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Is UChicago Test Optional?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students talking in a room.

Is UChicago Test Optional?

Is UChicago test optional? The University of Chicago is one of the first top-ranked colleges to implement a policy that allows students to opt out of taking standardized tests. Although UChicago believes that your transcript demonstrates your academic record within the context of your school, they also believe that it is helpful to see evidence of academic achievement that exists outside of the context of your school.

This is because schools can be very different from one another. Because of this, some educational institutions require applicants to provide their SAT or ACT scores. In this broader context, an applicant’s score on either the SAT or the ACT can be interpreted as a reflection of their academic preparedness.

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Some applicants might think that their SAT or ACT score does not adequately represent their academic preparedness or potential. If this describes your situation, you have the option of applying to UChicago using the test optional method, in which case you will not be required to submit your SAT or ACT scores along with your application.

Whether UChicago is test optional or not, UChicago encourages all students, regardless of the testing plan they have chosen, to send in any additional materials (details of which can be found in the Supplements section) that they consider to be the most representative of their abilities, interests, and possible contributions to the University of Chicago.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the American College Testing Program (ACT), and other standard measures can continue to be an essential component of the University of Chicago’s holistic admission process for students who elect to send scores. Additionally, the SAT and ACT are required components of the application process at many other highly selective schools.

These examinations have the potential to provide useful information about a student, which we and other colleges will take into consideration along with the other aspects of an applicant’s application. Although UChicago is test optional, students are strongly encouraged to take standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT and to report their scores to the University of Chicago if they believe that their scores accurately reflect their abilities and potential.

They expect that the vast majority of students, given that many of their peers do require testing, will continue to take tests and may still submit their test scores to UChicago. This is because many of their peers do require testing.

What is the Current UChicago Acceptance Rate?

The acceptance rate for the University of Chicago Class of 2026 fell to a record low of 5 percent, making it the lowest it has ever been. There was a decrease of.83 percentage points from the Class of 2024’s acceptance rate to that of the Class of 2025, which brought the rate down to 6.48 percent.

There were almost 38,000 applications received for the Class of 2025, which is almost 3,600 more applicants than there were for the Class of 2024 (34,372 applications). The average SAT score of the Class of 2025 was 1535, which is a very high score.

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UChicago has always had a strong emphasis on standardized test scores, but now they are boasting about this orientation, and prospective students should take this into consideration. Although UChicago just recently adopted a test optional policy, not only do scores on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT matter, but AP scores do as well.

The University of Chicago made the announcement that they would be test optional back in June of 2018, which was slightly hypercritical and caused even more confusion among applicants. This is one of the factors that contributed to the overall increase in the number of applications.

As a matter of policy, the University of Chicago does not reveal its acceptance rates until after the incoming first-year class has moved in. This demonstrates how proud the university is of the quality of applicants they were able to attract.

What are the Admission Requirements for UChicago?

Many people believe that the University of Chicago is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. Annually, the university has more than 30,000 admissions applications from prospective students.

As UChicago is test optional, students interested in enrolling at the University of Chicago need to be aware of the university’s admission requirements to have a good chance of being extended an offer of enrollment.

Average GPA Requirements for UChicago Admissions

To improve their chances of getting into the University of Chicago, applicants must have an exceptional GPA. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 4.0 on a 4.0 scale to be admitted, even though there is no minimum GPA requirement to apply for admission.

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According to the requirements for your GPA, the University of Chicago appears to be very competitive. In addition, prospective students who have a grade point average (GPA) lower than 3.75 have a slim chance of being accepted. Therefore, for students to improve their weighted grade point average, they should enroll in their high school’s most challenging Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes.

