Let me begin with a disclaimer: when I was in high school I reeeaaaallllyyy wanted to go to the University of Chicago. I went on a campus tour my sophomore year and fell in love with the campus and the university’s multiple academic offerings. The day I got the ‘thin envelope’ in the mail was the lowest point in my high school senior year. Though everything worked out well enough for me, I want to use this article to help future applicants realize their dreams.
For those just starting to consider the University of Chicago, the school has a lot going for it. Founded by the RICHEST MAN EVER, John D. Rockefeller, the school offers over fifty majors to undergraduates. Its Common Core classes are capped at seventeen students, and taught by full time faculty. Last but not least, who wouldn’t want to go to the school where nuclear science was born (in a secret lab under the football field)?
So what ACT score do I need to get into U Chicago?
Well…that’s complicated. On its admissions website, the University of Chicago profiles its class of 2019. The range of ACT scores admitted students earned was 22-36. That sounds like a pretty big range until you examine the specifics.
For the vast majority (75%) of admitted students who submitted ACT scores, their scores were 32 or higher. For perspective, if you earned a 32 on the ACT, you earned a higher score than 98% of your peers. A full 25% of applicants earned a 35 or 36 on the ACT.
If you’re still thinking of applying despite such rigorous competition, it’s time to start advanced ACT training to earn a 36. You may not reach that goal (only .7% do), but shooting for perfection will no doubt raise your composite ACT score to a more competitive number.
So I have a 32+ ACT score. Now what?
A 32+ ACT score will keep your application in the slush pile a bit longer, but you’ll need to stand out in other ways if you’re going to be one of the 7.8% of applicants accepted each year.
Like all highly selective schools, the University of Chicago looks far beyond test scores for its best applicants. If you’ve been doing all the right things (leadership positions in extracurricular activities, volunteer work, unique creative endeavors, shining teacher recommendations, and stellar essays), the admissions counselors will certainly take note.
At the end of the day, though, the University of Chicago is one of the most competitive schools in the United States. No matter your score or background, you, too, may get the ‘thin envelope’ in the mail. Don’t take it personally. If you’re a competitive candidate, there’s a school out there for you.
And if the admissions gods should smile upon you, congratulations. It’s time to start buying sweaters. Lots of sweaters.