College Workload

How is the workload as a freshman in Uchicago in comparison to the workload of other schools? University of Chicago is my dream school, and I am planning to apply for Early Decision. My only hesitation is the amount of workload that freshmen get because many people have said that Uchicago is very intense and work-oriented in comparison to other schools.

^ It would be difficult if not impossible for most here to answer accurately because they/their kids aren’t at other schools. Also, beginning Fall '21 the academic calendar will actually change and no one really knows what impact, if any, that will have on the pace or level of intensity. What is it about the place makes it your “dream school?” What are you looking for in a college?

I am looking for a college that challenges me to do better, but at the same time doesn’t cause me to “lose my social life”. To me University of Chicago is my dream school because I love the campus in general, and also I want to go into pre-med which is really good in University of Chicago.

UChicago has a reputation for rigorous academics, and a lack of inflation (not grade deflation necessarily, but not inflation like other schools.) Your choice honestly depends on how much time (relatively speaking) you want to devote to academics vs. extracurricular pursuits—both are important to the med school application process and to your personal and professional success.

If you’re someone who is more academically-inclined and enjoys reading a ton, then UChicago may be a good fit for you. Now, I’m obviously biased since I go here, but Brown’s a good fit for students who like academics but want more free time to spend on other pursuits (Open Curriculum leaves a lot of freedom when it comes to course selection, but it’s not for everyone.)

OTOH, UChicago’s CORE Curriculum, like Columbia, shapes much of the College’s academic life: you’ll be taking the same or a similar set of classes as your peers with a variety of interests.

However, both schools have strong pre-med advising programs and opportunities (UChicago Medicine,) a variety of extracurricular organizations, and will get you where you want to be----as long as you’re willing to put in the necessary effort.

If UChicago’s your top choice, I highly, highly recommend applying ED, but only if ALL of the following are true:

  1. You LOVE UChicago and would 110% attend if admitted.
  2. You're extremely confident you can present a well thought out and crafted application by the ED deadline, which is typically November 1st.
  3. You and your family can afford UChicago if admitted (run the financial aid calculators if applicable.) While UChicago DOES offer highly-selective merit scholarships, if you do not qualify for an automatic merit scholarship AND would require one of these in-order to attend, I would recommend applying EA or RD instead in-order to compare merit and financial aid offers.

UChicago Merit:

Hope that helps! Good luck with admissions!

OP, many competitive schools offer a wonderful pre-med program. You will need to articulate in your application what it is about UChicago specifically that makes it special.

To answer your question about workload, most pre-meds start preparing in fall quarter of first year with Calc, Chem, Hum, and an optional fourth course (most incoming first years choose four but it’s possible to begin with three if you want to ease in). The pre-med requirements are very rigorous, but the curriculum and the pre-professional opportunities and advising will prepare you very well for medical school. Most pre-meds don’t have a lot of time for a social life but this is a personal decision based on your abilities and interests. In particular, finding meaningful volunteer or research opportunities can actually bolster your med school application. So figuring out how to make time for those will be important once you get settled into academic and collegiate life. UChicago Careers In Health can help you with that planning.