U Chicago can be a bit of a pre-med grinder but I personally believe it's ultimately not a bad choice. Just don't expect to breeze through and be willing to alter your study strategies if they aren't cutting it. Increased studying is not always the best option.
When I went to a premed information session during admit weekend, the college placement office (forget the name) said that ~65% of people from UChicago who applied got in/accepted. While I'm not sure about the technicalities of this statistic, all I know is that this is much lower than Chicago's rival schools. Almost all the other schools I looked at were 80+%.
The reason given for this low number was that they did not refuse people from applying, even if the person had no chance of success. I am not sure how to take this...but I thought I would share it with you.
I will be attending the college in the fall, I'll let you know more then.
@pandapals: I've heard that a lot of other undergrad schools won't write you a committee letter or try to discourage you from applying if you aren't up to par. I have no idea if Chicago does this, but that might explain the difference in percentage accepted somewhere.
Cue7 is hardly the final authority on this topic. Anyone who looks at Cue7's posts should wonder if the poster had an axe to grind, or a grudge against UofC, because of the huge number of claims, guesstimates and such all made in the absence of any data.
Truth is that UofC is stingy with regard to data that would allow us to draw informed conclusions. Take GPA for example. Street lore has it that UofC's average GPA is much lower than at peer institutions. Since UofC does not release any official stats, it is easy to draw any conclusion you want. However, at convocation two years ago, I used the time between names (1000 names being read takes a while, especially when your kid is in the last dozen or so...) to count the number graduating with honors. about 70%! This means the median (and probably the average) GPA is well above 3.25. We don't know how much higher, but it should be quite a bit. BTW, the following year, another parent did a count with similar results and conclusions.
Welcome back newmassdad. At the very least, those thread promote discussion Premeds need all the info they can get their hands on when even Florida International University's new Medical School (this is their second class) accepted just 43 students (average GPA: 3.7) out of 3606 applicants. Let's hope UofC becomes more forthcoming with their numbers now that the Medical School will have a new dean as of October 1.
I was actually wrestling between Chicago and Duke last April, and quite a bit of my final decision had to do with the pre-med programs.
I absolutely loved a lot of aspects about Chicago, but I too have heard the awful rumors about Chicago having bad med school placement. A lot of this came from reading posts on this forum (especially by Cue7). Basically, from what I understood, Chicago does a lot of grade deflation, which is bad because GPA is so so so important for med school. While some say that med schools know this and account for the grade deflation, I read somewhere on CC (I think by Cue7) that med schools account by giving you a .1 GPA boost when comparing you to peer schools. And as you can probably guess, this is problamatic because grade deflation is rumored to be a lot worse than .1.
Now, I'm not sure how true this is, but my experiences with my visit did kind of back up this impression. The admissions presenter seemed wary of giving out med school acceptance data, and no one I talked at the admissions office could/would give me this information. The presenter actually just kind of brushed aside my question and moved along quickly to the next topic. While this doesn't suggest anything concrete, I can tell you that other peer schools I considered proudly offerred this information without even being asked. Duke practically boasted about their 85% med school acceptance rate, and WashU did the same. I'm not sure if Duke/WashU discourages unqualified applicants from applying, but none of the students I talked to gave me that impression. If anything, I heard Duke encourages a lot of people to take a gap year, but then again, a lot of college do that. Also, the students that apply after taking a gap year would still be counted in their med school acceptance rate. So, yeah, the fact that Chicago didn't give me this statistic, let alone offer it up themselves seemed a little shady to me.
Also, when I did my overnight at Chicago, I talked to a lot of premeds there. They all told me that premed at Chicago is pretty much death and is very very very intense. Obviously an exaggeration, but still, very different from what Duke students told me. Those students told me that premed was definitely difficult, but very doable if you were willing to put the time in to it. Also, they told me that they felt quite guided by their school in the med school application/preparation process, something else I did not hear from Chicago kids.
In the end, I cannot say that I have any concrete evidence about the validity of Cue7's statements. However, they did cast a shadow of doubt in my mind, and in the end, I decided I wasn't willing to risk this. Because at $55,000 a year, I wanted to be pretty darn sure about the quality of the premed program.
But perhaps quality is the wrong word. UChicago is great in that all the instruction is truly top notch from what I can tell. I always thought to myself that I would completely trust UChicago with training my mind. Chicago teaches you how to think in a completely new way that will be so important later on. And the few classes I sat in on definitely supported this. But, yeah, think about how confident you are about doing well there and maintaining a high-ish GPA when you decide for yourself what is the right premed program for you.
