Read all about it. The University of Chicago 2016-2017 essay prompts are out. If you’re wondering which university consistently asks the quirkiest essay questions, look no further than the University of Chicago and we at Ivy Coach have long saluted the University of Chicago for their audacity to ask outside the box kinds of questions. After all, schools that ask outside the box questions risk discouraging applicants from applying because it’s more work to do all those essays that can’t be repurposed for other schools. And highly selective colleges are in the business of getting as many students to apply to lower their admission rates and boost their “US News & World Report” rankings. But the University of Chicago proudly defies this business practice and is thus deserving of our high praise.
Each year, Ivy Coach salutes the University of Chicago for bucking the trend of offering formulaic college admissions essay questions. This year is no exception. Way to go, University of Chicago, we salute you!
So what are the 2016-2017 University of Chicago essay questions, you ask? We’ve got them for our loyal readers. Ok, even the ones who come here every other Wednesday are welcome to read about them too. We’ll make an exception. Here they are, as published on the University of Chicago’s admissions website.
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.
What is square one, and can you actually go back to it?
—Inspired by Maya Shaked, Class of 2018
Essay Option 2.
Once, renowned physicist Werner Heisenberg said: “There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.” Whether it’s Georges Seurat’s pointillism in “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, quantum physics, or any other field of your choosing, when can the parts be separated from the whole and when can they not?
—Inspired by Ender Sahin, Class of 2020
Essay Option 3.
The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it. So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words.
—Inspired by April Bell, Class of 2017, and Maya Shaked, Class of 2018 (It takes two to tango.)
Essay Option 4.
Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about.
—Inspired by Raphael Hallerman, Class of 2020
Essay Option 5.
Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence.
—Inspired by Tiffany Kim, Class of 2020
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.