UChicago Letters of Recommendation

December 2, 2022
By AdmissionSight

UChicago Letters of Recommendation

How Many Letters Of Recommendation Does UChicago Require?

Like other colleges and universities, three factors are usually considered by UChicago when deciding whether to admit you as a full-time student. These include your course, grades, and standardized test scores. UChicago is currently test-optional, but if you meet the requirements in general, your application will then be evaluated based on your credibility.

This means that you might want to reach out to a few of your former professors, mentors, or coworkers and ask them to write strong UChicago letters of recommendation for your admission to the university. The unquestionable value of a letter of recommendation is frequently undervalued, which costs many people the chance.

How many letters of recommendation does UChicago require? For first-year candidates, two references from teachers who have instructed them in an academic topic are required; for transfer students, two recommendations must come from college instructors. For recommendation letter purposes, suggested academic subjects are mathematics, social studies, history, science, English or literature, foreign languages, and other courses in which you spend a significant amount of time reading, writing, or participating in class discussions.

Two students talking in a table.

In addition, counselors at all secondary schools have the option of submitting school forms and UChicago letters of recommendation online via the Coalition Application or Common Application. Counselors in high schools should submit these forms following the guidelines on the Coalition or Common App.

The applicant should not provide letters of recommendation; they must come directly from the recommender. You do not need to ask your recommender to submit their letter before or concurrently with the submission of your application; letters of reference can be added to your application after the application deadline.

If your recommenders choose to or are more comfortable writing in a language other than English, kindly request that they send the translated letter together with the original.

Supplemental Recommendations

You may submit one more letter if you believe that without a third letter from a teacher, employer, role model, youth leader, or friend, the school will not be able to get a complete picture of who you are.

Please be aware of the significant time commitment required to write an excellent letter of recommendation before approaching a possible recommender. Submitting an additional letter of recommendation is not required.

What Should Be In A UChicago Recommendation Letter?

If you wonder “What should be in a UChicago recommendation letter?” your contributions to the classroom, your academic interests, and your interactions with peers should be discussed in it.

The faculty evaluators find letters of recommendation from professors at academic institutions to be the most helpful. The professors you have a strong working relationship with are likely to write the strongest letters of recommendation.

Students talking near the school grounds.

Before requesting a reference from a teacher, think about how long you have known them, how many of their classes you have attended, whether you participated actively in those classes, and whether you have ever written extensive papers or other noteworthy projects for them. To help your instructors write a more thorough letter, arrange a brief conversation with your recommender to explain the context of your educational goals.

It may not be enough just to get a decent score in a class to ensure that you will receive a strong or helpful recommendation letter to get accepted to UChicago. The admissions committee is interested in your potential as a UChicago student, your intellectual motivations, your approach to problem-solving, and your level of dedication to your objectives.

Additionally, it is highly encouraged that at least two out of the three UChicago letters of recommendation should be from professors who teach in the field in which you are applying. Letters from experts in fields related to your own are also appropriate. People applying to Sociology and Economics, for instance, can use letters from professors of Statistics and Mathematics, respectively.

UChicago also understands that some students who have not attended school in a year or more could find it challenging to get letters of recommendation from their previous professors. Nowadays, a lot of colleges and universities offer credential services that permanently archive letters of recommendation. Applicants must utilize such services before leaving a certain school so that they always have access to letters of recommendation.

What Is the Deadline For UChicago Recommendation Letters?

All the majors, minors, and degree programs offered by the undergraduate school of the University of Chicago are open to first-year candidates. QuestBridge Applicants, Home-Schooled Applicants, and International Applicants are examples of first-year applicants who may only apply for admission in the autumn quarter.

Two students talking to a professor.

What is the deadline for UChicago recommendation letters? Depending on which round of applications you select, the deadline for your University of Chicago application will be:

  • Early Action has a November 1st deadline. An early action is a great option for students who want to hear a decision quickly and need some time to consider their options. It is not binding.
  • Early Decision I applications must be submitted by November 1st. Early Decision I is the best option for applicants who are certain that UChicago is their top choice. This plan is binding. If you’re accepted, you’re pledging to attend UChicago.
  • Early Decision II applications must be submitted by January 3rd. Although the deadlines for this path are later in the year, Early Decision II has the same binding admissions feature as Early Decision II.
  • The Regular Decision application window closes on January 3rd. Regular Decision is an ideal option for those who wish to take their time because it is a non-binding method. You will have more time to finish the application and assess other institutions’ offers.

Allow enough time, preferably a few weeks before the deadline, for your UChicago letters of recommendation. Prepare to ask your recommenders by the beginning of October if you intend to submit your application by the Early Action deadline of November 1st. Send them the details of our deadline without fail.

What Are the Requirements To Get Into UChicago?

What are the requirements to get into UChicago? To start, you need to complete the Common Application, write any necessary essays, and give your recommenders enough time to complete their UChicago letters of recommendation.

The following is a list of the materials you should be aware of as you get ready to submit your University of Chicago application:

Application Requirements Deadlines and Notes
Common App personal statement There is a 650-word maximum.
UChicago-specific essays Once UChicago has been selected as one of your colleges, these will display on the Common App.
Official high school transcript Your school must submit this on your behalf.
School report Your counselor should submit this to highlight your academic achievements, along with your official transcript.
Counselor recommendation This letter will help you stand out from your competition.
Two (2) letters of recommendation from teachers Because admissions examiners want to know how you behave in a classroom, these letters are also important.
Mid-year report This is due on February 1 if you have been deferred from ED or EA. When mid-year grades are available, this should be submitted for Regular Decision (RD).
SAT or ACT The ACT and SAT scores from October and November are accepted by UChicago for Early Action and Early Decision I, the SAT and ACT scores from December are accepted for Early Decision II, and the SAT and ACT scores from January and February are accepted for Regular Decision. Remember that UChicago is currently test-optional.
Video introduction Since UChicago does not conduct student interviews, applicants can provide a 2-minute introduction video instead.
Arts, creative, or research supplement Consider submitting a portfolio of your work if you are a talented musician, designer, or artist—or if you have done in-depth research in a certain area.
Financial aid documents The FAFSA, your tax returns or your parents’ tax returns, and the UChicago-Specific Financial Help Worksheet, which can replace the College Board’s CSS Profile, must be completed by U.S. citizens and permanent residents seeking for financial aid.

