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Frequently Asked Questions

Academics and Standardized Testing

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 according to our no harm policy—and there’s no one piece of information that alone determines whether you would be a good fit for the College. You can learn more about this contextual review process here

If your school does not report class rank or have grade point averages, please leave that information blank. UChicago understands that many schools do not report class rank or compute averages as a matter of policy and not having these will not negatively impact your application. Please do not estimate or guess.

Submitting an SAT or ACT is optional and not required for admission. In addition to being test-optional, UChicago practices a “No Harm” policy for application review when considering SAT or ACT scores. Any SAT or ACT score submitted will only be used in review if it will positively affect an applicant’s chance of admission. Test scores that may negatively impact an admission decision will not be considered in review. All applicants including domestic students, international students, and transfer students will be reviewed under this policy.

Absolutely! UChicago is test-optional alongside the no harm test policy, which means that students are not required 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. Further information about UChicago’s testing policy can be found here.

If you have chosen to submit SAT or ACT test scores, UChicago recommends that you send all of your scores and welcomes you to self-report these scores. When multiple scores are submitted, UChicago will superscore both the SAT and ACT, meaning that if you take either test multiple times, your highest individual sub-scores will be combined to give you the highest overall score possible. Please note that UChicago requires an official score report if you are admitted and choose to enroll.

UChicago’s no harm testing policy means that students do not need to worry about score cut-offs or other nuanced details of testing considerations. Your test score will only be considered if it benefits your application; that benefit will be based in part on your individual context and other details of your academic preparation. You do not need to worry about anticipating these details and can send in test scores with the confidence that they will not harm your application.

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.

Sending your standardized test score to UChicago is a personal choice. While all students are encouraged to submit testing if they have scores to share, you are welcome to apply without testing if it feels like the best course of action for you. The test-optional policy also allows students to apply to UChicago if they are unable to take the SAT or ACT.

Your transcript shows your academic record in the context of your school, but since each school can be very different from another, testing can be useful to see evidence of academic achievement that exists outside of that context.

UChicago does not consider the digital SAT any differently than past versions of the SAT. Like any testing, your scores on the digital SAT will be considered in the context of your many other application materials and according to our no harm testing policy. UChicago will superscore across both variations of the exam.

All applicants who choose to submit SAT or ACT scores may share either official or self-reported scores. These students will not be required to submit official score reports unless they are admitted and choose to enroll. Students can self-report test scores through the Questbridge, Coalition or Common Application, through their UChicago Account, or may share a transcript that includes test scores.

All applicants may also self-submit high school transcripts and will be required to submit an official transcript only if they are admitted and choose to enroll.

Yes! UChicago accepts scores of 5 on most Advanced Placement (AP) exams and of 7 on certain International Baccalaureate (IB) higher level (HL) 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 (including dual enrollment and early college programs), these courses can give 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 ensure that students can start courses at a level that best suits their prior experience.

Essays, Recommendations, and Supplemental Materials

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 some types of supplemental materials you can consider adding to your application. None of these are required, and choosing not to send any supplemental materials will not disadvantage your application in any way.

UChicago reviews 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 feel free to share it!

While UChicago does not officially require a letter of recommendation from your counselor, many school counselors will still choose to submit one on your behalf. If they do, that letter will be considered as a part of the application review.

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. Please only send an additional letter of recommendation if you feel it represents a unique perspective not shared elsewhere in your application.

Please note any word limits for Coalition or Common Application essays; however, there are no strict word limits on the UChicago supplemental essays. In general 500-700 words for the extended essay and 300-600 words for the “Why UChicago?” essay are good benchmarks, but these are rough guidelines and by no means requirements. The ideas in your writing matter more than the exact number of words you use!

A little while after the application deadline has passed, you will be able to check to see which application materials have been 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, you will have ample time to submit or resubmit it without any penalty to your application.

If you would like to add your voice to your application, you have the option to submit a highly recommended two-minute video profile. Your recording does not need to be extensively rehearsed or polished, and the video does not need to be edited. UChicago does not offer on-campus or alumni interviews as part of the application process, but will accept Glimpse or InitialView interviews in lieu of the UChicago video profile.

The video profile is not required but is highly recommended. A video profile is one more way for us to get to know you and hear your voice (literally!), but it is up to you whether to include one. Students who choose not to submit a video profile will not be penalized in any way. Applicants can upload their video to their UChicago Account under “Portfolio” with the title “Optional Video Profile.” You may upload your video to your UChicago Account at any time, but it is recommended to do so by November 6th for Early Action and Early Decision I or January 10th for Regular Decision and Early Decision II.