The percentage of applicants who were accepted at the University of Chicago is detailed in the following table:

GPA UChicago acceptance rate Competitiveness
3.75+ 83% Good
3.50-3.75 13% Reach
3.25-3.50 3% Reach
3.00-3.25 1% Reach
2.75-3.00 N/A Low

UChicago SAT Requirements

The University of Chicago places a significant emphasis on the SAT scores of prospective students. The university prefers applicants who scored in the top one percent of all students who took the SAT. Therefore, to satisfy the University of Chicago’s requirements for the SAT, applicants need to have a score that is at least 1535 on a scale that ranges from 200 to 1600.

Two students talking in a table.

Applicants whose SAT scores are lower than 1500 have a diminished likelihood of being accepted to the university. Nevertheless, the university will admit students even with SAT scores as low as 1460 if the circumstances are right.

Regarding accepting students with the highest possible SAT scores, the University of Chicago is ranked number one in Illinois. The acceptance rate at the University of Chicago is presented in the following table by the University of Chicago’s SAT requirements:

SAT score Acceptance Rate Competitiveness
1570+ 11% and above Good
1535-1570 7-11% Above Average
1500-1535 4-7% Below Average
1465-1500 3-4% Reach
Below 1465 Below 3% Low

UChicago ACT Requirements

When deciding whether or not to admit a candidate, the university places a significant amount of weight on their ACT scores. In addition, the average ACT score of applicants had a significant impact on the acceptance rate offered by the University of Chicago in 2025. Less than 58 percent of those who applied sent in their ACT scores with their applications for admission.

According to the data from the admission process from the previous year, the university will only accept applicants whose ACT score is at or above 34. The fact that there are this many applicants makes the admissions process at the University of Chicago very competitive.

Female students studying in a table.

Applicants whose ACT composite score is lower than 33 have a diminished likelihood of being accepted to the university. Having said that, the university occasionally admits students with ACT scores as low as 32 if the circumstances are right.

Applicants who have submitted an ACT score of 35 or higher will be given priority when admission offers are being considered. Therefore, if you have an ACT score that is higher than 35, you will have a good chance of securing a place in the university that you are applying to.

The following table provides an accurate depiction of the ACT score and its level of competitiveness.

ACT score University of Chicago Acceptance Rate Competitiveness
35+ 18% and above Good
34-35 7-18% Above Average
33-34 4-7% Below Average
32-33 3-4% Reach
Below 32 Below 3% Low

What are the Admissions Requirements for UChicago?

Applicants have the option of submitting either the Coalition Application or the Common Application; however, the University of Chicago Supplement is included in both of these applications. Applicants will also be asked to create a UChicago Account, allowing them to submit information and view their admissions decision after the account has been created.

Pick One of These Two Applications

The Coalition Application and the Common Application are both accepted by UChicago. During the admissions process, they do not discriminate against either one. You must choose a single application platform, and you can use whichever one you believe will be most effective for you.

Extracurricular Activities

Include in your list of extracurricular activities everything that you do when you are not in school since that is how you spend your time outside of the classroom. This could be an organized club, team, or competition; a hobby that you pursue on your own; a part-time job; a responsibility toward your family; or anything else that you do with your time outside of the classroom.

The reason why colleges request this information is not that they have any particular expectation or preference for how you spend your time; rather, they want to learn more about what you find significant, worthwhile, or interesting.

Personal Statement

It is your opportunity to present yourself and your ideas in your own words within the context of your personal statement. All colleges and universities you apply to will receive a copy of your personal statement if you use the Common or Coalition Application.

As a consequence of this, it should not be unique to any one particular school. Your personal statement needs to be written in a way that is appropriate for a wide variety of readers and should highlight your strongest qualities.

The Supplement from UChicago

The University of Chicago Supplement requires two essays: one longer one, chosen by you from a list of several possible topics, and one shorter one, explaining why you would like to attend the University of Chicago. You can obtain a copy of the Supplement using either the Coalition Application or the Common Application.

Your UChicago Account

Students have the option of starting either the Coalition or the Common Application before or after creating a UChicago Account.

