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Many Colleges Have Already Announced Their 2017-18 College Application Essay Prompts

The summer is a great time for college-bound seniors to begin working on their college application essays, as many colleges and universities have already released their essay prompts for the 2017-18 college application season. The 2017-18 Common Application essay prompts were announced earlier this spring, with some changes to existing prompts and the addition of a few more – including the topic of choice essay.

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

The Coalition Application has also announced its essay prompts for the 2017-18 application season.

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Want to get a head start on your college application essays? Below are some of the Common Application supplemental essays and school-specific essay prompts that are currently available.

Boston College

We would like to get a better sense of you. Please respond to one of the following prompts. (400 word limit)

  • Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.
  • Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?
  • Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?
  • Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life. How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?

Cornell University

The primary focus of your college interest essay should be what you intend to study at Cornell. In the online Common Application Writing Supplement, please respond to the essay question below (maximum of 650 words) that corresponds to the undergraduate college or school to which you are applying.

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
  • College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: Describe two or three of your intellectual interests and why you are excited to pursue them within your chosen major in AAP. What personal experiences, background, or future goals will you bring to your scholarly and artistic pursuits at Cornell?
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business:Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management: How have your interests and experiences influenced your decision to study Applied Economics and Management? Describe how you would take advantage of the Dyson School’s unique opportunities, for example, its affiliation with both the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business:School of Hotel Administration: The global hospitality industry includes hotel and foodservice management, real estate, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, technology, and law. Describe what has influenced your decision to study business through the lens of hospitality. What personal qualities make you a good fit for SHA?
  • College of Engineering: Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities...the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in.
  • College of Human Ecology: How have your experiences influenced you to apply to the College of Human Ecology? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future?
  • School of Industrial and Labor Relations: Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how ILR is the right school for you to pursue these interests.

Georgetown University

  • Short Essay: Briefly discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved. (approximately one-half page)

Compose two brief essays (approximately one page single-spaced each) on the topics given below.

  • All Applicants: As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.
  • Essay Two:
    • Applicants to Georgetown College: Please relate your interest in studying at Georgetown University to your goals. How do these thoughts relate to your chosen course of study? (If you are applying to major in the FLL or in a Science, please specifically address those interests.)
    • Applicants to the School of Nursing & Health Studies: Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care at Georgetown University. Please specifically address your intended major (Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, International Health, or Nursing).
    • Applicants to the Walsh School of Foreign Service: Briefly discuss a current global issue, indicating why you consider it important and what you suggest should be done to deal with it.
    • Applicants to the McDonough School of Business: The McDonough School of Business is a national and global leader in providing graduates with essential ethical, analytical, financial and global perspectives. Please discuss your motivations for studying business at Georgetown.

Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Beyond rankings, location, and athletics, why are you interested in attending Georgia Tech? (max 150 words)
  • Please choose ONE of the following questions and provide an answer in 150 words or less.
    • Tech’s motto is Progress and Service. We find that students who ultimately have a broad impact first had a significant one at home. What is your role in your immediate or extended family? And how have you seen evidence of your impact on them?  
    • Georgia Tech is always looking for innovative undergraduates. Have you had any experience as an entrepreneur? What would you like Georgia Tech to provide to further your entrepreneurial interests?
    • We challenge our students to "be comfortable being uncomfortable". Tell us about a time in high school that you felt outside of your comfort zone and the resolution.

Johns Hopkins University

Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience. (Up to 400 words).

Princeton University

Activities: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (Response required in about 150 words.)

Summers: Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (Response required in about 150 words.)

A Few Details

  • Your favorite book and its author
  • Your favorite website
  • Your favorite recording
  • Your favorite source of inspiration
  • Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title
  • Your favorite movie
  • Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you
  • Your favorite keepsake or memento
  • Your favorite word

Essay: Your Voice

In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application or the Universal College Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no fewer than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application or Universal College Application.

  1. Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.
  2. “One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions.”
    Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, Princeton University and co-founder of Blackplanet.com. This quote is taken from Professor Wasow’s January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.
  3. “Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.”
    Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy and director of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, Princeton University.
  4. Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.

