Applications to the College set a new record this year, with 30,369 students from diverse backgrounds submitting applications.
The total represents a 20 percent increase over last year’s figure of 25,307, continuing a longstanding trend of growing interest in the distinctive intellectual environment that the College offers.
University leaders said the growth in undergraduate applications stems from continuing efforts to enhance student life and provide more avenues for students to pursue their academic and career goals. The newly dedicated Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts already is a widely praised hub for the Chicago arts scene, providing new outlets for students to engage in arts performance and theory. The Institute for Molecular Engineering is creating more opportunities for students with interests in the sciences and engineering. The Institute of Politics, which officially launched this month with inaugural director David Axelrod, offers students the chance to explore careers in public service, through on-campus events with prominent leaders and an expanded offering of public service internships.
Such initiatives contribute to the College’s historic strengths, including the Core curriculum, which for 75 years has provided a model for liberal arts education.
“Students of high ability from around the world are finding that the College offers a unique combination of rigorous inquiry with support for student life and engagement with one of the world’s great cities,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College.
The increase in applications also reflects the record levels of financial aid that the College is offering students through programs such as the Odyssey Scholarships program and UChicago Promise. The Odyssey program reduces or eliminates the need for student loans for students from families with income of less than $90,000. UChicago Promise, an initiative launched in October 2012 that helps college-bound students from the city of Chicago, includes a waiver of the application fee for Chicago students and a no-loan pledge for those who are admitted. UChicago Promise helped fuel a 37 percent increase in applications from Chicago students this year.
The deadline for application into the class of 2017 was January 2. All applicants will receive a response by mid-to-late March.
This year’s applicants reflect rising interest from many groups, including international students, students of color, women, and students from every geographic region of the country. Of the total, 10,317 students applied early — also a record figure, and an indication of widespread enthusiasm among those aspiring to join the Class of 2017.
“The excitement that we’re seeing among this year’s applicants is inspiring,” said James G. Nondorf, Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. “It’s an extremely talented group of students across the board, which is especially impressive considering the growth in applicants. What’s clear is that more and more people across the country and around the world know about the University of Chicago and its excellent academic and cultural offerings.”