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UChicago-still HYPS reject land?

friedmanfriedman - Posts: 183 Junior Member
edited June 2013 in University of Chicago
I've been on the FB page for UChicago 2017, and it seems that a good number of students turned down HYPS, Columbia for UChicago. I'm sure that no matter what, a fair amount of students who were rejected from any of HYPS will come to Uchicago (and Penn, Dartmouth, Brown, and such), but does UofC still have that reputation among employers, academia and such? Are employers recognizing the place better? I just want to know my outlook.
Post edited by friedman on

Replies to: UChicago-still HYPS reject land?

  • LearningLoverLearningLover Registered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    I obviously don't have any stats on this but i'd bet against long odds that many more turned down chicago for HYPS. Out of the 5 people I know who got into UChicago four are going elsewhere (Yale,UPenn,Brown,a couple state schools/USC for financial reasons, etc). Going off parchment cross-admit statistics Chicago is 6th most desired after HYPSM, which is still pretty darn good.

    From the perspective of employers there's a lag time, like first the student body needs to become awesome, then these awesome people need to get good jobs, then these people need to move up through ranks and actually affect job (edit: hiring) decisions, so time-wise you'd rather go to UChicago in a decade rather than now, but atm it's still a very good school.

    Even if we're going to a tier 1.5 school, understand that 80% of our success is based on our own efforts. You don't need to be the happy optimist truth123 is, posting random articles about how totes awesome chicago is, but just accept that you have an internal locus of control and go kick but in college. Those that make it to harvard/get rejected out of >insert crap school here< have their lives a little more stratified, but we're in that happy middle where we should find more motivation than either groups because we have both the tools and motivation to fight for where we want to go.

    I had some doubts too because from a financial-educational perspective going to chicago was stupid compared to alternatives, but it was just a good 'fit', so I'm done worrying about whether it's a good school because I know that I'm gonna enjoy thriving there.

    In the end, find a rationale for why going to UChicago was right for you that is independent of other's agreeing with you.


    Now if all that inspiration wasn't useful, just think of UChicago as a startup that's not great now but seems to be on the rise, sorta like Stanford a couple decades past. The school's offering some more joint degrees (like 4-year comp sci masters), much better career placement, dropping half a billion on molecular engineering, reducing it's overall class size but not faculty, etc. Where will it go? Who knows. Maybe it'll become like stanford (should beat out harvard within a couple years) and self-perpetuate a rise in renown or maybe it will flame out like Duke did a decade ago to where it's still a top 10 college but the hype has died down a bit. Just know that in answer to you original question, UChicago is losing in general to HYPS, but it's not reject land. When I visited overnight I asked a student if people turn down Princeton et al. for UChicago and he responded along the lines of "well no, but.." Now UChicago is at least, as you note at the top of your post, part of the conversation.
  • luminalcoin8luminalcoin8 Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    I don't think the University of Chicago has ever had the reputation of being a place for Ivy League rejects. Not sure where you're getting that from...

    It seems there's been a trend recently that more and more kids who apply to HYPSMC (or whatever ridiculous acronym one prefers) are also applying, being admitted to, and enrolling at the University of Chicago. Before the recent push by President Zimmer and others to improve the quality of undergraduate life in the mid-2000s, UChicago had a stigma for being a self-selective school for all the wrong reasons: cold, unsupportive, socially awkward, and mind-numbingly boring. However, the recent marketing campaign led by Nondorf has communicated all the great qualities of the University (social and academic) to a wider audience, drawing more applications each year which lowered the acceptance rate and therefore finally gave UChicago the selectivity that mirrors how they offer (and have always offered) an academic experience just as good if not better than any school in the US.

    Are many of the students getting in and attending now students who also got into Ivies, whereas this wasn't the case before? Yes. But UChicago students before the days of Nondorf chose to attend not because they were Ivy rejects- but because they weren't attracted to those schools in the first place.
  • phurikuphuriku Registered User Posts: 2,779 Senior Member
    Back a decade or two ago when the yield was hovering around 20%, Chicago was a true Ivy backup. The situation improved in the latter years of Ted O'Neill's tenure when the admit rate decreased to the 30%'s and the yield increased to the mid-30%'s. As of 5 years ago, Chicago could no longer be referred to as an Ivy backup, although it could also no longer be called an Ivy-equivalent in terms of desirability. Although many people chose Chicago over schools like Cornell, you could hardly say that Chicago was performing at a level commensurate to its academic clout.

