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basille

Chicago, IL

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Question: The $900 or so that we have to pay in University fees each semester includes a U-Pass, right?

I'm pretty positive it is included in the fees/tuition. It's not something that you will pay separately from other expenses. I have to check on this myself. Did you acceptance come through the Graduate College?

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I'm pretty positive it is included in the fees/tuition. It's not something that you will pay separately from other expenses. I have to check on this myself. Did you acceptance come through the Graduate College?

I haven't gotten the official stuff with details like this from the graduate school yet -- just the acceptance letter and the stuff about my fellowship. All the other information (including the bit about the U-Pass) came from the department/current students.

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but what is the cost of living like, from a grad student perspective? I'll be living in one of the UofC apartments, and my monthly stipend will be around $1600 or so after tax -- will that be enough to get by?

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but what is the cost of living like, from a grad student perspective? I'll be living in one of the UofC apartments, and my monthly stipend will be around $1600 or so after tax -- will that be enough to get by?

Basille's the expert here, but from the estimates I've seen, $12,500 to 14,000/year gets you the bare essentials (not including car insurance, gas, and whatnot) -- you should be in fine shape! I'm planning to make do with $1500/month before taxes, and so far it doesn't seem impossible.

Look earlier in the current thread, and see this threadfor more detailed discussions and itemized cost-of-living estimates. Good luck!

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I know someone mentioned Bridgeport earlier, but I was wondering about safety. What is the crime like on the south side? Craigslist is listing places a lot less expensive than http://www.apartmentpeople.com/ranges.asp has. What is up with that? (I'm looking for places near UIC for a friend.)

Well, the one thing I can say about Bridgeport is that it is "in transition" which is Chicagoese for gentrifying but still rough around the edges. It buts up to some tougher areas and has gone through various periods of ups and downs. It was a strongly Irish-Catholic neighborhood in the 50s and 60s (home to current Mayor Daley), then took a bit of a tumble with the rest of the area, then started to come back in recent years due to the gentrification of the surrounding UIC area. The nice thing about UIC is that it is right off the blue line, so your friend could expand their search to other neighborhoods that are more solidly gentrified... if that is an area of concern for your friend. Neighborhoods like Bucktown and Wicker Park have been "transitioning" for a few years, so there are more safer areas there. Some areas of Logan Square as well... particualrly the ones closest to the boulevards and to Bucktown/Wicker Park. All of these are accessible by blue line and would be about a 20 minute commute via train.

Ultimately, I find that the Chicago Crime Database (CCD) will give a fairly nice idea of crime surrounding a possible apartment. So, when your friend finds the address of a place they like, run it by the database and see what the crime stats are. This is a renter's market - for the most part you don't have to worry about snatching up an apartment the very first second you lay eyes on it (unlike, say Boston or New York). So, one could take a look at the apartment, take a look at the neighborhood (if possible, visit during the day and then drive by at night) and then run the address through the database. It's about as secure as one can get to finding a place that addresses their safety needs.

CCD: http://www.chicagocrime.org/

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Guest GoIllini

A lot of people manage just fine in Chicago without a car. THe main things that will make your life easier are to either 1) live by an El 2) live by a major busline (as in, if you're mostly going to be traveling N-S, live by a convenient N-S route) and 3) make sure you're not too far from a grocery store. You can check out the CTA's website (transitchicago.com) for route information - it's especially useful if you want to plug in potential addresses and where you'll be going to see about how long your commute will be.

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I'm going up to Chicago in a week or so for a couple days and trying to find a job and an apartment to start June 1. Do you think that's doable? If not the job (waitressing, so not that stressed), is at least it likely I'll be able to get an apartment? I've never had to do a long distance hosuing search before.

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Guest GoIllini

I don't think it will be a big problem. When I first moved here, I had ONE DAY to find a place and get a lease signed (or at least start the credit check process), and that was a mere 2 weeks before I was going to move. So it's possible. To make things less stressful, I'd recommend narrowing down the neighborhoods you want to look at beforehand.

