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30,369 people apply to UChicago 2017


Replies to: 30,369 people apply to UChicago 2017

  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member

    That's the idea exactly. Determining strength of the undergraduate curriculum by faculty breadth/depth/output is a poor exercise indeed. That's the point both JHS and I try to make, and the error with Phuriku's analysis.
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 417 Member
    One thing that people forget is that, UChicago is using its marketing money to market to places and people who dont know UChicago at all. The "growth" is from virgin territories... which explains why its so explosive.

    Marketing is the school's way of democratizing the application process. UChicago should not be only for people who are "in the know" but should be made accessible to those who would be a good fit but were born in a place where UChicago is unknown.

    That is not mean-spirited. Its the right thing to do.
  • jak321jak321 - Posts: 173 Junior Member
    Exactly, but lets not put on white hats and pretend that UChicago is doing it because it's the "right" thing. They're doing it because it is the right thing for the university itself, but it just so happens that a colleges and a students motives can be aligned.
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 417 Member
    For me, if the college and the overall pool of applicants benefit (or are on balance unharmed), then it is the "right" thing to do. I think people tend to confuse doing what is right with sacrificing for what is right. The college does not have to continue to sacrifice its potential popularity with the masses, to do right by applicants.
  • overachiever28overachiever28 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    why is uchicago suddenly receiving significantly more applicants in the past five years? is there something i am missing? I just dont get it. in five years the application percentage went from 25 to 9 percent is just unbelievable
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 417 Member
    In a way, it is unbelievable. Otoh, it isn't. It used to be that UChicago either didnt care that their applicants only came from a specific socio-economic stratum or a specific geographic area. Academics and Industry knew it was a great school, with historical claims to being the best and the first in so many areas in Physics (hubble, argonne, fermi, atom bomb), economics (chicago school),business(Booth, CRSP, economic journals), Law (Law & Econ, Supreme Court Clerkships, Conservative movement, women's rights), Literature & Liberal Arts (Great books, Core, Philosophy Divinity school, math, chemistry. But like many Intellectual snobs in their Ivory Towers, they did not care about popular with the masses, money, or media because they already had influence and fame where they thought it counted. They valued theory and intellectualism and believed that the rest will take care of itself. Hence, even when USNews didnt think much of UChicago, it was celebrated by world rankings of universities.

    It was a great product (or service) that was not being conveyed to a wider audience. This was ok but the side effect was many alums and students felt undervalued by those who are not "in the know". They couldn't brag about their accomplishments to their grandmas and their grocers.

    Given the increasing democratization of Education, and the risk that the University wont have enough resources to be able to preserve the good life that it has been giving the Intellectual snobs, it realized that it had to open its doors to people it didn't care much to attract before e.g the hicks in Kansas and Texas, the inner city kids in its own backyard, California, and all those liberals who care too much about the world and care too little about the life of the mind.

    Now that it is showing that it cares about those people by spending money, those people are returning the love. And USNews noticed. UChicago is changing, and yet it has not - by opening its doors, it is only being true to its claims that it is the wild wild west of ideas: where you are free to advocate anything and everything as long as you are ready to be challenged and defend your ideas. And the hicks, poor uncouth inner city folks, Californians, and liberals are getting into the mix.

    I think its a good thing. I like change in general. I like this change, in particular.
  • MusicRodentMusicRodent Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    Awesome post FStratford
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,793 Senior Member
    Well... while Fstratford makes some very good points, going to the Common App is probably at the top of the list in reasons for application growth.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,021 Senior Member
    Nope. Certainly a factor, but not even arguably "the top of the list".

    A decade ago, five years before adopting the Common Application, Chicago was getting about 8,000 applications per year. Five years later, the year before going to the Common App, it got 12,400 applications. The next year, with the Common App, it got 13,600 applications -- basically the same rate of increase it had had for a few years. The next year, there was a more significant increase, to 19,300 applications, and credit for some of that doubtless goes to the Common App. But over the ensuing four years applications have gone up another 56%, to 30,100 this year.

    At the top of the food chain, everyone's application numbers have been increasing over the same period. Ten years ago, Harvard got fewer than 20,000 applications; this year I think it's around 34,000. In the 2005 application season, Duke got 18,100 applications, vs. about 31,700 this year.

    Chicago is hardly the only college ever to have moved from a unique application to the Common App. I think it has been common for them to have application increases in the first two years of accepting the Common App. Cornell adopted the Common App a few years before Chicago, and went from 21,000 applications the year before to 28,000 two years later. USC bumped from 37,000 applications to 46,000 when it adopted the Common App. All of that is basically consistent with Chicago's Common App-related increase. But none of them has has anything like the over 50% increase that Chicago has experienced since.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,793 Senior Member
    Mmm, but I would argue that none of those other colleges combined the Common App change with the massive increase in marketing U of C has undertaken in the past few years. I actually don't dispute any of Fstratford points. I think U of C has a great product, and has been "undervalued" in the market over the years. But it is a combination of access and marketing push that has been a big factor in increasing the number of applications.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    Fstratford, many of your assumptions are deeply flawed.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,021 Senior Member
    My point is I think the marketing, and the persistent reinforcement in USNWR and elsewhere that Chicago belongs among the top universities in terms of quality, and the long-term effects of having happier undergraduates because more attention was being paid to their well-being, and significant improvements in Chicago's financial aid programs for poorer students -- all of those are big contributors to the increase, probably more significantly than the Common App. And also the general increase in applications everywhere among prestigious colleges, which is probably based on things as diverse as an increase in the number of applications per student as admissions has gotten harder to predict and increased prosperity in Asia generally, creating more demand for elite education in the West.
  • jak321jak321 - Posts: 173 Junior Member
    I would probably agree with intparent. Chicago's switch to the common app has almost certainly been the major factor that has led to Chicago's precipitous increase in applications, for the simple reason that the switch has given Chicago room to grow. To those people who knew about "American education's best kept secret", the uncommon app was no obstacle at all, but to all those "hicks, poor uncouth inner city folks, Californians, and liberals", those very people Chicago has so successfully reached out to with its marketing in the last few years, the uncommon application would have been an almost insurmountable obstacle. As such, it is only because of the switch that Chicago's marketing has culminated in meaningful improvements in its applicant tally. And I'd wager that if they removed their essay in favor of a more Harvard-esque approach, they're applicant tally would rise even further, faster! (And I pray to god that they never go down that road)
  • PoplicolaPoplicola Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    Thank you for such a thoughtful and well-written post, FStratford.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,021 Senior Member
    What could you possibly mean by "unsurmountable obstacle"? The difference between having the Common App plus supplement and having a unique application amounts to having to type your name and address, and a few basic facts about yourself, one extra time. It can't make more than a 30-minute difference (and that's very generous).

    Going to the Common App certainly seems to increase applications -- that's consistent across many different colleges. But it's not actually that meaningful a change, especially in Chicago's case where the real obstacle -- a unique additional essay with a quirky prompt, in addition to the standard "Why This College? paragraph" -- remains. (Harvard doesn't ask for any additional essays in its supplement, and that surely contributes to Harvard's high application numbers relative to its peers, but its peers have numbers close enough to Harvard's to make it silly to suggest that ease of applying is the most important factor in generating applications.)
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