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Frequently Asked Questions

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—academic and extracurricular records, essays, letters of recommendation, and optional testing—and there’s no one piece of information that alone determines whether or not you would be a good fit for the College. You can learn more about this holistic review process here.

I was unable to take the SAT or ACT due to a test date cancellation. Can I still apply to UChicago?

UChicago is test-optional, which means that we do not require students to share results of the SAT or ACT if you have been unable to test or prefer not to share your scores. This policy is open to all applicants, including domestic first-year applicants, international applicants, and transfer students. Further information about our test-optional policy can be found 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. Learn more about accelerated course credit here.

While UChicago is unable to grant transfer credit to first-year students for college-level coursework taken prior to matriculation, we understand that taking college level courses while enrolled in high school gives students strong experience with rigorous work that prepares you well for the UChicago experience. UChicago also offers placement and accreditation tests to entering students in select subjects to assure that students are able to start courses at a level that best suits their prior experience in a given subject.

Do you require SAT Subject Tests?

No. Regardless of what other test scores you may be submitting, SAT Subject Tests scores are entirely optional, and not sending 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?

We superscore test scores, meaning that 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. If you have chosen to submit SAT or ACT test scores, we recommend that you send us all of your test scores.

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 choices, to submit additional materials that they feel best highlight their skills, talents, and potential contributions to UChicago. Students may submit supplemental materials through their UChicago Account. These materials may include, but are not limited to, creative writing projects; highlights from music/dance/visual art/theater performances; school capstone projects such as the AP Capstone, the IB Extended Essay, or the equivalent; research project abstracts; business plans; or other work of note. Students may also elect to submit results of AP exams, SAT Subject Tests, predicted IB or A-Level scores on an optional and self-reported basis.

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.

If I had SAT or ACT scores sent before applying, can my application be reviewed without considering these scores?

Yes, if you previously had SAT or ACT scores sent before applying, you can indicate in your application that you wish to have your application considered without SAT or ACT scores.

What counts as an academic achievement of note in considering what to include in my application?

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. If you feel your SAT or ACT reflects your academic preparedness well, then please feel free to send this with your application. 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.

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.

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 that the scores remain valid and will superscore within both the old exam and the new, but will not superscore between the two versions.

Can I self-report my test scores or my transcript?

Both domestic and international applicants who choose to submit SAT or ACT scores may share either official or self-reported SAT or ACT scores. 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.

What types of supplemental materials may I submit?

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.) that applicants believe will introduce and represent themselves to admissions counselors.

What types of recommendation letters are required?

We require two letters of recommendation 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?

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 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 submit or resubmit 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.

Can I participate in an interview as part of my application?

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?

The video introduction is not required and is completely optional. A 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 whether or not to include one. Students who choose not to submit a video introduction will not be penalized in any way.

Does my video need to be produced/edited/scripted?

The option of submitting a video gives students which wish to do so a different medium for developing their voice and ideas. In reviewing optional video profiles, the focus will be on the content of the video rather than on production quality. 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.). While it’s okay 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 notes is not necessary and might detract from a sense of your genuine voice.

Do you offer financial aid?

Yes. UChicago meets the full-demonstrated financial need of every admitted student through a need-based financial aid award that includes no loan expectation. Each financial aid award is tailored to the student and family’s particular financial profile; we require a few forms and documents in order to offer students an appropriate package. 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. UChicago does not charge an application fee to students who indicate that they intend to apply for financial aid. Learn more about applying for UChicago’s financial aid.

Do you offer merit awards or special scholarships?

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. These awards range by amount from $5,000-$10,000 and can be awarded for four years of undergraduate study or as funding for summer opportunities. 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.

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

No one’s record is perfect, and we understand that sometimes students’ transcripts have grades that are not indicative of their academic capabilities when they apply to college. 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.

I am taking the November SAT or October ACT as an Early Action or Early Decision I applicant, or the January SAT or 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?

Entering students may only begin study at UChicago in the Autumn Quarter.

My school experience was disrupted or changed significantly during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Will this negatively impact my application to UChicago?

We understand that schools around the world made the difficult choice to close or engage in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we know many students may have experienced different grading systems or an inability to engage in school in their typical way in the Spring of 2020. 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 selected. We also know that many students experienced a disruption to their typical level of involvement in extracurricular activities. Rest assured that these circumstances, which we know were outside of any student’s control, will not negatively impact your application to UChicago or other colleges.

I am not a U.S. 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.

I understand that many colleges are currently closed to visitors. How can I learn more about UChicago without a physical visit to campus?

We offer a variety of virtual opportunities to learn more about UChicago's academic, extracurricular, and admissions processes here.