How To Get Into The University Of Chicago | Requirements

The University of Chicago
April 26, 2024
9 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

Interested in the University of Chicago? This guide tells you everything you need to know about getting into UChicago. 

As you get ready to start applying to universities, you may have considered attending the University of Chicago, which was established in 1890. Located in the bustling city of Chicago, the school is consistently high-ranking and has a reputation for excellence. This guide will outline everything you need to know about getting into the University of Chicago. 

Read on for information on University of Chicago admission requirements, a breakdown of the application process, and some examples of UChicago essay prompts.

The University of Chicago Acceptance Rate: 4.77% 

UChicago’s recent acceptance rate is 4.77%, making it an extremely selective school. You’ll need to put together an exceptional application to have a good chance of getting in. 

Below is a table outlining UChicago’s acceptance rate for the past three years: 

Year Acceptance Rate
2023 4.77%
2022 6%
2021 7.31%

How Hard Is It to Get Into the University of Chicago? 

With an acceptance rate of 4.77%, UChicago is extremely selective. It’s difficult to get into UChicago if you fall short of their academic standards. Aim for a 4.0 GPA and minimum SAT/ACT scores of 1510 and 33, respectively. 

The University of Chicago Admissions Statistics

For the best chance of getting into UChicago, it's beneficial to maintain a high GPA of at least 4.0. While UChicago is test-optional, submitting a test score and aiming for a high SAT and ACT score can enhance your application. 

To further strengthen your chances, consider taking challenging AP or IB courses and crafting compelling essays that showcase your passion for learning. UChicago's admissions process is flexible, allowing you to present your academic achievements in the best possible light. 

Understanding recent admissions statistics can provide a valuable benchmark for your application. UChicago's admissions are competitive, and knowing where you stand in comparison can motivate you to strive for excellence in your academic journey.

The University of Chicago Average GPA: 4.0

The GPA requirements for the University of Chicago are not specified, but UChicago’s average GPA is 4.0. So, achieving an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher in challenging classes will give you the best chance at admission.

The University of Chicago ​​Average SAT Score: 1530

College Board notes that the SAT score range of admitted applicants at UChicago is 1510-1560, making the average 1530. If you want to get admitted into UChicago, ensure that you aim for as high of an SAT score as possible. Please note that submitting an SAT or ACT score is optional and not required for admission.

The University of Chicago Average ACT Score: 34

UChicago’s recent average ACT score range was from 34 to 35. While the college has no official ACT requirements, submitting a test score is always encouraged to help boost your application. 

What is the University of Chicago Looking For In Applicants?

The University of Chicago evaluates applications by focusing on inquiry, debate, and critical thought and using these values to make impactful changes to the world. You will stand out to the UChicago admissions committee if you align with these goals and values.

The University of Chicago admission requirements are holistic. There are no UChicago GPA requirements or minimum test scores. 

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores X
Application essay X
Recommendation(s) X

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent/ability X
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation/commitment X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

The University of Chicago Admissions Requirements 

The University of Chicago Application consists of several materials. The process includes:

  • Your Common Application
  • Application essays and supplemental essays
  • Secondary school report and transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Optional test scores
  • College reports and transcripts (transfer applicants only)
  • English Language Proficiency Test Scores (international applicants only)
  • Application fee or fee waiver
  • Mid-year report (first-year applicants only)
  • Optional video profile
  • Optional supplemental material

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the details and get started early! Also, UChicago accepts the Coalition App

The University of Chicago Application Deadlines

It’s important to pay attention to deadlines when creating your college application timeline. Your University of Chicago application deadline will depend on which round of applications you choose: 

Early Action Early Decision I Early Decision II Regular Decision
Application Due Date Early November Early November Early January Early January
Admission Decision Date Mid-December Mid-December Mid-February Late March
Student Rely Due Date Early May Mid-January Early March Early May

The UChicago decision date varies. As such, UChicago lists a general time frame rather than a specific date. The student reply due date is when you’ll have to accept or turn down the offer of admission.

The University of Chicago Regular Decision Deadline

The University of Chicago’s deadline for regular decisions is early January. Regular decision is a path that is non-binding, making it an excellent choice for students who want to take their time. You’ll have more time to complete the application and to compare offers from other schools.

The University of Chicago Early Action Deadline

The University of Chicago’s deadline for Early Action is early November. Early Action is an excellent choice for students who want to hear a decision early and take time to make their final decision. It is not binding. 

The University of Chicago Early Decision Deadline

The University of Chicago’s deadline for Early Decision I and II is early November and January. Early Decision is best for those who know that UChicago is their first choice of school. This plan is binding. You’re committing to attending UChicago if you’re accepted.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into the University of Chicago

You might feel discouraged as you analyze data and start your UChicago application. However, by understanding this school's admissions processes and philosophies, you can increase your chances of getting accepted!

