At UChicago, you are more than your GPA or test score.
UChicago welcomes students from all backgrounds, and each application at UChicago goes through the same holistic review process. There’s no one piece of information—academic and extracurricular records, essays, letters of recommendation, or SAT/ACT scores—that alone determines whether or not you would be a good fit for the College. Instead, we want you to, through your application, show us who you are in your own voice. What is your story? Why did you choose to pursue certain opportunities? What activities are most meaningful to you? The very best way to approach your UChicago application is to simply be yourself and write in your own voice. We care about you and who you really are, not what you think we want to see in an application.
Application for Admission and Supplement Essays
Applicants should submit their choice of the Coalition Application or Common Application*, both of which include the University of Chicago Supplement. Applicants will also be prompted to create a UChicago Account, where they can submit information and view their admissions decision.
*Transfer applicants must apply through the Coalition Application.
Select One of Two Applications
There are several online application platforms accepted by many colleges and universities. Through the online application platform, you submit basic information about your background, academic profile, and extracurricular activities, as well as a brief personal statement; all of this information can be easily shared with multiple colleges you decide to apply to. If you apply to the University of Chicago, you will also submit two supplemental essays, which will not be seen by other institutions.
UChicago accepts the Coalition Application or Common Application for first-year applicants. We treat both equally in the admissions process. You'll want to pick a single application platform to use, whichever you feel works best for you. Transfer applicants should use the Coalition Application.
Questions about technical matters related to using one of the consortium applications should be directed, respectively, to the folks at the Coalition Application or Common Application. Questions about our own requirements should be directed to us.
We recognize that, in these unprecedented times, many extracurricular events and activities have been disrupted. We will still recognize all the hard work you have put into extracurricular activities leading up to the pandemic and any of your efforts to stay involved with your community moving forward.
In your list of extracurricular activities, you should include whatever it is that you spend your time doing outside of class. This could be an official club, team, or competition; a hobby you pursue on your own; a part-time job; a family responsibility; or anything else you do with your time outside of class. Colleges ask for this information not because they have any specific expectation or preference for how you spend your time, but to see what's meaningful, worthwhile, or interesting to you. We do not require certificates proving participation in activities. If the space provided on the Coalition or Common Application to list all extracurricular and work experiences is not sufficient, you may share further details in the Additional Information section of the application or through your UChicago Account.
Your personal statement is your chance to present yourself and your ideas in your own words. Through the Coalition or Common Application, your personal statement will be sent to all of the schools you are applying to. As a result, it should not be specific to any one school. Your personal statement should be appropriate for a wide array of audiences and should put your best foot forward. Be sure to proofread and edit your essay, and have someone you trust, like a friend, family member, or counselor, read it over before submitting it.
The University of Chicago Supplement requires one extended essay of your choice from our list of several prompts and one short essay on why you would like to attend the University of Chicago. The Supplement is available through the Coalition Application or Common Application. Transfer applicants must submit an additional essay on why they plan to transfer.
Your UChicago Account
Students may create a UChicago Account before or after beginning the Coalition or Common Application. To create a UChicago Account before you begin working on either application, please visit getstarted.uchicago.edu. If you begin by working on the Coalition or Common Application, you will receive an email with instructions on how to set up your UChicago Account. When you sign in to your UChicago Account, you will be able to complete and update your profile, apply for financial aid, upload supplementary materials, and view your admissions decision.
Application Fee or Automatic Fee Waiver
The University of Chicago does not charge an application fee for students applying for need-based financial aid, veterans, and veteran dependents. For students not applying for need-based financial aid, our application fee is $75 and can be submitted through the Coalition or Common Application.
Check or Money Order
Please include a note with the check or money order with the applicant's full name and address, and mail it to the College Admissions Office by the appropriate application deadline. Checks should be made payable to the University of Chicago.
The Office of College Admissions
Attn. Matt Cowell
1101 E. 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
Secondary School Report and Transcript
We understand that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have experienced disruptions and implemented changes to grading structures or practices. UChicago always reviews applicants in the context of their school's environment and grading practices, and will continue to give full consideration to all applicants regardless of the method of grading or assessment your school has selected during this time. If you wish to provide any additional explanations or context for elements included in your application, please provide that in the "Additional Information" section of your application.
Ask your secondary school counselor to complete the Secondary School Report and submit it along with an official transcript. If you do not have a secondary school counselor, a teacher or school administrator may submit the Secondary School Report and transcript instead. If you attend high school in the U.S., you may choose to self-submit your transcript.
Secondary School Report
The Secondary School Report provides us with an overview of your high school academic record. All secondary school counselors have the option of submitting letters of recommendation and school forms online via the Coalition Application or Common Application. High school counselors should follow the instructions on the Coalition or Common Application for submitting these forms. Counselors may print out and submit these forms on paper even if you submit your application online.
High School Transcript
An official transcript detailing your coursework and grades over your entire high school career should be sent from your high school. In reading your application, your transcript will serve as a roadmap of your academic path in high school. We will be looking at your academic record across all four years of high school, primarily to see that you have challenged yourself productively in your course selection and done well in those courses.
