UChicago Pre-College Connect

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

UChicago Pre-College Connect

The UChicago Pre-College Connect is a special program for high school students to get a feel for college life before they actually start college. It’s a chance to study interesting subjects, learn new things, and get skills that will help in college and later on. Students get to learn from great teachers at the University of Chicago, take part in fun workshops, and meet other students who like learning too. This program isn’t just about studying; it’s also about growing up, getting more confident, and getting ready for college.

Pre-college programs like this one are really important for students and their families to think about. They help students see what college is like and make smart choices about their future. These programs can also help students get better at school subjects, think about what they might want to study in college, and make friends with other students and teachers. This blog is here to tell you all about the UChicago Pre-College Connect: what it is, why you might want to join, how to sign up, and what you’ll do there. If you’re starting to think about college or are getting ready to apply, this blog has useful tips and information to help you feel ready and excited about what’s coming next.

What is the UChicago Pre-College Connect?

The UChicago Pre-College Connect is an exciting summer program for high school students who want to experience what college is like before they actually go to college. This program is special because it mixes online learning with the chance to be on the University of Chicago campus in person. Students spend three weeks diving deep into subjects like biology, psychology, and art.

Asian teacher leader and multiethnic diverse young professional creative team students brainstorming discussing project at desk with in office classroom using laptop computer.

The first two weeks are done online, where students can talk and work with their teachers and classmates in real-time, right from their own homes. Then, the adventure moves to the University of Chicago campus for the final week. This is when the program becomes an in-person experience, where students live in the university’s dorms, go to classes face-to-face, and do hands-on activities.

Below are the courses offered by the program for students to choose from:

Art and Design in the Age of the Internet

In this course, students get to play with art and design. They will make their own art projects and show them off. The class includes fun activities like walking tours around the university to see special art places and possibly explore the city. Students will learn about art history and try different types of art, like drawing, fashion, or even making a game. This course is for everyone, whether you’re starting with art or already know a bit about it. It’s a chance to work with others who like art and make something cool together.

Evolution in Thought, Art, and Culture

This class talks about how the idea of evolution – the way living things change over generations – affects how we think about ourselves, animals, and technology. Students will look at how this idea has changed the way artists, scientists, and writers think about the future of life on Earth. The class will read stories, watch movies, and meet experts online. Then, when they’re together in person, they’ll visit places in Chicago, like museums, to learn more about science and evolution.

Explorations in Biology: Sex Differences and Dimorphism in Animal Behavior

Students will dive into biology by looking at how males and females can behave differently, using fruit flies as an example. They’ll learn about how science experiments are set up and how to ask and answer questions about the natural world. The course includes both online learning and real experiments, helping students understand how and why animals act the way they do.

Foundations of Psychological Research

This course introduces students to how psychologists study the way people think, feel, and behave. Students will learn about different ways to do research and how to come up with their own research project. They will look at real psychological studies to understand how science can help answer questions about the mind. By the end of the course, students will design a study to explore a question they’re curious about, using what they’ve learned about research methods.

The goal of the Pre-College Connect is to give students a head start on their college journey. By mixing online and on-campus learning, students get to use UChicago’s digital and physical resources. They can do things like virtual activities in the first two weeks and then switch to in-person labs, visits to museums, and other cool experiences in the last week. This setup helps students learn how to manage online courses, which are becoming more common in colleges everywhere, while also enjoying the traditional parts of college life, like staying in dorms and going to classes with professors and students.

Side view at multi-ethnic group of students using laptop while studying in college

The program aims to make students feel more prepared and confident about starting college. They get a real taste of college academics through the intensive courses and learn how to balance study with fun by exploring campus and the city. By the end of the program, students not only have new knowledge in fascinating subjects but also firsthand experience with college life, making the transition to college smoother and less intimidating.

Where is the Pre-College Connect Being Held?

The Pre-College Connect takes place at the University of Chicago, a beautiful campus known for its stunning architecture and green spaces. Located in the heart of Chicago, the campus offers a vibrant environment for learning and exploration. During the program, students will get to experience life on this historic campus, attending classes in modern classrooms equipped with the latest technology.

Students will have access to incredible facilities and resources during their time here. This includes libraries filled with books and online resources for research, state-of-the-art laboratories for science courses, and art studios for creative projects. For the in-person week, students will stay in residence halls, giving them a taste of college living. These halls are safe, comfortable, and close to dining options where students can enjoy meals together.