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I've lived in or around Chicago my entire life, so here's my 2 cents. We're leaving Chicago around the end of June, and we live in Hyde Park (UChicago). We rent a 3BR townhouse with 2 parking spaces from some very nice doctors for $1500/mo. We used to live in an apartment closer to the hospital (a few blocks away), but we got really irritated with the rental company, who utterly refused to fix anything, and the other tenants, who were all undergrads and had loud obnoxious parties (even during the week) and were generally loud and obnoxious even when by themselves (apparently no one told them that UChicago is the place fun comes to die).

If you have a family or roommates and want a quiet place, you're more than welcome to come see our townhouse (I promise I get absolutely nothing for this - I don't get any money and our lease goes through the end of June, so we don't need to sublet). I'm right next to the grocery store and the Metra, so we can get downtown pretty quicky. If you want to know anything about rental companies in Hyde Park, let me know.

Be aware when it comes to public transportation in Chicago - it's not that rosy, unless you live on the line that you need to get from Point A to Point B. My husband used to take it places, and it was a huge hassle, as he needed a combination of two trains and two buses, and he had to walk several blocks between train stations. The walking wouldn't be bad if it wasn't so freakin' cold here in the winter. And if you have to take the buses at the same time as the high school kids are going to school, it's an absolute nightmare (all the high school students take the city buses - there are very few "school buses", so they're overcrowded and you have to put up with the kids - as a former public school teacher, that's no picnic, I assure you.)

I can't remember if this was mentioned, but also be aware that Chicago is very spotty as far as safe neighborhoods/unsafe neighborhoods. A few blocks will be beautiful, and then you cross the street and it's ghetto, then a few blocks later it's fine again. I can't stress the importance of not renting a place until yougo see it. Hyde Park around the university is OK (I'd say from 50th to 59th and from Cottage Grove to the lake) but anything beyond there you need to check out. In Kenwood (just north of Hyde Park, around 43rd to 49th) there are TONS of old mansions - yes, mansions - where all the rich people in Chicago used to live. But in places they abut apartment buildings that are not, shall I say, the kind of neighbors I'd like to have. So please visit anyplace before you rent. The "safe" area I mentioned, though, has tons of police presence (both Chicago cops and the university police). I still wouldn't walk around after dark anywhere that wasn't the main streets, but I can't think of anyplace in Chicago where it's truly safe to do that.

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Guest PeterB

I am planning on attending UI-Chicago starting this fall, and my wife is working in Oak Forest. Does anyone have some thoughts about neighborhoods on the South side of Chicago, particularly Beverly or Morgan Park? I have friends who recommended these neighborhoods, as there was a Metra stop nearby, and that one could walk to the 95th St. Red Line CTA station.

Or would it be more advisable to live in the suburbs? I have heard various things about Evergreen Park, Hometown, Oak Lawn, etc., and most people say that they tend to be very suburban.

Finally, does anyone know whether UI-Chicago students get a discount on Metra fares? I can't seem to find this out. Many thanks for all the advice.

If anyone wants to email me, hit me at pbratt15athotmail.com.

Sincerely,

Peter

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Thanks again for the advice on using the apartment people. They totally rock and we found a nice cheap place in Beuna Park/Wrigleyville (blocks from teh stadium, so excited :) ).

PS- Anyone need a room for the summer? I'm gonna need to sublet my roommates from June - Mid August.

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Technically it's Buena Park. But, it's on the border. It seems to be a pretty quiet residential area from what we saw, but maybe I'm wrong. Also, the street I'm on has permit parking, so that should limit the parking dilemma. It seemed to have a lot of open spaces. Hope so :D . But, I'm coming straight from undergrad, so I'm used to drunk people and we're off a side street across from a hospital parking lot, so I don't see our street being too horribly rowdy.

