Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Does anyone love UChicago?

andros12andros12 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
I'm just wondering for current Chicago students and anyone who has spoken with students, do you love your school? I'm trying to decide if I will commit, but so many people seem to complain about issues with the school? Is there a more negative environment there than other places? Are you happy you went there?

Replies to: Does anyone love UChicago?

  • CamusishCamusish Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    That's a great question. Every student I have spoken with loves it. It has a reputation for hard work and quirkiness which they wear as kind of a badge of honor. It is a difficult school to categorize because it's not in a particular athletic league (read: Ivy) - it is probably most similar to Columbia, except the politics are not as monolithic.
  • andros12andros12 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    Thank you @Camusish. It would be great to hear if anyone else has input to add.
  • ramboacidramboacid Registered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
    What are the "issues" you've heard about the school? It might be more informative for all of us and helpful for you if we discussed those specifics. :)

    As a current student, I love Chicago. A lot of people love Chicago. And a lot of those people love to hate on Chicago too (hence the t-shirts). And I agree completely with what @Camusish has said. The only routinely unhappy people I've found are the small group of would-be engineers who came here despite their love of engineering (and offers at engineering schools). And once again, that's a small group.
  • andros12andros12 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @ramboacid I'd say the issues range from the big to the small. But for
    me one of the issues is just that people seem eager to complain and find issues. I just wonder of there's a negative feeling or a general dissatisfaction/unhappiness? That's what really concerns me.

    The specific complaints are as follows though: dissatisfied with housing assignment, unhappy with people in your House, bad food, quarter system, weather, core requirements, social life lacking, professors too distant from undergrads, people too nerdy/people too fratty/people too financey.

    Those are the ones I can think of off the type of my head. I'd note that I personally don't see some of those as bad things (i.e. Core) but others do and they seem really happy to complain about it. If people have responses to these complaints that would be wonderful or have other issues to add feel welcome. But it'd be great to hear also what you think about the culture of criticizing the school where it seems that students at other schools may be more upbeat and less dissatisfied with their school.
  • artloversplusartloversplus Registered User Posts: 8,454 Senior Member
    You know the weather in Chicago, its been there since Adam met Eve, so if you don't like the weather why bother to apply? The same for the "core", you know what you are getting into, again, if you dislike the core, why apply? You'd better off going to Brown.

    Have you heard ANY student from ANY school praise the school food and dorm after one year?

    complaints like these are no ground to be regarded as serious complaints.
  • marlowe1marlowe1 Registered User Posts: 536 Member
    Some years ago the Maroon ran a piece by a student making all the usual complaints that students make about the U. of C. - no social life, dreary weather, high stress, nothing to do on campus but study, courses too demanding and marking too tough, too many weirdos. Everyone nodded in approval. Yep, that's our school for you. Until, that is, the byline: the piece had been written by a Notre Dame student and published in the Notre Dame campus newspaper! --This is not to deny the special atmosphere of the U. of C. (or Notre Dame, for that matter), just to say that some student complaints are perennial and are made about all schools. What is true is that U. of C. students tend to be less rah-rah by nature, more inclined to seriousness and/or unusual preoccupations. And, yes, to take a certain snobbish pride in being just a tiny bit miserable. Melancholy, after all, according to a famous writer of the 16th century (Robert Burton), is supposed to be especially characteristic of scholars. Study dries out the brains!
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,022 Senior Member
    Right. You will hear most of those complaints at any college you think about going to. Crappy housing assignments, a-holes in your dorm, bad food, bad weather, bad social life, distant professors, too many nerds, too many bros, too many people talking about "bulge bracket banks" . . . at some point or another, everyone going to any college remotely comparable to Chicago experiences many of those, sometimes all of them, not necessarily all at once. (Although, I have to say, the "people too fratty" one has me scratching my head. For a college with frats, Chicago has an almost total lack of "fratty" people. My kids did not join a frat or sorority, but they had friends who were members, and I swear I couldn't possibly have figured out who was in a frat and who wasn't without being told. Some cousins of ours were very much involved with their frats at Chicago, and are about as nerdy as it's possible to be.) Those things are just part of college life.

    The core . . . if you go to any college with a core, I promise you will find students complaining about the core. Everyone has it in common, so it's a really popular thing to complain about. Most people chose the college in part because of the core, and it lives up to no one's exaggerated expectations/fantasies fully. My kids both chose Chicago in part because they liked the idea of the core; they both hated the core while they were taking the courses, not all the time, but much of it; having graduated and spend time in the real, adult world, they are really happy they took the core, and they greatly appreciate how easy it is to talk to fellow Chicago alums about ideas and other serious things because of the common background they all share.

    The quarter system: ditto, except no one picks a college because of it. At quarter schools, everyone complains about quarters. And everyone looks down their noses at their friends at semester schools who move through material at such a plodding pace.
  • MaroonDaddyMaroonDaddy Registered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    My son loves loves UChicago. He is a friendly, goofy, smart, sometimes shy, clever person. If you read up on the traits of gifted students, that is the personality of a lot of students there. They are witty, bookish, interested in a lot of things. They read weird stuff because they like it. The food does suck. Most people find a group they fit in with. Their are plenty of groups, clubs, sports, floor-mates, and professional opportunities to meet people. Speaking of opportunities, despite how much propaganda Uchicago sends out, they offer many more growth opportunities than they can fit into their presentations and literature. Internships, studies, grants, research, and specialized classes abound. The classes are challenging. The classes are very good. Pick the college where the students are most like you.
  • andros12andros12 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    All of your comments make a lot of sense. You mostly seem to be saying that these are minor complaints that seem pretty standard across all schools.

