but that's pretty understandable, and the policy within dorms is generally very easygoing. I've had drunk conversations with my RA and RH while I was underage, for example.

3 College Senior

Party Scene: Frats let anyone in with a UChicago ID for $5 instead of having a guest list, which is really nice. Their parties are pretty typical and predictable - free beer, big dark dance floor, really loud music, hot, sticky, kind of gross, whatever. The parties within the dorms and within circles of friends are generally more laid-back - talking, playing goofy games, and drinking. Marijuana use is fairly widespread, but not a requirement to party by any stretch.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Scholarships: The University gives aid, but often not enough. From what I can tell, it's a bit behind its peer institutions in terms of aid generosity. But the Odyssey Scholarships are great, and it's easily the top institution to offer merit-based financial aid to undergrads.

4 College Senior

Campus Food: People here are always complaining about the food, but it's actually quite good, if a bit overpriced. There's a bit of a crunch right now because Pierce dining hall was taken down and the new one isn't built yet, so the dining halls get very crowded, in particular Bartlett. Staff are friendly, and all-you-can-eat is perfect for college students, as is Fourth Meal.

4 College Senior

Campus Housing: I lived in Pierce, which has sadly now been torn down but fostered a very tight-knit House community and had the best dining hall on campus. The vast majority of on-campus students now live in Max, South, Burton-Judson, or Snell-Hitchcock, all fairly large and thriving dorms very close to campus. Burton-Judson and Snell-Hitchcock are known for their crazy-smart kids and very strong, quirky culture, while Max and South are much newer and have nicer facilities, but less tradition. There are a few small off-campus dorms that I don't have much experience with.

4 College Senior

Campus Housing: You are guaranteed housing all four years and the social community in the house is great when you're an underclassman.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Guys & Girls: The people are very smart, friendly, and hardworking.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Scholarships: I did not apply for financial aid, but would appreciate more merit scholarships.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Party Scene: It's whatever you make of it. There's typically some frat parties every weekend, although there are a lot more apartment parties.

2 College Junior

Campus Food: Cafes are god, but in general the dining halls are bad. Aramark is understaffed, underserviced, food is bad, bugs show up in food sometimes. Utensils are often dirty and missing.

4 College Junior

Campus Housing: A lot of options, close to campus or you can choose to be farther from campus, but have better access to buses/trains/groceries. Mostly 1st and 2nd year students stay in housing. There's also a huge supply of apartments in Hyde Park, although those aren't quite as good (although they are cheap).

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: I've been to various apartments, and there are tons of lovely options for people with different budgets.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Chicago is an excellent place to find new, cultural cuisines.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Administration: It's not particularly strict. CPD comes around to break up parties sometimes, and they usually give a hard time, but the UCPD is attentive and lenient.

5 College Freshman

Scholarships: It was cheaper for me to go here than most other state schools.

5 College Freshman

Campus Food: I love the variety and availability of fresh produce. There are cuisines from many different cultures and there are stations that make for good old stand-bys.

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Entrance to Hull Court
Entrance to Hull Court

Overall ExperienceWhat's this?

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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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