The campus is also surrounded by the city’s rich cultural attractions, from museums to parks, providing plenty of opportunities for learning outside the classroom. This unique setting allows students to immerse themselves fully in the academic and social life of a top university, making the Pre-College Connect an unforgettable experience.

When Does the UChicago Pre-College Connect Take Place?

The UChicago Pre-College Connect happens in the summer, with specific dates set for 2024. The program begins with remote learning from July 15 to July 26, where students will join classes online for 2 hours each day. This part lets students learn from home while still being part of interactive and engaging classes.

View of the University of Chicago

After the remote learning phase, the program shifts to the University of Chicago campus for the residential part, which runs from July 29 to August 1. Students will move into the campus residence halls on July 28, getting ready to start their in-person classes the next day. They’ll have classes from 9 am to 3 pm CST, with a lunch break, Monday through Friday, during this week. The program wraps up on August 2, when students move out.

This three-week course is packed with learning and activities, equivalent to a full quarter-long course that usually lasts 9 weeks. It’s a busy schedule, but it’s designed to give students a deep dive into their chosen subjects. Keep an eye out for any special events or deadlines associated with the program to make sure you get the most out of this unique educational experience.

Why Should You Join the UChicago Pre-College Connect?

Joining the UChicago Pre-College Connect is more than just a summer activity; it’s a stepping stone toward your future in higher education and beyond. Here’s a detailed list of reasons why this program stands out as an exceptional opportunity for high school students:

1. Expert Instruction

The University of Chicago is renowned for its academic excellence, and participating in this program means you’ll be learning from some of the best minds in the country. These aren’t just any teachers; they’re experts and professionals passionate about their subjects, ready to share their knowledge and inspire you.

2. Academic Challenge

Unlike the general overview you might get in high school, this program allows you to dive deep into subjects such as biology, psychology, art, and more. It’s designed to push you beyond your limits, challenge your thinking, and expand your understanding of complex concepts.

3. Innovative Learning Experience

Starting online and then transitioning to in-person classes offers a unique blend of learning experiences. This structure not only prepares you for the increasingly digital future of education but also gives you a taste of traditional college classroom settings.

4. Social Opportunities

Meeting other students from all over the country, or even the world, who share your academic interests can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the Pre-College Connect. These new friendships can provide support and inspiration long after the program ends, potentially lasting a lifetime.

5. Personal Growth

Living on the UChicago campus, even for a short time, is a big step towards adulthood. It teaches you how to be independent, manage your time effectively, and balance responsibilities with the freedom of college life. These are crucial skills for any college-bound student.

6. College Preparation

Beyond academic knowledge, the program equips you with skills essential for college success, such as research techniques, critical thinking, and how to engage in meaningful discussions. It’s an invaluable head start that can make your transition to college smoother and more successful.

7. Stand Out in College Applications

Colleges are always on the lookout for students who take initiative and challenge themselves. Participating in a prestigious program like the UChicago Pre-College Connect demonstrates your commitment to your education and can make your application shine.

8. Career Exploration

Through the diverse range of courses and experiences offered, you’ll gain insights into different career paths. This can help you make more informed decisions about your major in college and your career choices in the future.

9. Find New Passions

With courses covering a broad spectrum of subjects, you’re bound to discover new interests and talents you never knew you had. This exploration can shape your academic and professional journey in exciting ways.

10. Real College Experience

The program offers a genuine glimpse into college life, from attending lectures and participating in discussions to living in dorms and exploring campus. This experience can help ease the transition from high school to college, making it less intimidating and more exciting.

In summary, the UChicago Pre-College Connect offers an incredible blend of academic rigor, social networking, and personal growth. It’s an experience that can open doors, broaden your horizons, and help you make informed decisions about your future. If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself this summer and get a head start on your college journey, this program is definitely worth considering.

How to Join the UChicago Pre-College Connect

Joining the UChicago Pre-College Connect is an opportunity to dive deep into subjects you’re passionate about and get a taste of college life. If you’re a current high school freshman, sophomore, or junior who is at least 14 years old, you’re eligible to apply. Here’s a detailed guide on how to join:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility and Prepare

  • Eligibility: Open to high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at least 14 years old.
  • Application Fee: $50.
  • Program Cost: $6,350.

