basille

Chicago, IL

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2 hours ago, pax6pax6 said:

Hey!

I am hoping to revive this thread as well!

I've been accepted for graduate studies at UChicago, and am hoping to find some information about living in and around the university. I'm coming from Canada, so I feel a little intimidated by the moving process and any information would help.

I have looked into the graduate housing at UChicago, and was wondering if anyone here has experience with it. It seems like a good option to me, (close to school, fair rent - at least compared to 1BDRMs in Toronto), but they don't have any photos of the rooms or anything, and it would be useful to get insight from someone who has actually lived there.

Where around UChicago tends to be the most safe? What areas should be avoided?

So, if anyone has advice for an international student about finding a place to stay around UChicago, or general advice about Hyde Park and the University, that would be great!

Hi there –

I lived in UChicago graduate housing for two years and can't speak highly enough about it. Maintenance is always responsive and on-time, and the buildings are mostly charming pre-war apartments with hardwood floors, big windows, and nice "bones." I had a 1,000 sq. ft. walk-up that I would live in for the rest of my life if I could. Plus, it's nice having other grad students living around you (in terms of low noise level, similar work/study hours, etc.).

Personal feelings of safety are, of course, subjective, but conventional wisdom among many UChicago affiliates is that anywhere within the bounds of E. Hyde Park Blvd. (to the north), S. Cottage Grove (to the west), and the Midway (to the south) is completely fine. That said, a lot of people find much cheaper apartments outside of this bubble and would probably suggest you do the same. My wife worked 15 blocks south of the Midway and commuted by herself (walking or by bike) every day. It's comes down to a personal choice about what you are comfortable with.

As you mentioned, UChicago doesn't make photos available of the apartments, so you have to do some sleuthing by googling the address apartment building and seeing if you can't get information from outside (for example, before it was owned by the University, etc.). We lucked out with ours by requesting "pet-friendly," which meant we got hardwood floors.

Outside of UChicago grad housing, many students live in properties leased by Mac Properties (http://www.macapartments.com/), although people sometimes complain about their prices. That said, going through them would be a more "traditional" way of finding in apartment – in that you would be able to see photos of the place before you commit, etc.

Hope this helps!

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On 2/21/2016 at 4:53 PM, bugabooo said:

Hey everyone! 

Looks like I'll be moving to Chicago to attend Roosevelt University in the fall. I'm from a small rural town, and I already know that I may experience some culture shock. I'm hoping to get this thread to be a little more active, because I need all the help I can get as far as advice, tips, resources, personal experience... anything that could help me out!

I'm looking for a one bedroom apartment-- if it allows small dogs that would be a huge bonus. I'm fine with commuting but hope to keep my commute at an hour or less. I've been trying to learn about the neighborhoods around Chicago, but since it's pretty overwhelming I figured I'd just bump this thread. I'm hoping that my SO will be able to move with me, which depends on whether he can transfer his job to Chicago and if he can find a nearby school to continue his undergrad in Secondary Ed. 

We're visiting Chicago next week so I can tour campus and meet faculty, but we'll have time to explore the area a bit as well. 

Anything at all would be helpful and highly appreciated. Thank you!!

Hey @bugabooo congrats on the Roosevelt acceptance! I'm not sure what kind of budget you're looking at, but you should definitely be able to find a one bedroom less than an hour away. I would recommend looking at the Bridgeport/Pilsen area to start -- it's close to the Red/Orange/Green lines on the CTA which all stop at Roosevelt and in the loop, and are generally very affordable. It's a gentrifying area and like most of Chicago a very segregated area. I lived in Bridgeport my first three years in Chicago and really liked it, it's very residential, neighbors will actually say hello to you on the street, and you can find decent apartments with yards. 

You may also be able to find something in the South Loop/Printers Row area as well, which would allow you to be in walking distance to campus. The neighborhood tends to be more pricey, especially as you approach the loop. You also might be able to find something in University Village or the Near West Side -- this part of town caters to UIC, so I imagine there may be some student friendly priced housing.

You could also search on the North Side as well. Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and even Uptown and Edgewater would get you to campus in under an hour -- if you get an apartment close to the Red line. The North Side tends to be a bit pricier and whiter. I've been living in Uptown for 4 years and am very happy here, but it's generally considered a rougher neighborhood. For the first two years I commuted to the south side every day by train (even further south than Roosevelt) and didn't mind the commute. Lincoln Park and Lakeview are a little too...fancy for me, but the neighborhoods do have a lot of amenities.

