Most people think there is a generic, fixed formula to get into UChicago. In reality, there is a framework but the details of the framework are to be determined by yourself. I’m here to tell you the building blocks I gathered which got me into UChicago which I like to think of as a three tiered pyramid.
I needed to ensure my foundational elements of good grades and SAT scores are solid. My scores weren’t excellent (trust me when I say this because I wasn’t top in my school) but I managed to slightly exceed average and scored well. When I found myself struggling in AP Economics, I considered an online economics tutoring platform because the resources in school weren’t sufficient. If you’re the kind of student who studies better at night but can’t find anyone who is willing to tutor at night in person, you could look into an online 24/7 tutoring platform that can be offered remotely. Alternatively, you could also seek professional tutoring services. You’d also want to make sure you’re involved in extracurricular activities. I was extremely active in my softball team, led my school's first aid team as well as represented my state in choir competitions. This showed them that I was a well-rounded student beyond just books.
I ensured that my CommonApp essay was written from a genuine point of view. In high school, I went from struggling in economics to scoring high marks in it. It happened that the essay asked why I would like to be an Economics major. I shared about how I understood what it was like to struggle in economics but eventually excelled at it. As a result, I decided to be a part time online economics tutor. Here, it communicated that I did something different to demonstrate genuine interest in my potential major. Following that, I decided to band together with a few friends who excelled in other subjects and we formed an online academic tutoring service for students in my town. Forming an academic tutoring service showed that I was more than just a high school student; I had an entrepreneurial spirit and took action pursuing my passion.
This is the most important component in successfully securing a spot in UChicago. If you’ve seen the prompts, you’ll find that they are quirky, odd questions. I picked one that I was most comfortable with to portray the kind of person I was beyond an academic setting. Be as creative as you want. I strung together a story with elements of a chameleon, a box of stars and salted caramel cubes to portray my personality traits. I personally believe that my supplemental essay was what got me into UChicago as they could see the sheer amount of conviction and sincerity that went into it. UChicago is looking for students to make up a well-balanced student body. So if you try to pose as an intellect when that isn’t your core identity, you might not make it because there are already many intellectual people applying. So, trust me when I say be you, be unique!
There is no one sure formula I can give you to get into UChicago but what I found that got me into UChicago was giving the admissions team a chance to glimpse into my life beyond the grades that I submitted to them and if you can do that, you’re jolly well on your way!