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The University of Chicago

College Admissions

The University of Chicago has long been renowned for its provocative essay questions. We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.

Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics. We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky.

As you can see from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.

2017-18 UChicago Supplement:

Required Question:

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.

Extended Essay Questions:

(Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1.

“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert

Sometimes, people talk a lot about popular subjects to assure ‘victory’ in conversation or understanding, and leave behind topics of less popularity, but great personal or intellectual importance. What do you think is important but under-discussed?

Essay Option 2.

Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History. a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/academics/majors-minors.

-Inspired by Josh Kaufman, Class of 2018

Essay Option 3.

Earth. Fire. Wind. Water. Heart! Captain Planet supposes that the world is made up of these five elements. We’re familiar with the previously-noted set and with actual elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, but select and explain another small group of things (say, under five) that you believe compose our world.

-Inspired by Dani Plung, Class of 2017

Essay Option 4.

The late New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham once said “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.” Tell us about your “armor.”

-Inspired by Adam Berger, Class of 2020

Essay Option 5.

Fans of the movie Sharknado say that they enjoy it because “it’s so bad, it’s good.” Certain automobile owners prefer classic cars because they “have more character.” And recently, vinyl record sales have skyrocketed because it is perceived that they have a warmer, fuller sound. Discuss something that you love not in spite of but rather due to its quirks or imperfections.

-Inspired by Alex Serbanescu, Class of 2021

Essay Option 6.

In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose your own question or choose one of our past prompts. Be original, creative, thought provoking. 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.

Why UChicago?

I came to UChicago because I wanted a world-class education in a diverse neighborhood with the natural amenities of a large city. Additionally, I came to learn how to think. Sure, learning a specific skill-set is also great, but the ability to think critically, I believe, will take me much farther.

Because of the University of Chicago.

. I now have a wide network of friends and colleagues around the world; an education that speaks volumes wherever I go; and a community (Chicago) that I love and cherish.

Undergraduate Admissions University of Illinois Admissions wordmark The iconic orange block letter I with the words ILLINOIS ADMISSIONS written next to it

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Essay Questions for Freshman Applicants

We want to give you enough time to craft the very best essays you can—and the best way to do that is to tell you what they are now.

Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. If you’re applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals. You may include any majors or areas of study you’re currently considering. Limit your response to 300 to 400 words.

If you select a second-choice major other than the Division of General Studies on your application, write a second essay explaining your interest in this major, too. Again, limit your response to 300 to 400 words.

Tips for Writing Your Essay

Be memorable.

The essay part of the application is important because it gives us more insight into who you are and who you want to be. Make us remember you!

Be prepared.

Take time to think about and brainstorm your message. Create an outline, write a good first draft, and edit multiple times.

Be yourself.

We want to know more about you, so be honest and let us into your world. Instead of making broad statements about what you want to do, give specific examples from high school or extracurricular activities. And don’t be afraid to add your personal style and voice to your writing!

You only have a couple of paragraphs to tell us about your experiences and goals. Choose your words wisely.

Be focused.

It’s not necessary for you to repeat information that’s already elsewhere in your application. Stay focused on explaining how those credentials and qualifications will lead to a successful future here.

Be professional.

Submitting a sloppy-looking essay with spelling errors and glaring mistakes sends us the message that you’re not serious about Illinois. Proofread your essays and ask your counselor, your English teacher, or a parent to take a second look.

Helpful Resources

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Contact Information

901 West Illinois Street, Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, Monday – Friday (closed on all campus holidays)

© Copyright 2018 University of Illinois Board of Trustees

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How to Apply as a Freshman Applicant

1. Complete your application.

You’ll provide your high school courses and grades, choose your major and an alternative program, write an essay, and list your extracurricular activities, honors, and awards. We’ll also use your application to determine admission into campus honors programs and award merit-based scholarships.

2. Pay the application fee.

  • $50 Domestic
  • $75 International

When you submit the application, you’ll pay a nonrefundable fee by credit card. If you’re a domestic student who qualifies for a fee waiver, your guidance counselor must submit our fee waiver form.

3. Submit your test scores.

  • ACT Code: 1154
  • SAT I Code: 1836

Standardized test scores are required for admission review. We accept the ACT or SAT I. You don’t have to take the essay portion of the SAT. You also don’t have to take the writing portion of the ACT unless you’re applying to a teaching licensure program. Official test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency in time to meet our deadlines; we don’t accept copies of score reports.

