Does the University of Chicago Interview Everyone?

August 20, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Does the University of Chicago Interview Everyone?

For high school students who have the goal of attending a top undergraduate institution, one school that often comes off at the top of many lists is the University of Chicago. While the University of Chicago is not part of the Ivy League, it does take part in many of the admissions aspects and traditions that Ivy League schools do offer. One such aspect that is available at the majority of Ivy League schools is the undergraduate application interview. So, does the University of Chicago interview everyone?

The answer to that question was, actually, no, but that does not mean that it does not offer a similar component to its application process that is meant to accomplish the same thing both for students applying and for members of the school’s admissions office.

If you are planning on one day applying to the University of Chicago and have questions like, “Does University of Chicago interview everyone,” or “How much does University of Chicago interview matter,” then you have absolutely come to the right place!

At AdmissionSight, we make it our top priority to help the first-year and transfer applicants that we work with get into the best schools that are at the top of their lists. More often than not, this means helping students get into Ivy League schools like Harvard, Princeton, or Yale or non-Ivies that are still in the top 10 such as UChicago, Stanford or MIT. This means helping students with anything from academic and extracurricular profile evaluations to essay editing, common application preparation, interview preparation and so much more!

Female student shaking hands with a man during an interview.

The tools and strategies that our admissions consultants offer the students that we work with operate to great effect. In fact, our track record of success is quite impressive. 75.0 percent of the students that we have worked with in past application cycles have gone on to be accepted to an Ivy League school or top a top 10 school that is not in the Ivies. Considering the fact that the majority of these schools have acceptance rates that are either slightly above or below 5.0 percent overall, we believe that our level of success is certainly something to be excited about.

So, if you are asking yourself, “Does University of Chicago interview everyone,” or “Does University of Chicago interview applicants,” then you have absolutely come to the right place. The main reason for this is that, while UChicago does not offer an undergrad interview, it does offer something known as a video introduction, which is available to all students and is meant to accomplish the same exact aspect as the interview process. So, let’s get started on breaking down all of the important information you need about this video introduction so that you can be best prepared to make your own when the time comes.

Does the University of Chicago give interviews?

At this point, you already know the answer to this important question is no. Though the school did offer interviews to undergraduate applicants, the option has since been taken off the table. There are likely a lot of reasons for the decision to remove the interview from the process, but some of the reasons likely include:

  • The locations in which applicants come from have increased, thus making interviews unavailable for too large a percentage of the applicant pool
  • The overall size of the applicant pool has increased dramatically in recent years, meaning there are no longer enough University of Chicago interviewer options to fill the need
  • Interviews often play no or very little official role in the application process, and the time and energy needed to conduct them far outweighed how useful they actually are to the school.

Despite all those reasons, there seems to be some understanding from the school that allows applying students to show who they are beyond their fantastic academic records and impressive extracurricular achievements. In the end, the interview and the video introduction serve as a way for students to show who they are as people!

Instead of conducting in-person or remote interviews, UChicago has instead opted to utilize the power of technology so that all students, no matter who they are or where they are located, can send in supplemental material to let the school’s admissions officers know who they are.

Here is what the school itself has to say about the decision to not offer application interviews.

“If you would like to add your voice to your application, you have the option to submit a two-minute video introduction, as an alternative to an interview. Your recording does not need to be extensively rehearsed or polished, and the video does not need to be edited. UChicago no longer offers on-campus or alumni interviews as part of the application process.

“The video introduction is not required and is completely optional. A video introduction is one more way for us to get to know you and hear your voice (literally!), but it is up to the applicant whether or not to include one. Students who choose not to submit a video introduction will not be penalized in any way.”

We will break down some more of what the school has to say about the optional video introduction, but we wanted to get some of the most basic information on the table early on.

Let’s keep it moving!

How much does the University of Chicago interview matter?

Though the school does not offer interviews, it is still important to know how much the video introduction – the component of the UChicago application that has basically come to replace the interview process – matters.

Even from the bit of information offered in those quotes above, you should already have a pretty solid idea of how much these introductory videos matter. The truth is that they are not going to have a massive impact on your application one way or the other.  Though it may be boring to say, it is really important that any student seriously thinking about applying to UChicago knows that the most important aspect of their application is going to be their academic achievement and preparedness.

Student talking her interviewer in an office.

Admissions officers at top schools delve deeply into every student’s application so that they can gain a better understanding of whether or not that student would be a good fit at the school. This means finding proof within a given application that the student who sent it in will flourish within the school’s rigorous academic tradition as well as find ways to both grow and contribute to the school’s community and culture.

Ultimately, it is that latter aspect that the video introduction can play a role. After all of the students that have been deemed a great academic fit at UChicago have been identified and the pool of students has been whittled down dramatically, that is when admissions officers may start looking at other aspects of a student’s application to see what sets them apart.

The first places admissions officers look at including a student’s extracurricular activities and achievements, their letters of recommendation, and their personal essays and statements. It is also during this time that admissions officers will take a look at the video introduction.