Engineering Essay*

If you are interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, please write a 300-500 word essay describing why you are interested in studying engineering, any experiences in or exposure to engineering you have had and how you think the programs in engineering offered at Princeton suit your particular interests. *This essay is required for students who indicate Bachelor of Science in Engineering as a possible degree of study on their application.

Tufts University

Think outside the box as you answer the following questions.  Take a risk and go somewhere unexpected.  Be serious if the moment calls for it but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too. (Required of all Applicants)

  1. Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short: “Why Tufts?” (50–100 words)
  2. There is a Quaker saying: “Let your life speak.” Describe the environment in which you were raised – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – and how it influenced the person you are today. (200–250 words) 
  3. Now we’d like to know a little bit more about you.  Please respond to one of the following six questions (200-250 words). Students applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering should select from prompts A-E. Students applying to the SMFA at Tufts' BFA program or the Five-Year BFA + BA/BS Combined Degree program must answer prompt F:

    A) It's cool to be smart. Tell us about the subjects or ideas that excite your intellectual curiosity.

    B) In a time when we’re always plugged in (and sometimes tuned out), tell us about a time when you listened, truly listened, to a person or a cause. How did that moment change you?

    C) Celebrate the role of sports in your life. 

    D) Whether you've built blanket forts or circuit boards, produced community theater or mixed media art installations, tell us: what have you invented, engineered, created, or designed? Or what do you hope to?

    E) What makes you happy? Why?

    F) Artist Bruce Nauman once said: "One of the factors that still keeps me in the studio is that every so often I have to more or less start all over." Everyone deals with failure differently; for most artists failure is an opportunity to start something new. Tell us about a time when you have failed and how that has influenced your art practice.   

University of Chicago

  • Question 1 (Required): How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

Extended Essay Questions: (Required; Choose one)

  • Essay Option 1. “The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert Sometimes, people talk a lot about popular subjects to assure ‘victory’ in conversation or understanding, and leave behind topics of less popularity, but great personal or intellectual importance. What do you think is important but under-discussed? -Anonymous Suggestion
  • Essay Option 2. Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History... a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/academics/majors-minors. -Inspired by Josh Kaufman, Class of 2018
  • Essay Option 3. Fire. Wind. Water. Heart! Captain Planet supposes that the world is made up of these five elements. We’re familiar with the previously-noted set and with actual elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, but select and explain another small group of things (say, under five) that you believe compose our world. -Inspired by Dani Plung, Class of 2017
  • Essay Option 4. The late New York Timesphotographer Bill Cunningham once said "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization." Tell us about your “armor.” -Inspired by Adam Berger, Class of 2020
  • Essay Option 5. Fans of the movie Sharknadosay that they enjoy it because “it’s so bad, it’s good.” Certain automobile owners prefer classic cars because they “have more character.” And recently, vinyl record sales have skyrocketed because it is perceived that they have a warmer, fuller sound. Discuss something that you love not in spite of but rather due to its quirks or imperfections. -Inspired by Alex Serbanescu, Class of 2021
  • Essay Option 6. In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose your own question or choose one of our past prompts. Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.

University of Michigan

  • Essay #1 (Required for all applicants. Approximately 250 words.) Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.
  • Essay #2 (Required for all FRESHMEN applicants. 500 words maximum.) Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?
  • Essay #2 (Required for all TRANSFER applicants. 500 words maximum.) Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Carolina’s supplement will provide you with four prompts, and you will choose two. Each response will be limited to 200-250 words.

  • Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.
  • What do you hope will change about the place where you live?
  • What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want us to know?
  • What about your background, or what perspective, belief, or experience, will help you contribute to the education of your classmates at UNC?

University of Notre Dame

Please provide a response to the following question:

  • What excites you about the University of Notre Dame that makes it stand out from other institutions?

Please provide a response to two (2) of the following questions: 

  • The University of Notre Dame is a Holy Cross institution whose educational philosophy has been formed around five core principles inspired by Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. These principles, or pillars, of a Holy Cross education are Mind, Heart, Zeal, Family, and Hope, and they continue to shape our students today. Which pillar or pillars resonate  most with you? Why?
  • For whom are you responsible?
  • What is one thing that you know for a fact? Why are you certain?
  • Tell us about something significant that recently occurred in your community. Why does it matter to you?

