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Northwestern University vs University of Chicago: Which One to Choose?

Hi guys! I'm super stoked because I got into both Northwestern and UChicago, but now I'm having a difficult time deciding which one to attend. What are the major differences between the two when it comes to academics, extracurriculars, campus atmosphere, and location? Would love any advice!

6 months ago

Congratulations on your acceptances to both Northwestern and UChicago! Both are outstanding schools, and you can't go wrong with either choice. However, there are some differences between the two that might help you make your decision.


Northwestern is known for its strong programs in journalism, engineering, music, and theater. It offers a more flexible curriculum with less stringent core requirements, allowing students to explore different fields more easily. UChicago, on the other hand, is renowned for its economics, sociology, and political science programs. It follows a Core curriculum, which means students need to satisfy certain requirements in the humanities, arts, sciences, and social sciences.


Both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, but Northwestern tends to emphasize athletics and school spirit more than UChicago. Northwestern is a Big Ten school, so sports events can be a big part of the campus culture. While UChicago is a Division III school and still offers plenty of opportunities to get involved in sports and clubs, the overall atmosphere may be less focused on athletics and more centered around academics.

Campus Atmosphere:

UChicago has a reputation for being more academically intense and intellectual with a "where fun goes to die" stereotype. However, it's worth noting that UChicago students do enjoy their time there, and the stereotype may not be entirely accurate. Northwestern, meanwhile, has a more collaborative and laid-back atmosphere. The social scene at Northwestern tends to be more active, with a higher emphasis on Greek life. It's important to visit each campus, if possible, to get a better sense of the vibe and determine which environment suits you best.


Northwestern's campus is located in Evanston, a suburban area with beautiful views of Lake Michigan and a downtown area offering restaurants and shops. Downtown Chicago is easily accessible via public transportation. UChicago's campus is in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, which is known for its historic architecture, green spaces, and cultural institutions. Some students may find the immediate area surrounding UChicago to be less lively than Evanston.

Ultimately, your decision should be based on your academic interests, preferences for campus culture and atmosphere, and what you value most in your college experience. I hope you found this helpful, and good luck with your decision!

6 months ago

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