The University of Chicago
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:
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.
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.
The University of Chicago
The UChicago experience connects you with men and women from down the street, across the country, and around the world who help you discover your passions, purpose, and lifelong friendships.
This sprawling community of scholars—Nobel laureates, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, literary giants, astronomers and astronauts—gives voice to reason, creates with fervor, shapes our future, and leads our world.
If you think all the world’s a stage—and a classroom—then UChicago is the place to immerse yourself in the arts.
Community starts with sharing common space—and a common spirit. Community bonds over the uncommon experience of UChicago.
From our Big 10 football days to our lasting commitment to the scholar-athlete, UChicago boasts a rich tradition of intercollegiate and intramural athletics and recreation.
Whether discovering the city of Chicago, your future path, or your intellectual boundaries, opportunities for exploration at UChicago are limitless.
Learning can’t be contained here—we love it too much to shelve our ideas until the next class. It’s why we’re here.
Tours / Info Sessions
For the tour schedule from March 6, 2017 onward, special closings, and to schedule in advance, please visit our tours page
Good deeds have a profound impact on our students, and we are grateful for the generous support and contributions from friends of UChicago. Thank you, from all of us in Admissions, Financial Aid, and Career Advancement.
Stay In Touch
Keep up to date. Special programming, visits to your area, and much more.
Thank you to all our amazing applicants! The Admissions office plans to release decisions for Regular Decision applicants on Friday, March 16 in the late afternoon.
Check out UChicago Admissions videos and find everything from housing to horseplay. Explore the YouTube Channel
Students give their perspectives on campus life and the Admissions Office provides application process updates. Visit the Uncommon Blog
College admissions print materials including information on majors and careers.
UChicago in the World
DNA devices perform bio-analytical chemistry inside live cells
UChicago Arts, Chicago Innovation Exchange co-sponsor new speaker series
Chapin Hall partners with 22 communities across U.S. to end youth homelessness
Unprecedented internships and career opportunities. Visit Career Advancement
Argonne invents reusable sponge that soaks up oil. Read more
This Is UChicago
One of the World’s Great Intellectual Destinations Learn more
The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago
Admissions & Aid
UChicagoSocial: College Admissions
No Barriers is a comprehensive plan to increase access to the College, support students in receiving an empowering education, and prepare them for lifelong success.
A culture of fearless inquiry
UChicago students ask tough questions, celebrate new ideas, and form a community as supportive as it is transformative
Since its inception in 1890, UChicago has remained committed to educating extraordinary people regardless of race, gender, religion, or financial ability. More than $100 million in financial assistance and scholarships are awarded annually, and we are one of the few highly selective institutions to award both need-based and merit-based aid.
Approximately 6,306 students are enrolled in the College, renowned for its Core curriculum and small, discussion-style classes.
1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-5416
Graduate and professional
In more than 100 programs across our graduate divisions and professional schools, students discover firsthand the power of ideas to make a difference in the world.
UChicago offers a rich array of summer learning opportunities for current UChicago students, visiting college students, accomplished high school students, teachers, and many others.
One of the first U.S. universities with continuing education, UChicago offers non-degree programs spanning business, public policy, and a wide range of professional and liberal arts.
Online learning is in many ways an extension of the University of Chicago’s longstanding commitment to free and open inquiry.
Your lens into UChicago from College Admissions.
We invite you to explore UChicago, where we’re enriching human life through rigorous scholarship.
University Of Chicago
UChicago or The University of Chicago is one the premier academic institute in the world. Founded in 1980 by Mr. John D. Rockefeller and Mr. Robert J. Zimmer was the first President of this University. UChicago is now more than 160,000 alumni worldwide, about 5,860 undergraduate students and 9,866 graduate, professional, and other students. The size of full time professors and lectures is 2,274, teaching 49 majors and 40 minors in the undergraduate College. It has 5 major divisions and 6 professional schools for graduate study.
View Sample How to Get Started, Application for University Of Chicago?
The applicant has three options to choose the application for UChicago, one option is Coalition Application, second one is the Common Application, or the Universal College Application. All three applications are treated equally for admission process.
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Stuck with your admission essay? Do not worry! Our expert academic writers can help!
Observing, analyzing and deducing. Three of my most favorite past times that have helped me in coming to the conclusion that everything can be reduced to psychology. Violence and love, guilt and remorse; All these feelings and emotions can be explained and understood if the mental characteristics of the individual are observed. It is this attraction to learn how the mind works and understand the basics of life that has beckoned me to pursue a degree in Psychology at The University of Chicago. My greatest desire is to learn more about the ways of different humans from all around the world. Yes, this does include cultures and traditions but more than that, I want to get a sense of how these traditions and cultures have impacted the individuals. The persons from the various societies that will come together to not only study, but live in one area for four years will give me the opportunity to pursue my dream at The University of Chicago. I always thought that people just had to be different from each other. In the way they thought, in the way they analyzed and in the way they solved a problem and if given the opportunity to study at the University, I can test my theory first hand. I have worked with many different groups of people in my society. My experience has taught me that unity is achievable. A strong community is one which is united on its similarities rather than divided on its differences. This thinking and ambition will help me in adjusting to the new state and working together with other students to build a strong foundation.
