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.