Understanding the Admissions Process

According to The University of Chicago admissions site, “each application at UChicago goes through the same holistic review process.” They then outline several things that they keep in mind when analyzing applications. 

Arguably, studying and understanding these criteria thoroughly is one of the most important things you can do when preparing your application. Here’s one of the main points of focus that the University of Chicago uses in its selection process:


UChicago welcomes students from all backgrounds, so don’t be afraid to highlight the more unique aspects of yourself. Try to talk about more outside-of-the-box experiences that you may have had. Did you grow up somewhere outside of the country? Maybe you've volunteered, worked on a family farm, or had unique obstacles to overcome. What did you learn? How did you use that knowledge to further your goals?

Show a unique side of yourself, and you can truly stand out as an applicant.

Understanding What the University Values

A great tip is to understand the university’s values. Below are a couple of UChicago’s values you can think about while you complete your application. 

Changing the World for the Better

The University of Chicago pushes students to better the world around them. In your application essays, give concrete examples of steps you have taken to make the world a better place. No matter how small of a task, show the University of Chicago that you have the drive to improve people's lives and have already taken the initiative.

Also, reinforce to the admissions committee that you plan to continue helping the world. Whether your goal is to develop new life-changing medications or start your own company, make sure that you leave the admissions committee with the impression that you want to make the world a better place for all.

Critical Thinking and Inquiry

UChicago finds great value in debate, critical thought, and intensive inquiry. Be sure to highlight any instances where you embodied these values, as doing so can help you stand out in the admissions process.

The University of Chicago Essay Prompts

The UChicago supplemental essays can show an admissions committee another side to you. The essays are the place to put forward the unique aspects of your personality. You can discuss your life experiences and the things that drive you. 

To write stellar essays, pick topics that you feel passionate about. Ensure you answer all parts of the questions, avoid clichés, and use your own voice! 

The essay portion of the UChicago application is unique. There are two required essays, and both are very different from the other. For the first essay, you have one prompt to answer:

“How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.”

For the second essay, The University of Chicago presents prompts that are a lot more outside of the box. You will have to pick one to answer in the best way that you see fit. 

Here are the 2024-2025 UChicago supplemental essay prompts:

Option 1

“Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary.”
– Inspired by Emmett Cho, Class of 2027

Option 2

“‘Where have all the flowers gone?’ – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer.”
– Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB’21

Option 3

“‘Vlog,’ ‘Labradoodle,’ and ‘Fauxmage.’ Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a ‘patch’ (perfect match).”
– Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027

Option 4

“A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept.”
– Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027

Option 5

"Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why?"
– Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027

Option 6

“There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. But of course, some rules should be broken or updated. What is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist? (Our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. Enjoy!)”
– Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026

Option 7

“And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). 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!”

Please note that these essays should be written in addition to the Common Application essays. Alternatively, if you apply to UChicago via the Coalition Application, you’ll have to respond to several different prompts


Still curious about how to get into the University of Chicago? Here are some common questions answered. 

1. Does the University of Chicago Accept Transfer Credit?

The University of Chicago does accept transfer credit for specific courses depending on the subject and the grade received. 

2. What GPA Do I Need to Get Into the University of Chicago?

The University of Chicago does not place the most emphasis on applicant GPAs, so there is no minimum GPA for admission. If you can portray your best qualities through your essays or make excellent test scores, you will be able to make up for what might feel like a low GPA. 

3. When Should I Prepare for the University of Chicago?

You should start preparing your application early. The University of Chicago admissions process can take a lot of time. You can have a more streamlined, relaxed application process by starting your application well in advance. Make sure to keep the UChicago application deadlines in mind. 

4. What Should I Do if I Get Rejected from the University of Chicago?

If you get rejected from the University of Chicago, it does not reflect your intelligence or abilities. You can try again in the next admissions cycle as a first-year student or spend a year at a different school and then apply as a transfer candidate.

5. What Is the University of Chicago Known For? 

The University of Chicago is known for its affiliation with nearly 100 Nobel Prize winners and numerous other award winners, as well as its globally recognized achievements in science and engineering. 

6. Does the University of Chicago Care About Demonstrated Interest?

No, the University of Chicago does not consider demonstrated interest as part of their admissions process.

7. Does the University of Chicago Require an Interview for Admission?

No, the University of Chicago does not require an interview, however, if you want to share more about yourself in your application, you can submit a two-minute video introduction. Your video doesn't have to be perfectly rehearsed or edited. You can record it using any platform you like. 

Final Thoughts

The University of Chicago is a diverse, prestigious school known for producing successful alumni. To give yourself the best chance of getting in, make sure to start your application early. Pay attention to the details, and don’t miss the deadlines! 

Overall, the University of Chicago is a challenging school to get into. However, with the right amount of time, energy, and preparation, you can increase your chances of attending this prestigious school. If you still think you need help getting into the University of Chicago, consider our UChicago admissions counseling services to increase your chances of admissions success.

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