Skip to main content

FAQ

Applications

What is your minimum GPA or required SAT or ACT score?

There is no minimum GPA or required test score. At UChicago, the admissions committee considers a candidate’s entire application. We call this a holistic review process, and you can learn more about it here.

Do you grant credit for AP and IB scores? For college-level classes taken in high school?

Yes! We accept scores of 5 on most Advanced Placement (AP) exams and of 7 on certain International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher-Level examinations for credit; other scores may be accepted in particular subjects. UChicago also offers placement and accreditation tests to entering students in select subjects. Learn more about accelerated course credit here.

College-level courses above and beyond a student's high scool graduation requirements that also meet requirements set by the Dean of Students may yield credit. Learn more about transfer course credit here.

Do you require SAT II Subject Tests?

No. Students can elect to submit the SAT or the ACT, or no testing at all. Students who apply without testing have the option to further reflect their academic preparedness and potential by submitting a significant academic work, other forms of standardized testing other than the SAT and ACT, or on-line accomplishments such as achievements on Khan Academy. However, if you choose to submit an SAT or ACT score, Subject Tests are truly optional, and not sending us Subject Test scores will not hurt your application.

Do you look at the essay section of the SAT or ACT?

If you choose to submit your SAT or ACT scores, UChicago does not require the optional essay portion of the SAT or ACT. If submitted, the essay score will not be an essential part of the application review.

I've taken the SAT or ACT more than once. Should I send all my test scores?

If you have chosen to submit SAT or ACT test scores, we recommend you send us all of your test scores. Only your best testing results—your highest sub-scores and the best result of the two testing options, if you've taken both the SAT and ACT— will be considered in the review of your application. Lower test scores submitted will not be used in the review of your application.

Because standardized test scores are optional portions of your admissions process, does that mean I shouldn’t take the SAT or ACT?

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 to take standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, and to share your scores with us if you think that they are reflective of your ability and potential. Given that many of our peers do require testing, we anticipate that the vast majority of students will continue to take tests and may still submit their test scores to UChicago.

I don’t plan on submitting an ACT or SAT. What else should I submit?

We welcome any student, regardless of testing plan, to submit additional materials that they feel best highlights their skills, talents, and potential contributions to UChicago. Students may submit supplemental material 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, IB Extended Essay, or the equivalent, research projects, business plans, on-line accomplishments such as achievements on Khan Academy, 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.

I don’t plan on submitting an ACT or SAT. Am I going to be at a disadvantage?

Many students feel their ACT or SAT score reflects their academic preparedness and will choose to submit these scores. However, we want to get to know YOU as a person and student.  Thus, if you feel a standardized test does not accurately reflect your academic potential, you can opt out of submitting a test score at no penalty to your application. We welcome any student regardless of testing plan to submit additional material that they feel best highlights their skills, talents, and potential contributions to UChicago. This may include, but is not limited to, creative writing projects, highlights from music/dance/visual art/theater performance, school capstone projects such as AP Capstone, IB Extended Essay, or the equivalent, research projects, business plans, on-line accomplishments such as achievements on Khan Academy, or other work of note.

Is there a score cut off at which I should opt out of submitting my ACT or SAT?

We review applications holistically, which means there is never a score “cutoff” that would determine the fate of a student’s application. For many applicants, an SAT or ACT score can reflect their academic preparedness in a broader context. Students who feel this describes them are invited to submit these standardized scores. However, some domestic applicants may feel that an SAT or ACT score does not fully reflect their academic preparedness or potential. If this is the case, students may select UChicago's test optional method of application, and not supply SAT or ACT scores with their application. We welcome any student regardless of testing plan to submit additional material that they feel best highlights their skills, talents, and potential contributions to UChicago.

What counts as an academic achievement “of note?”

We read every application within the context of a student’s school, environment, and opportunities.  If you feel there is something that best highlights your skills, talents, and potential contributions to UChicago—and you have not already included it in your application—please share it with us!

Does UChicago not see a value in standardized testing?

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. This is why some colleges 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.

Some domestic 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.

Do you superscore test scores?

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.

Do you accept scores from the "old" SAT?

Starting in March 2016, the College Board offered a new, redesigned version of the SAT. We will continue to accept scores from the old version of the SAT for the five years scores remain valid, and will superscore within both the old exam and the new, but will not superscore between the two versions.

What types of recommendation letters are required?

We require two recommendations from two teachers of any academic subjects. 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. Pick the teachers who know you best; they don't need to be in subjects related to your intended major.

May I submit supplemental letters of recommendation?

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.

Is there a word limit or suggested word limit to your essay responses?

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 650 words. While we won't, as a rule, stop reading after 650 words, we're only human and cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention indefinitely. For the “Why UChicago?” essay, we suggest about 250-500 words.  The ideas in your writing matter more than the exact number of words you use!

How do I make sure that UChicago has received all of my required application documents?

