FAQs

See frequently asked questions regarding:

Autumn Pre-Registration | Placements | Core Requirements | Major Requirements | Course Scheduling | Campus Resources


Autumn Pre-Registration

Placements

Core Requirements

Major Requirements

Course Scheduling

Campus Resources

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Autumn Pre-Registration

What is the Registration Planner? Why should I complete it?

The Registration Planner helps you narrow down your course options in preparation for the pre-registration process. This is a great tool to use in conjunction with the meeting you will have with your Assigned Summer Adviser. The sample First Quarter Schedules will help guide you through this, and you'll want to use the College Catalog to learn more about individual course options. By the end, you should have a short-list of classes to request. 

You can access the the Registration Planner by clicking on this link.

I missed the August 1st deadline to meet with my Assigned Summer Adviser. What do I do?

You should contact your Assigned Summer Adviser as soon as possible to see if they can set up a make-up meeting with you. Meeting times will be based on your Assigned Summer Adviser's limited availability. 

I missed the July 19th deadline to submit AP scores and/or complete placement tests. What do I do?

Take the placement tests and contact College Board to have your AP scores submitted as quickly as possible. Our CEEB code is 1832. Keep in mind, though, that because the deadline passed, you may not have a placement in time for pre-registration.

How do I know when I'm assigned to pre-register? 

It's divided up by the last digit in your UCID, which you can see broken down here. That information is also listed in the mid-May email from Kathy Forde, Director of Academic Advising.

I won’t be available to request courses during my assigned pre-registration window. Can I switch weeks?

If you will be someplace with no access to reliable internet during the entirety of your assigned pre-registration window, please contact collegeadvising@uchicago.edu by Friday August 2 at 5:00 pm CDT to request the other window. Be sure to provide your name and student ID number when you email. If you think there's no way you can make either week work, you should be in touch with the Advising Office ASAP.

What's the difference between the two pre-registration windows? Do students in the first window have an advantage?

None! There's no difference other than date. No first years will be enrolled in courses until after the second window closes, and all requests will be treated equally, regardless of when they're submitted. We promise that there's no advantage to being in one window over the other. Splitting it up just helps us ensure we have enough advisers available to help everyone with their questions.

Does it matter when in my pre-registration window I submit my course requests?

Nope, the algorithm that sorts out course enrollments doesn't consider timing. Requests submitted on Monday at 9:30 am CDT will be treated the same way as those submitted Friday at 4:00 pm CDT.

Is there a way to guarantee I get into the courses I request?

There's no way to guarantee it, no. It's not realistic - logistically or pedagogically - for everyone interested in a particular course section to get a seat in that section, and since everyone is treated equally in the system, you may not get all the classes you request. There are strategies you can employ to increase your odds, though, including 1) making sure you don't request courses for which you don't have the prerequisites, 2) requesting alternative sections and back-up course options, 3) requesting courses at a variety of times, and 4) being thoughtful about how you rank and prioritize your selections. See here for more about those strategies, and here for more information about what happens after pre-registration.

Can I request any course I want for Autumn?

No, pre-registration for incoming first years is restricted to courses commonly taken by first year students. This means it's primarily courses for general education requirements, but you'll also be able to request some other courses that are particularly well-suited for first years. If you're a transfer student or in an unusual situation where a higher-level course makes sense for you in your first quarter, plan to request some back-up course options and talk to an Adviser about next steps.

I know that HUMA 19100 is required - how do I register for it?

HUMA 19100 is a writing seminar that is part of your registration for your Humanities class. You don't have to request it separately. It will be added to your schedule early on in Autumn Quarter by the Registrar's office. The times will be arranged with your Humanities instructor after the class begins.

I can't choose times for my labs/tutorials - how do I indicate my preferences?

Labs and tutorials will be assigned automatically around your other course enrollments. There is no way to indicate your preferences for days or times.

When do I get my schedule?

They'll be released in the portal on or around September 9.

Can I change my mind about courses later?

See here for information on what happens after pre-registration closes.

I am a transfer student. Is there something special I need to do?

