May 27, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 17

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    Chicago will welcome an impressive Class of 2003

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    The Class of 2003 is impressed with the University––almost too much. Like the lowest gargoyles on Hull Gate, those who visited campus are somewhat overwhelmed. According to Ted O’Neill, Dean of College Admissions, “It’s simply that the excellence we offer is so rare, prospective students observe something unfamiliar that they must make sense of…They no longer ask as frequently, ‘Will I have a good social life?’ but ‘Do I really want an education this good?’”

    After visiting classes, prospective students told O’Neill the classrooms are different at Chicago; the level of conversation and the students’ level of responsibility are higher than they have seen elsewhere. O’Neill said this is a common response but should not be a concern for enrolling students. “We know the students we accept can do the work and will themselves very quickly operate with the confidence of the first- and second-year students who have been here awhile,” said O’Neill.

    O’Neill is confident the University will be as impressed with the Class of 2003 as they have been with it.

    As final statistics draw to a close with only a handful of deferments and wait-list acceptances to go, Chicago’s next class is shaping up especially well. “Beyond having terrific test scores––the number of incoming first-years who scored in the top-tier SAT range of 1500 to 1600 increased by 64 percent––the students in the Class of 2003 are tops in their high schools as well,” said Rick Bischoff, Associate Director of College Admissions. Bischoff said the number of incoming students who are in the top 5 percent of their high school classes has increased by 32 percent. Overall, 78 percent of the students who reported their ranks are in the top 10 percent of their classes.

    And more of these highly qualified students chose Chicago first. According to Michael Behnke, Vice President and Associate Dean for Enrollment, the number of enrolling students who made Chicago their top choice increased. As an indicator, enrolling students who applied early action jumped from 274 students last year to 351 this year.

    “We are reaching more and more students who are interested in what Chicago has to offer,” said Behnke. “And we are pleased to see the incoming class, across the board, has the strongest preparation possible for their studies here.”

    Although the majority of students come from the Midwest and Middle States, next year’s class members hail from every part of the country, with increases from the South, the Midwest and the Southwest regions. In addition, the first-year class will have slightly more women (52 percent) than men (48 percent).

    What they have in common is an interest in the University and in schools that portray themselves similarly, according to O’Neill. “Our overlap schools are the Yales, Columbias and Swarthmores,” O’Neill said. “When students respond to our essay questions, they reveal an understanding about our educational purpose and strength.”

    “When we consider a student, we look at the whole person. We see accomplishments, and we see the sensitivity in their writing, their interest in the life of a serious student. We look for someone who is a future scholar and citizen of this college,” said O’Neill. “The students in the Class of 2003 are real Chicago students.”