Why UChicago

The University of Chicago is where the fearless pursuit of truth comes to live. Our distinctive form and style of education and our rigorous pursuit of knowledge have established us as one of the world’s most influential institutions of higher learning. 

Our faculty of scholars and scientists from across the University teach students of all backgrounds and intellectual interests. Although many of them have shaped and defined entire fields of study, their focus as teachers is on how—not what—to think. The historic Core curriculum, our rigorous majors, minors, and specializations, our vast opportunities for student research, our comprehensive programs in career advancement, and our steadfast commitments to access and to diversity of thought through free expression empower students to address meaningful scholarly, societal, and cultural issues. We offer a transformative education, delivered through extraordinary learning experiences that range from debating Nobel laureate faculty to working on the CosRay neutron monitors at the South Pole, to participating in thousands of challenging paid summer internships in not-for-profit agencies, scientific programs, and commercial institutions around the world, to studying modern European history, advanced mathematics, and neuroscience with leading faculty at the University of Chicago Paris Center, and more. Even Scav, our beloved annual scavenger hunt, creatively inspires our students to approach learning through inquiry: determined questioning, challenging assumptions, and intellectual debate.

On an everyday basis, the University is also a cluster of many small institutional communities: College Houses, departments, committees, centers, recognized student organizations, teams, and many other such collectivities. Each group depends upon individuals developing common bonds and cultivating interests in fellowship with other members of the University community. To work best, all of these small micro-worlds must depend upon and practice candor, truthfulness, and tolerance for critical and open-ended debate. In teaching students since 1890 how to recognize good ideas, sound reasoning, and precise arguments, liberal education at the University of Chicago has exerted a seminal effect in training generations of young undergraduates in the skills of the scholar: intellectual engagement, disinterestedness in the midst of controversy, and scholarly courage in the face of intellectual uncertainty.

As a result, numerous College alumni contribute to society as scholarly educators, scientists, political leaders, medical professionals, business and community leaders, entrepreneurs, and more. Their achievements impact our everyday lives today. To name but a few:

  • Medical breakthroughs that advance science and health (e.g., biologist who discovered leukemia’s cause)
  • Businesses that entertain us (e.g., owner of Chicago Cubs baseball)
  • Ideas and discoveries that change how we share information and socialize (e.g., cofounder of Pinterest; chief scientist for Alibaba Cloud AI)
  • Inventions that better our world (e.g., creator of universal seeing glasses for third-world countries)
  • Talents that inform and inspire us (e.g., Pulitzer prize-winning journalists and playwrights)
  • Advocacy that improves inclusion, accessibility, and community sustainability (e.g., community activists combatting poverty; founders of a nonprofit bringing college-level math into middle schools)
  • Knowledge that is shaping fields and educating future scholars (e.g., foremost scientists and professors in colleges and universities around the world)

In Their Words

Our diverse student community is bonded together by a shared love of learning. Decade-after-decade, students of all backgrounds, geographic locations, and intellectual interests who choose UChicago remark similarly: “UChicago is the place where I feel at home at last, surrounded by people devoted to the life of the mind.”

"I chose UChicago because it had the most challenging and diverse academic program. I was instantly curious after looking over a list of classes—they ranged from typical sounding university classes, such as Introduction to International Relations, to unique and surprising subjects, such as a course on German fairy tales. This made me excited to learn in a way that no other prospective university had been able to do. I am now in my fourth year and am happy to say that my initial impression was correct. Through my time here, I have been able to take a huge variety of classes and learn something interesting and new to me." -Dasha Beniash, Class of 2019

"When I was deciding on schools, UChicago was an obvious first choice. UChicago not only offers world-class academics, but also makes them accessible with its outstanding financial aid. Outside of classes, students here enjoy a housing program that emphasizes community, which is beyond valuable for first-year students. Student life is vibrant with a rich diversity of student clubs and activities, and we can always count on resources from academic and career advising, to Title IX counseling and Student Health Services. I knew from the start that this school would be a great fit for me." -Naomi Gancz, Class of 2019

"I chose to attend UChicago to become immersed in a world with which I had no familiarity. As a fourth-year undergraduate who is of a first-generation and low-income background, I’ve become incredibly grateful for this environment in which desire and passion are equally important as hard work on the path to success. I have to come to believe that it is the little things at UChicago that make it unique as a post-secondary institution. The messages of encouragement written on the walls of bathroom stalls, the various types of communities, and the people who are committed to helping others on their path of growth and development are things that cannot be found elsewhere. Most importantly, there is no other place that I know that acts as a host to a community of people and empowers them to make a difference both on-campus and beyond; and, to me, that is something that is indispensably unique about UChicago." -Ken Leng, Class of 2019

"I chose UChicago because I knew from the moment I set foot on campus that this was going to be my home for the next four years. For me, the decision was largely based off of the academic reputation; I wanted a new challenge and UChicago’s theoretical approach to learning was just that. I can safely say that no class I have taken here can be characterized as “easy,” but I can also definitely say that I’ve learned more in my short time at UChicago so far than I could have ever imagined. But, this campus is so much more than academics—much of my UChicago experience has to do with the people I have met. Everything from my experiences in the housing system, the array of RSOs on campus I am involved in, as well as my professors and advisors, have a huge hand in shaping who I am. I truly don’t think I could find such a passionate, intelligent, and caring group of people at any other university!" -Lakshi Mittal, Class of 2021

"I transferred to UChicago as a junior because I wanted to study the history and philosophy of mathematics. It is a niche major that not a lot of schools offer and, among those who do, UChicago is one of the best. When I applied, I was hoping to be in an environment where I can converse freely with peers and professors who share my passion, and I am able to do exactly that here at UChicago. The vigorous history of science community here has supplied me with abundant inspiration, guidance, ideas, and free coffee, for which I will always feel very grateful." -Celia Wan, Class of 2019