Your transcript is considered in the context of your high school. Course offerings and opportunities can look very different from one high school to the next, and we want to see how you took advantage of what was available to you at your high school. You would never be at a disadvantage in the admissions process for not having pursued an opportunity that was not available to you. A School Profile is usually included with your transcript that tells us about the environment at your school, course offerings, curriculum, and educational outcomes. We do not require complete syllabi.
If you have taken courses at a school other than your current high school, such as a previous high school or a local college, please be sure to have those grades sent as well. They may be reported either on your current high school transcript or in a separate transcript from the original institution.
Transcripts written in a language other than English should be accompanied by a certified translation and a grading scale.
Self-Submitted Transcripts (for students attending U.S. high schools only)
UChicago will review the applications of students who attend U.S. high schools using either self-submitted or official transcripts and midyear transcripts. We realize that there can be costs associated with ordering transcripts. If students have a hard copy or digital copy of their transcript, they may fax, mail, or upload through their UChicago Account. Students will not be required to submit official transcripts unless they are admitted and choose to enroll.
*Students who will graduate from a high school outside the U.S., as well as transfer applicants, will be required to submit an official transcript at the time of application.
Two Teacher Evaluations
We require two recommendations from teachers who have taught you in an academic subject: high school teachers for first-year applicants and college instructors for transfer applicants. Academic subjects, as defined for the purposes of letters of recommendation, include mathematics, social studies, history, science, English or literature, foreign language, and other courses in which you are doing substantial amounts of reading, writing, or class discussion. If you have questions about whether a particular course is a good choice, feel free to contact your regional Admissions Counselor.
Ask for recommendations from teachers who know you well and can speak specifically and positively about your contributions in the classroom, academic interest, and interactions with classmates. This does not necessarily need to be the teacher who gave you the best grades, but instead someone who best knows your academic personality and thinks highly of you. Plan to have a brief conversation with your recommender to give them context on your educational plans, as this can be helpful in writing a more detailed letter.
As teachers are often writing letters of recommendation on their own time and are therefore not getting paid to do it, we also strongly encourage students to write their recommenders a thank you note.
Submitting Letters of Recommendation
All school counselors and teachers have the option of submitting letters of recommendation and school forms online via the Coalition Application or Common Application. They should follow the instructions on the relevant application for submitting these forms. Teachers and counselors may print out and submit these forms on paper even if you submit your application online. Letters of recommendation must come directly from the recommender and should not be sent by the applicant. Letters of recommendation can be added to your application after the application deadline, so you do not need to ask your recommender to submit their letter before or at the same time as you have submitted your application.
If your recommenders are most comfortable writing in a language other than English, they may do so. Have them submit the original letter accompanied by a translation.
If you feel that we won't be able get a full picture of who you are without a third letter of recommendation from another teacher, an employer, role model, youth leader, or friend, you may submit one additional letter. Submitting a supplemental letter of recommendation is not an expectation, and please be considerate of the significant time commitment writing a good letter of recommendation takes before asking a potential recommender.
If you are a transfer applicant and feel that you have not had satisfactory contact with professors at your college or university, you may ask a teaching assistant or lab instructor who may have had more experience working with you to provide a recommendation.
We understand that many students were not able to take standardized tests scheduled for the spring of 2020 due to testing cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our test-optional policy is open both to students who do not wish to share their scores and to students who were not able to sit for their scheduled testing dates. This policy is open to all applicants including domestic students, international students, and transfer students. Although we are test-optional, we are still happy to accept and consider SAT or ACT scores from students who have previously taken these exams and would like to share their scores as part of their application.
Some applicants may feel that an SAT or ACT score does not fully reflect their academic preparedness or potential. If this is the case for you, you may select UChicago's test-optional method of application and not supply SAT or ACT scores with your application. We welcome any student, regardless of testing plan, to submit additional material (detailed in the Supplements section) that they feel best highlights their skills, talents, and potential contributions to UChicago.
Your transcript shows your academic record in the context of your school, but, since one school can be very different from another, it is sometimes useful to see evidence of academic achievement that exists outside of the context of your school. This is why some colleges frequently ask applicants to submit an SAT or ACT score. For many applicants, an SAT or ACT score can reflect their academic preparedness in this broader context. The SAT, ACT, and other standard measures can continue to be an important part of the University of Chicago’s holistic admission process for students electing to send scores and are a required part of the application process at many other highly selective schools. These tests can provide valuable information about a student which we and other colleges will consider alongside the other elements in a student’s application. We encourage students who have been able to take the SAT or ACT to share their scores with us if you think that they are reflective of your ability and potential.
Students submitting SAT or ACT scores may share either official or self-reported scores. Students sharing self-reported scores will not be required to submit official score reports unless they are admitted and choose to enroll. You are able to self-report test scores through the Coalition or Common Application. You will not need to superscore your own results or recalculate your scores in any way; send your scores exactly as you receive them. To be considered official, scores must be sent to the University of Chicago directly from the testing agency. UChicago’s SAT code is 1832; the ACT code is 1152.