This is all to say that the video introduction portion of the University of Chicago application may matter very little, so little that it is not required and is totally optional, but that does not mean that a great video intro cannot help a student get in. Even if it makes just a marginal difference, that is still a difference, and it still makes it completely worth it to send in a great video to the school.

When we say even the smallest impact is worth it, we mean it, and part of that has to do with the incredibly low acceptance rate at UChicago. In the 2021-22 application cycle, which had students applying to become a part of the 2026 graduating class, the approximate acceptance rate was just 5.0 percent. That makes it just as hard to get into as schools like Yale, Stanford, MIT, and more.

So, why does this difficulty make the video introduction more important? The simple truth is that every little bit helps. If a video introduction can help you get into UChicago by just a tiny margin, it’s worth it!

What should my UChicago video introduction be like?

Now that you know a bit more about the UChicago video introduction and how it has replaced meeting with a University of Chicago interviewer, you may be wondering what your video should really be like.

Basically, the school is expecting two-minute videos to be sent to replace the interview. While the answer to the question, “Does University of Chicago give interviews” is no, that does not mean that these videos cannot serve essentially the same purpose.

Students gathered around a room and talking.

Moreover, these videos do not need to be overly rehearsed, polished or professionally edited. More than anything, these videos are meant to be a fun way for students to show the admissions officers at UChicago who they are and why they think they would be a great fit at UChicago.

Here is what the school has to say about its main priorities in the videos. Overall, the school preaches a substance over style approach to the video introduction.

“For the purposes of our review, it is still impressive if a student is sharing important ideas and perspective on their specific potential for contribution to UChicago even if that video was filmed “selfie-style” on a phone. It is much less helpful if the video is professionally lit and edited, but contains little to no unique information about the student or their specific candidacy for UChicago.”

Moreover, the school does ask that students record their video introductions in a quiet place that limits outside distractions, such as background noise, music, pets, or family interferences. On top of that, the school makes it clear that while rehearsing the video to make sure that you can get your message across in a clear and concise way, there is not much value in writing out an actual script to memorize.

In fact, the school would prefer quite the opposite! Perhaps the most important aspect of this video introduction is that it feels genuine, natural, and uniquely you! That is what is arguably most in common with what schools that do offer interviews look for as well.

Surely, if the answer to the question, “Does University of Chicago give interviews,” was yes, they’d be looking for the very same thing.

Finally, it is important for students to know what the school wants when it comes to formatting and how to submit the video intro. Students can record their videos using the platform that they are most comfortable with. From there, they can upload either a file or a link to the introduction in their Coalition Locker or their UChicago Account.

Tips to prepare for your UChicago video introduction

When it comes to making sure that the video introduction portion of your application to UChicago is as great as it can be, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while thinking of what you want to say and while recording.

Make sure to bring your best self

Just because the school makes it clear that it is not looking for a professionally edited video in which you are reading off of a carefully crafted script does not mean that admissions officers aren’t looking for a certain level of maturity and professionalism.

Female student shaking hands with her interviewer.

Before you record your video, be sure to think and talk (either with your parents, peers, teacher or admissions consultant) about what you want to discuss and what ideas you want to convey in your video. Simply saying “I believe I’d be a great fit at UChicago” is not nearly enough to impress the admissions officers at the school. You should focus on finding ways to make it clear through your past actions, your interests and your goals why UChicago is a fantastic fit.

Don’t spend your video going over your resume

This is a mistake that a lot of students sadly make, and it dramatically impedes the video introduction’s ability to make a positive impact on their application at UChicago. When you are recording your video introduction, you should not worry about going over even the best accomplishments if you have already managed to cover them in detail in your application.

Instead, you should try to craft your video around things that you did not have space to cover in your application. This gives you the chance to widen and expand the information that the school has about you. The video is meant to give students the chance to show who they are past the information on their application, simply using the video to review what’s on your application already diminishes its potential impact.

Don’t obsess over the video, make it fun and entertaining

The video interview should not offer a large amount of stress or anxiety on your part. Overall, this experience is meant to be fun and is meant to give students the chance to feel closer to UChicago during their application process.

This should be a quick and easy part of an otherwise rigorous and demanding application process at UChicago. While it can be helpful to the admissions officers at the school, it is not required and should not be held to the same level of importance as aspects such as your letters of recommendation.

Will my application be negatively impacted if I choose not to send a video?

While the school makes it clear that the video introduction is optional and is not required by any student to send it, there is no reason not to send one. As long as you feel as though you have the time and bandwidth to craft a video interview that will help you state your interest in UChicago and your reasoning for why you think it’s a great undergraduate destination for you.

Succeed in the UChicago interview

Though the University of Chicago does not currently offer an interview process for students who are applying to this wonderful school, the video introduction has become a wonderful replacement that makes the experience available to all applicants.

While your video introduction is not likely going to have a massive impact on your application, it could very well just be that small factor that tips you over the edge from someone who will either end up on the waitlist or not offered a spot to someone who will one day be walking the halls at UChicago.

At AdmissionSight, we know how to help students make the most of these unique opportunities that are offered as part of the Ivy League application process. If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to make your video introduction at UChicago the best that it can be, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

 

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