No, you'll want to go through pre-registration like other first years. If you've submitted your transfer course information by mid-June, as requested, you should receive information from the Advising Office in late July about the outcome of your credit evaluation. There's a very good chance that you'll need a number of Core courses, so you'll be able to request some of those during Autumn quarter pre-registration. If you receive partial credit for something like Humanities, you'll need to complete it by starting a Hum sequence in Autumn and taking however many courses you need to satisfy the requirement. You may not be able to request relevant major-specific courses during pre-registration, but you can discuss a plan with your Adviser during your O-Week one-on-one meeting.

What's the difference between a UCID and a CNet ID?

Your UCID number is an 8-digit identification number that will likely start with "12." You can find it on the top of the email you received from Dean Ellison on May 6. Your CNet is your UChicago email handle as well as the username you use to log in to campus resources online.

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Placements

What's a placement test and which ones do I need to take?

A placement test is designed to identify the most appropriate first course for you to take in a particular subject (Math, Chemistry, or languages other than English) by gauging your aptitude and prior knowledge. These online tests have been carefully designed by our faculty to ensure that they find the course that is an appropriate level of challenge for you. The goal is to push you to learn something new without completely overwhelming you. You cannot change your placement or register for something that doesn't match your official placement without express permission of the relevant department.

Everyone needs to take the Mathematics Placement Test, regardless of math background, intended major, or plans (or lack thereof) to take math during college. If there's a chance you may take General Chemistry but haven't taken the AP Chemistry exam or didn't earn a 5 on said exam, you should take the Chemistry Placement Test. If you've previously taken coursework in a language other than English, it's recommended that you take the appropriate language placement test, as well, even if you don't expect to resume studies immediately, or at all. See here for information about all these placements. 

When and where can I take the placement tests?

Placement tests are available on Canvas. Once you have claimed your CNet ID, you'll receive a notice a few days later that your placement tests are available. When in Canvas, you will see two enrollments - one of these is the language tests and the other is titled STEM. The mandatory math and optional chemistry placement tests are both located in the STEM course.The tests should be completed by July 19. If you miss the July 19th deadline, complete the placement test ASAP, but be aware that you may not have a placement set in time for your pre-registration window.

Should I prepare for the tests?

It may be helpful to review basic concepts or vocabulary prior to taking a test. Cramming or other intense practice before you take a placement test may result in a placement that is inappropriately high. Note that these tests measure skill in problem solving as well as general knowledge in subjects. It is more important to understand broad, central concepts than to memorize details. Placement tests are not designed to be competitive tools, but rather opportunities for students to assess themselves honestly.  

Can I use outside sources while taking these tests?

Each test will provide information regarding the use of texts, notes, dictionaries, calculators, etc. Students are expected to submit responses that are their own and that reflect their ability in a given subject.   

What if I need accommodations for the online tests?

Students who need accommodations should contact the Student Disability Services (SDS) office as early as possible and well in advance of the deadline for completing the tests. SDS may be contacted by telephone at 773-702-6000 or by email at disabilities@uchicago.edu. Visit https://disabilities.uchicago.edu for more information.

Are placement tests timed?

Most of them are. Generally speaking, assume that once you start a test, you need to finish it in that one sitting. Be sure you give yourself plenty of time!

Can I wait and take the placement tests after the summer?

Online placement tests must be taken prior to matriculation. Because most online placement tests impact Autumn registration, they should be completed by July 19 so that placements can be available in my.uchicago.edu prior to the start of the pre-registration period on August 5. 

Do the online placement tests award credit?

Online placement tests do not award credit for past course work, nor may they be used to meet graduation requirements. They are designed only to identify the most appropriate course for you to take. Accreditation exams, which are offered only in an in-person setting, do have the potential to award credit.

I need to reset my placement tests. What do I do?

Contact the College Advising office. Be sure you include your name and your eight-digit UCID number.

Where can I find my placements after I finish the tests? What do they mean?

They'll be in the portal on or around August 1st. 

What if I don’t think my placement is right?

In the case of Math coursework, you should register for the course indicated by the Mathematics Placement Test. The Math department is confident in the insight the test provides about your background knowledge, and they (and we) encourage you to try the course into which you place, even if you're apprehensive. If it becomes clear early in the quarter that it's not a good fit, talk to the department about adjusting your placement. Students with a strong math background who think they should be taking coursework beyond Calculus should see the next question.