Finding pet friendly housing in Chicago is very doable. You may be asked to pay a fee though. I would recommend looking at craigslist, padmapper, and domu for housing searches. There are also some apartment finding services, chicagoapartmentfinders and apartmentpeople. Basic info on chicago neighborhoods: http://www.choosechicago.com/neighborhoods-and-communities/map/ 

I'm happy to help with any questions you may have. Chicago is a great city and I'm really going to miss it.

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11 hours ago, guillaumet said:

Hi there –

I lived in UChicago graduate housing for two years and can't speak highly enough about it. Maintenance is always responsive and on-time, and the buildings are mostly charming pre-war apartments with hardwood floors, big windows, and nice "bones." I had a 1,000 sq. ft. walk-up that I would live in for the rest of my life if I could. Plus, it's nice having other grad students living around you (in terms of low noise level, similar work/study hours, etc.).

Personal feelings of safety are, of course, subjective, but conventional wisdom among many UChicago affiliates is that anywhere within the bounds of E. Hyde Park Blvd. (to the north), S. Cottage Grove (to the west), and the Midway (to the south) is completely fine. That said, a lot of people find much cheaper apartments outside of this bubble and would probably suggest you do the same. My wife worked 15 blocks south of the Midway and commuted by herself (walking or by bike) every day. It's comes down to a personal choice about what you are comfortable with.

As you mentioned, UChicago doesn't make photos available of the apartments, so you have to do some sleuthing by googling the address apartment building and seeing if you can't get information from outside (for example, before it was owned by the University, etc.). We lucked out with ours by requesting "pet-friendly," which meant we got hardwood floors.

Outside of UChicago grad housing, many students live in properties leased by Mac Properties (http://www.macapartments.com/), although people sometimes complain about their prices. That said, going through them would be a more "traditional" way of finding in apartment – in that you would be able to see photos of the place before you commit, etc.

Hope this helps!

Hi!

That's super helpful! Finally I've found someone who has actually lived there!

I sent a message to your inbox to ask a few more specific questions if you don't mind taking a look and helping me out.

Thanks!

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Hi all!

I'm looking to attend University of Chicago and would really appreciate any perspectives on university graduate housing. Safety and proximity to the shuttles are my main concerns, price won't be prohibitive. I'm wondering which of these are the "nicest" (i.e. recently renovated) too. Most of the university apts offer street or city permit parking, how difficult is it to actually find a spot close to the building?

I'm limited to pet-friendly options and 1 bedrooms, so I've narrowed it down to:

Any stories--positive or horror--about these properties or grad housing in general?

Most of the university apts offer street or city permit parking, how difficult is it to actually find a spot close to the building?

 

Thanks :) Reading through the posts here has been really helpful!! Hope everyone is excited about their moves

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On 2/28/2016 at 9:09 PM, beerkatmanor said:

Any stories--positive or horror--about these properties or grad housing in general?

I'm curious too! Is grad housing heavily oversubscribed, or is there a good chance of getting it (in first year, at least)?

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On 2/28/2016 at 3:09 PM, beerkatmanor said:

Hi all!

I'm looking to attend University of Chicago and would really appreciate any perspectives on university graduate housing. Safety and proximity to the shuttles are my main concerns, price won't be prohibitive. I'm wondering which of these are the "nicest" (i.e. recently renovated) too. Most of the university apts offer street or city permit parking, how difficult is it to actually find a spot close to the building?

I'm limited to pet-friendly options and 1 bedrooms, so I've narrowed it down to:

Any stories--positive or horror--about these properties or grad housing in general?

Most of the university apts offer street or city permit parking, how difficult is it to actually find a spot close to the building?

 

Thanks :) Reading through the posts here has been really helpful!! Hope everyone is excited about their moves

I can't tell you about these buildings specifically, but I can tell you that the area just south of the Midway (like 60th-63rd, so the last on your list) is considered outside the UChicago/Hyde Park bubble, despite it being closer to campus than some of the northern apartments and being included in the UCPD's radius. What that means is that few undergrads take advantage of the area -- rent tends to be much cheaper for nicer/newer buildings and street parking is much easier to come by. The 53rd-51st street zone is much more popular because it has a (mostly unfounded) reputation for being safer and is closer to all the off-campus stuff to do in Hyde Park (restaurants, shops, a "movie theater" etc).

