How to Transfer to University of Chicago

Many college-bound high schoolers believe that the University of Chicago (U of Chicago or UChicago) is an Ivy League because it has a ridiculously low acceptance rate of 6%. Well, the private research university isn’t in the same group as Harvard, Brown, Columbia and the rest, but it’s considered a Hidden Ivy and an Ivy Plus, too.

Great news for those who wish to take their undergraduate studies to the prestigious school: U of Chicago has a higher acceptance rate for transfer students, which, based on the most recent data available as of this writing, is 13.6%.

In 2021, a total of 145 individuals were accepted out of the 1,065 transfer applicants.

Who is Eligible to Transfer to U of Chicago?

Individuals who have completed at least 1 semester as a full-time degree-seeking student at a college are eligible to apply to the University of Chicago as transferees. However, to earn a U of Chicago bachelor’s degree, transferees must be a resident for at least 6 semesters and complete a minimum of 18 courses in the institution.

At most other postsecondary institutions, you will have to wait until you have completed at least 1 year of college work before you become eligible to apply to them as a transfer student.

UChicago makes the long wait short — you just have to complete 1 semester before you can transfer to it.

But because it’s also a part of the Chicago, Illinois-based private school’s requirements for transfer students to complete not less than 6 semesters at the school for them to be able to get their hands on a 4-year degree, the best time to transfer to the prestigious institution is as an entering sophomore student.

When it comes to earning transfer credits to U of Chicago, it’s important to keep in mind that transferees may not receive more than 1,200 units, which is equivalent to 12 credit hours.

University of Chicago

8 Steps to Transferring to U of Chicago

Transfer students can apply to the University of Chicago using either the Common App or Coalition App. Similarly, they can choose between applying early decision and rolling admission. U of Chicago requires transfer applicants to submit a lot of materials, including various college essays, recommendation letters and transcripts.

Below, you will come across the step-by-step process of applying to UChicago as a transfer student. Keep the following in mind to have the most smooth-sailing application to the prominent school:

Decide on the transfer application plan

When applying to U of Chicago as a transfer student, you can choose between the following plans:

  • Transfer early decision – Just like any other ED application plan, applying transfer ED means you will have to enroll if accepted because it’s binding. The deadline for application is March 1 and admissions decisions are released on March 31. On the other hand, April is the deadline for accepted transfer applicants to reply.
  • Transfer rolling decision – While it’s true that there is no hard deadline to beat when applying rolling decision to UChicago as a transfer student, you should hand in your completed Common App or Coalition App and some required documents by June 1. Needless to say, admissions decisions are released on a rolling basis.

The Hidden Ivy says that transfer applications go through the same review process regardless of the plan.

Fill out the Common App or Coalition App

Some institutions require transfer applicants to apply via the Common App only. And then there are also those that require transfer applicants to apply through their proprietary online transfer application form. UChicago, meanwhile, allows college students to choose between the Common App and Coalition App when applying.

As a result, you can opt for something that you feel can bring out the best in your application.

Pay (or waive) the application fee

The cost of applying to the University of Chicago as a transfer student is $75, which can be submitted through the Common App or Coalition App. But if you are applying for financial aid, too, and shelling out the said amount would cause financial hardship, requesting U of Chicago to waive your transfer application fee is a possibility.

Submit required essays and/or optional essays, too

Whether it’s the Common App or Coalition App you prefer to use when applying to UChicago as a transfer student, the fact remains that you will have to answer the college application essay.

A personal statement, on the other hand, is not required. However, you may also choose to submit it.

U of Chicago requires transfer applicants to submit 1 extended essay of their choice from a list of several different prompts. In addition, they are also required to submit 1 short essay, where, using around 500 words, they will have to talk about the reason/s why they would like to attend UChicago as transfer students.

Request high school and college transcripts

As expected, it’s not just your high school transcript you will have to submit to the University of Chicago when applying as a transfer student but also your college transcript. As an applicant, you can get your hands on unofficial copies of your high school and college transcripts and then upload them using the Common App or Coalition App.

Feeling confident that the elite institution will send an acceptance letter your way? Then don’t delay — request your high school and college to send your official transcript to U of Chicago.

University of Chicago

Submit a college/transfer report

Other than your unofficial (and official, too, if accepted) transcripts, you will also have to submit a college/transfer report to U of Chicago when applying to it as a transferee.

Submitting it allows UChicago to have an idea of your academic and disciplinary standing at your current college.

Your college/transfer report should be completed by someone at the institution you are attending who has access to your official records, such as an academic adviser, registrar or dean. According to the University of Chicago, there’s no need to fret if the school is unable to provide a college-transfer report for whatever reason.

Obtain recommendations and/or the supplemental letter

Handing in 2 teacher evaluations is another very important step in your transfer application to U of Chicago. Needless to say, both should come from instructors of courses where there’s a substantial amount of reading, writing and discussions.

The school says that a recommendation may come from a teaching assistant or even a lab instructor if you feel that it’s best written by him or her for having more satisfactory contact with you. As a matter of fact, UChicago adds that you may actually obtain a recommendation letter from your high school teacher, especially if you haven’t been in college long enough.

Report optional SAT or ACT scores

U of Chicago has a test-optional admissions policy. It goes without saying that you may or may not submit your standardized test scores, depending on whether or not you feel that they are a true reflection of your academic achievement.

Just Before You Transfer to U of Chicago

Unlike most other highly-ranked institutions of higher education, the acceptance rate for transfer students at the University of Chicago is higher than the acceptance rate for first-time, first-year students — 13.6% vs. 6%.

Nonetheless, that’s a very small acceptance rate, which means that getting into it as a transferee can be difficult.

But what’s nice about UChicago is that it gives transfer students a couple of application plans: early decision and rolling admission. Which one you should go for depends on whether or not the school is your absolute first choice or you need more time to gather the requirements. Either way, you will need to have an impressive application to get in as a transfer student.

Related Questions

What is the minimum GPA requirement for transfer applicants to U of Chicago?

The University of Chicago does not have any published minimum GPA requirement transfer applicants must meet. But because the institution is highly selective, having an impressive GPA is a plus. As a matter of fact, the average GPA of students admitted to UChicago is a very high 3.95.

Does U of Chicago interview transfer applicants?

Alumni interview is not a part of the admissions process at the University of Chicago. This is true for both first-time, first-year applicants and transfer applicants. However, the elite school recommends the submission of an optional 2-minute video profile where an applicant may share his or her thoughts and ideas.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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