For questions about placements in languages, Chemistry, and Physics, see the appropriate department during O-Week. Your adviser will have information about consultation hours.

I've already taken higher-level math at a university, but the placement test only goes through Calculus. How can I get a higher placement?

If you place into MATH 15300 Calculus III via the standard Mathematics Placement Test, you'll be invited to take the Higher-Level Mathematics Exam, which (as you might guess from the name) can place you into math courses beyond Calc. Find more info here.

Why do I have a Physics placement? 

Your Physics placement is determined by your math placement and AP scores, if relevant. It does not obligate you to take Physics. 

There isn't a placement test in Canvas for the language I've previously studied. What do I do? 

Assuming it's a language we do offer at UChicago (and odds are that it is - we offer a lot of languages), you'll need to talk to the placement coordinator when you arrive on campus. See here for information.

I have an invitation to take Honors Calculus/Chemistry/Physics or Advanced Biology - should I take it?

You can (provided you have the proper placement), but that doesn’t mean you have to. College isn’t high school; taking honors courses isn’t necessary to demonstrate what you know or how well you know it. At UChicago, honors sequences are designed as rigorous introductions to a subject for those interested in advanced study, and they are often particularly well suited for those interested in research. 

In general, we encourage you to do the highest courses for which you have the prerequisites, but you're not obligated to take an honors course if invited to do so. You may or may not decide that it makes sense for you based on your goals for the course and how valuable an additional time investment in that subject would be for you. If you do decide to add an honors class to your schedule, you might consider adjusting your course load to ensure you have time to devote to the honors course.

If you're invited to take honors Calculus, be aware that there will be a higher-level math meeting during Orientation Week we'd recommend attending.

Can I take more than one honors sequence?

Assuming you're invited to more than one, it's possible. However, we do recommend you be cautious about doing so, since each of those will be a significant time committment. If you're interested in doing this, we generally recommend doing only 3 total classes in Autumn, if at all possible. We encourage you to talk through the pros and cons of this plan with an Adviser over the summer.

What if I start in a honors sequence and change my mind?

There are always students who take the first quarter of an honors sequence and decide that it's not the right fit for them, which is totally fine. It's generally feasible to opt into the standard variant of the sequence come Winter quarter, but we'd recommend discussing it with your Adviser during your Autumn quarter meeting.

My older sibling/friend/someone on the internet said I need to take the Calculus Accreditation Exam. Where can I find the info about that?

The Calculus Accreditation Exam is no longer offered. You should read up on the Mathematics Placement Test and take that, instead.

I'm a native speaker of a language that offers a section of the course I placed in to specifically for native speakers, but I don't see it as an option for preregistration. What do I do?

You will be able to speak with the language coordinator for your language during Orientation Week to arrange your enrollment in the course. Try not to choose other courses that are at the same time so that, if you are able to add the class later, you won't have to change anything else in your schedule.

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Core requirements

How can I learn about the general education ("Core") requirements?

A concise guide to the Core can be found in the Degree Requirements section of this site. Additional details and information about courses that satisfy each requirement can be found in the College Catalog under “The Curriculum.”

How do I know if my major specifies how I need to complete any of my general education requirements?

All majors have a specified set of requirements needed to complete the major, and some of those requirements extend into the general education portion of the curriculum. Many – but not all – of these majors are in the Biological and Physical sciences. It’s extremely important that you familiarize yourself with the College Catalog, as this is where every major’s requirements are listed in detail, and failure to take the right courses even during your first year can mean certain majors are no longer doable. If a major does specify how you need to complete any general education requirements, it will be included on their program page in the Catalog under "Summary of Requirements." See here for more on that, including a screenshot of what you're looking for. If there aren't any specific expectations, you can complete the requirement(s) with any of the approved options.

Note: if it says e.g. "PHYS 13100 or above," it means PHYS 13100 and PHYS 14100 are acceptable, but lower numbers (PHYS 12100) are not. If it says e.g. "CHEM 11100 or equivalent," any General Chemistry I course (CHEM 10100, 11000, or 12100) is fine.

Can I satisfy a Core requirement with a class not on the approved course list?

No. The Core is an integral part of the UChicago education, and courses satisfying those requirements are specifically designed for that purpose. All students are responsible for satisfying all seven Core area requirements, plus the language competency requirement, before they can be awarded a degree from the College.