If you live at 61st street you'll feel like you can just run to campus at any time. If you live on 53rd or 51st, you'll have to sort of plan your day around being on campus or off, and do you want to walk or take the shuttle...stuff like that. There are night shuttles all around Hyde Park though, with none of the buildings you listed being better or worse served by the shuttles than any other.

fwiw I'm a UChicago alum, current staff member, and starting in a phd program here in the fall. I wish I could address the specific buildings you mention, but I've lived allllll over HP in the last decade so I figured I could at least throw out what knowledge I do have and hope it helps someone!

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On 3/3/2016 at 8:27 PM, streetsbehind said:

I can't tell you about these buildings specifically, but I can tell you that the area just south of the Midway (like 60th-63rd, so the last on your list) is considered outside the UChicago/Hyde Park bubble, despite it being closer to campus than some of the northern apartments and being included in the UCPD's radius. What that means is that few undergrads take advantage of the area -- rent tends to be much cheaper for nicer/newer buildings and street parking is much easier to come by. The 53rd-51st street zone is much more popular because it has a (mostly unfounded) reputation for being safer and is closer to all the off-campus stuff to do in Hyde Park (restaurants, shops, a "movie theater" etc).

If you live at 61st street you'll feel like you can just run to campus at any time. If you live on 53rd or 51st, you'll have to sort of plan your day around being on campus or off, and do you want to walk or take the shuttle...stuff like that. There are night shuttles all around Hyde Park though, with none of the buildings you listed being better or worse served by the shuttles than any other.

fwiw I'm a UChicago alum, current staff member, and starting in a phd program here in the fall. I wish I could address the specific buildings you mention, but I've lived allllll over HP in the last decade so I figured I could at least throw out what knowledge I do have and hope it helps someone!

Thank you! I've heard the things like "don't go south of the Midway", but there do seem to be plenty of UChicago buildings and grad housing there. Even the university's apartments there seem a bit more spacious (and cheaper!) than those toward Hyde Park Boulevard. 

The housing allocation system seems a bit strange. There's a box on the application for "special requests" but I'm not really sure what would be a reasonable special request. Anyone have any further insight into the university's grad housing?

Edited by Port Lake
clarified question

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Chicago sounds a like a great place. I got accepted at Columbia College Chicago. Anyone here had any views about it? I am still awaiting decisions from others. I am an international student who has never been to the US. Can anyone tell me about life in Chicago please? And also Columbia College and if it's a wise decision to make?

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On 3/4/2016 at 10:27 AM, Port Lake said:

Thank you! I've heard the things like "don't go south of the Midway", but there do seem to be plenty of UChicago buildings and grad housing there. Even the university's apartments there seem a bit more spacious (and cheaper!) than those toward Hyde Park Boulevard. 

The housing allocation system seems a bit strange. There's a box on the application for "special requests" but I'm not really sure what would be a reasonable special request. Anyone have any further insight into the university's grad housing?

Hello! I am also a UChicago alum and can clarify a little bit--the conventional wisdom has changed recently to be more "don't go south of 61st." However, there are some nice, cheap options south of 61st and it's fairly safe as long as you keep your city smarts about you. I have a friend who lived in a graduate apartment in the 6051-57 S. Drexel Avenue building and it was super nice and much closer to campus than the other buildings that were listed. I think she paid $800/month for a one bedroom that had separate dining, living, and sun rooms. That said, the area around 51st & Kenwood is really beautiful and is a five minute walk away from the grocery store, close to the campus bus (10 minute commute by bus, 20 minute walk to campus), and is close to the bus and metra if you need to get out of Hyde Park.

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I'm still going through this thread so sorry if I am repeating anything, but does anyone have any property management companies / complexes etc to avoid ?  Also, how close to move in should I be worried the good places are getting taken ? I will be moving in July, so I'm trying to decide between a short sublet until starting a year lease or looking to get a long-term from the get go.

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9 hours ago, KaffeeCafe said:

I'm still going through this thread so sorry if I am repeating anything, but does anyone have any property management companies / complexes etc to avoid ?  Also, how close to move in should I be worried the good places are getting taken ? I will be moving in July, so I'm trying to decide between a short sublet until starting a year lease or looking to get a long-term from the get go.

Another UChicago alum/incoming PhD student hopping on this thread...

At least for the Hyde Park area, MAC has a pretty bad reputation. Not sure about the rest of the city, but around HP they're somewhat notorious for not responding to complaints and maintenance requests.

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4 hours ago, vandemataram said:

Another UChicago alum/incoming PhD student hopping on this thread...

At least for the Hyde Park area, MAC has a pretty bad reputation. Not sure about the rest of the city, but around HP they're somewhat notorious for not responding to complaints and maintenance requests.

