Our voice is confident and direct, unvarnished yet eloquent. To achieve this, think about the idea you’re trying to convey and strive to communicate it as clearly as possible. Write from your heart (or gut), then wordsmith. Start with the essential idea, then find the right words to express it.
The tone is both intelligent and accessible. Use concise sentences to convey complex ideas, making every word count. Use verbs instead of adjectives or adverbs. Be visual and physical; choose words with action and impact.
Convey the University’s eminence through facts, not superlatives. Provide evidence with examples.
Demonstrate impact. Why does a University of Chicago education matter? Why is this an ideal environment for research? Tell the whole story; show us where an experience leads.
Use the present tense. Create the sense of being in the midst of ongoing insights and discoveries. Reference history, but create a continuum, carrying that reference through to the present and future.
Be specific. Use examples that are uniquely University of Chicago and evoke a sense of place or pride.
Be clear about why us, why now. Ask these questions when making a case for applying, choosing, participating, donating, volunteering, caring:
- Why are we doing this? What is the need and context?
- Why UChicago? Why and how are we uniquely suited to this endeavor?
- What is the impact? How will this make a difference?
Be engaging. Speak directly to the reader and use inclusive language (“you,” “us”) when the goal of the communication is to prompt action (donate, participate in an event, apply for admission, join the faculty). Recognize the reader as part of our community.
Be creative. Consider how best to tell a story. Draw an unexpected comparison, consider information from multiple viewpoints, and consider multiple mediums for storytelling.
Be authentic. Above all, our communications must be true to the University of Chicago— in fact, in tone, and in spirit.
Use the present tense.
It's when you're admiring the grandeur of Rockefeller Chapel, surrounded by new classmates, listening to the Aims of Education address. Or during a late-night debate over the origins of American football while playing foosball with your housemates.
Engage readers by speaking directly to them when appropriate.
It's when you're walking around the Quads and spy carved faces peeking from ivy-covered buildings. Or when you vote with your tip for Thor in the Divinity School coffee shop's "battle of the gods."
Use examples that are specific to UChicago.
It's when you find yourself digging through original documents in Regenstein Library's Special Collections, uncovering the city's colorful political past for your Chicago Studies research. Or biking with friends along the lakefront, admiring the downtown skyline of this great city.
Be creative by drawing an unexpected comparison.
Students come to the University of Chicago expecting a world-class education and discover a world-class city as well... Our historic Hyde Park neighborhood has been home to residents ranging from Saul Bellow to Muhammad Ali. And of course, there’s Lake Michigan, with swimming, sailing, and sandy beaches. It’s like having a water park bigger than Belgium in your front yard.