4. Prove your English proficiency.

You need to demonstrate a command of the English language. If your first language isn’t English or you’re attending high school in a non-English-speaking country, we recommend you submit a TOEFL (code 1836) or IELTS score from a test you’ve taken within the past 2 years.

5. See if you have further application requirements.

Depending on the major you’re applying to, you may have a few more things to do.

International Applicants

You should also be aware of some additional requirements.

Art + Design Applicants

You also need to submit a portfolio. More information is available through the School of Art and Design or by calling 217-333-6632.

Dance Applicants

You also need to complete an audition. More information is available through the Department of Dance or by calling 217-333-1010.

Music Applicants

You also need to complete a music application and audition or interview. More information is available through the School of Music or by calling 217-244-7899.

Theatre Applicants

You also need to interview and complete an audition or portfolio review. More information is available through the Department of Theatre or by calling 217-333-2371.

6. Check your status.

Once you’ve submitted your application, check its status by clicking on your application in myIllini. If you applied through the Coalition Application and already have a myIllini account, you can use that existing account to view your status. If you didn’t have a myIllini account, we’ll create one for you and you’ll receive an email a few days after submitting the Coalition Application with instructions on how to access your myIllini account.

Helpful Resources

Connect With Us

Contact Information

901 West Illinois Street, Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, Monday – Friday (closed on all campus holidays)

© Copyright 2018 University of Illinois Board of Trustees

U of essay

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When to use “US” and when to use “U.S.”?  – Mianxiu, China

This is an excellent question and a hard one to answer, because the rules are changing all the time. You will see examples of this abbreviation written both ways, with periods (U.S.), and without (US). To make matters worse, some well-respected style guides recommend the first style, and others prefer the second. Finally, the choice partly depends on whether U.S. is functioning as a noun or as an adjective. 

Here is my advice:

1. In formal writing, spell out the two words as “United States,” as in the example below. This is always appropriate. 

  • The United States Ambassador to the United Nations is charged with representing the United States during meetings of the General Assembly. 

Highlighted Links

An Essay Discussion

Dean Furda and the Penn Admissions staff offer inspiration, reassurance, and direction for students starting their college essays.

A Writer’s Block Could Be Your Building Block

A Penn student offers essay writing tips with this entry in our Penn Admissions Blog

As a part of the application process, applicants must complete a personal essay. Additionally, Penn applicants must complete the Penn-specific Essay.

We carefully read each essay you submit, as they can help us get to know you much better than your transcripts and test scores. While essays are a good indication of how well you write, they are also windows into how you think, what you value, and how you see the world. Your numbers tell us what kind of student you are. Your essays tell us what sort of person you are—and provide a glimpse into the intangibles you might bring to our community.

Be sure to answer the question or questions that are being asked of you. We understand that you may be writing essays for different schools and you may be looking to reuse material, but read through your essay to make sure your essay is relevant to the essay prompt. Essay topics are chosen because the Admissions Committee wants to know these specific things about you. If you do not address the question directly, the Admissions Committee is left with having to make decisions regarding your application with incomplete information.

Students applying to Penn must submit their application for admission to one of our four undergraduate schools. In the Penn-specific Essay, be sure to specifically address both why you are applying to Penn and why you are applying to that specific undergraduate school. Students who are applying to one of our coordinated dual-degree programs will have additional essays they need to complete, but the Penn essay should address the single-degree or single-school choice.

University of Michigan Questions

Essay #1 (Required for all applicants.)

Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

Essay #2 (Required for all applicants.) FRESHMEN APPLICANTS

Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?

Essay #2 (Required for all applicants.) TRANSFER APPLICANTS

Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?

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University of California – Admissions

Accessibility

How to apply

Personal insight questions

The personal insight questions are about getting to know you better — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations.

Think of it as your interview with the admissions office. Be open. Be reflective. Find your individual voice and express it.

While this section of the application is just one part we consider when making our admission decision, it helps provide context for the rest of your application.

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The University of Chicago

College Admissions

The University of Chicago has long been renowned for its provocative essay questions. We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.

Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics. We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky.

As you can see from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.

2017-18 UChicago Supplement:

Required Question:

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.

Extended Essay Questions:

(Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1.

“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert

Sometimes, people talk a lot about popular subjects to assure ‘victory’ in conversation or understanding, and leave behind topics of less popularity, but great personal or intellectual importance. What do you think is important but under-discussed?

Essay Option 2.

Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History. a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/academics/majors-minors.

-Inspired by Josh Kaufman, Class of 2018

Essay Option 3.