Step 2: Complete the Application Checklist

  1. Personal Profile: Fill in your basic information to start your application.
  2. Program & Course Selection: The application will ask for your current grade level and then show you which programs you’re eligible to apply for. Choose the program and courses that match your interests and future plans.
  3. Transcript: Submit transcripts for all high school years completed (grades 9, 10, and 11, as applicable), including a current grade report if ongoing courses aren’t on your transcript. Ninth graders should also include their 8th-grade report.
  4. Supplements: Answer two essay questions about your program/course choice and your most rewarding academic project or experience. Your answers will help the admissions team understand your interests and how the program fits into your future goals.
  5. Writing Sample: Provide a copy of an essay or research paper you’ve written, preferably related to the course you’re applying for. It should be typed, in English, and include your teacher’s grade and comments.
  6. Letter of Recommendation: Request a recommendation letter from a teacher in a subject related to the course(s) you’re interested in. You can ask up to three teachers for letters.
  7. Test Scores: While optional for most, submitting standardized test scores (PSAT, PreACT, SAT, ACT, AP) is encouraged. International students must include English proficiency test scores (TOEFL, DET, IELTS).
  8. Parent Confirmation Response: A confirmation email will be sent to your parent or guardian, and their response is required to complete your application.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

Ensure that all parts of your application are complete and submitted before the deadline. Your application will be reviewed only after receiving the confirmation response from your parent or guardian.

male student studying

By following these steps and preparing your application carefully, you’ll be well on your way to potentially joining the UChicago Pre-College Connect. It’s a chance to grow academically and personally while exploring your interests in a collegiate setting.

When is the Deadline to Apply for the UChicago Pre-College Connect?

For the UChicago Pre-College Connect, there are different deadlines for submitting your application. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Priority Deadline: Thursday, January 18. If you apply by this date, you’ll find out if you got in by the end of February. This is for those who want to know early and plan ahead.
  • Regular Deadline: Tuesday, March 5. Apply by this date to get your decision by mid-April. This gives you a bit more time to prepare your application.
  • Extended Deadline: Thursday, April 11. If you need even more time, this is your last chance for a set deadline, with decisions coming in early May.
  • Rolling Admissions: From April 15 to May 15. If you apply during this period, you’ll hear back about three weeks after your application is complete.

Start preparing your application well before the deadline you’re aiming for. Gather all the materials you need, like your transcripts and letters of recommendation, and give yourself plenty of time to write your essays and complete your personal profile. This way, you won’t have to rush, and you can make sure your application is as good as it can be. Planning ahead also means you’ll have time to double-check everything before you submit it.

How Hard is it to Get Into the UChicago Pre-College Connect?

Getting into the UChicago Pre-College Connect can be competitive. The program looks for students who are eager to learn and who show potential in their chosen areas of interest. Since it’s offered by a top university, many students from all over apply, making the selection process quite selective.

a student is studying while using his laptop

The program seeks students who not only do well in their classes but also have a strong curiosity and passion for exploring new subjects.

Here’s how you can improve your chances of being accepted:

  1. Focus on Your Essays: Your essays are a chance to show who you are beyond your grades. Take your time to write thoughtful responses that highlight your interests, your academic goals, and what you hope to gain from the program. Be specific about why you’re interested in the courses you’ve chosen.
  2. Highlight Your Achievements: Whether it’s in your application form or through your letters of recommendation, make sure to showcase your achievements, both academic and extracurricular. This can include projects you’ve worked on, competitions you’ve entered, or any special skills or hobbies that relate to your chosen courses.
  3. Get Strong Recommendations: Choose teachers who know you well and can speak to your strengths and potential. A good recommendation letter can make a big difference, providing insight into your character and your enthusiasm for learning.
  4. Meet All Deadlines: Make sure you submit your application and all required materials before the deadline. Being organized and punctual shows you’re serious about the opportunity.
  5. Show Your Unique Perspective: What makes you different? Maybe it’s a unique experience you’ve had or a particular viewpoint you bring to your studies. Share these in your application to stand out.

Remember, the key is to show the selection committee not just how smart you are, but also how passionate and dedicated you are to your personal and academic growth.

Final Thoughts

The Pre-College Connect is a fantastic opportunity to dive deep into subjects you’re passionate about, meet students from around the world, and get a taste of college life at one of the top universities. If you’re a high school student looking to challenge yourself and prepare for the future, we strongly encourage you to apply. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn, grow, and explore what the UChicago Pre-College Connect has to offer. It could be the beginning of an incredible journey.

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