Who should I ask if I have questions about Core or major requirements?

Your Assigned Summer Adviser is a great place to start! You'll receive information on how to conctact your Assigned Summer Adviser by early July, but Advising staff will be available starting May 1 if you have questions before then. During your first year at UChicago, you'll meet with your assigned College Adviser during Orientation Week and then once each quarter.

If I don’t like my Humanities (or Social Sciences, etc.) sequence, can I switch to a new one?

The sequence structure allows courses to build on each other term-to-term and creates a cohort among students in the class. As such, the requirements must be completed with courses from a single sequence, and those courses must be taken in consecutive quarters. So, no, you can't jump between sequences. This is why it's necessary to request multiple sequences that interest you this August, especially in Humanities. Otherwise, you risk being enrolled in a sequence you may not have otherwise selected. It's also worth keeping in mind that many sequences change substantially from quarter to quarter, so even if it doesn't initially seem like a good fit, you may find it more to your liking in the future. It's possible you might be able to switch to a new sequence before you start the sequence, but that's not always feasible. You can ask your Adviser about this during O-Week, but you are best off giving yourself a range of options during pre-registration.

Is it a good idea to take HUM and SOSC at the same time? What about Civ?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on how comfortable you are with fairly hefty reading loads and regular paper-writing. If you’re considering a major in the social sciences, it may not be a bad idea to take SOSC in your first year so you’ll be prepared to explore major courses in your second year. Many prospective humanities majors also opt to take HUM and SOSC together in first year, but if you’re thinking about a major in the natural sciences, it's very unlikely that that you'll have room in your schedule for SOSC until second year. Students thinking about taking SOSC during first year could take Civ instead. There are a number of sequences appropriate for first years. However, taking all three (HUM, SOSC, and Civ) at once tends to be a heavier reading load than is feasible. A good scheduling tip if you are taking HUM and SOSC together is to put one sequence on Mon/Wed and the other on Tues/Thurs to spread out your reading load.

Do I have to take sequenced courses in order, or am I allowed to skip around?

Sequences are generally meant to build from course to course, so you are expected to take them in a particular order. So you shouldn't plan, for example, to take the first quarter of a SOSC sequence and pick the rest up next year. Some Civ sequences are an exception to this. In cases where the faculty have decided that it's fine for you to take the courses in any order, it will say so in the sequence description in the College Catalog.

Do I have to take three language courses to complete my language competency requirement?

If you're starting a brand new language, yes, you'll need to complete the full beginning level. If you have prior knowledge in a language other than English, however, the requirement can be fulfilled in several different ways. They're described in the Degree Requirements section of this site, and you can find fuller details in the College Catalog.

Do I have to take Calculus and Chemistry at the same time? 

If you plan to take Chemistry, you must take Calculus simultaneously. This may not apply if your Math placement has you starting with a high-level mathematics course beyond Calculus.

I have AP credit for one science Core course (e.g. CHEM 11100, PHYS 12100, BIOS 10130, etc.). How can I use that to satisfy my Core requirements?

You can find basic information about AP credit in the College Catalog.

Will I be missing out if my HUM (or SOSC, Math, etc) course is taught by a graduate student or a post-doc and not a professor? What’s a Harper-Schmidt Fellow?

There’s a very wide variety of faculty across the College who teach in Core courses. Some of them are tenured faculty whose names you might even recognize. Some are doctoral students. Harper-Schmidt Fellows are postdocs from around the country; it’s one of the most sought-after postdoctoral teaching fellowships around. What they all have in common is a dedication to the goals and values of the Core, regardless of their experience. While having a full professor in your first quarter might be a neat experience, they often only teach for a single quarter. Advanced graduate students and Harper Fellows may teach a sequence for an entire year. Getting to know an instructor for that long can be very enriching and rewarding – and can also lead to a heck of a recommendation for internships or other programs.

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Major Requirements

How can I find the requirements for my prospective major?

Make friends with the College Catalog early on. It can answer countless questionsy. Each department has a page under "Programs of Study" which includes a description of the requirements and a "Summary of Requirements" for quick reference. In addition to outlining the requirements for the major, the Summary of Requirements will also tell you if the major expects you to take particular courses to satisfy any of the Core requirements. The Catalog will also provide information on courses planned for the year. Perhaps just as important, contact information for the Departmental Chair, the department's Director of Undergraduate Study, and/or other important departmental administrators can be found at the end of the Catalog page.

