Where Fun Goes to Die. Yes, I’m sure many of you have heard this lovely epithet for the University of Chicago, but I refuse to believe it’s completely true. Although I’m aware that UChicago is extremely rigorous and that the atmosphere is very academically-centered, it seems to me that there is depth beyond books.
I loooooooooooove UChicago. Seriously. It’s an incredible school. A stellar education and reputation. One of the most intelligent student bodies. It’s simply amazing.
I knew that I loved UChicago, so I was really excited to visit. My dad and I went to Chicago this past spring break and it was one of the schools I was most looking forward to seeing. However, I was also scared. I was really nervous that I was going to fall head over heels for the school, decide that it was the only place I wanted to go, and then get all my dreams crushed when I got denied. But I took the risk and went anyway! And I’m glad I did.
The campus is located in Hyde Park, which is about twenty minutes from downtown Chicago. I wouldn’t say it has the cleanest rep, or streets, but I didn’t think it was so bad! I feel like there’s a big fuss about how UChicago is a great school but the surrounding area is awful–I would disagree with that. Hyde Park really didn’t seem like a very threatening area. Yeah it isn’t the prettiest or richest neighborhood, but who needs pretty and rich all the time? In fact, our tour guides informed us that Hyde Park is one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago. Furthermore, students have free access to a bus system that will take them around the area. No walking alone at night necessary! So everyone can just calm down already.
Even though the neighborhood is lackluster, the campus itself is surplussing in luster (?). What I’m trying to say is that it’s breathtakingly beautiful. I would dare to say that it may be paramount to all campuses I’ve visited…well, maybe tied with Princeton for first. Anywho, it has gorgeous architecture and seemingly well-functioning facilities. From what I could gleen, it appears to be a very pleasant place to call home. (Conveniently, you really could call it home for all four years if you wish, as housing is guaranteed.)
Here’s what I learned from my visit to the school:
- 10% of the student population is involved in Greek life. This is a number that I find very reasonable.
- They superscore for admissions. Yay!
- They are on the quarter system. This is something I find very attractive.
- There’s a robot library. Cool bro.
- In the dining hall there are assigned tables for each house..that doesn’t at all sound like a fictional wizardry school…
- Which leads me to my next point, they have a housing system. I think that this is one of the coolest and most intriguing aspects of UChicago. Each house has its own traditions and philosophies; it seems, to me, like a great way to foster community.
- There are over 400 clubs and organizations.
- Scav! The biggest tradition at UChicago. I love scavenger hunts and although I’m fairly certain I would never win, it seems like so. much. fun.
- Average Class Size is 20.
- There are more research opportunities than students.
- In order to obtain honors status at graduation, one must write a thesis for their discipline.
- Freshmen have an unlimited food plan. So much food. So little self-control.
- After finals, the school provides transportation to the airport. Aww.
- Freshmen take a class all about Living in Chicago. Shhnazzyy.
- Every year they have an on-campus concert. Pretty cool.
- 7:1 Student to faculty ratio. Unbelievably low.
- There are 5,000 undergrads. Seems like a pretty good number to me.
Everyone in admissions was very enthusiastic and inviting. The tour guides and counselors seemed genuinely excited to welcome us onto their campus, which I always appreciate. Just from walking around campus, it was made clear that the students are very diverse. There was absolutely no feeling of homogeneity, which I really liked. People looked generally normal, which doesn’t really mean anything but I guess is a good thing, and seemed approachable and friendly.
Although my experience of visiting was overwhelmingly positive, I feel obligated to you to tell you something less-perfect that occurred on my tour. As I was walking with my dad, gawking at the beauty, a young woman carrying books (I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume she is a student at the university) stopped her brisk walking, looked into my eyes with a deeply concerned look, and said something along the lines of: “Don’t let the beauty fool you, it’s an extremely difficult and stressful school.” The seriousness of her tone actually alarmed me and I immediately felt bad for her. Is she regretting coming here? Is she unhappy? Is she stressed to the point of no return?
I truly appreciate her words of caution and that she took time out of her day to give advice to a random, unknowing high school student. Although I initially laughed off her comment, knowing that I would never encounter such problems as I’d never get into the school, I took her words into consideration. She reminded me to keep my priorities straight and that I really don’t want to go to a school where I will constantly feel like I’m drowning. I think we often associate “good schools” with happiness, but we have to remember that just because a college is particularly difficult and demanding does not mean we will be most content. My word of advice is to focus on where you will be happiest, not where you will feel most impressive.
…Okay, I’ll shut up now.
Here’s the book store:
This is a part of Hyde Park:
Here’s the main quad:
Foooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood. There were so many food trucks parked along this main street on campus.
Okay so even though I love this school, I’m pretty certain I won’t apply. 1) I decided that I don’t really want to be in Chicago and 2) as I just mentioned, I don’t want to die. Yeah, yeah call me a baby. I know I’m weak! Even though I know I would be extraordinarily lucky to have the opportunity to go here, I just don’t think it would be the best for me. I regard it as a very special and unique school; if you are one of the fortunate few who can get into this prestigious university, then bravo and good luck!
Addition: The day after I posted this review I got a post card from the university with my name in place of where they usually write “UChicago,” in big letters and in the font they use for the university. I’m sure many of you got it too! I thought it was the coolest thing ever, not only because it looks special, but also because of the timing it came. Oh! And it reminded me that I had wanted to mention in this post how UChicago always sends really interesting and unique mail. It’s like they read my mind. And knew I’d forget! Eeeerrryyy.
Please comment if you have anything to say about UChicago! I’d love to hear what you guys think and about any experiences you have had with this school.
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