A little while after the application deadline has passed, you will be able to check to see which application materials we have received and processed by logging in to your UChicago Account. 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 re-submit it.

May I submit supplemental materials in the arts, music, or my own original research?

Yes. 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. 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.) that they believe introduces them to their admissions counselor and the UChicago community.

How can I obtain an interview?

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.

Is a video introduction required? Is it recommended?

A video introduction is not required and is completely optional. The video introduction is one more way for us to get to know you and hear your voice (literally!), but it is up to the applicant to include. Students who choose not to submit a video introduction will not be penalized in any way.

Special Circumstances

I had bad grades or a special circumstance that affected my performance in high school. Does this mean I won’t get in?

We understand that no one’s record is perfect, and that sometimes students’ transcripts have grades that are not indicative of where they are when they apply to college. If you have made significant strides in your academic performance, please make sure that comes across in your application. (The Additional Information portion of the Common Application is a great part to communicate this.)

With that in mind, we truly embrace a holistic approach to reading applications; we pay attention to all the aspects, not just a single side, of the student.

Can I postpone matriculation at UChicago?

Yes. Students interested in taking a “gap year” between acceptance and attendance are welcome to postpone their matriculation at UChicago. 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 you are an admitted student interested in taking a gap year, please see the Gap Year section below and contact your regional counselor.

I have attempted to register for a UChicago information session in my hometown, but the session is full. May I still attend the session?

Many of our UChicago information sessions are held at libraries and public facilities in local areas that place limits on the number of registrants in order to comply with relevant building codes. If a session is full, unfortunately we will not be able to accommodate further visitors, although will try our best to add additional sessions to meet demand. You do not need to email your regional counselor. We will email you if we add additional sessions.

I am taking the November SAT or October ACT as an Early Action or Early Decision I applicant, or the January SAT/February ACT as a Regular Decision or Early Decision II applicant. Will you consider these scores?

While we would, of course, 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.

I am interested in participating in a varsity sport. How may I contact a coach?

Contact information for our varsity coaches, as well as a survey for students interested in participating in varsity athletics, may be found here.

Does the University of Chicago grant second bachelor’s degrees?

We do not offer second bachelor’s degrees. Please visit the website of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies for information on post-baccalaureate coursework and non-degree-program coursework.

May I apply to UChicago for entry in the Winter or Spring quarters?

No. Entering students may only begin study at UChicago in the Autumn quarter.

I am not a US citizen or permanent resident, but have been living in the United States for some time, or am in the process of obtaining a green card but have not yet received one. Am I considered an international student?

Yes, for application and financial aid purposes you will be considered an international applicant until you receive a green card. For further help and questions as they arise during this process, contact us at internationaladmissions@uchicago.edu.

Visiting Campus

How may I sign up to visit a class?

Prospective students who are high school seniors or transfer students are welcome to visit undergraduate classes during their campus visit. No advance notification is necessary to visit a class. You will be asked to select a course from the College’s course listings upon arrival in the Office of College Admissions.

How may I sign up for an overnight visit with a current student?

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. See here for registration information.

I am interested in speaking with a member of the faculty in my area of interest when I visit campus. How may I arrange this?

You are welcome to arrange a meeting with a professor in your area of interest. Departmental websites are a great place to start looking for faculty with whom you may wish to speak and find their contact information.

Do you offer tours of your residence halls?

We offer extensive web-based resources for students to learn more about our house system, as well as opportunities for high school seniors to stay overnight in the residence halls. However, because each dorm is so different from each other, a tour of one would not give a very representative picture of the many options available to incoming first-years.

What should I bring to campus when I visit?

Questions! We love answering them, and we hope you have a bunch about UChicago. If you’re worried about forgetting some of your questions, don’t feel embarrassed to write them down. 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.

If you are coming for a pre-scheduled overnight visit, please bring a sleeping bag or blanket, pillow, and any personal toiletries that you will need for the evening.

Gap Years

Do you accept gap-year students?

Yes! We have many students that participate in gap years before enrolling at UChicago. We are happy to approve deferral of enrollment for one to two years for students to participate in a wide variety of options: paid work, international travel, community service, research projects, development of business ideas, development of theater/music/art skills, religious missions or study, or military service. Gap years can be a great fit for certain students, and we are happy to approve the majority of requests that come our way!

When/how do I defer for a year?

We encourage students to apply during their senior year of high school. Once admitted, they can defer their enrollment for the duration of their gap year or years. It is easier to apply during high school, as students have better access to high school resources such as teacher letters of recommendation, transcripts, and advising. When students are admitted to the college and are certain that they will be participating in a gap year, they will write a letter to their regional admissions counselor for the deferral to be approved. This will be an ongoing conversation between the prospective student and their admissions counselor.

After high school, I am obligated to serve religious or military service before college, does this count as a gap year?

We certainly understand these obligations and are more than willing to work with student to help facilitate these gap years!