While we took the L for most of our stay in Chicago, we used the as-efficient and extensive bus line offered throughout the city. We arrived a few blocks off of campus and walked through the quiet street of college-town activity. From barbershops to cafes, it was certainly like the neighborhood of any college. Once we arrived at the university’s admission office, we were quickly introduced to Callie Brown, the Northern California Admissions Director, whom we have kept in touch with prior to our arrival.
We went straight into a conference room where we were given complimentary t-shirts and a folder detailing pamphlets and papers of information regarding the school. Because this is my second college visit (the first being Northwestern), I was more familiar with a lot of terms and topics that were completely foreign to me before. I quickly learned that the University of Chicago is too, on a quarter system. We were also briefed on how one’s education at Chicago would consist of one part “Core Classes” and two parts “Extracurricular,” which encompasses more focused classes that are usually associate with one’s majors and minors. Throughout the conference briefing, we were all asking questions left and right. We learned that athletes do not receive preferential treatment or exceptions compared to others and that the school. The University of Chicago also holds many similarities to Northwestern including the fact that they both take either the SAT or ACT and that the university is also on a “need-blind” basis, which means that no financial information of any applicant is given to the people that read their application. Granted, because I have very little experience with college considerations, many of these similarities may exist throughout all or most colleges.
We were given our campus tour by an upcoming fourth-year student by the name of Elin. Like many have said before, going through campus was like stepping into the world of Harry Potter. The architecture was splendidly vintage and had this very lovely, almost gothic tone. We walked through their updated sports facilities and a few classrooms. Throughout the trip, she explained to us many student traditions including their famed scavenger hunt. During one event, she told us that students had simply "Chocolate Rain" on their list of items and a few decided to poor Hershey's Kisses down from above. Our tour concluded at one of their dining halls. At our table, we dined with Elin, and two other students who go by Cullen and Judy. Our entire group shared hilarious anecdotes and simply enjoyed ourselves in a relaxed environment. Afterwards, we ended our trip by adventuring into their state-of-the-art library, which recently opened a newly constructed dome expansion. The basement floor was absolutely chilling because of the fact bookshelves could be mechanically moved so that some areas could be accessed and others "folded in" to preserve space. While sensors are implemented for safety, I was terrified that eventually, someone may get caught in between two shelves.
After a quick rest at our hotel, we headed out to dinner with Callie Brown at a steakhouse called Gibsons. While the food was absolutely amazing (as always), the conversations with which we shared with Ms. Brown was top-notch. While it is normally expected to ask questions regarding the college to get a better insight as to what to expect, we felt that most of our concerns were addressed during the morning briefing. Instead, a majority of our talks with Callie were more about her life and interests where only help with learning about the University of Chicago was only a minimal part of the night.
Every day here in Chicago has certainly been a learning experience. Today in particular taught me that after conversing with admission officers long enough, you shouldn't ask so many questions for the sake of asking about the school. This is because the campus tour should help resolve all of that. Instead, it is important that when you meet these people off of campus, one should always make the initiative to get to know her better and allow her to get to know oneself better. While questions regarding the person's school should still be asked, this opportunity allows one to put a "face" on himself so that he can gain valuable contacts and confidants. Ms. Neal, our chaperone, even told us once over lunch that she kept in touch with an admission officer she met during one college tour. Who knows? If that admission officer whom one had a heart-to-heart conversation over dinner is reading his application, that experience a couple of months or years back may surely resonate in the officer.