University of Pennsylvania

How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying. (400-650 words) *For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree programs, please answer this question in regards to your single-degree school choice. Interest in coordinated dual-degree programs will be addressed through those program-specific essays.

University of Virginia

  1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.  Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words. 
    • College of Arts and Sciences - What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
    • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you design?
    • School of Architecture - Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
    • School of Nursing - School of Nursing applicants may have experience shadowing, volunteering, or working in a health care environment. Tell us about a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing
    • Kinesiology Program - Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
  2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.
    • What’s your favorite word and why?
    • We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
    • Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
    • UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?

Villanova University

Option One:
At Villanova, we believe that it is our similarities that make us strong, but our differences that make us stronger.  Please tell us about a relationship that you have with someone who is different from you and how that has changed who you are today.

Option Two:
"Become what you are not yet"
       - Saint Augustine
When you daydream, who do you hope to become in the future?

Option Three:
Describe a book, movie, song or other work of art that has been significant to you since you were young and how its meaning has changed for you as you have grown.

Wake Forest University

  1. List five books you have read that piqued your curiosity. (you will have to indicate if it was a required reading)
  2. Discuss the work of fiction you have read which has helped you most to understand the complexity of the world. 
  3. While division in American politics suggests that the art of persuasion has lost value, dialogue and debate helps define the Wake Forest community. On what issue do you wish to persuade others? What is your argument?
  4. 59% of Wake Forest’s Class of 2017 received academic credit for faculty-directed research across academic disciplines. Describe a specific academic assignment that sparked an academic curiosity you hope to explore further in college.
  5. What have you learned about yourself from engaging with someone different from you?
  6. Give us your top ten list. First, please provide a theme.
  7. You have a popular podcast. What’s the title? What’s the topic?
  8. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Wake Forest University is launching a year-long Rethinking Community initiative. Use your imagination to rethink your school community and your place in it.

Wellesley College

The required Wellesley “Writing Supplement,” asks you to respond to the following topic in two well-developed paragraphs.

  • When choosing a college community, you are choosing a place where you believe that you can live, learn, and flourish. Generations of inspiring women have thrived in the Wellesley community, and we want to know what aspects of this community inspire you to consider Wellesley.  We know that there are more than 100 reasons to choose Wellesley, but the “Wellesley 100” is a good place to start. Visit the Wellesley 100 (www.wellesley.edu/admission/100) and let us know, in two well-developed paragraphs, which two items most attract, inspire, or energize you and why.  (PS: “Why” matters to us.)

Yale University

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application are asked to respond to the following short answer questions:

  • Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
  • Why do these areas appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)
  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)

Applicants submitting either the Coalition Application or Common Application are also asked to respond to the following short answer questions:

  • What inspires you? (35 words or fewer)
  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host intimate conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask? (35 words or fewer)
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)
  • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six people. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)

Essays - Coalition Application

In 300 words or fewer, write on one of the two essay topics below. In addition to writing on your chosen topic, upload an audio file, video, image, or document you have created that is meaningful to you and relates to your essay. Above your essay, include a one-sentence description of what you have submitted.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?
  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?

Please limit your upload to the following file types: mp3, mov, jpeg, word, pdf. Note that advanced editing of audio/video/image/documents is not necessary. While we are not providing limits to the length of the material you upload, the Admissions Office may not have time to review the entirety of your submission. Sometimes, less is more. Uploads provided via the Coalition Application will be reviewed by the Admissions Office only. If you wish to submit material that may be evaluated by Yale faculty, please see our Supplementary Material instructions.

Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay

If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, please tell us more about what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)

Essays - Common Application

Please choose two of the following topics and respond to each in 250 words or fewer.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?
  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?
  • Write on something you would like us to know about you that you have not conveyed elsewhere in your application.

Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay

If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, please tell us more about what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)

Need help getting started on your college application essays? Contact us today for more information on our college counseling programs for high school seniors!

Applications

What is your minimum GPA or required SAT or ACT score?

There is no minimum required GPA or test score. At UChicago, the admissions committee considers a candidate’s entire application. You can learn more about this holistic review process here.

Do you grant credit for AP and IB scores? For college-level classes taken in high school?