Question#2: 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.
Reading is my favorite hobby so itвЂ™s no wonder that I will start with my favorite author. Jane Austen has been my best friend whenever I needed guidance. You might be wondering how that is even possible since Jane was from a time way before ours and her novels contain fragments of imaginative love and perfect romances. But JaneвЂ™s novels for me have always had some wisdom hidden in the quick witted jokes and the ideal couples. From Pride and Prejudice to Emma, all the lovely ladies have taught me what to do and what not to do when facing problems related to family, friends, enemies or lovers. Jane Austen is and will always be an inspiration to me and her novels will be a proof of happy endings.
This admission essay required for MBA admission, Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 words maximum)
View this collection of shared Booth moments
Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why.
- Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.
- Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space
” If I were to choose a moment that best resonates with me, I would most definitely pick the 2nd one. I have loved travelling since I was a little girl. Whether this was on a business trip with my dad just staying in a hotel room or going to a properly planned family vacation, taking a break from my usual environment is something I always look forward to. Looking at the pictures of the students of University of Chicago travelling together, learning new things related to business, witnessing the works of some of the best businessmen in the world and being a part of an unforgettable journey are all the things that make me want to be a member of the University of Chicago MBA community. I am also a good communicator which is always a plus point when you are travelling. I easily adjust with the new cultures and traditions and this is beneficial when we are travelling in a group. To have these leadership qualities makes it easy for my peers to have a good time interacting with the people as well. I think travelling is something that should come to you naturally. You cannot force anyone to do it. I am one of the naturalsвЂ™ who has longed to go on memorable trips with friends and having this opportunity given to me in the University of Chicago would truly be a dream come true. On top of all the fun, the chance to relate the travelling experience with my studies is something that is not being offered in other MBA programs. The University of Chicago has outdone itself by giving students such brilliant opportunities that motivate them to work harder and be better than they were before. “
CanвЂ™t believe it was like last Tuesday that I called yaвЂ™ll for an essay for my admission at UChicago. I got in, seriously man halla good job on the paper bra. Thank you so much!
The personal statement was PERFECT, canвЂ™t think of anything IвЂ™d change. Thanks for all the help and support for my admission man. My session starts form next month at Chicago University.
I canвЂ™ believe I messed up that bad at writing my application essay, probably be rejected by Chicago University if I sent that. Thanks of editing my mess back into an essay.
I am a graduate student from UChicago and have been using this service since I had to write my admission essay. All the time IвЂ™ve been using the academic service havenвЂ™t found a single thing wrong.
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Sample Essay: University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is famous for quirky and complex essay prompts. UChicago also places a relatively high weight on the essays when making admissions decisions. Submitting outstanding essays to UChicago can help you recover from a few poor grades, or even a slightly lower SAT/ACT score. UChicago always allows its applicants to submit their own essay prompt and corresponding essay, which is a particularly attractive option if you’re relatively creative. Because UChicago is one of the most popular schools amongst our students, and because we have generated so many acceptances to the school, we have decided to release one of our accepted essays to the University of Chicago to aid in helping you think about how to craft your essay. This student chose to submit a unique prompt, and specific details in the essay have been changed to preserve anonymity:
Prompt (Self-Written): Is there any value to popular culture? Or should society attempt to better itself with more refined art forms?”
Popular culture encompasses an expansive spread of art forms ranging from popular sitcoms to “gangsta rap.” And as with broader society, in cultural spheres such as film and literature there exists an amorphous “elite”- primarily academics and critics in each field and their sycophants. This elite’s response to each movie’s release is predictable: Transformers 2’s stellar 19% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes does not surprise anyone who understands film critics, who decry the “mindlessness” of big budget films while praising “smart” and complex independent films that have vibrant symbolism and social commentary. In short, they’d rather you watch Little Miss Sunshine than waste your time on Transformers 6, Iron Man 2, or the latest R-rated comedy featuring Will Ferrell. Such criticism misses two essential points, at least in my personal relationship with culture. The first is that when I watch a film, I am actually seeking precisely the banal and idiotic entertainment provided by big budget Hollywood film that they so vehemently disparage. I admit there are times when I can appreciate vibrant social commentary or hidden symbolism layered into a movie. But mostly, I just want to relax and be entertained for two and a half hours as I enjoy hackneyed humor. Those who religiously eschew mainstream films deny themselves the joy of one’s visceral reactions to the exploding buildings and slapstick comedy of big budget blockbusters.
