University of Chicago

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: 

IMG_1451 IMG_1450

IMG_1452 It’s as though they want us to become addicted.

IMG_1558 (1)  IMG_1560IMG_1561  IMG_1564

This is a part of Hyde Park:

IMG_1567  IMG_1568IMG_1569  IMG_1570

Here’s the main quad:

IMG_1400  IMG_1401IMG_1402IMG_1403IMG_1404  IMG_1406

IMG_1445  IMG_1444

More buildings:

IMG_1407                     IMG_1408IMG_1410  IMG_1412IMG_1413  IMG_1414IMG_1416  IMG_1417 (1)IMG_1418  IMG_1419IMG_1420 This is the fancy library with the robot I mentioned.

IMG_1422  IMG_1423IMG_1425 The gym/arena. The student gym was pretty nice. Not the best I’ve seen but still good.

IMG_1426  IMG_1428IMG_1429  IMG_1430 (1)IMG_1431  IMG_1432                 IMG_1433                     IMG_1438IMG_1439  IMG_1440IMG_1441  IMG_1442  IMG_1446  IMG_1447

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.

Thank you so much! Please remember to subscribe (I’ll think you’re cool if you do) and go to if you want to learn more about the University of Chicago.

4 thoughts on “University of Chicago

  1. Diana Nguyen

    I really loved your post! I stumbled upon it when scrolling through my newsfeed on Well, I just wanted to ask what aspects of Chicago changed your mind about wanting to stay there? I absolutely adore UChicago too, but I also had a few concerns about the safety and hygiene of the city. My math teacher grew up living near Hyde Park so I once asked him about his experience of living there and he replied with, “Well, I made it out of there alive. haha!” This nearly mortified me as he is a very tall, almost sort of intimidating type of man with a lot of strength. I’m quite weak and small myself, so his response planted a very dangerous illusion of Chicago in my mind.

    1. mbfcs Post author

      First of all, thank you so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed it.
      I’m always very concerned about my safety, regardless of a neighborhood’s reputation, and I’m constantly thinking about the setting I’m in. I have decided that an important criterion for my college decision is to be somewhere I feel generally comfortable. I know that no place is completely safe but I would like to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t terrify me–and I’m assuming you do too!. I honestly wouldn’t feel okay to walk around Hyde Park much by myself, especially at night, but I feel like if I was being aware, alert, and prepared it wouldn’t be a big issue. I love your math teacher’s response by the way; that would have scared me so much too! I felt much safer in downtown Chicago, where I know I would feel okay to walk around most of the time, than in the neighborhoods I saw.
      I said that I don’t really want to live in Chicago just because it didn’t feel like the best city for me. I know that I didn’t see much of the city, but what I did see didn’t seem very special. I have heard sooooooooooo many people say how much they love Chicago and I guess the best way to put it is that I didn’t get it. I would live there if a good opportunity presented itself, you know? I thought it was fine. It’s hard to explain I guess, I just wasn’t crazy over it.
      Thank you so much for your comment! I hoped that helped!

  2. Alexandra Becker

    1. After living in Chicago my entire life, and having been to almost every major city in the U.S., I will still say it is THE best city. 2. Listen to that girl. I know exactly what she meant. My high school was very similar to UChicago (prestigious, gorgeous architecture, overwhelming). Every got drawn into going there by the fact that it looked like Hogwarts rather than a hospital like most high schools. The tour stole my imagination. But it definitely feels like a trick when all the stress, work, and in my high school’s case strict administration come rolling around. I had a very interesting phenomenon where I got a headache when I visited any school that I didn’t like, and usually they happened to remind me of my high school. UChicago, Harvard, and Notre Dame were a few that gave me headaches.

    1. mbfcs Post author

      1. I love hearing that oh-so-common Chicago pride! As I think I clarified previously, I really wish I had felt as fondly toward Chicago as so many others (residents and visitors).
      2. Thank you so much for your input! I definitely see what you’re saying and I think it’s a very valid point that most of us ignore when choosing a school.
      3. I wish I had a headache alarm for all the schools I didn’t like! That would make it a lot easier I think. I love how strong your instincts are! That’s honestly really cool. (P.S. I didn’t like Notre Dame either)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>