You’ve read my opinion on how Chicago is easily the greatest city in the country (and possibly the world) so I bet you’re tired of me ranting about it without any real basis in fact. While you could read this Buzz Feed article about how great it is to be a college student in Chicago, I think you should read about it from an actual college student in Chicago (aka me). I am not going to base any of this on facts (and if facts make it in, that’s truly through word of mouth); this is my totally biased, funny and sometimes sassy opinion on the schools and college atmosphere of Chicago. Now, for those of you seriously considering Chicago or who are already here, here are a few tips:
1. It is always, always, always appropriate to laugh when a Northwestern student tells you they live in Chicago. Always.
2. It is not appropriate to visit The Bean or the Sears Tower (as a lifelong Chicagoan, I will continue to refuse to call it the Willis Tower) after the first week of your freshman year unless you have a friend visiting from out of town.
3. It is appropriate to stalk the Transformers set and gush when Marky Mark asks you if you’re okay when you trip on the sidewalk (This actually happened to my friend).
4. It is appropriate to roll your eyes at students from other schools on the L.
5. When you see someone wearing clothing from your school in a different neighborhood, always give the all knowing head nod.
6. Don’t venture into Wrigleyville when you’re leaving a club in Boystown.
7. It is always appropriate to do a tour of all the places that were used in the movie Adventures in Babysitting but it is not appropriate to do a tour of the places used in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.
8. Chicago is not all about wearing flannel and eating pizza. Although, that is a lot of it.
On to the schools!
The University of Chicago – I have a strong feeling that a lot of people on here are interested in this Hyde Park beauty. Chicago is a very segregated city. One of my teachers told me its the most segregated city in the country but he’s a playwright so I don’t know how accurate that is (sorry, Tim). Hyde Park is actually one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago but that being said, Hyde Park itself is very segregated. The “nicer” area of Hyde Park is basically a beautiful old suburb and that’s where UChicago is located. UChicago is beautiful, and it’s often compared to Hogwarts. People often say that because of the school’s academic rigor and nerdy students, that it’s “where fun goes to die”. While some of the students live that stereotype, it’s ultimately not very true. UChicago students just have fun in a different way. Good luck to the 90% of our readers who will be applying here in order to fulfill their childhood dreams of going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry which unfortunately does not exist outside of the magical world of Harry Potter.
The University of Illinois at Chicago – You will often hear a maroon clad student correcting someone on the street, “No, I go to U of C, NOT UIC. Very different.” And they are. UIC gets a bad rap. It could be because of it’s utterly depressing campus but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s almost no one’s first choice which is unfortunate because it’s not a bad school. It’s more known for it’s graduate and doctorate programs. It’s a very large, state university that has huge classes and not too much personal attention. It depends on the type of environment you’re looking for.
DePaul University – As a Columbia theatre student, I have to say at least one mean thing about DePaul. Ugh, DePaul students. DePaul students get a bad rap because there are a lot of rich hipsters who’s parents pay for everything there but it’s not as good of a school as some other schools in the area so people think they aren’t as deserving of it. Okay, now that’s out of my system. DePaul isn’t actually as bad as I just made it out to be. Its beautiful Lincoln Park location is close to the lake, close to several beautiful parks and right by the L which can take you pretty much anywhere in the city. Oh, and the zoo. The free zoo. Like as in free every day of the year zoo. The performing arts conservatory is very competitive and is kind of a big deal.
Loyola University Chicago – If Miami of Ohio is “J Crew U”, Loyola is “J Crew U Jr.”. It’s more of a traditional campus. It has fraternities and sororities (at least, last time I checked it did). It’s farther north so it’s a bigger hassle to get to any of the neighborhoods worth going to. But, it’s beautiful and right by the water. It’s known for its medical and education programs which is part of why it attracts so many “preppy” students (did I mention that this article is ridden with horrible stereotypes and I’m not going to apologize for it?). It’s beautiful though.
Columbia College Chicago – I’ll try not to make this TOO biased but Columbia is basically the best. I love it here. The South Loop feels like it belongs to us. It’s smack dab in the middle of downtown which means we have access to EVERYTHING. The programs are amazing and each of my teachers are actually Google-able artists. You can spy a Columbia student from 100 feet away though. Because, let’s be real, we’re the biggest hipsters of them all. There is never a dull moment on campus and it feels like everyone supports one another. While there is always that joke of “if you like math or science, don’t come here”, most of the students are super intelligent and make it fun to go to class. Class sizes are also tiny (most of my classes are like 9-15 people) despite the school’s size (like 12,000?). And every year we basically shut down the city for Manifest which is this amazingly beautiful arts festival put on my students.
Illinois Institute of Technology – I know nothing about IIT except that it exists. I hear its a good school.
Roosevelt University – Home of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts which is this competitive performing arts conservatory that is amazing for classical musicians and actors. I have to be honest though, even though Roosevelt is a university, that is what they are mainly known for (which could just be because I’m a theatre major). That and the ridiculously cool building they built a few years ago which you could live in if you go to Roosevelt.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago – SAIC is a big deal art school. The Art Institute is currently the number one art museum in the country (I think at least, my mom’s friend told me that), so it makes sense that it’s school would be a big deal. It’s competitive to get in and difficult to keep up with staying in. It’s a fine arts school though, so no performers allowed.