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Uchicago optional essay

Your transcript shows your academic record in the context of your school, but, since one school can be very different from another, it is useful to see evidence of academic achievement that exists outside of the context of your school. If you feel your SAT or ACT reflects your academic preparedness well, then please feel free to send this with your application.

Choose Your Test

Some domestic applicants may feel that an SAT or ACT score does not fully reflect their academic preparedness or potential. We allow students to decide for themselves what optional information best represents their college readiness so that they can submit their strongest possible application. We want students to know: the application does not define them, they define the application. Yes, we superscore both the SAT and ACT, meaning that if you take either test multiple times, we will take your highest individual sub-section scores and combine them to give you the highest overall score possible.

We will continue to accept scores from the old version of the SAT for the five years that the scores remain valid and will superscore within both the old exam and the new, but will not superscore between the two versions.


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These students will not be required to submit official score reports unless they are admitted and choose to enroll. Students are able to self-report test scores through the Coalition or Common Application or may share a transcript that includes test scores. Applicants who attend a high school in the United States may also self-submit high school transcripts and will be required to submit an official transcript if they are admitted and choose to enroll. International students should submit an official copy of their high school transcript. The most effective supplements share a representative sample of work that is important to the applicant.

One to two minutes of a recorded work, two or three high-quality prints of a work of art, the best paragraph or page of a creatively written work, or an abstract of original research are recommended. If you do not believe that a traditional essay format can meaningfully share who you are, you can also submit an Alternative Project as an additional material.

Alternative Projects may be multimedia works videos, photo essays, art work, poetry, etc. If someone who is not a teacher can provide a different perspective on your work or personality, they are welcome to send in a supplemental recommendation in addition to your two teacher recommendations.

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Pick the teachers who know you best; they don't need to be in subjects related to your intended major. You may submit one additional letter of recommendation. The writer should know you personally and have worked closely with you in some capacity; this could include a coach, religious leader, group adviser, or employer, to name a few. We suggest that you note any word limits for Coalition or Common Application essays; however, there are no strict word limits on the UChicago Supplement essays.

For the extended essay where you choose one of several prompts , we suggest that you aim for around words. While we won't, as a rule, stop reading after words, we're only human and cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention indefinitely. The ideas in your writing matter more than the exact number of words you use!


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Given the large volume of material submitted every year, there will be a reasonable amount of processing time between when you submit your documents and when they will appear in your Account. If anything is missing, we will give you ample time to submit or resubmit it. In addition, if you do not believe that a traditional essay format can meaningfully share who you are, you can submit an Alternative Project.

The projects that can be submitted are multimedia videos, photo essays, art work, poetry, etc. If you would like to add your voice to your application, you have the option to submit a two-minute video introduction, as an alternative to an interview. Your recording does not need to be extensively rehearsed or polished, and the video does not need to be edited.

UChicago no longer offers on-campus or alumni interviews as part of the application process. The video introduction is not required and is completely optional. Students who choose not to submit a video introduction will not be penalized in any way. Students who submit a video are encouraged to film in a quiet space that limits outside distractions background noise, music, pet or sibling interference, etc.

UChicago meets the full-demonstrated financial need of every admitted student through a need-based financial aid award that includes no loan expectation. Although domestic applicants may apply for financial aid at any time, we recommend that they apply for aid when they apply for admission in order to receive an aid decision in a timely manner.

First-Year Application Procedure

UChicago does not charge an application fee to students who indicate that they intend to apply for financial aid. Exemplary students are selected to receive University merit scholarships on the basis of outstanding academic achievement including recognition as a National Merit Finalist or through the National Hispanic Recognition Program , extracurricular achievement, demonstrated leadership, and commitment to their communities. Merit awards are determined by committee on the basis of the application for admission without consideration of financial need.

We also offer scholarships for first-generation college students, the children of police and firefighters, and the children of Chicago Public Schools educators. Each student admitted to the College will be automatically considered for merit scholarships; applicants do not need to fill out an additional application, with the exception of the Police and Fire Scholarship. If you have made significant strides in your academic performance, or outside circumstances have caused bumps along the way, please make sure that comes across in your application.

The Additional Information portion of the application is a great place to discuss this. We truly embrace a holistic approach to reading applications, and this approach means seeing applicants as multi-faceted individuals rather than one-dimensional students. If this might be an option for you, it is a good idea to let us know as soon as possible.

Alerting our office to your possible gap year will not negatively affect your application. If a session is full, you are welcome to contact your regional counselor.

Yes, for application and financial aid purposes you will be considered an international applicant until you receive a green card. High school seniors or transfer applicants are welcome to visit undergraduate classes during their campus visit.

Did you know your essay makes up 25% of your college application?

No advance notification is necessary to visit a class. Classes are offered in a variety of subjects on weekdays during Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. Overnight visits are available only for high school seniors on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October and November. There are additional overnight visits available for admitted students in February and April. You are welcome to arrange a meeting with a professor in your area of interest. Our web-based resources provide students with a representative picture of the many options available to incoming first-years.

Campus tours do not visit dorm rooms.

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How to Write the University of Chicago Application Essays 2018-12222

We love answering them, and we hope you have a bunch about UChicago. There is no need to bring an activities list or a resume to our campus. We prefer that you indicate activities and accomplishments directly on your application.

UCHICAGO Optional Video profile

Gap years can be a great fit for certain students, and we are happy to approve the majority of requests that come our way! We encourage students to apply during their last year of high school, as high school students have better access to resources such as teacher letters of recommendation, transcripts, and advising. Once admitted, they can defer their enrollment for the duration of their gap year or years.

When students are admitted to the College and are certain that they will be participating in a gap year, they will email their regional admissions counselor for the deferral to be approved. It would be like doing away with civilization. Discuss something that you love not in spite of but rather due to its quirks or imperfections.


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  5. Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun. As regular readers of our college admissions blog know well, the University of Chicago has a proud history of offering an extensive application — with long essays that need to be tailored to, you guessed it, the University of Chicago.

    We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions.

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    They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between. Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics. We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky. As you can see from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni. The University of Chicago wants students who love them and what better way to prove a student loves them?

    We salute the University of Chicago for their continued defiance, for daring to mandate that their applicants answer such extensive essay prompts. Categories: College Essays. Your email address will not be published.