The option of submitting a video gives students who wish to do so a different medium for developing their voice and ideas. In reviewing these highly recommended 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 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.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Yes! UChicago meets the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted student through a need-based financial aid package that does not include a loan expectation. Each financial aid package is tailored to the student and family’s particular financial profile.

UChicago requires a few forms and documents in order to offer students an appropriate package. Although US citizens and permanent residents may apply for financial aid at any time, we recommend that they apply for aid at the same time as their application for admission in order to receive an aid decision in a timely manner. Applicants who are not US citizens or permanent residents must apply for financial aid during the application process.

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.

Exemplary students are selected to receive University merit scholarships on the basis of outstanding academic achievement, 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.

Merit scholarships can be awarded for four years of undergraduate study or as funding for summer opportunities. UChicago also offers 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.

Special Circumstances

No one’s record is perfect, and UChicago understands 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. UChicago truly embraces a contextual approach to reading applications, and this approach means seeing applicants as multi-faceted individuals rather than one-dimensional students.

Yes! UChicago accepts 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.

Contact information for UChicago’s varsity coaches, as well as a survey for students interested in participating in varsity athletics, can be found here.

UChicago does 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.

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

UChicago understands that schools around the world made the difficult choice to close or engage in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, 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. UChicago is also aware that many students experienced a disruption to their typical level of involvement in extracurricular activities. Rest assured that these circumstances that were outside of your control will not negatively impact your application to UChicago.

In UChicago’s contextual review, every student is reviewed specifically within the high school they attend, regardless of citizenship. The only time citizenship is considered in the application process is when it comes to financial aid. For financial aid purposes, you will be considered an international applicant until you receive permanent residency or U.S. citizenship. For further help and questions as they arise during this process, feel free to contact us at

Visiting Campus

Yes! In-person tours and information sessions are available on most weekdays year-round and on Saturdays from March through November. You can explore the visit calendar here to sign up for a specific date and time. The full campus visit guide is available here.

Faculty-led model classes are a great way to get a feel for UChicago classes! These are offered during our Fall and Spring Open Houses which are listed on our website here.

UChicago offers a variety of virtual opportunities to learn more about the University’s academic, extracurricular, and admissions processes here.

Gap Years

UChicago will consider requests to take a one-year gap year from incoming first-year students before June 15. To be eligible for consideration, interested students should accept their offer of admission and place an enrollment deposit (or have a deposit fee waiver in place). Students must then apply for a gap year through their regional admissions counselor and will receive written confirmation from the Dean of Admissions if approved. Gap year requests should include a plan for a full year of structured programming, work, community involvement, or other exploration that could not be completed while enrolled in school. Students taking gap years will be asked to sign an agreement outlining expectations for conduct during their gap year. Second or two-year gap year requests are rarely approved except under unavoidable or well-defined national policies (typically including obligatory national/military service or other similar commitments).

Transfer Applications

If you have already completed at least one term as a full-time student in a bachelor’s degree-seeking program at another college or university, you should apply as a transfer student. All other students, including high school students who have taken college-level classes through dual enrollment or early college programs, should apply using the first-year application.

All incoming students, including transfer students, will start in the College in the Autumn Quarter.

If you would like to pursue your undergraduate degree at UChicago, you should apply as a transfer student. Students-at-large will not be eligible for transfer admission.

To be eligible for transfer credit, courses at minimum must be from an accredited institution that grants bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts subjects similar to those offered in the College at UChicago and you must have received a grade of C or higher (or B or higher in some subjects). However, since many colleges look at transfer credit differently, UChicago encourages students to make curriculum choices based on what they believe is best for their own educational goals. A full description of UChicago’s transfer credit policy can be found here:

In most cases, courses taken at accredited institutions that meet the eligibility requirements described in the College Catalog and are equivalent in content and instruction to courses offered at the University of Chicago are likely candidates for transfer credit. As a prospective transfer applicant, you should familiarize yourself with programs of study and their class requirements in the College Catalog as well as our transfer credit policy online:

Admitted students will be provided an estimate of transfer credits; in the meantime, the College Catalog is a helpful resource to gain a sense of which of your classes are most likely to transfer credit and should give you a good sense of what your future path at UChicago might look like.

