UChicago: "Eccentric" Student Body?

<p>I'll be a senior this year at a well respected HS in the St. Louis area that generally sends 10-15 kids a year to Ivy/Ivy equivalents. We almost always have 1 or 2 kids heading to UChicago. Personally, my stats are pretty good and I think I am a reasonably competitive candidate for many of the USNews Top 20 schools.</p>

<p>I have always been greatly impressed by what I have heard and read about the academic strength and approach of Chicago; I will be doing a campus tour in early September. At this point, I think Chicago may be my primary target during the admissions process.</p>

<p>But, I'll be honest about some apprehension I have. When I compare the kids from my school who matriculated at Chicago vs those at say, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, there is a noticeable difference. The Chicago kids are smart, no doubt, but not at the very top of the class. Yet there is this sort of eccentricity about them, tinged with a bit of intellectual arrogance. They sort of have a " I may not have been the valedictorian but I am waaaay smarter than the kid who's going to Princeton who was. The GPA game was not important to me." It just seems to my that a lot of the kids heading to other top schools seem a little less haughty, more well rounded, and more sociable.</p>

<p>Though I am near the top of my class, I kind of blend in, do a LOT of activities, and am very sociable. (By the way, my dad went to Stanford U/g and did a year of postgrad at Chicago and thought that the undergrads were anti-social, "weirdish" and seemed miserable all the time. But that was 27 years ago!)</p>

<p>Do you think these observations are way off base? Maybe I have a skewed sample of only 6 or 7 U Chicago matriculants ?</p>

<p>You have a skewed sample of only 6 or 7 UChicago matriculants. There is no single character for the people who enroll in ANY of the schools you are talking about -- some from Column A, some from Column B, and a bunch from each of Columns C-BN.</p>

<p>But you're not way off base, either. In my son's high school class, the "eccentric" (I'm not sure that's the right word) too-good-for-class-rank kid went to Harvard, and the blend-in, well-rounded, do-a-LOT-of-activities, sociable, never-pretended-to-be-a-deep-thinker kids went to Yale and Chicago. But over the whole spectrum of kids admitted to all these different schools, I think a few more of the kids you are describing seem to wind up at Chicago on average. And, speaking of the spectrum, I have the impression that Chicago admits and enrolls more kids who are on it, so to speak, than its peers. I think you are much more likely to encounter Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory at Chicago than at Harvard or Princeton. It's part of the fun of being a Chicago student that sometimes you get to tell weird classmate stories.</p>

<p>But that's a tiny portion of the student body. If you drew a Venn diagram, the overlap between the Chicago student body and that of any of the other colleges you are looking it is huge, and only a sliver of each really differs.</p>

<p>The notion that the undergrads, as a whole, are anti-social, weirdish, and miserable IS outdated. They're not. They tend to be social, well-adjusted, reasonably happy except perhaps during 10th week, and very into learning in an academic mode.</p>

<p>I have noticed what the OP is talking about, however, I don't think it's due to pretentiousness.
UChicago, for a school of its caliber and respect in the academic world, suffers from a lack of name recognition among the general public. Though most people would contend that recognition isn't that important, and really, it's not, it is still rather uncomfortable to know that your academic peers are institutions like Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, etc., yet the general public gasps at my foolishness to turn down NYU for UChicago (please do not take offense, this is not to insult NYU, which is obviously an impressive and successful university).
Thus, as a way to validate us to ourselves, we make this argument. I must agree with JHS, for the most part the people here are "normal" (but what is normal anyway?). We do take our academics very seriously-and as a digression I'd like to say that you will never be disappointed by the UofC's academics-but we have fun.
Students at Yale or MIT rarely have to defend their school's reputation, yet as their peers, we at UofC, for doing the same quality of work, must defend our school. When I told this girl I know that I got denied from Harvard, she asked me where I am going. To the response of "The University of Chicago," she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Oh, not bad."
As long as the person you are talking to is educated, he/she should recognize UChicago's caliber. My doctor, who is extremely intelligent, was very impressed that I am going to UChicago.
If you do get into Chi, you'll probably fit right in. Many, many people here were at the top of their class. I know quite a few people who were valedictorians/salutatorians/who've had 10+ AP's/who've had perfect ACT's, etc. But Chicago wants more than just numbers. They want a unique way of thinking from their students. This might account for some of the relative lower stats you've heard of.</p>

<p>OP, I can understand your fear that you will end up with a bunch of kids who didn't have to work so hard or achieve as much at UChicago. You are too good for UChicago. Please don't stoop so low.</p>

<p>search posts by unalove. I think she answered this issue in several posts.</p>

<p>Given the OP's number of posts, I think we can safely conclude that he's either satisfied with our answers or just trolling.</p>