    Then Nondorf entered, and with a couple years of really good marketing, Chicago become a truly hot school. One could probably say that Chicago was performing at a level equal to the other Ivy leagues as of 2 years ago, and as of last year and this year, Chicago is just really killing it. As of last year, parchment.com ranks Chicago 6th nationally in cross-admit performance behind HYPSM and above schools like Columbia and Penn. Although statistically insignificant at a college-to-college level, Chicago is recorded to be taking about 40% of cross-admits with schools like Princeton, MIT, and Yale as well.

    It's interesting to see just how fast Chicago has risen, and it's a testament to how quickly the admissions landscape can change. Today, Chicago is hardly a school for HYPSM-rejects, and is probably performing on par with HYPSM. Although there will be students at Chicago who didn't get into HYPSM, there will also be plenty of students at HYPSM who were rejected at Chicago.
  • rhg3rdrhg3rd Registered User Posts: 947 Member
    A fair assumption is that those who make hiring decisions are about 15 years older than those being hired. Their personal opinions and biases mean more than the latest survey rankings. So a decade after OP graduates, Chicago will be more highly regarded by employers than it is today.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,018 Senior Member
    Kids, some nuance correction:

    The improvement of student life at Chicago didn't begin with President Zimmer. It began decades ago, starting at least with President Hanna Gray in the 1980s. Back then, Professor Zimmer was one of the young faculty members pushing that effort, along with Professor John Boyer, who is now on his fifth term and fourth president as Dean of the College. Dean Boyer has been in office 21 years, and everyone at Chicago knows he has been the main force behind the college's improvement, although having a close ally as president of the university has certainly increased the pace of change.

    This isn't a story of overnight success. It's a story of long, hard, careful, step-by-step work finally coming to fruition.

    It's also important to understand that, while the college had its problems, the University of Chicago itself has been world-class for three or four generations. Its graduate programs and professional schools are absolutely competitive with the best programs anywhere in a wide variety of fields. Boyer et al. were not building a first-rate university from the ground up, they were adapting the university a bit so that the college could achieve the same quality level that the rest of the university had (and, basically, so that the college could regain the status it had in the 1920s and 1930s).

    Anyway, re jobs: My older kid has an awesome job with a super-prestigious, brand-name nonprofit. They hired two people from hundreds of applicants, and the vast majority of the applicants had Ivy League degrees, including HYP. (The other person hired went to Brown, and was a Marshall Scholar.) My daughter didn't get the job because she went to the University of Chicago, but having gone to the University of Chicago was, for her employer, a plenty good-enough qualification for BA degree, and the rest of the job criteria went to what she had actually done and could do with her talents. The people who essentially made the hiring decision came from Columbia and Williams. That's the way jobs work in the real world.
  • phurikuphuriku Registered User Posts: 2,779 Senior Member

    Your post kind of has a "Get off my property, you damn kids" feel to it. Nevertheless, what you say has some truth to it, and it's true that many of the changes we're seeing now couldn't have occurred without the actions of pre-Zimmer administration, and Sonnenschein's reduction of the Core in the 90s comes to mind in particular.

    That being said, even as of 6-7 years ago, Chicago was still viewed as something of an Ivy League backup school. It had been struggling in the rankings, and was ranked 15th, the lowest in University history, by USNWR in 2006. As of 2006, its admit rate was still a lackluster 38%, its yield was in the low 30%'s, and it wasn't even receiving 10,000 applications a year.

    That's some pretty strong evidence that the 80s and 90s weren't nearly as transformational to Chicago's name brand that your post seems to imply. Chicago may have went from a 60% admit rate to a 38% admit rate over 15 years, but that's a pretty standard decrease due to app inflation. Also, yield didn't really improve until the end of O'Neill's tenure, as I indicated before. I'll also note that when I entered Chicago in 2007, financial aid was absolutely pathetic - my parents' income was literally $17k/year with no assets, and my tuition was over $20k/year. Nondorf's only been at Chicago for 4 years, and the admit rate has gone from 27% to 9%, and its yield from 36% to 55%. Not to mention that financial aid has gotten a WHOLE lot better, thanks to the Zimmer-Nondorf-Boyer trio.