I'm not sure what I want to major in. Should I panic?

Nope. Not at all. Being undecided is totally fine. Spend your first year working on Core requirements. Think about what kinds of courses and material you most enjoy. Bounce ideas off of your College Adviser. Attend special lectures offered around campus. The curriculum is designed to give you plenty of time to think and experiment.

The key thing is to not cut yourself off from programs you might be interested in, which means that if there's any possibility that you might want to pursue an academic program that requires Calculus, for example, you should take it, or if you're entertaining a pre-health option, you should take General Chemistry along with your Calculus. That way, you give yourself the option of pursuing the program with the more restrictive requirements, and if you end up in a major that doesn't have specific expectations for the Mathematics Core requirement, you can still use that Calculus credit to satisfy it. Not sure how to figure out if a major specificies how you are to complete Core? See here.

When do I start taking courses for my major?

With some exceptions, many majors do not begin until the end of first year or even second year. Remember, though, that a number of majors do specify how you are to complete certain general education requirements as preparation for study in that field. So while you may not be taking courses in the major at first, you will be taking courses for the major.

Are there any non-Core courses I can take this Autumn?

Students are typically taking most (if not all) gen ed courses in their first couple of terms, but there are some classes that are particularly well suited for first years. That includes ECON 10000 Principles of Microeconomics, LING 20001 Intro to Linguistics, MUSI 15100 Harmony and Voice Leading I (part of a year-long sequence), CMSC 15100 Intro to Computer Science (primarily for students interested in majoring in Comp Sci), and a few Art Core courses, including ARTV 10100 Visual Language: On Images, ARTV 10200 Visual Language: On Objects, and ARTV 10300 Visual Language: On Time and Space.

What's this I've heard about a new business major?

The Economics department is offering a new specialization in business economics beginning in 2018-19. You can read more about that degree here

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Course Scheduling

How do I find out when courses will be offered?

Course offerings and schedules are available in the portal or at http://coursesearch.uchicago.edu. Schedules are made available in the 7th week of the prior quarter. If you're talking about big picture scheduling (i.e. "I placed into GRMN 10300 and am not sure if it's offered in Autumn,") then you can find that in the College Catalog. For information on how to read the schedule and Catalog, see the Registering for Autumn Courses section of this site.

What does it mean that a course is 100 units of credit?

Nearly all courses in the College carry 100 units of credit. Units are the standard measurement of credit at UChicago (as opposed to semester hours, for instance). A quarterly schedule consisting of 300 or 400 units of credit is the equivalent of 3 or 4 courses and considered full-time enrollment for that quarter. A total of 4200 units of credit is the minimum number of units needed to graduate, and at least 3800 of your total credits must be earned via course enrollment, as opposed to things like AP credit.

How many classes should I take?

Three or four courses (300-400 units of credit) is considered full-time. If you don't come in with any AP credit, you'll need four courses in at least six of your twelve quarters to hit the 4200 units of credit needed to graduate. Lots of first years take three courses in Autumn quarter. See the Registering for Autumn Courses section of this site to help you decide what's right for you.

Can I enroll in fewer than 3 or more than 4 classes?

No, three courses is the minimum number possible. If you need to make some adjustments to your schedule during first week, you might temporarily drop below three, and that's fine. You need to be sure you're enrolled in at least three by the add/drop deadline. You cannot, however, temporarily go over four courses, even if you're just trying to adjust your schedule. Occasionally, upper-level students are able to get permission to take a fifth course in a given quarter, but that's not an option available to first years. If that seems like something worth pursuing in future years, ask your Adviser about it. 

What do course numbers mean?

Courses numbered 10000 are ordinarily general education or introductory courses. Courses numbered 20000 are intermediate, advanced, or upper-level courses that are open only to undergraduates. Courses numbered 30000 and above are graduate courses that are available only to undergraduate students who obtain the consent of the instructor. Higher-numbered courses within each of these categories do not necessarily indicate increasing levels of difficulty. For more information, see here.

What does it mean when a course has more than one number attached to it?