What Does UChicago Look For In Applications?

UChicago, founded in 1890, asserts to be the best of both worlds, a liberal arts university tucked up beneath a considerably bigger scholarly institution. The University of Chicago is seeking an academically well-rounded student who has a unique point of view on the world and is involved in extracurricular activities.

Almost all University of Chicago students have excellent GPAs and exam scores. In addition to academic achievement, admissions authorities consider other aspects of candidates’ applications, including their intellectual motivation.

Female student hanging out in the school grounds.

So, what does UChicago look for in applications? When deciding whether to admit you, UChicago admissions officers consider your whole application, including your GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, work experience, class rank, UChicago letters of recommendation, and UChicago essays.

All these elements are significant and considered. The list of particularly significant factors that admissions officers examine thoroughly while selecting students is provided below.

Writing Skills

UChicago analyzes applicants based on their writing abilities, in contrast to several other schools, even if they are applying as a STEM major. One way to determine this is via UChicago’s peculiar prompts, which inspire students to think creatively and unconventionally. These questions provide admissions staff a chance to assess your intellectual drive and how your history complements UChicago’s culture.

2022-23 UChicago Supplement

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.

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1

Was it a cat I saw? Yo-no-na-ka, ho-ka-ho-ka na-no-yo (Japanese for “the world is a warm place”). Może jutro ta dama da tortu jeżom (Polish for “maybe tomorrow that lady will give a cake to the hedgehogs”). Share a palindrome in any language, and give it a backstory.

– Inspired by Leah Beach, Class of 2026, Lib Gray SB ’12, and Agnes Mazur AB ‘09

Essay Option 2

What advice would a wisdom tooth have?

–Inspired by Melody Dias, Class of 2025

Essay Option 3

You are on an expedition to found a colony on Mars, when from a nearby crater, a group of Martians suddenly emerges. They seem eager to communicate, but they’re the impatient kind and demand you represent the human race in one song, image, memory, proof, or other idea. What do you share with them to show that humanity is worth their time?

—Inspired by Alexander Hastings, Class of 2023, and Olivia Okun-Dubitsky, Class of 2026

Essay Option 4

UChicago has been affiliated with over 90 Nobel laureates. But, why should economics, physics, and peace get all the glory? You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific category, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment.

—Inspired by Isabel Alvarez, Class of 2026

Essay Option 5

Genghis Khan with an F1 racecar. George Washington with a SuperSoaker. Emperor Nero with a toaster. Leonardo da Vinci with a Furby. If you could give any historical figure any piece of technology, who and what would it be, and why do you think they’d work so well together?

-Inspired by Braden Hajer, Class of 2025

Essay Option 6

And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). 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!

Extracurricular Activities

Students who excel in one area or who engage thoughtfully in a variety of activities are sought after by UChicago.

The best students will score highly in this category and have remarkable involvement, although UChicago frequently accepts students without outstanding extracurricular achievements if their activity is thoughtful and relevant to their interests.

Students talking in the stairs.

Numerous admitted students participated in extracurricular activities at their high school, according to admissions data for the Class of 2026. It is obvious that extracurricular activities play a significant role in admissions decisions, despite UChicago’s emphasis that no one activity, GPA, or test score will ensure admission.

The following is a list of extracurricular activities participated by the Class of 2026:

Activity Percentage of Students Involved
Community Service 84%
Editorial (newspaper, literary magazine, yearbook) 21%
Music 55%
Religious Organizations 16%
Student Government 35%
Theater 23%
Varsity Athletics 67%

Academic Curiosity

Students at UChicago are said to be looking for a demanding university where they may engage in a “fearless quest of truth.” Academics and learning are loved by UChicago students.

Some students chose UChicago “because it had the most demanding and diverse academic program.” While the “theoretical approach to learning” and “niche” degrees and programs appealed to other students.

There is little doubt that University of Chicago students embrace learning for learning’s sake. If you are one of the students who value learning as much as UChicago students, making the most of high school is the ideal approach to getting ready.

Instead of worrying about how your course choices will appear to someone reading your college application, search for classes that will challenge and enhance you while choosing your program. Though it is challenging to forecast what will be considered “excellent” by each college because each one evaluates applications in a different way, generally speaking, it is advised that students take courses in a variety of academic disciplines, such as:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3-4 years of math
  • 3-4 years of laboratory sciences
  • 3 or more years of social sciences
  • Foreign language studies (2-3 years suggested)

Again, the University does not require any specific course for entrance. Instead, UChicago wants students to take rigorous education in any field that is available to them and relevant to their interests.

UChicago approaches the application evaluation procedure holistically as many other prestigious universities do. This means that they take into account every component of each applicant’s application, and no one element of an application disqualifies admittance.

To put it another way, do not let one flaw or weakness stop you from applying. Focus on improving your UChicago supplemental essays if your GPA or SAT scores are below the university’s average. Secure strong UChicago letters of recommendation from your counselor to support your application. Strengthen as many areas as you can, then apply confidently. If you need professional help, AdmissionSight is available to assist you.

AdmissionSight has guided thousands of students through the demanding admissions processes of top universities, not just in the US but globally. To further discuss your application, schedule an appointment for an initial consultation with us.

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