Earth. Fire. Wind. Water. Heart! Captain Planet supposes that the world is made up of these five elements. We’re familiar with the previously-noted set and with actual elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, but select and explain another small group of things (say, under five) that you believe compose our world.

-Inspired by Dani Plung, Class of 2017

Essay Option 4.

The late New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham once said “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.” Tell us about your “armor.”

-Inspired by Adam Berger, Class of 2020

Essay Option 5.

Fans of the movie Sharknado say that they enjoy it because “it’s so bad, it’s good.” Certain automobile owners prefer classic cars because they “have more character.” And recently, vinyl record sales have skyrocketed because it is perceived that they have a warmer, fuller sound. Discuss something that you love not in spite of but rather due to its quirks or imperfections.

-Inspired by Alex Serbanescu, Class of 2021

Essay Option 6.

In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose your own question or choose one of our past prompts. Be original, creative, thought provoking. 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.

Why UChicago?

I came to UChicago because I wanted a world-class education in a diverse neighborhood with the natural amenities of a large city. Additionally, I came to learn how to think. Sure, learning a specific skill-set is also great, but the ability to think critically, I believe, will take me much farther.

Because of the University of Chicago.

. I now have a wide network of friends and colleagues around the world; an education that speaks volumes wherever I go; and a community (Chicago) that I love and cherish.

Office of Admissions

Student Affairs

Apply for Admission

At the U, our goal is to give every student the chance to be part of unique learning experiences, and it’s why a degree from the U pays dividends far beyond the paper it’s printed on. Start your story – apply now.

Undergraduate Admission Requirements

Students who will have graduated from high school and have earned no transferrable college credit after high school.

Students with college credit after high school.

Students who have citizenship outside the United States.

Students who were previously enrolled at the University of Utah.

Students who wish to earn multiple bachelor’s degrees.

Students who graduated from high school seven or more years prior to applying, and have not attended another college or university.

Eligible students may attend after completing the 11th grade.

Utah high school sophomores through seniors take college-level course work.

Non-degree seeking?

Learn about how to apply to the U.

Completing the Application

Types of Questions

It helps to be prepared to answer the following questions before beginning the application. If you need to stop and restart your application you will be allowed. Please be sure to fully complete the application before submitting it. If you apply before the December 1 priority deadline, you will be automatically considered for merit and diversity scholarships.

You will be asked about your academic history (including GPA, ACT/SAT Test Scores, and courses taken), honors and awards, athletic participation, leadership roles and activities (including volunteering), work experience, and any special circumstances that may have affected your academic achievement.

Honors Essay

Undergraduate applicants will have the opportunity to apply to the Honors College by answering the following questions*:

The Honors College at the University of Utah offers the nation’s only Praxis Labs. Honors College Praxis Labs gather students from different majors to collaborate on innovative project-based solutions to big societal challenges. Students in these classes analyze a topic through in-depth classroom and field research such as lectures, panels, one-on-one interviews, readings and off-campus trips. After problems have been identified, students work together to put their solutions and ideas into action in the community.

Please submit both of your responses as one single document. Make sure to include your name and date of birth.

(In 500 words) Tell us about an issue or subject that fascinates you and why . What resources do you rely on when you want to learn more?

(In 50 words) What interests you about the Liberal Arts and Sciences education (hint: look this term up) offered by the Honors College?

*The Honors College priority application deadline is November 1.

Learn more about the Honors College admission process by visiting their website.

Paying the fee

After completing the application, you will be asked to pay the application fee. Some students may be eligible to waive the fee.

Privacy Act Notice & your Social Security Number

Your Social Security Number can help expedite enrollment and financial aid, but is not required.

The University confidentially maintains all application information, including your Social Security Number, which is used routinely to facilitate document matching, verify your identity, and expedite your enrollment and financial aid. Disclosure of your Social Security Number is voluntary, but failure to provide your Social Security Number may result in delay and confusion regarding your identity, and once admitted, could result in delay or loss of federal and state financial aid, tax credits, student loan deferments, veteran benefits, and other benefits under law.

Please note that the application is only valid for the semester in which you apply. If you do not attend classes for the term in which you applied, you must submit another admissions application and fee to be considered for a subsequent semester.

Making false or misleading statements on the application or failing to list all institutions attended may result in cancellation of admission status and/or loss of credit.

Admission requirements, deadlines, and fees are subject to change without prior notice.

All documents submitted to the University of Utah become its property and will not be released to students or other institutions. Admission applications and transcripts are destroyed after one year for students who do not attend.

Graduate Admissions

With 95 major fields of study at the graduate level, opportunities for academic and research opportunities abound.

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