I heard for the HP area basically all the residential buildings are managed either by UChicago housing or by MAC. If this is true, then it would make sense to go with UChicago housing...? 

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9 hours ago, Gvh said:

I heard for the HP area basically all the residential buildings are managed either by UChicago housing or by MAC. If this is true, then it would make sense to go with UChicago housing...? 

I lived off-campus for three years under various non-MAC landlords, so there are definitely options beyond those two. But it also sounds like UChicago grad housing is a great option!

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Can anyone attest to the "competitiveness" of the UChicago grad housing? I sat in on the UChicago-run webinar the other day and the people were warning that the grad housing is "super super competitive" and that we should strongly consider other options. This was a little surprising given the deadline to accept the offer of admissions just passed... Is this really the case for people who applied relatively early (e.g. beginning of April)?

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Hi, 

I'm wanting to apply to UChicago for 2017 and was thinking of visiting this summer to see the University and get a feel for the city. I'm wondering:

1) would it be helpful for me to try and get in touch with a faculty member and see if I could chat to them about what my aims are for postgraduate studies

and 2) Is there any way to get put in touch with current or former UChicago English grad students to ask them about their experience and how they liked the university?

 

Thanks for any help!

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On April 24, 2016 at 5:37 AM, tiny_trevor said:

Hi, 

I'm wanting to apply to UChicago for 2017 and was thinking of visiting this summer to see the University and get a feel for the city. I'm wondering:

1) would it be helpful for me to try and get in touch with a faculty member and see if I could chat to them about what my aims are for postgraduate studies

and 2) Is there any way to get put in touch with current or former UChicago English grad students to ask them about their experience and how they liked the university?

 

Thanks for any help!

I would absolutely recommend reaching out to a member of the faculty whose research most interests you/is a good fit with your own, and looking through the departmental website's listing of current students, and reaching out to a few via email. They (faculty/students) may not be around during the summer, as most go do research abroad/vacation/visit family at home, but you could meet with someone from the grad admissions office if you are already going to be in town. Good luck! 

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Great information! I have been struggling to find rooms with reasonable rent. I got an admit from DePaul University. Do you know an area where the students from this university generally live in(apart from University Center bcoz I read the reviews and they were mostly negative)?

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RE: The competitveness/availability of grad housing at UChicago. As of last year, almost everyone who applied got a room, although it may not have been their first choice. However, the University just sold/is in the process of selling a significant majority of the buildings they own, so a lot of what was UChicago grad housing will now be privately owned. 

As a result, there will be a lot more Grad students looking for private housing this fall (both incoming and returning). While my experience with Grad housing has been good, I highly recommend that everyone be aware of what other options there are so that if they don't get into grad housing they aren't caught unawares and with little time to make alternative arrangements. 

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14 hours ago, lpa95 said:

Great information! I have been struggling to find rooms with reasonable rent. I got an admit from DePaul University. Do you know an area where the students from this university generally live in(apart from University Center bcoz I read the reviews and they were mostly negative)?

It's going to be hard to find a decently priced place right around DePaul because it's in Lincoln Park, which is a ridiculously expensive neighborhood.  Most of the north side is expensive due to gentrification and a contrived "cool" atmosphere.   Avondale is next to Logan Square and is a good, cheaper place to live if you want to stay on the north side.  If I were to recommend anything, it would be to stay away from the north side and instead find a place in Bridgeport, Pilsen, Little Village (not too far west in this neighborhood), or somewhere around UIC.  You will have to take public transportation or ride a bike, but that's not such a hassle in Chicago.

The south side neighborhoods I mentioned are the cheapest places in the city, besides some weird far west or south neighborhoods.  They are also, in my opinion, the best neighborhoods in the city, though I'm sure that a lot of people would disagree, especially about Little Village.

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Hi,

Can anyone tell me how bad would it be if I have to walk a mile in Chicago winters? (everyone I have spoken too have warned me enough about the harsh winter). I am looking for places close to UChicago and trying to narrow things down.

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@eyinyangb So, this entirely depends on the day to day weather, because Chicago weather is absolutely insane and bipolar. You completely can, but you probably won't know until you get here and actually experience the winter weather. Everyone reacts differently to the weather (3 weeks ago, almost everyone was back in decent weight jackets, I wore a tee shirt. It's subjective.)