While we would, if possible, like to receive your scores before the appropriate deadline, we will accept October ACT and November SAT scores for Early Action and Early Decision I, December SAT and ACT scores for Early Decision II, and January SAT and February ACT scores for Regular Decision. For transfer applicants, we will accept scores from the February ACT or March SAT.
College Reports and Transcript (transfer students only)
The Coalition Application Transfer Report should be completed by a dean, registrar, or academic adviser who has access to your disciplinary and academic records at your current or most recent college or university. The Coalition Application Curriculum Report should be completed by your current instructors, if applicable. If a college or university cannot provide an official report, don’t panic! We will still be able to review your application in its entirety without any penalty.
Request that official college or university transcripts from every post-secondary school you have attended be sent directly to the Office of College Admissions. If you received pass/fail marks for college or university courses instead of grades, please request that your instructors submit written evaluations of your work.
Transcripts written in a language other than English must be be accompanied by a certified translation and a grading scale.
English Language Proficiency Test Scores (international applicants only)
Competence in English must be demonstrated in order to qualify for admission. All international applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test (DET). Our TOEFL and College Board code is 1832. Reports of other tests are usually not accepted.
The University of Chicago only admits students who have demonstrated a superior level of English language competence: we strongly recommend a score of 100 or higher on the Internet-Based TOEFL or 600 or higher on the Paper-Based TOEFL. Minimum required scores on the IELTS (students must take the Academic test, not the General Training test) are an overall score of 7, with subscores of 7 each. The minimum acceptable score on the DET is 120.
The only exception to the English proficiency test requirement is for applicants who for two or more years have attended a high school or college where the primary language of instruction is English. UChicago does not offer an ESL program for admitted students.
Midyear Report (first-year applicants only)
Please have your high school counselor submit a midyear report with grades or a transcript for your first semester or first trimester by February 1 of the year you have applied, or as soon as possible thereafter. We are aware that schools may issue midyear grades at a later time, and students will not be penalized for submitting the report after this date. The Coalition and Common Application provide a Midyear Grade Report form, or you may use your own school’s midyear report. You are also welcome to make updates to your application by logging into your UChicago Account and clicking “Update Your Application." Students attending high school in the U.S. may choose to self-submit their midyear transcript.
Financial Aid Application
Applicants to the College are not required to submit an application for financial aid to be considered for admission. If you do intend to apply for need-based financial aid, however, you should do so at the same time you apply for admission so that you can factor your financial aid package into your college decision process. Learn more about applying for financial aid.
Once a student is admitted, regardless of that student’s country of origin, the University of Chicago will meet 100% of their demonstrated financial need throughout their four years in the College with a grant-based financial aid package. UChicago financial aid packages do not include a loan expectation.
U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents & Canadian Citizens
The University of Chicago’s consideration of applications for admission is need-blind for citizens of the U.S. and Canada as well as U.S. permanent residents. For these applicants, submitting an application for need-based financial aid will have no bearing on admission to the College. Canadian citizens should follow the directions for applying for international aid.
Domestic Financial Aid Application Materials
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Prior-prior year's tax returns (including all schedules and W-2 forms)
- UChicago-Specific Financial Aid Worksheet (can substitute College Board's CSS Profile)
Based on the nature of financial aid funds for international students, the admissions process is need-aware for applicants who are not citizens of the U.S. or Canada or U.S. permanent residents. International applications go through the same holistic review process as domestic applicants, and an application for need-based financial aid will be taken into consideration at the end of that process. Learn more about applying for financial aid as an international applicant.
International Financial Aid Application Materials
- International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA)
- Supporting documents requested in ISFAA
International transfer applicants are not eligible to apply for need-based financial aid.
Optional Video Profile
If you would like to add your voice to your application, you have the option to submit a two-minute video introduction in lieu of the traditional college interview, which is not part of our application process. Your recording does not need to be extensively rehearsed or polished, and the video does not need to be edited.
We hope students find creative ways to share their voice and ideas, so we focus on content rather than filming quality when reviewing optional video profiles. For the purposes of our review, it is still impressive if a student is sharing important ideas and perspective on their specific potential for contribution to UChicago even if that video was filmed “selfie-style” on a phone. It is much less helpful if the video is professionally lit and edited, but contains little to no unique information about the student or their specific candidacy for UChicago. We encourage students to film in a quiet space that limits outside distractions (background noise, music, pet or sibling interference, etc). While it’s ok to rehearse your message a bit so that you feel confident and ready, it’s helpful for us to hear these spoken in your normal, conversational voice—memorizing a “script” or reading from prepared sheets/notecards may come appear as a less engaged and conversational experience.
You may record your video introduction using the platform of your choice, and then upload either a file of or link to the introduction into your Coalition Locker or UChicago Account. If there is any important information relevant to your candidacy you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.
Supplemental Materials: Optional Art, Creative, Research, or Other Supplements
Students may submit supplemental material representing a significant talent, passion, or achievement by self-upload through their UChicago Account. These materials include, but are not limited to, creative writing projects, highlights from music/dance/visual art/theater performance, school capstone projects such as AP Capstone or the equivalent, research projects, business plans, or other work of note.
Students may also elect to submit results of AP exams, SAT-II subject tests, predicted IB or A-Level scores on an optional and self-reported basis.