Multiple choice

You and your twin have been accepted at UChicago. Should you (a) both go somewhere else, (b) draw straws to decide who goes to UChicago and who goes somewhere else, or (c) both come to UChicago?

Anne Ford, AM’99 | Photography by Nathan Keay

When the Core asked Andrew Hannah of the registrar’s office how many sets of twins were enrolled in the College during 2013–14, we guessed he might find four: perhaps one set per class.

In fact there were 16 sets of twins, as well as two sets of triplets (with the third triplet enrolled elsewhere). Sadly, we found no complete sets of triplets, quadruplets, or octuplets.

Nonetheless the number of multiples in the College was “a surprise,” says Martha Merritt, executive associate dean, especially since the admissions rate is less than 10 percent and UChicago does not have a sibling preference policy. “Each application is considered on its own merits,” says Merritt. “But my own mother was an identical twin, so I can testify to how special these people are.” (Merritt’s mother and aunt attended separate institutions.)

What’s it like having your oldest friend with you at the College? Here’s what UChicago’s multiples said.—Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93

Abdulla and Faisal Mahmood, fourth-years and roommates

Abdulla: We’re both studying economics. For the first two years, we took almost exactly the same classes—different sections, sometimes, but the same classes. We’re almost done with school, and we finally need to make life decisions where we can’t be bound by each other.

Faisal: I’ve only traveled once without him. It was weird, but it was fine.

Ryan and Matt Klein, fourth-years

Ryan: Most people get us confused. When we were younger, we always wore different-colored sweaters. We had one teacher who felt bad whenever she accidentally called one of us by the wrong name, so she’d give us candy. One day we decided to try to get as much candy as possible, so we switched sweaters and sat in the other one’s seat. This is our first recorded—

Matt: Incidence of evil.

Ryan: We did switch places once here for the Scavenger Hunt, to try to convince the judges that one of us had come from the very near future. It worked.

Alejandro and Jose Sepulveda, first-years

Alejandro: People ask how to tell us apart, and I’m just like, “You’ll figure it out. Everyone does eventually.”

Jose: We’ve been together for 18 years. We’ve never been separated.

Alejandro: But we don’t live together. Seventeen years was more than enough being his roommate.

Amy and Erin Risk, first-years and roommates

Amy: We always wanted to go to school together, or at least close by, just ‘cause we’ve always been really close. And then we were both recruited here for volleyball, so it worked out.

Erin: We’ve always been roommates—even at home, we shared a room. Next year, we’re going to have our own rooms, but we’ll live in the same townhouse. It’ll be the first time we haven’t shared a room, except for, like, camp.

Rahkee and Anika Jain, second-years

Rahkee: I get really excited when people are like, “Oh, I’m a twin.” I’m like, “Yeah! I’m a twin too!” Like the Peyton twins—we did a “Twin Day Win Day” with them last quarter. The four of us ate at Mellow Yellow. People were double-taking all over the place.

Anika: It’s nice to know other people who understand what it’s like to be a twin. A lot of people are like, “I have this really close friend! We’re twins!” And I’m like, “You’re not.”

Karyn and Kelly Peyton, second-years and roommates

Kelly: I have a birthmark on my neck that people use to tell us apart.

Karyn: Other than that, we are the exact same height down to the quarter-inch, and the exact same number of pounds.

Kelly: We’re mirror twins, though, so I’m right-handed and she’s left-handed.

Karyn: We wanted to be roommates because we didn’t want to buy two fridges. We live across the hall from Matthew and Zach Trail, the triplets—we call them the Sixty-Seven Percent.

Matthew and Zach Trail, first-years and roommates

Zach: People always expect that being a triplet feels special, but we have no frame of reference for anything different.

Matthew: Our brother Jacob is attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to pursue architecture, which isn’t offered here. Zach and I knew we’d be roommates if we ended up attending the same school, but we didn’t explicitly set out to go to college together. I was the one initially interested, and after coming with me on a campus visit, Zachary decided to apply as well.

Zach: We’re playing a game in a couple weeks called “How Well Do You Know Your Roommate”? We’re going to blow everyone else out of the water.

Alex and Graeme Murray, fourth-years

Alex: When we were little, our parents dressed us up in the same outfits.

Graeme: How long did that last? Till we could stop it. Blue suspenders and a blue poufy hat—that’s what sticks out in my mind. Even at the time, I knew it was terrible.

Chelsea and Katie Leu, fourth-years

Chelsea: We’ve spent the summers apart, doing internships in different places. We’ve found that we don’t miss each other, because being with the other person is like being alone. We don’t have to censor ourselves.

Katie: Because we’re, like, the same person.

Chelsea: We have a lot of the same mannerisms and the same interests.

Katie: We do all our extracurriculars together—we’re in orchestra—so we see each other about twice a week for like six hours, seven hours total.

Chelsea: It’s like a part-time job.

Kelly and Caitlin Stefanick, first-years

Caitlin: Kelly and I tried keeping the decision process as separate as possible, but we always thought it would be nice to go to school together. I decided to come here first, and then she later decided to come here too.

Kelly: Sometimes when she’s gotten injured, I know right away. It’s freaky. She broke her shin last May. We were playing soccer, and I was on the other side of the field. When she screamed, nobody thought it was serious, but I knew it was.

Kelsey (pictured) and Cambria Whitcomb, second-years

Cambria: We’ve gotten a lot closer since going to college.

Kelsey: But we never even considered rooming together.

Cambria: We lived together for 18 years, and we were cool with not doing that anymore.

Cambria: Still, there isn’t a relationship in the world that compares, because when we were growing up, we experienced the same things at the same time. That doesn’t exist with your parents; that doesn’t exist with siblings of different ages.

Alison and Megan Wall, first-years and roommates

Megan: Our parents asked, “Are you sure you want to go to the same college?” We just couldn’t imagine not being together. We’re taking the exact same classes. But personally, I don’t want to major in the same thing.

Alison: We were lab partners, though.

Megan: We just want to be together, ’cause we know we work well together.

Michael and Sean Wang-Lu, second-years

Sean: We get a kick out of messing with people. If someone comes up to me and calls me Michael, I impersonate him.

Michael: We told people we were cousins for the first month of college. There are still people who believe we’re cousins.


Kelly and Karyn Peyton, second-years and roommates last academic year. (Photography by Nathan Keay)