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Guest Michelle

Petral, I lived for two years at Broadway and Belle Plaine on the border of Wrigleyville and Buena Park and I wouldn't worry about the Wrigley crowd. They usually don't wander that far north. The problems that DespSeekPhd is describing only really apply to people who live within a block or two of the field, and you'll have some distance from all that. But you're still walking distance if you want to go to a game, which is great. Parking in that neighborhood is horrible regardless of whether the Cubs are playing, so I would get that parking permit for sure and plan on not moving your car too much on weekends. Other than that, the neighborhood is great, and is really being built up as of late. Welcome to Chicago! If you have any other questions about that neighborhood, I'd be happy to help.

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I will be moving to Chicago next week to attend the Uof Chicago. I have been assigned grad housing through the school and I'm rather worried that I'm renting an apartment before seeing it. It's on S. Dorchester and I'm hoping someone has info about it. I believe the name of the apartment building is Gaylord Also, if you can tell me how close I am to shopping, what bus is available, is it within walking distance to Swift Hall in the winter? I guess I'm looking for as much info as I can get. Thanks!

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I currently survive on less than that each month and some months are tight I haven't starved. My rent with heat and electricity is 800/month (1 bedroom) which leaves $1200 for food, incidentals and fun! I live in Hyde Park (U of Chicago) and I know some students who pay even less for rent.

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You cannot live in Chicago and commute to Evanston w/o a long commute except for during certain, very limited, times of the day. Evanston living is, on average, less than Chicago. Factor in commuting money and Evanston will be less expensive. Rent in Chicago can vary by area, but if you want to be safe, Evanston living would probably be a little cheaper. That said, 2k for a single person should be enough--you just have to find a place with rent around $500-800 w/ utilities and heat. If you have 2k a month you must have a nice stipend.

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Thanks for the responses. My post was confusing. I am hoping to live as close to Evanston as possible, and just said Chicago since it was "Chicago area". Sounds like that is feasible, so that's good news.

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I don't know anything about this area, but is it possible to get by on a $2000/mo stipend without a 1hr commute?

You can do it, although I don't know your loan/credit situation which can obviously complicate things. I'd recommend looking into, say, Rogers Park or Uptown as neighborhoods to live in--from when I was apartment searching, they seemed to be quite affordable, and they're the regions of the city closest to Evanston (and are on the same train line that goes there).

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I will be moving to Chicago next week to attend the Uof Chicago. I have been assigned grad housing through the school and I'm rather worried that I'm renting an apartment before seeing it. It's on S. Dorchester and I'm hoping someone has info about it. I believe the name of the apartment building is Gaylord Also, if you can tell me how close I am to shopping, what bus is available, is it within walking distance to Swift Hall in the winter? I guess I'm looking for as much info as I can get. Thanks!

Where on S. Dorchester? 53XX?If so, I actually lived in that building a few years back while doing an MA at UChicago. (There are also two dorms on 51st and at the corner of Dorchester).

For 5300: There are 1 bedrooms and studios there. I had a one bedroom--it had pretty nice. It came furnished with a nice desk, a crap couch, and a big comfy bed (can't make promises what you'll receive). The kitchen was small. Otherwise, it was fine living there. I saw a couple of the studio's in the building. Smaller, obviously, but livable (except for one I saw which was for some reason huge).

Ah, I just read and saw you're living in the Gaylord--that is indeed the building I lived in. I liked it--I think it's well located. 53rd Street has a bunch of stores and restaurants, so you'll be close to those. It's also really close to the grocery stores in the area--the co-op fruit place that has apparently become a full-fledged store on 53rd and Woodlawn and what will eventually be a Treasure Island (not sure when) on 55th.

To go downtown, you can walk to 51st pretty easily and over to Lake Shore (?) to get the 6--it's pretty available. There are buses that go straight to campus nearby, but I never once used them. I like to walk, for one reason. Secondly, it's not too far of a walk. Although, of course, that is a subjective judgment, so you should check it out for yourself. It might be a ten minute walk depending on your speed.

Also, the maintenance guy is funny.

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