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Waitlisted and can't decide what to do! (UChicago 2024)

hypemasterhypemaster 0 replies1 threads New Member
Hi, everyone!

I'm a high school senior in Oklahoma. I was recently waitlisted at the University of Chicago. This is without a doubt my top-choice school, and I would love to attend if accepted off the waitlist. My family does not have the financial resources to fully fund an undergraduate at UChicago, however, and as I have not yet been accepted, I do not know what aid would be available to me. Within the next week, I would like to send my regional admissions officer a letter of continued interest that emphasizes my desire to attend the university. In the letter, I would ideally mention that if accepted off the waitlist, I would absolutely, no-doubt-about-it enroll as a full-time undergraduate--and in an ideal world, I absolutely would! In all honesty, though, my ultimate decision will come down to finances. I used the net-price calculator available to help estimate my aid, but even that amount might be too great to realistically afford at the end of the day (after the grant, my cost was about $21,000, with $3000 coming from self-help work, neglecting outside scholarships). My family went through a rough patch a few years back and I unfortunately do not have too much in my college savings at the moment.

Outside of UChicago, I was also accepted to my in-state school (OU) with a really great NMF scholarship package (it'll cost about $7000 per year for me to attend, on average, neglecting outside scholarships). I really enjoy the school and I would have no problem with going there at all, especially if it ends up as my only/most-ideal option.

If I end up at UChicago, I'll have about $7500 in outside scholarship money to help me; if I go to OU, I'll have about $5000 (OU incorporates the NM $2500 into their overall package). I will continue applying for outside scholarships, especially if I end up at UChicago.

All this in mind, I wanted to ask a few questions:

1) Will mentioning my financial situation to my UChicago admissions counselor in my letter of continued interest harm my chances of admission? I do not want to be in the situation where I say that I will attend no matter what, end up being accepted (yay!), but then ultimately turn down the university due to finances. That's just dishonest! At the same time, though, I want to do all I can to get off the waiting list. Well, if getting off the waiting list is even in my best interests, which brings me to...

2) Is it even worth it to go through the motions of trying to get off the waitlist? UChicago is definitely my top choice school, but they seem to waitlist a LOT of people, and they're definitely in the driver's seat right now. They could easily choose to admit individuals who are able to pay full price and then some to their college, and while I can dress my recent accomplishments however I like, I really feel like don't bring all that much to the school. I was super shocked to even be waitlisted! I also understand that this is just my undergraduate education, and OU will almost certainly be less of a financial burden at the end of the day.

3) What is the maximum amount of student loans an undergraduate should take out? This obviously varies from situation to situation, and this might be super-naive of me to ask, but I figured I would anyway. If it helps, I'm a student interested in physics and music, and after college, I will likely go on to graduate school in a subset of physics before entering the career field.

Even if you can only really answer part of a question, anything helps. I appreciate you all for just reading this far in the first place! If you need any additional information, just let me know. Thank you very much, and I hope you all are staying safe and healthy in these uncertain times.

edited April 6
3 replies
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Replies to: Waitlisted and can't decide what to do! (UChicago 2024)

  • happymomof1happymomof1 30598 replies194 threads Senior Member
    When you ran the Net Price Calculator for U of Chicago, what did your family say about the $21,000 that the calculator determined your family would be expected to cover? How much of that can they actually come up with?

    The maximum federal loan for a freshman is $5,500. Sophomore year $6,500, junior year $7,500, senior year $7,500. Total for four years is $27,000.

    Accept OU.

    Let U of Chicago know that you remain interested, and would attend provided the financial aid package makes that possible. They already have your aid application.

    Wait and see what happens. If you are admitted and get an aid package, ask how your outside scholarship(s) would be applied. Often those reduce the amount of aid that will come from the college/university, and don't change the family's expected contribution at all.

    When/if you have offers to compare, you can run the numbers with this handy calculator: https://www.finaid.org/calculators/awardletteradvanced.phtml

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  • shmu61shmu61 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 8
    UChicago is known to be quite generous for financial aid. I would definitely pursue getting off the waitlist, especially if you’re interested in physics (because UChicago physics is REALLY good).

    All the best!!!
    edited April 8
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  • happy1happy1 23831 replies2384 threads Super Moderator
    Right now your answer seems easy....deposit at OU and stay on the waitlist at UChicago.

    If you get off the waitlist (which you definitely cannot count on) then you can assess the financial package and decide if UChicago affordable.
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