University of Chicago Class Size Expansion

UChicago Class Size, Chicago Class Size, University of Chicago Classes

UChicago has announced plans to expand its class sizes.

The University of Chicago has announced plans to expand its undergraduate student body — to 7,000 students. By design, each UChicago incoming class would thus total around 1,700 students. This past fall, UChicago welcomed an incoming class that was about 100 students larger than anticipated — due to the school’s high yield rate which stood at third in the nation. UChicago doesn’t intend to admit as large a class as last year, but plans are still underway to expand its student body so the school has roughly the same undergraduate class sizes as Harvard University. That’s right. UChicago wants to be more like Harvard with respect to its undergraduate student population.

UChicago Seeks to Mirror Harvard’s Undergraduate Student Population

As William Yuen Yee writes in a piece for “The Chicago Maroon” entitled “Boyer Says College Aims to Reach 7,000 Students,” “‘Overtime, the size of the college will end up about the same size as Harvard. The class size for each incoming class will be moving towards 1,700 and that’s where we will plateau for each class to create a population of 7,000 undergraduates.,’ [said Dean of the College John Boyer]. For the Class of 2021, the University admitted 2,419 students and reported a 72 percent yield. Harvard admitted 2,056 applicants, with a yield rate of 84 percent. For the Class of 2022, the College admitted 2,329 students with a yield rate of 78 percent. Harvard accepted 1,962 students, 82 percent of whom accepted their admission offers. As the yield rate for the University continues to trend upward, the number of accepted students is likely to decrease. The minutes paraphrase Boyer as saying that the University is ‘looking to build back to the status and size of the college from before WWII. While we are comparing our size to Harvard, this has been a long historical trajectory that started decades ago and is coming to a close as we meet this goal.'”

UChicago is a Trailblazer, Shouldn’t Openly Mimic Harvard

While we applaud the University of Chicago’s efforts to expand its undergraduate student body, it’s a bit odd that UChicago would announce that it aims to match the undergraduate student population of Harvard. UChicago should wish to expand its incoming class size simply because it wishes to educate more students — not because Harvard is doing it. Harvard is Harvard. UChicago is UChicago. Both are two of the finest institutions in all the world. So, UChicago, maybe don’t publicly state how you wish to mimic a peer institution and just expand your class size if you wish to expand your class size? Yours is an institution that defies the status quo of college admission with an office that requires applicants to write wonderfully weird essays. Yours is an institution that dropped the SAT or ACT requirement to set an example among your peer institutions. Why now are you choosing to openly copy a peer? At least don’t say you’re copying Harvard. Come on now, UChicago! You be you.


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  • higher ed says:

    Under Nondorf, UChicago has been desperately (and unnecessarily) trying to become more like an ivy by any means possible, and in the process it is sadly losing a lot of its uniqueness. Seems like quite a misguided strategy.

    • Wofford Terrier says:

      Chicago maintains a faculty and physical plant with scope and scale analogous to HYPS. For many years it has done so with a relatively small endowment and a relatively small undergraduate population (relative to both HYPS and relative to graduate students at Chicago). Small endowment and small undergraduate student body mean small cash flow, straining operating budgets. Alumni who attended as undergraduates also tend to be a university’s most generous donors. Fewer alums mean less frequent jackpot donors in the futire.

      It mischaracterizes Boyer’s view to say that he wants Chicago to be Harvard (or Penn). Would be fairer to say that he envisions a Chicago were the undergraduates have a pride of place similar to Harvard. That’s a consequence of size to some degree.

      Don’t think anyone can point to evidence that either student quality or academic rigor are being watered down as Chicago’s college grows. More tuition-paying students now and more loyal alums later both help secure financial footing and sustain the university for the future. Seems like a sensible approach.

  • Jeremy Blake says:

    And in the attempt to rig their yield rate, UCHICAGO is giving out BINDING acceptances via ED1 and ED2 which not one Ivy League school does. They want to mimic the Ivies but game the system to improve their yield rate. Along with THREE early application rounds, they bombard kids with free applications and a constant and steady stream of printed and emailed correspondence to lure them to apply (and it is a LOT more than the Ivies). This has masterfully increased their yield and lowered their admit rate which has far outpaced all schools, save, perhaps Northeastern’s advanced (done in similar fashion), but they are fraud compared with HYPS, whom allow students to choose them freely. UChicago is a great school in many ways, but their admissions tactics are not to be admired, and often despised by the RD applicants.

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