Application Fee and Automatic Fee Waiver

Students who wish to apply for need-based financial aid at the University of Chicago are not required to pay an application fee. The application fee is $75 for students not applying for need-based financial aid and can be submitted through either the Coalition Application or the Common Application.

Report from Middle and High School and a Transcript from High School

You should talk to the guidance counselor at your secondary school about filling out the Secondary School Report and submitting it along with your official transcript. If your secondary school does not have a counselor available to submit the Secondary School Report and transcript on your behalf, a teacher or school administrator may do so instead. You can self-submit your high school transcript if you attend a high school in the United States.

Report from the Secondary School

The Secondary School Report gives us a summary of your performance during your time in secondary school. Through either the Coalition Application or the Common Application, guidance counselors at secondary schools can electronically submit letters of recommendation and school forms on behalf of their students.

Transcript from the High School

Your high school ought to provide you with an official transcript that details the classes you took and your grades throughout the entirety of your high school career. When they review your application, they will use your transcript as a roadmap to follow your academic journey through high school.

The University of Chicago will examine your academic record throughout all four years of high school, primarily to determine whether or not you have effectively challenged yourself through the courses you have taken and whether or not you have performed well in those classes.

Two Teacher Recommendations

For first-year applicants, UChicago requires two recommendations from teachers from their high school, and for transfer applicants, UChicago requires two recommendations from college instructors. Academic subjects include mathematics, social studies, history, science, English or literature, a foreign language, and other classes in which you are doing substantial amounts of reading, writing, or class discussion.

Submitting Letters of Recommendation

Through either the Coalition Application or the Common Application, all school counselors and teachers can upload electronic versions of their recommendation letters and school forms. The applicant should never write recommendation letters; rather, the recommender should write the letter and send it directly.

Because you can add letters of recommendation to your application after the deadline, you do not need to ask your recommender to submit their letter before or at the same time as you have submitted your application. This is because you can add letters of recommendation to your application after the deadline.

Supplemental Recommendations

Suppose you believe that without a third letter of recommendation from another teacher, an employer, a role model, a youth leader, or a friend, we won’t be able to get a complete picture of who you are. In that case, you are welcome to submit one additional letter.

It is not expected that you will submit a supplemental letter of recommendation, and before you ask a potential recommender for a letter of recommendation, please consider the significant time commitment it takes to write a good letter of recommendation.

Report on the Half-Year

Please have your high school counselor submit a midyear report with grades or a transcript for your first semester or first trimester by the 1st of February of the year you have applied, or as soon as possible after that date. Students will not be penalized for submitting the report after the due date because we are aware that some schools may delay the issuance of midyear grades until a later date.

Standardized Test

The policy at UChicago is test optional, it is therefore up to you to decide to send the SAT score. Your application will be considered by the university regardless of the score you submit. Whether or not UChicago adopts a test-optional policy, you should send in your scores if you have high confidence that they will play a significant role in determining the outcome of your application.

Optional requirements

The following are the requirements that can be waived if desired:

  • Application for Financial Assistance
  • Video Profile
  • Additional Sources and Materials

When is the Application Deadline for UChicago?

First-year applicants at the University of Chicago submit their applications to the undergraduate College, which encompasses all of the institution’s various majors, minors, and programs of study.

First-year applicants, who are also known as QuestBridge Applicants, Home-Schooled Applicants, and International Applicants, are the only ones who are permitted to submit an application for entry during the Autumn Quarter.

First-year applicants to the University of Chicago have the option of selecting one of four different application plans. Find out more about the application plans you can choose from and the deadlines associated with each option. Early Intervention The First Early Decision, the Second Early Decision, and the Regular Decision

Early Action Early Decision I Early Decision II Regular Decision
Application Due Date November 1 November 1 January 4 January 4
Admission Decision Release Date Mid-December Mid-December Mid-February Late March
Student Reply Due Date May 2 Mid-January Early March May 2

If you need help putting the finishing touches on your early applications or want some advice on whether or not applying Early Decision or an Early Action is a good option for you, at AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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