Yes. We accept scores of 5 on most Advanced Placement (AP) exams and of 7 on certain International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher-Level examinations for credit; other scores may be accepted in particular subjects. UChicago also offers placement and accreditation tests to entering students in select subjects.  Learn more.

College-level courses above and beyond a student's high scool graduation requirements that also meet requirements set by the Dean of Students may yield credit.  Learn more.

Do you require SAT Subject Tests?

No. We require either the SAT or the ACT. If you have done exceptionally well on a particular Subject Test and would like to show us, feel free to send us that score. However, Subject Tests are truly optional, and not sending us Subject Test scores will not hurt your application.

Do you look at the essay section of the SAT or ACT?

UChicago does not require the optional essay portion of the SAT or ACT, and, if submitted, the essay score will not be an essential part of the application review.

I've taken the SAT or ACT more than once. Should I send all my test scores?

We recommend you send us all of your test scores. Only your best testing results—your highest sub-scores and the best result of the two testing options, if you've taken both the SAT and ACT— will be considered in the review of your application. Lower test scores submitted will not be used in the review of your application.

Do you superscore test scores?

Yes, we superscore both the SAT and ACT, meaning that if you take either test multiple times, we will take your highest individual sub-section scores and combine them to give you the highest overall score possible.

Do you accept scores from the "old" SAT?

Starting in March 2016, the College Board offered a new, redesigned version of the SAT. We will continue to accept scores from the old version of the SAT for the five years scores remain valid, and will superscore within both the old exam and the new, but will not superscore between the two versions.

What types of recommendation letters are required?

We require two recommendations from two teachers of any academic subjects. If someone who is not a teacher can provide a different perspective on your work or personality, they are welcome to send in a supplemental recommendation in addition to your two teacher recommendations. Pick the teachers who know you best; they don't need to be in subjects related to your intended major.

May I submit supplemental letters of recommendation?

You may submit one additional letter of recommendation. The writer should know you personally and have worked closely with you in some capacity; this could include a coach, religious leader, group adviser, or employer, to name a few.

Is there a word limit or suggested word limit to your essay responses?

There are no strict word limits on the UChicago supplement essays. For the extended essay (where you choose one of several prompts), we suggest that you aim for around 650 words. While we won't, as a rule, stop reading after 650 words, we're only human and cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention indefinitely. For the “Why UChicago?” essay, we suggest about 250-500 words.  The ideas in your writing matter more than the exact number of words you use!

How do I make sure that UChicago has received all of my required application documents?

A little while after the application deadline has passed, you will be able to check to see which application materials we have received and processed by loggin in to your UChicago Account. Given the large volume of material submitted every year, there will be a reasonable amount of processing time between when you submit your documents and when they will appear in your Account. If anything is missing, we will give you ample time to re-submit it.

May I submit supplemental materials in the arts, music, or my own original research?

Yes. The most effective supplements share a representative sample of work that is important to the applicant. One to two minutes of a recorded work, two or three high-quality prints of a work of art, the best paragraph or page of a creatively written work, or an abstract of original research are recommended.

Interviewing

How can I obtain an interview?

You can schedule one here.

I would like to interview, but I cannot come to campus. How may I request an alumni interview?

Students who have completed and submitted their Common Application and UChicago supplement will be sent log-in instructions to a UChicago Account, through which you will be able to express interest in an interview with an alumnus/a. Please note that while we will do our best to accommodate requests, due to alumni availability, we cannot guarantee interviews to all students who request them. Also, an interview is a completely optional portion of the application, and not receiving an interview will not negatively affect your application.

Special Circumstances

I had bad grades or a special circumstance that affected my performance in high school. Does this mean I won’t get in?

We understand that no one’s record is perfect, and that sometimes students’ transcripts have grades that are not indicative of where they are when they apply to college. If you have made significant strides in your academic performance, please make sure that comes across in your application. (The Additional Information portion of the Common Application is a great part to communicate this.)

With that in mind, we truly embrace a holistic approach approach to reading applications; we pay attention to all the aspects, not just a single side, of the student.

Can I postpone matriculation at UChicago?

