Diverse Class of 2021 already making an impact

This fall the University of Chicago is welcoming a talented and diverse group of new undergraduate students who are poised to make a positive impact for the College.

A common theme among the new students is enthusiasm for the College’s opportunities for intellectual growth and personal development. The College’s distinctive educational environment values constant questioning and challenge in the context of the influential Core curriculum, which provides a shared intellectual vocabulary as students pursue ambitious studies within their fields.

The new students have a diversity of backgrounds and interests, including increased numbers of Hispanic and African-American students, and students from all parts of the United States and the world. The College is welcoming 1,735 new first-year students, the largest incoming class in its modern history. Overall the College received 27,694 applications this year and accepted 8.7 percent.

For the first time, the number of admitted students who chose to attend UChicago has reached 72 percent, making it among the highest such rates in the nation.

About 20 percent of students benefit from the University’s 10-year-old Odyssey Scholarship Program, which provides comprehensive academic, social and career support to students from lower-income families or who are the first in their families to attend college. There is no student loan requirement for students who receive need-based financial aid, and Odyssey students are guaranteed meaningful paid internships or research opportunities the summer after their first year in the College.

This year’s class includes a student whose DNA research revealed a new species of dragonfly in South Africa, the founder of a nonprofit tutoring company, a decorated gymnast, a United Nations intern, an expert in Brazilian martial arts who plans to study molecular engineering and students with a wide array of other interests. You can read extended profiles of new College students here. Overall indicators of academic quality also have reached new heights.

“I am delighted that our new students have such diverse interests and show clear passion for what the College has to offer,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “Here they will find great intellectual challenges and rewards in the context of a rigorous liberal arts education, and comprehensive preparation for success after they graduate, while living in a wonderful neighborhood and city.”

Academic rigor and opportunities for impact

Many incoming students have indicated interest in the College’s new majors in creative writing, neuroscience and molecular engineering. The College complements the intellectual rigor of the Core curriculum with extensive opportunities for career exploration and development, including the Metcalf Internship Program, which has grown to offer more than 2,000 paid internships annually. Students find rewarding internship opportunities through programs such as the nonpartisan Institute of Politics, which coordinates more than 300 annual internships around the world, and the Trott Business Program, one of eight “UChicago Careers In” programs.

The College saw a 69 percent increase in enrollment of students from the Chicago Public Schools, and a 56 percent increase in full-tuition scholarships for outstanding CPS students. The College also has expanded to 19 the number of full-tuition scholarships available for the children of Chicago police officers and firefighters. At the same time the geographic reach of the College has increased, with a growing number of incoming students from the West and California in particular. College Admissions estimates the class includes representation of more than 100 languages, cultures and dialects from around the world.

“It’s a joy to introduce students to the incredible opportunities at the University of Chicago, and to help them navigate this exciting time in their lives,” said James G. Nondorf, vice president for Enrollment and Student Advancement and dean of College Admissions and Financial Aid. “It’s especially gratifying to see the vast potential in these incoming students, and to know they will find countless avenues for growth here.”