How To Get Into The University Of Chicago: A Complete Guide

Picture of a white and orange building located on the University of Chicago campus
November 30, 2023
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 11/24/23

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

University of Chicago campus on a snowy day

As you get ready to start applying to universities, you may have considered attending the University of Chicago. It is a consistently high-ranking school 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.

University of Chicago Acceptance Rate

UChicago’s acceptance rate for 2023 is 5.4%, 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
2022-2023 5%
2021-2022 6%
2020-2021 7.31%

UChicago's acceptance rate compared to how many students Quad get's into the same school!

University of Chicago Yield Rate

The University of Chicago’s yield rate, also known as enrollment rate, is 85.02% for 2023. The average yield rate at UChicago for the past 11 years is 70.91%. 

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

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. 

University of Chicago Admissions Requirements

For the best chance of getting into UChicago, you should maintain a high GPA of at least 4.0. You should also aim for a score of 1560 on the SAT and 36 on the ACT. To improve your chances further, take challenging AP or IB courses and write strong essays that demonstrate a passion for learning. 

UChicago’s admission process is holistic and test-optional. UChicago realizes that standardized testing is not a foolproof way of determining one’s potential. 

However, recent admissions statistics can give you an idea of where you stand in comparison:

University of Chicago SAT Requirements

The recent class profile notes how the middle 50% of admitted applicants had SAT test scores ranging from 1510 to 1560. 

The overall score range for admitted students was 1020-1600 for the SAT.

University of Chicago ACT Requirements 

While the college has no official ACT test requirements, the middle 50% of admitted students had ACT composite scores that ranged from 34 to 35. The overall score range for admitted students was 20 to 36 for the ACT. 

University of Chicago GPA Requirements

The GPA requirements for the University of Chicago are not specified, but UChicago’s average GPA is 4.48. So, achieving an unweighted GPA of at least 3.5 or higher in challenging classes will give you the best chance at admission.

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How to Apply to the University of Chicago

Applying to the University of Chicago involves preparation and planning. Here, we will discuss the steps of the application. 

University of Chicago Application Process

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 (it is known to be one of the most expensive colleges in the US)
  • 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

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 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 deadline for Early Action is November 1st
  • Early Decision I 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. The deadline to apply for Early Decision I is November 1st
  • Early Decision II has the same binding admissions aspect as Early Decision II, but the deadlines for this path are later in the year. The deadline to apply for Early Decision II is January 2nd
  • 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 deadline to apply for Regular Decision is January 2nd
Early Action Early Decision I Early Decision II Regular Decision
Application Due Date November 1 November 1 January 2 January 2
Admission Decision Date Mid-December Mid-December Mid-February Late March
Student Rely Due Date May 1 Mid-January Early March May 1

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

University of Chicago Supplemental Essays

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! 

UChicago Essay Prompts

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 2023-2024 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

“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 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

FAQs: How to Get Into the University of Chicago 

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

1. What Does the University of Chicago Look For in Applicants?

The University of Chicago places a heavy interest in inquiry, debate, and critical thought, as well as using these values to make impactful changes to the world. If you align with these goals and values, you will stand out to the UChicago admissions committee.

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

2. 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. 

3. 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. 

4. 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. 

5. 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.

6. 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. 

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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