    As such, I will stick to my original hypothesis - that Zimmer and Nondorf have made MUCH more impact than anyone else when it comes to brand recognition, and that those developments have primarily come in the last few years. Although Boyer has also been instrumental in the success of the College in recent years, Boyer was also around for a whole lot of Chicago's previous years of stagnation without having too much of a positive effect.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,018 Senior Member
    phuriku: What I was trying to tell you (and others) is that Chicago's "years of stagnation" (as far as the college was concerned; the rest of the university never remotely stagnated) were the 40s-70s, and the hole that got dug was very, very deep. At one point, I believe the college was under 2,000 students, and many alumni who are my age remain deeply ambivalent about their experience. Serious consideration was given to eliminating the college altogether, because it wasn't up to the quality standards of the rest of the university, and it looked like it would cost too much to try to fix it. It was a hard bureaucratic battle to get people to do anything about it, and because of the years of stagnation the college didn't have tsunamis of alumni money pouring in in the 80s and 90s the way HYP did. There has been constant improvement in the quality of life at the college and in the college's recruiting efforts since at least the late '80s. The pace has accelerated a lot the last few years, but that would never have been possible if there hadn't been decades of building the foundation for it.

    The USNWR ratings stuff is silly. Chicago was ranked that low only because it was reporting core courses and Math 130-150-160s as one course with hundreds of students and a bunch of discussion sections rather than a bunch of courses with 18-19 students, and also because it wasn't reporting grant income on a university-wide basis. Nothing actually changed to move the university from top-20 to top-10 except accounting. From a purely academic standpoint, Chicago was always top-10 or better; that was (and remains) its great strength.

    As for financial aid, a lot of that was simply meeting competition. HYP and others got into a bidding war right around your class, and Chicago had to improve its financial aid or give back its progress. So it improved its financial aid. The Odyssey Scholarships, by the way, started on O'Neill's watch, not Nondorf's, as did the signature mailings. I don't want to belittle what Nondorf has done, because it has been genius, but he was working on a base.

    38% yield was, in fact, damn good for a college without ED. If you corrected for ED admissions, only the Ivies, Stanford, and MIT did better (among secular elite colleges; I'm not talking about BYU, Yeshiva, or Notre Dame, and I'm not talking about Nebraska or Idaho State, either). Again, not to belittle what Nondorf has done, which includes raising "brand awareness" among 17-year-olds. But, again, he was dealing with what was already a very. very powerful brand among sophisticated adults. Rap stars have had a lot more effect promoting bona fide top-shelf brands like Cristal, Hennessey, or Maybach than they have promoting their own newly-created product lines (well, some of those have done fine, too).
  • yolochkayolochka Registered User Posts: 195 Junior Member
    I'm following this discussion with interest. My son was admitted to UChicago EA this year, but chose to go to Stanford. Both Chicago and Stanford courted him (sent letters and gifts - Stanford let him know he would be admitted in early February). Chicago would be great for his major and closer to home, so we gave it a serious consideration. I'm not saying it was the only factor that swayed him to Stanford, but FA from Chicago was the worst, compared to Caltech, Princeton, and Stanford. It would be approximately $8,000 more expensive per year. So I think Chicago's yield would improve greatly if its FA would further improve for upper middle class families like ours. Also, Chicago could follow Stanford and Princeton in eliminating loans from the package.