    I am curious to hear more about something @marlowe1 said, that Chic students are less rah rah? So would other people say that Chicago lacks school spirit? Are people less upbeat at Chicago or less enthusiastic about their schools? Can't it be a downer to be with downers?
  • ttm321ttm321 Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    My child is happy at UChicago and is having fun. Not being rah-rah does not mean being a downer. Dartmouth or Duke , for example, would be more rah, rah. More football or basketball games. More school spirit of that style. UChicago fun can mean HvZ (humans versus zombies) or Scav. It all depends on what you want.

    Where else are you considering? If possible go visit and check out the vibe for yourself.

    I will add that they do work hard at UChicago, but most enjoy the challenge. Sometimes, however, it can be a lot to swallow, but my child has no regrets as far as I can tell.
  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    To challenge JHS' comments for a moment, while all top schools receive student complaints, there are degrees of difference between institutions. Now, what I present below is subjective (and in no way quantifiable), but I do think the differing student populations I will describe have an impact on the type (and volume) of complaints schools' field.

    To be clear, first and foremost, UChicago is a school for eggheads. In its admissions process, Chicago values intellectual horsepower and intellectual potential more than most, and this is reflected in the students who matriculate. Chicago's mid-50% SAT range, I believe, is about 1460 - 1560, with an average score of around 1500. SAT scores are a very rough metric for intellectual capacity, but it's worth mentioning that Chicago's range is considerably higher and narrower than any of its (non-HYPS) peers. Dartmouth's range is 1360-1550. U. of Penn's range is 1350 - 1550. Duke's range is 1380 - 1560.

    Unlike most of its peers, Chicago cares very little about how well a certain subset of its population can kick a soccer ball or row a boat, or who a student's parents are. Accordingly, the composition of a Chicago class is different than many of its immediate peers. That's not to say there aren't Chicago students who are adept at kicking soccer balls and who come from wealthy families, it's just that those characteristics are valued less in Hyde Park.

    So, to generalize for a moment, a school filled with eggheads might not have the "rah rah" spirit you see elsewhere, certainly at places like Duke and Stanford, which have big-time college sports, or places like Dartmouth and U. of Penn, where certain sports (basketball, or ice hockey) can on occasion garner serious interest. Similarly, that "egg headed-ness" will permeate throughout the school - from the frats to the sports teams to the dorm culture. It's why JHS noted that there are nerds at UChicago frats, and "bro" culture isn't as large. While my analysis isn't scientific, I don't think the populations of serious mathematicians and physicists overlap all that much with traditional frat culture. There is probably some overlap, but not much.

    With all of this being stated, I think Chicago probably receives a little more complaints of a certain nature than its peers. Complaints about bad food and ugly dorms can be found anywhere, but the more systemic complaints about Chicago (poor social life, oppressive academics, etc.) are probably raised with a little more vigor at U of C. That's because, unlike at some of its peers, the stuff surrounding academic life - sports, music, the arts, the party scene, extracurricular clubs, take more of a backseat to the coursework. You don't go to Chicago because you want good academics AND to row crew ultra-competitively, or because of the basketball team, or because of the active party scene. Academics are the primary draw, pure and simple. This atmosphere, then, leads to certain types of complaints you won't hear as often at other places.

    As you'll read all over this board, Chicago is changing for the better and its students are becoming more well-rounded. The admins are building more resources to support students, and extra-curricular activities are gaining popularity and intensity. The school is still determining the character of its college, however, and the Chicago experience is still a bit more singular that what you see at many of its peers (save, perhaps, for the technical institutes).

    Put another way, take a fine urban research university (like Columbia) and combine it with a technical institute (like MIT, minus the engineering), and you'd get Chicago. As you might imagine, the complaints that arise from a place like that differ from what you get at Duke, Michigan, etc. That's not to say those other schools don't field lots of complaints - they do. The type of often-heard complaints, though, are probably different.

  • MarylandfourMarylandfour Registered User Posts: 378 Member
    edited April 2015
    Another parent with a happy student having a great experience at UChicago. While UChicago doesn't have the 'rah-rah' sports themed school spirit, there is plenty of school pride.
  • GraniteStateMomGraniteStateMom Registered User Posts: 366 Member
    I'm the parent of a freshman. My kiddo is very happy - UChi is a great fit for him. Loves his classes, finds professors extremely accessible, has made lots of friends, and is always busy. He finds the environment very inclusive and collaborative. One of his professors helped him get a grant for summer research. Like others, he already has a love / hate relationship with the core and finds the food ok at best. As a parent with two children in college, both of whom are very happy and doing well, I can't emphasize enough the importance of fit in making your decision.

  • YogSothothYogSothoth Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    edited April 2015
    Instead of D1 sports we have D1 complaining. It's not sincere though, almost no one I know would rather be anywhere else. No other school has HvZ, Scav, the Reg or such a high concentration of nerds (except maybe MIT and they have D1 complaining too), which are deal breakers.
  • PAGRokPAGRok Registered User Posts: 557 Member
    I'm a third year in the College. I attempted to transfer and was not admitted anywhere, probably cause I have a 3.5 GPA. So my response will be biased because what I wanted when I came here is different than what I want now, and that's why I wanted to leave.

    Everyone will find something to hate about this school. Most people may say they love it, but they WILL have something they hate. I just happen to have more things I hate than other people and why I wanted to leave. Ultimately I was not cut out for the rigor of UChicago and pushed myself too hard my first two years by taking a heavy courseload, I developed depression in my second year, moved dorms and lost my social structures. There are alot of happy people here, but I find it untruthful that people are posting that everyone is happy here.

    I can explain more but I just wanted to put in my two cents, and I feel that choosing to go to UChicago is and will be my greatest regret because I no longer value what UChicago gives you.
This discussion has been closed.