Even more important is the social bond that emanates from shared cultural experiences. I recognized this seemingly tenuous link when I visited my family in Chiang Rai, Thailand last September. As huge fans of Thai dramas, my cousin and I decided to binge-watch a romantic comedy called Thara Himalaya, the story of a common villager who fell in love with a wealthy heir. After we finished the drama, I fell into the very trap that I caution against in this essay. Upon Googling Thara Himalaya, I was stunned to discover that a formulaic drama with (what I considered) terrible acting had become one of the highest rated dramas in Thai television history. When I asked my cousin about this seemingly paradoxical outcome, she had a simple explanation: “These types of dramas are so popular because there are a lot of rural and poor women who dream of that kind of ‘happily ever after’.” As I pondered the implications of her statement, the full weight became apparent. Thai women, especially rural ones, live a difficult life. And these sappy dramas release them from these stressors, if only temporarily. They serve the same purpose for me. Even though I may never find out exactly what the lives of these women are like, the fact that we both enjoy the same dramas allows us to bridge the gap between our disparate circumstances.
The same is true in the United States. In recent years, the gulf between college educated Americans and the rest of society has widened. While part of this divergence is driven by economics, there is a cultural gap as well, which drives misunderstandings and exacerbates conflict. How can one expect to understand the mindset of the proverbial “other half” if there are no shared experiences to draw upon? Therein lies the value of embracing the mainstream; when I share experiences with the average American, I am more likely to understand his or her mindset, dreams, and desires. The resultant social cohesiveness is extremely valuable – a characteristic lost when elites isolate themselves in the embrace of haute culture.
The broader implications of this epiphany did not truly become apparent until I returned to the US, when I ate dinner at my mother’s friend’s house. After dinner, I was forced to spend time with her kids, whom I had never met before, and came from completely different circumstances. Initially, we sat around in awkward silence. After a few minutes of painful small talk, almost by chance, we began to discuss the Seattle Sounders, and their prospects for the upcoming season. We had finally found some common ground. For the next four hours, we discussed sports of every variety, from the NBA to the Cricket World Cup. The initial awkwardness had completely vanquished, and we found that we enjoyed each other’s company. The connection between that evening and the value of the mainstream was elucidated later that night, when I reflected on similar experiences that I had had in the past. Whenever I’m at a party or social gathering where I meet new people, the way that I connect with others is by talking about popular sports, movies, or TV shows. Many of my peers decry the perceived sexism or Darwinism in sport. And indeed several of my closest friends scoff at the four major American athletic pastimes. Yet knowing about sports (a cornerstone of American culture) has often come in handy during new and unfamiliar situations – it is my tool for connecting with new people. In fact, one of my best friends in the whole world is from a completely different social, economic, and racial background. When we met five years ago at camp, we bonded over our love of basketball. For me, embracing the mainstream allows me to empathize with and engage with people from completely different social circumstances. Were we to apply this principle to broader society, rather than pursuing the intellectual for its own sake, some of the adverse effects socioeconomic divergence might be halted, and perhaps even reversed. So yes, there is much value to popular culture.
Latest posts by Zack Perkins (see all)
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University of Chicago Admissions Essays
The University of Chicago never disappoints with their admissions essays.
The University of Chicago admissions essays for 2013-2014 are out and we thought we’d share them with you. As we’ve previously shared with you, the University of Chicago traditionally proudly defies the status quo of the college admissions community by requiring that students complete unique essay prompts that can rarely be used for other universities. They mandate that students answer these questions because the University of Chicago wants to attract students who actually want to attend the University of Chicago. Imagine that! And they have these essay prompts in spite of the fact that such questions invariably hurt their “US News & World Report” college ranking since it discourages students from applying. We at Ivy Coach have long saluted the University of Chicago for this practice.
And so what are the University of Chicago admissions essays for 2013-2014, you ask? Here’s one: “Winston Churchill believed ‘a joke is a very serious thing.’ From Off-Off Campus’s improvisations to the Shady Dealer humor magazine to the renowned Latke-Hamantash debate, we take humor very seriously here at The University of Chicago (and we have since 1959, when our alums helped found the renowned comedy theater The Second City). Tell us your favorite joke and try to explain the joke without ruining it.”
Another question reads: “How are apples and oranges supposed to be compared? Possible answers involve, but are not limited to, statistics, chemistry, physics, linguistics, and philosophy.” An interesting question indeed! One other question reads (there are six though we’re only going to mention a few so as not to bore you): “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.” That’s right — take a risk, make a change, and break away (as Kelly Clarkson would say). You should always, always, always take risks in your college essays. Calculated risks. Don’t ever play it safe. You heard it here first.
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