    I also observed that Chicago was using its merit scholarship to entice families who weren't eligible for FA. Since we are getting FA, no merit scholarship was offered, even those I believe my son deserved it. I think it left a slight feeling of disappointment. I'm not criticizing UChicago and I'd like to emphasize how proud we felt that he was admitted to this excellent institution. I'm just trying to say that UChicago's yield would be significantly higher if it offered FA comparable to HYPS.
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    Agreed. Chicago has some money but it can not match HYPS in disposable cash yet....
  • TheBankerTheBanker Registered User Posts: 270 Junior Member
    I think U Chicago will peak within five years and stabilize. But it definitely does not have enough money nor enough notable/powerful alumni yet (except for Booth alum) so its true "rise" will take even longer to solidify -- a decade or two perhaps. If you're a student now, you've got the best of both worlds because 1) you're getting in early, and 2) your degree will be most valuable at the height of your career.
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    About the value of the degree... That will work in favor of better enrollment stats. I no longer bet against UChicago's rise. It's inevitable. All these new developments are feeding on itself. It already solidified its position in the midwest if the parchment head robheads are tonbe believed. The only thing that would prevent its coronation into the HPYSMC is administration. And I don't see that happening.
  • gravitas2gravitas2 Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    @yolochka. I understand where you are coming from. As your son chose to attend Stanford over Chicago, Princeton, and Caltech...I have known recent students in the past 4 years having to make difficult decisions between Chicago and Harvard, Chicago and Yale, Chicago and MIT, and Chicago and Princeton...2 out of 4 that chose Chicago were either very well off or made income less than 60,000 (received full Odyssey Scholarship). One chose MIT because he really wanted to do engineering/computer science and the other chose Princeton because they offered more financial aid. Unlike what the OP's thread implies, I believe in recent years Chicago is becoming more of a destination for those who really want to attend for a variety of reasons different than in years past...

    ...having said that, students and parents today more than ever ultimately have to grapple with 3 main concerns when deciding on the final choice college 1) financial aid 2) fit and 3) will I get a good job after graduation or get admission to good graduate school?

    I believe at this point in time Chicago can not match the endowment powers of SHYP which allows these schools to offer significantly more financial aid for middle and upper middle class students. Chicago can match for the other groups. Also, Chicago loses a lot of the top international students in cross-admits due to their "need aware" policy.

    In terms of students finding a good "fit" with Chicago is not a problem...they usually know even before they apply. Those who know won't fit Chicago's academic environment usually don't apply.

    And finally, the job and graduate school issue. I know Chicago does well overall in graduate school admissions so I'm not so concerned with that. But, I am concerned about the "kind" of jobs that Chicago graduates are limited to going into. As I have noted before, Chicago has a very small CS program and lacks an engineering program. With today's high paying job market in technology fields blooming and expanding to make the Silicon Valley the new "Wall Street" to create the new "titans of industry" where the smartest graduates are going and subsequently giving back to their alma maters through major donations...I don't see or know of many Chicago grads ending up in Silicon Valley companies or technology venture capital firms. It is a major Achilles' heel facing Chicago's financial security today and going into the future. According to most experts, this century will be known as the technology century...and many of our smartest graduates may be left "out". As we turn to more and more technological advances in our daily lives and seeing many of the Star Trek's vision becoming a reality...many of the best jobs in creating these new technologies will not be available to Chicago students.
  • yolochkayolochka Registered User Posts: 195 Junior Member
    gravitas2, I agree UChicago would benefit from an engineering school.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 30,460 Super Moderator
    "Also, Chicago loses a lot of the top international students in cross-admits due to their "need aware" policy."

    How does that work? If Chicago loses a cross-admit then the student was admitted to Chicago despite being its being need aware, and chooses another school. Or do you mean students NOT admitted to Chicago?
  • unaloveunalove Registered User Posts: 3,725 Senior Member

    The "will employers understand/respect/appreciate/care about the University of Chicago on my resume" is a really, really, really complicated question. The answer will vary depending on:

    -- who is reading your resume
    --what industry you enter after graduation
    -- where (geographically) that industry is located
    -- what job role you are looking to fill
    -- the extent to which the job is linked to "book smarts" in the first place (one example: being good at sales is being good at sales. Being Phi Beta Kappa doesn't mean being good at sales. Being a good teacher is being a good teacher. Nobody cares whether you made honors in poli sci or sociology.)

    As far as I'm concerned, all of these are unknown variables. You may enter a field where the firm likes to brag about the educational pedigree of their employees on their website. Chicago wouldn't be a liability. You may end up working in a region where most people went to school locally. You really don't know now. You don't.

    Just do yourself a favor and don't walk into an interview setting assuming you're capable simply because of your educational background. Remember that wherever you end up, you, like everybody else, will have to do the heavy lifting of "proving yourself" to employers!
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