Yes. Students interested in taking a "gap year" between acceptance and attendance are welcomed to postpone their matriculation at UChicago. If this might be an option for you, it is a good idea to let us know as soon as possible. Alerting our office to your possible gap year will not negatively affect your application. If you are an admitted student interested in taking a gap year, please see the Gap Year section below and contact your regional counselor.

I have attempted to register for a UChicago information session in my hometown, but the session is full. May I still attend the session?

Many of our UChicago information sessions are held at libraries and public facilities in local areas that place limits on the number of registrants in order to comply with relevant building codes. If a session is full, unfortunately we will not be able to accommodate further visitors, although will try our best to add additional sessions to meet demand. You do not need to email your regional counselor. We will email you if we add additional sessions.

I am taking the November SAT or October ACT as an Early Action applicant, or the January SAT/February ACT as a Regular Decision applicant. Will you consider these scores?

While we would, of course, like to receive your scores before the appropriate deadline, we will accept October ACT and November SAT scores for Early Action and Early Decision I, December SAT and ACT scores for Early Decision II, and January SAT and February ACT scores for Regular Decision.

I am interested in participating in a varsity sport. How may I contact a coach?

Contact information for our varsity coaches, as well as a survey for students interested in participating in varsity athletics, may be found here.

Does the University of Chicago grant second bachelor’s degrees?

We do not offer second bachelor’s degrees. Please visit the website of the Graham School of General Studies for information on post-baccalaureate coursework and non-degree-program coursework.

May I apply to UChicago for entry in the Winter or Spring quarters?

No. Entering students may only begin study at UChicago in the Autumn quarter.

Do you accept Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit?

Yes. Generally, we accept a 4 or 5 on AP tests and a 6 or 7 on IB examinations. You can learn more about entering the college with outside credit by visiting our College Catalog.

I am not a US citizen or permanent resident, but have been living in the United States for some time, or am in the process of obtaining a green card but have not yet received one. Am I considered an international student?

Yes, for application and financial aid purposes you will be considered an international applicant until you receive a green card. For further help and questions as they arise during this process, contact us at internationaladmissions@uchicago.edu.

Visiting Campus

How may I sign up to visit a class?

Prospective students who are high school seniors or transfer students are welcome to visit undergraduate classes during their campus visit. No advance notification is necessary to visit a class. You will be asked to select a course from the College's course listings upon arrival in the Office of College Admissions.

How may I sign up for an overnight visit with a current student?

Overnight visits are available only for high school seniors on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October and November. There are additional overnight visits available for admitted students in February and April. See here for registration information.

I am interested in speaking with a member of the faculty in my area of interest when I visit campus. How may I arrange this?

You are welcome to arrange a meeting with a professor in your area of interest; departmental websites are a great place to start looking for faculty who you may wish to speak with.

Do you offer tours of your residence halls?

We offer extensive web-based resources for students to learn more about our house system, as well as opportunities for high school seniors to stay overnight in the residence halls. However, because each dorm is so different from each other, a tour of one would not give a very representative picture of the many options available to incoming first-years.

What do I bring to campus when I visit?

Questions! We love answering them, and we hope you have a bunch about UChicago. If you’re worried about forgetting some of your questions, don’t feel embarrassed to write them down. There is no need to bring an activities list or a resume to our campus. We prefer that you indicate activities and accomplishments directly on your application.

If you are coming for a pre-scheduled overnight visit, please bring a sleeping bag or blanket, pillow, and any personal toiletries that you will need for the evening.

Gap Years

Do you accept Gap Year students?

Yes! We have many students that participate in gap years before enrolling at UChicago. Gap year opportunities can range from exchange student programs, to academic research, to working with political campaigns and more. Gap years can be a great fit for certain students.

When/how do I defer for a year?

We encourage students to apply during their senior year of high school, and once admitted they can defer their enrollment for the duration of their gap year or years. It is easier to apply during high school as students have better access to high school resources, such as teacher letters of recommendation, transcripts, and advising. When students are admitted to the college and are certain that they will be participating in a gap year, they will write a letter to their regional admissions counselor for the deferral to be approved. This will be an ongoing conversation between the prospective student and their admissions counselor.

After high school, I am obligated to serve religious or military service before college, does this count as a gap year?

We certainly understand these obligations and are more than willing to work with student to help facilitate these gap years!

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