A mile is not too far. I just got done with my undergrad in Chicago, I lived about a mile from my closest school building, I've walked that before. If you have the proper winter gear, you can. It's not advisable sometimes, like when it's 10 degrees out plus whatever the wind chill is, or when it's snowing. See if UChicago will provide a Ventra UPass with your tuition. You'll get unlimited bus and L rides for the semester, so it's very easy to justify a bus ride to campus when it's nasty out. Plus, you know, invest in a down parka, a ton of scarves, hats, and good gloves, and nice sturdy boots. 

On the flip side, we had a really mild winter this year (as in, the temperature hovered right around freezing with a few significant drops, but nothing too bad). And if the wind isn't blowing, the cold isn't that bad. 

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Walking a mile in Chicago is usually not a big deal. That's like a 15-20 minute walk for most people. We will occasionally have days where the wind or rain/snow is really bad and you might want to wait until that's over to walk, but it's still possible. You will also have a transit pass called UPass as a full time UChicago student. It gives you unlimited transit rides during the semester for a low flat fee (and it's not optional-- if you are full time it will be in your fees), so being close to a bus line could be another option for you.

When it's very cold out, it's more comfortable to walk than to wait around for a bus-- the walking keeps you warm. CTA has mobile bus and train tracking so it's not difficult to see if a bus is coming and walk up the line until you run into one.

Definitely get good rain and snow boots. I have ruined shoes before because I didn't have a good pair of rain boots, and snow boots will let you walk even if people haven't done a good job of shoveling. I rarely wear my heaviest coat because the buses and trains are quite warm, and I like to walk so that keeps me warm too. Personally I would get boots, mid weight winter coat, and hat/scarf/gloves, and wait on any serious winter clothes or a ton of sweaters. Some people feel the cold more than others.

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Reviving this thread for the 2017 season!

I'm planning my move from Denver and am having a whole lotta nonsense with the UChicago Grad housing people. It appears they're using two systems right now to determine apartments. <_<

If we don't get university housing we're planning on flying out end of June for showings for an end of July move date. Are apartments typically on a 30/sub30day cycle here? I know in more "college towns" it can be way more seasonal to college schedules. 

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2 hours ago, qt_dnvr said:

Reviving this thread for the 2017 season!

I'm planning my move from Denver and am having a whole lotta nonsense with the UChicago Grad housing people. It appears they're using two systems right now to determine apartments. <_<

If we don't get university housing we're planning on flying out end of June for showings for an end of July move date. Are apartments typically on a 30/sub30day cycle here? I know in more "college towns" it can be way more seasonal to college schedules. 

Hey there! So I live in Evanston (fancy pants suburb north of Chicago) and we moved in last year. You can't really plan too far ahead for these places because most of the time they put a place up and who knows when it will be gone. So if you look at apartments in June to move in July, you should be good. Just be ready to fill out all the paperwork and stuff either when you're there or soon after you get back cause those leasing agents will be pressuring you! Also! Leasing agents are free to work with here, so you can reach out to a few leasing companies and the agents will set up all the showings for you! We ended up having to do a last minute change of apartments and couldn't fly up to look, but our agent went over and took pics and a video for us! You'll love Chicago! Just be ready for the wind. O.O

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On 2/28/2016 at 3:09 PM, beerkatmanor said:

Hi all!

I'm looking to attend University of Chicago and would really appreciate any perspectives on university graduate housing. Safety and proximity to the shuttles are my main concerns, price won't be prohibitive. I'm wondering which of these are the "nicest" (i.e. recently renovated) too. Most of the university apts offer street or city permit parking, how difficult is it to actually find a spot close to the building?

I'm limited to pet-friendly options and 1 bedrooms, so I've narrowed it down to:

Any stories--positive or horror--about these properties or grad housing in general?

Most of the university apts offer street or city permit parking, how difficult is it to actually find a spot close to the building?

 

Thanks :) Reading through the posts here has been really helpful!! Hope everyone is excited about their moves

I lived at 5315 Kimbark with my now-husband for 3 years. I absolutely recommend you live there. Park behind you that a lot of the apartments look out over, Hyde Park Produce across the street, the shuttle and bus pass there as well. And Hyde Park Produce. Let me sing its praises for a moment- every kind of produce you can think of, locally grown as much as they can, as cheap as they could be, all sold in bulk. I used to go out, cross the street to buy one single leek, a sprig (one sprig) of fresh thyme, and a head of purple cauliflower for dinner, and spend $1.50 on the three things combined. Plus, Reijko is probably still takes care of the buildings. He is awesome. If you call him with a problem in your apartment, he'll come directly up from wherever he is and fix it. We miss this place soooo much! If you get apartment 2A, tell it that Andrea and Christian say "hi". 

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