Thursday, June 25, 2015

Famous U of Chicago Application Essay Prompts Out (Supps to Common App)

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A young friend of mine, and a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, calls it "the school for people who like school." It's a serious place full of serious people, and it's famous (or infamous?) for the eccentricity of the supplementary application essays. The questions change every year, and they often use prompts submitted by students. It's part of the fun - if it's your idea of fun - of applying there and being part of this hyper engaged community.

With that in mind, I present this coming year's essays. I think they're the most interesting ones I've seen from Chicago, and, in honor of the university's 125th anniversary, for #7, they're offering a really special option: to write an essay on any one of the past year's prompts, which they provide a link to.

U. Chicago is a Common App school, so you will need to submit a total of either 3 or 4 essays: 1. The Common App essay 2. Question 1, which is Required  3. Question 2 (optional, but if you're serious about the place, Just do it) and 4. The Famous other essay, with a choice of 7 prompts this year. 

There are no precise word limits for the essays specific to Chicago (for the Common App, it's 650 words, firm), but the University's FAQ suggests 500 words as just about right. For other useful application info from Chicago, please click here for their fabulous FAQ.

If these essay topics thrill you and you can't wait to get going on them, UChicago might be a great place for you. If they make you want to run in dread, terror, or boredom, take that as a sign that UChicago might not be the right university for you - and keep looking. You'll find others, for sure. 

Question 1 (Required):

How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

Question 2 (Optional):

Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own.

Extended Essay Questions:

(Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1.

Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced?
—Inspired by Payton Weidenbacher, Class of 2015

Essay Option 2.

“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” –Maxine Hong Kingston. What paradoxes do you live with?
—Inspired by Danna Shen, Class of 2019

Essay Option 3.

Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story.
—Inspired by Drew Donaldson, Class of 2016

Essay Option 4.

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” –Paul Gauguin. What is your “art”? Is it plagiarism or revolution?
—Inspired by Kaitlyn Shen, Class of 2018.

Essay Option 5.

Rerhceseras say it’s siltl plisbsoe to raed txet wtih olny the frist and lsat ltteres in palce. This is beaucse the hamun mnid can fnid oderr in dorsdier. Give us your best example of finding order in disorder. (For your reader’s sake, please use full sentences with conventional spelling).
—Also inspired by Payton Weidenbacher, Class of 2015. Payton is extra-inspirational this year!

Essay Option 6.

In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful, then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.

Essay Option 7.

In the spirit of historically adventurous inquiry, to celebrate the University of Chicago’s 125th anniversary, please feel free to select from any of our past essay questions.

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