Are you an incoming student this fall? Hear from Brandon Kurzweg, Associate Director, Student Affairs, Student Life, on what your next steps look like. 

Whichever degree program you choose to pursue, here at UChicago, you’ll have the support and tools to succeed – and it’s not too early to start thinking about what your student experience will be like and what you can start doing over the summer to be ready on day one of class.

First, be sure to claim your UChicago email and network ID as soon as possible! The Day One Orientation team will start reaching out to your new email with valuable information starting early June.

I’m sure you are eager to know what your course schedule and academic experience will look like. Your schedule will be finalized in early September, but you can plan on taking required courses in the Core during your first two quarters at Harris.

The most successful Harris students treat their coursework like a full-time job. Plan on being available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. for core courses, and other co-curricular obligations such as TA sessions, class activities, as well as time for a trip or two to the Pub with classmates or attending some of the engaging speaker events hosted throughout the year.

Be sure to also check out the academic calendar to find out when each academic quarter begins and ends, and other key dates throughout the academic year that will help you plan your year. And of course, know when to make your spring break plans!

The most important thing you can do over the summer is to begin preparing for the math exams on the first day of Welcome Week. The exams ensure students have the quantitative skills necessary for the statistics and microeconomics courses in the Core.

All incoming graduate-level students (with the exception of MACRM and MAIDP students) need to take and self-report scores for the algebra and calculus self-assessments over the summer. The self-assessments will give you a sense of how much preparation you need for the math exams, identify topics you should focus on, and help determine if attending Math Camp is right for you.

If you have not used mathematical skills recently, you may find it beneficial to enroll in a college-level algebra or calculus course at a local college or through online course platforms, such as Khan Academy.  You know yourself best and will be able to determine how much additional preparation you need for the math exams.

In addition to brushing up on your math skills, I also strongly suggest all incoming students familiarize themselves with programming and coding. While at Harris, you will use Stata, a statistical software package, and R, a programming language very often. Many governmental organizations, consulting firms, NGOs, and start-ups use these programs for policy analysis. Understanding how to use them will be critical in your career and be a helpful addition to your resume.

You’ll be introduced to Stata and R during orientation and in your courses, but in the meantime, you should start to explore these tools. That way, you will already know the basics of how to navigate them once you begin classes in the fall.  

By attending Harris, you’ll be given the tools to transform policy for good. But first, there are a few important steps you’ll want to take. Stay ahead of the curve and bookmark the pre-enrollment checklist – it has every deadline and important date you need to know.  Also, check out the admitted student portal which has tons of usual information. Be sure to check it out frequently as it will be updated over the summer as we get closer to the start of orientation!From the moment you arrive at Harris, you’ll start acquiring real-world policy experience and building valuable, long-term relationships with future government, nonprofit, business, and civic leaders. You will not only learn how to drive social change— you’ll take the wheel on day one.

I look forward to seeing you this fall!