Can a current student or anyone describe the workload at UChicago?
Hi guys. I was admitted EA and I'm really excited. UChicago sounds perfect for me, but could someone describe exactly what the classes are like and how accessible the professors are? Also, opinion concerning the topic of this post would help too. Thanks!
Mmm, you should be able to dig up some old threads dealing with the same questions -- it's something that's been discusses ad nauseum. That said, I'll try to give a brief summary. Workload isn't terrible-- you will absolutely still have time to be involved in numerous ECs or watch movies every night (though likely not both!). I'm 5 or so RSOs (Registered Student Organizations), and play a sport on the side, but by all indications I'm doing fine academically (3.6 GPA, with 4 classes). I'd say between 5 and 10 hours a week per class is average, depending, of course, on which classes; honors calc takes up much more, from what I've heard. Classes, especially Core, are small -- capped at 19, though my SOSC was under 10! Professors have always been willing to meet with me/answer questions/help with papers/etc, though I've only had 1 quarter of classes, so I may not be the best judge .
(1) Workload: This is highly dependent on what you already know in the subject, how much effort you want to put in the class, what class you are taking and the professor you are taking the class from. I'm just a first year (so I don't have loads of experience), but I know some stuff from the experience of both from my personal experience and my friend's. For instance, I have two friends that are taking Reading Cultures. One read 4 books first quarter (and only read part of one of them) while the other read the same 4 books in complete AND an additional two books.
From my experience (taking IBL Honors Calculus, Honors Physics, Greek Thought and Literature and Social Science Inquiry), Honors classes are a lot more work than regular classes. I could have taken Calc 153, spent maybe 2 hours outside of class on the work, but instead, I'm spending ~10 hours outside of class. Same thing with physics.
If you stay true to your placement (they have you take placement tests in math/chem/bio/language), you can manage to spend an average of 10 hours per class (including lecture/discussion/etc) plus any labs you might have and do fine which leaves plenty of time for RSOs, fun, etc.
Overall, I would say very doable. Just stay true to yourself and what you know you are capable of.
(2) Professors: They are mostly extremely approachable. I had one bad case of this but my understanding this is more or less a rarity. My other professors were easy to reach via email or office hours.
Thanks -CS. I hope you are about the professors.
But 4 books per quarter is a lot less than I expected. But I presume you dive very deep into the books, but depth rather than range is better for me actually.
As a note, honors exists only in lower level Math, Physics and Chemistry, for students with more background. There aren't honors tracks.
Core classes aren't dramatically easier than anything else, but they have fixed curricula, which makes them far more predictable in workload than any other classes. There are anthropology classes that assign one or two books per class meeting (twice a week), and I took a grad linguistics seminar (I'm doing a BA/MA) which was a great class, but for which we had to read about 200 pages total, and write just brief responses.
Problem sets likewise very widely. Some classes will be arbitrarily easy, and some (read: the entire Chemistry major) will require multiple full days of work each week.
Most professors have office hours, and generally will make appointments for just about anything within a few days, but that's their choice, and you get extremes on both ends. You get some who invite you over for dinner, and some who (while usually well meaning) are too busy to pick up their phone or answer email, and require some stalking to talk to.