Also, I personally didn't let pre-med programs be the main reason I didn't pick Chicago. I considered a lot of other things too, and perhaps for me, the decision was a lot easier because I picked Duke over Chicago for a lot more than the pre-med programs. I'm not sure what other factors you're going to consider, but I strongly urge to look very closely into Chicago, because as amazing as I think it is, it's definitely not for everyone.
So, if I didn't pick Chicago, why am I in the Chicago forum? Ah, nostalgia.......(I always kind of wished a bit that Chicago had been right for me.) But don't get me wrong, I love Duke too! haha.
Last edited by mermaid123456; 08-15-2010 at 11:03 PM.
mermaid123456: Glad to hear you're enjoying Duke, and I hope you're looking forward to school starting back up again soon! I'm sorry to hear the pre-med advisors were so opaque when you visited Chicago.
Newmassdad: Glad to see you're back on this message board and continuing to ignore how much I tried to qualify all of my previous posts on this topic (e.g. I went to Chicago years ago, it may be different now... take all of this with a grain of salt, etc.). Please also note that, despite my supposed negativity about Chicago's law and med placement, I've raved about Chicago's placement for PhD programs and business school placement. I still stick behind all that - if you're into a career as an academic or feel like an MBA may be for you, Chicago competes with anyone. For law and medicine, I still think there are schools out there that place better. Newmassdad, I hardly think this kind of assertion is misguided or negative, but I can't really argue this point much more with you. For those of you that are interested, in past threads, I've posted the law placement at Yale, Princeton, etc. If all of you current Chicago students think Chicago's law placement is now at this level, then I'll be happy to note that my alma mater has improved significantly on this front.
Either way, what mermaid123456 mentioned above is what frustrates me about pre-professional advising at Chicago. They hold all of their useful information and statistics so close to the vest, and are generally just too opaque. Combine this with the general negativity surrounding pre-med at Chicago (as mermaid123456 observed), and it makes for a very puzzling atmosphere. Maybe it's all a big cover-up hiding the fact that Chicago pre-meds are having the time of their lives while all gaining acceptances to Harvard and Hopkins Med. Somehow, though, I doubt that.
As I've said many times before, what frustrates me the most is Chicago not having more information publicly available. It doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but when I see such a lack of transparency, it makes me begin to doubt the strength of the placement (in comparison to peer schools).
It is so interesting that folks like Cue7 can take no information and comfortably draw conclusions.
Maybe its best to say that since Medicine is still a science and data driven discipline, folks that can't get used to the way one properly analyzes data, including how to handle missing data, maybe don't belong in the field?
FYI, I have no dog in this fight other than the fact that I hate to see a decent place maligned (especially when it is obvious that some folks actually listen to the "conclusions") based on the absence of a particular kind of data. Heck, I'm well beyond the pre-med point in my life. My own kid has thankfully passed that bridge, too, and on to other things.
So readers, think what you want, of course. But please realize that UofC may in fact be doing you a favor by not releasing the data Cue7 wants.
newmassdad -- You are being completely unfair. Cue7 has been very good at developing data for his arguments, and fair in presenting them. The students'-eye view in my house is consistent with his overall position: that the University of Chicago does not do as good a job as some of its peers in supporting students who want to go to law school or medical school. Not a terrible job, just not as good a job as one would hope. It's something they have to work on.
I'll be interested to see what happens this year with Kid #2's friends, some of whom are interested in law school and have very good records at Chicago. (Not a single one of Kid #1's friends looked at law school.)
I will leave this discussion with the following comment:
Anecdotal reports of how well someone does or does not do in applying to Med School, or anything else, for that matter, may be informative, could even be "data" but is hardly useful in deciding if UofC does "not as good a job as one would hope".
To start, few people know how well someone actually does. People exaggerage (round up?). "Common Sense" is not always right - take the GPA issue for example.
There is no question Que7 argues. But argument for the sake of argument may be very UofC like, but when one must argue from unsupported assumptions, it is hard to weigh the validity of the argument, much less the conclusions.
A small aside: I agree that few people know how well someone actually does. But my one data point indicates that UofC students round down when they exaggerate. And my understanding of the wider "GPA issue" suggests that she's not the only one.