This is called cross-listing, and when the numbers are in the 10000 and 20000 ranges, it generally indicates that the content of the course is relevant to students in multiple disciplines. In all but a couple of cases, these are just different labels for the exact same course. For instance, the Public Policy class called Environmental Law (PBPL 23100) is listed in the Catalog as having "Equivalent Course(s)" numbered LLSO 23100 and ENST 23100. In this case, Public Policy (PBPL), Environmental and Urban Studies (ENST), and Law, Letters, and Society (LLSO) have all assigned numbers to this one course, and it could reasonably count toward any of those majors.

It looks like some of the classes on the Autumn course schedule are already full. Does that mean I can't get a seat?

Upper-level students have already registered for courses for Autumn, which means they have filled up spaces in many courses. However, a lot of the classes first years take (Humanities, Calculus, General Chemistry, etc.) will be wide open, since it's rare for someone to take any of them in later years. Some things, like SOSC, may look like they're at capacity, but the seat counts will actually go up to make space for some first year students.

But otherwise, the class in question may not have much - if any - space available. It's possible that a few seats might open up for add/drop during the first week of classes or can be accessed with instructor consent, and you can talk to your adviser about that in greater detail during Orientation Week. However, you shouldn't plan for either of those methods in your first quarter. This means that if you have your eye on ARTV 10100, and it only shows that there are 3 seats left, you know you should have some back-up options in place. You may not get that class this term, and that's fine - you'll have your chance at it in future quarters.

Where do I find professor evaluations?

You can find a link to them in the class schedule. See here for more information.

How many units of credit do I need to graduate?

The College requires a minimum of 4200 units of credit to receive a bachelors degree. Of total credits earned, at least 3800 must be earned by course enrollments (ie. taking an actual course, including transfer credit). So if you come in with six credits from AP, that's great and it'll give you a head start toward total credits needed, but you'll still need to take at least 38 courses.

I’ve already taken college courses. Can I get credit for them?

Unless you're a transfer student, you don’t need to worry about this right now, but there is a petition process for getting credit for courses taken prior to matriculation. Be sure you take note of restrictions on science courses, in particular. Transfer students should get additional directions from the Office of Admissions in early June.

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Campus Resources

What resources are available for international students?

The College offers a number of resources for international students to aid in the adjustment to life abroad. The Office of International Affairs can help with all logistical aspects, including visas and Optional Practical Training. For students for whom English is an additional language, the English Language Institute offers short courses to bolster speaking and writing skills; and the Core Tutors are an excellent source of help as well. You may also want to consider International Pre-Orientation before the start of Autumn quarter. This is a chance to meet fellow international students and begin to discover Hyde Park and the city of Chicago.

I’m a little anxious about my ability to do well with college-level math or writing. Will there be resources available to help me once I’m on campus?

Absolutely. Both Humanities and Social Sciences courses have dedicated writing assistance. Humanities courses have a mandatory writing seminar attached, in fact. Additionally, the College offers the Core Tutors program, a drop-in scheme for help in a number of subjects, including math and writing. Instructors also hold office hours where you can ask questions and receive help. It’s never too soon to start interacting with your instructors.

I qualify for accommodations for my coursework. How do I set that up?

There is a process you must go through in order to officially set up accommodations through the Student Disability Services (SDS). That information can be found here. The one caveat to this process is that accommodations will not be immediate. It will take time to set up any accommodations, so you should engage with the process as soon as you determine the need for accommodations from SDS.

Can I start working with my College Adviser over the summer?

You won't find out who your official, assigned College Adviser is until September, but all incoming students have an Assigned Summer Adviser who will be your adviser throughout the summer. You will learn who your Assigned Summer Adviser is in late June and can begin scheduling appointments with them at that time. Assigned Summer Advisers will be available to answer questions and meet for appointments starting in early July. Remember, all incoming students must have a meeting (either in person or via phone or Skype) with their Assigned Summer Adviser before Thursday, August 1, so you'll definitely be talking with your Assigned Summer Adviser at least once this summer. 

Are there confidential resources available to students? 

See here for information regarding confidential resources on the University of Chicago campus.

Is there a common list of resources available to University of Chicago Students?

Yes, without doubt! You can find a broader list of student resources by looking here.

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