Yes, transfer students are required to live in college housing for their first academic year at UChicago and will complete the housing application alongside incoming first years in early summer.

If you 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. A recommendation from a recent high school teacher is also acceptable for those who are in their first year of college, though UChicago recommends at least one of your recommendations come from someone who has worked with you in an academic context in college.

If you have been out of school for an extended period, you may ask a work supervisor or commanding officer (for veterans) to write your letters of recommendation.

UChicago does not have a minimum or maximum number of credits that you must earn to be an eligible transfer applicant. However, you should keep in mind that transfer students are required to spend at least two years at UChicago and complete the Core curriculum and at least half their major requirements while in residence. This means you might be spending more than a total of 12 academic quarters (the time ordinarily expected by the Dean of Students) to complete your undergraduate degree if you were to transfer to UChicago.

You will be allotted a number of quarters that are necessary to complete your degree, taking into account your first-choice major. The number of quarters allotted will build in some cushion so that you can complete your major and all other graduation requirements at a reasonable pace.  This could allow for the completion of a second major or a minor, but this depends on the details. You can petition for an additional quarter of enrollment if it is necessary to complete your primary major or your other graduation requirements.

As part of the transfer credit evaluation process, you will be allotted a maximum number of quarters to complete your degree (note: summers do not count in this number). For non-transfer students, this number is 12. For transfer students, this number is discounted, depending upon how many quarters worth of credits are transferring in and how many quarters are needed to complete your degree. (Note: you must complete at least six quarters at UChicago).

The Graham School offers an array of different programs for adult learners who want to access UChicago courses and faculty. You can visit the Graham School’s website and learn more about these opportunities here:

The Mid-Term Report collects information about courses in which you are currently enrolled in the spring and can be found in the “Forms” section of your UChicago Account. If you do not plan to enroll in any coursework in the spring when you apply, you do not need to fill out a Mid-Term Report. Please wait to submit the Mid-Term Report until after March 1 so that you can include accurate course information and grades. If you do not yet have in-progress grades to share for some or all of your spring courses, you are welcome to write “NA” or “IP” where it asks for a grade in the Mid-Term Report. To ensure it is included in the review of your application, please submit the Mid-Term Report no later than March 22 for Transfer Early Decision, and no later than April 15 for Transfer Rolling Decision.

Transfer students are required to submit a College/Transfer Report indicating their academic standing at their current or most recently attended college or university. The report should be completed and sent via email or fax to our admissions office by a dean, registrar, or academic adviser who has access to your disciplinary and academic records. If using the Common Application, you can download the College/Transfer Report in the “Supporting Documents” section. If using Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir, you may use the University of Chicago College/Transfer Report.

In this case, you should obtain an official document, often called a “Dean’s Certification” letter, from your school that verifies your student conduct and disciplinary record. This fulfills the same purpose as the transfer report and is perfectly acceptable as a substitute.

UChicago recommends that you submit your transfer credit materials when you apply for admission to receive an initial credit evaluation in a timely manner. Students applying in Transfer Early Decision should submit their transfer credit form and materials in their UChicago Account by March 15 and students in Transfer Rolling Decision should submit their form and materials by April 15. The form can be accessed in your UChicago Account after you submit your application.

After submitting your application, you should submit the Transfer of Credit form in your UChicago Account to indicate all courses for which you would like to receive a credit evaluation. Students must include an official course description and upload a syllabus for every submitted course on the Transfer of Credit form. Syllabi should be submitted as “Transfer Credit Syllabi” in the Upload Materials section of their UChicago account. If not specified in the syllabus, students should include other information about the content and structure of the course (e.g., a list of required readings and assignments, lectures, exams, papers, etc.) along with the syllabus as a single PDF for each course.

Yes! You should submit all classes you wish to be evaluated for transfer credit, including classes in which you are currently enrolled or plan to take this spring. If you do not yet have grades to share for your current coursework, you are welcome to write “NA” or “IP” where it asks this information.

If you received pass/fail marks for college or university courses instead of grades, please request that your instructors submit a short, written evaluation of your work to the admissions office. This can be sent from your instructor via email or fax to the admissions office and can simply be a note explaining what your grade would have been if you had received a quality grade, or a very brief summary of your academic performance in the class. This only applies to academic coursework and does not apply to non-credit or partial-credit classes (e.g., a one-credit college orientation class.)