Which highly selective school traditionally asks applicants to answer the weirdest essay question? That would be the University of Chicago — and this year will be no different. The institution has released its essay prompts for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle and, consistent with years past, things get weird fast (which we love!). So what kinds of questions will be asked of applicants to the University of Chicago Class of 2026? Wonder no more as we’ve got them for you!
The first prompt is rather straightforward and it’s a staple of the UChicago application. It reads, “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.” Loyal readers of our college admissions blog will be able to recognize this question as a “Why College” essay. The game, of course, is specifics. Students who write generic sentences in their answer that can apply to any school in America are doing their candidacy quite the disservice.
The second prompt features six options of which applicants must choose one. They are as follows:
(1) “What if the moon were made of cheese? Or Neptune made of soap? Pick a celestial object, reimagine its material composition, and explore the implications. Feel free to explore the realms of physics, philosophy, fantasy…the sky is the limit!” — Inspired by Tate Flicker, Class of 2025
(2) “What’s so easy about pie?” — Inspired by Arjun Kalia, Class of 2025
(3) “In Homer’s Iliad, Helen had a ‘face that launched a thousand ships.’ A millihelen, then, measures the beauty needed to launch one ship. The Sagan unit is used to denote any large quantity (in place of ‘billions and billions’). A New York Minute measures the period of time between a traffic light turning green and the cab behind you honking. Invent a new unit of measurement. How is it derived? How is it used? What are its equivalents?” — Inspired by Carina Kane, Class of 2024, and Ishaan Goel, Class of 2025
(4) ‘There is no such thing as a new idea’ – Mark Twain. Are any pieces of art, literature, philosophy, or technology truly original, or just a different combination of old ideas? Pick something, anything (besides yourself), and explain why it is, or is not, original.” — Inspired by Haina Lu, Class of 2022
(5) “It’s said that history repeats itself. But what about other disciplines? Choose another field (chemistry, philosophy, etc.) and explain how it repeats itself. Explain how it repeats itself.” — Inspired by Ori Brian, AB’19
(6) “In the spirit of adventurous inquiry (and with the encouragement of one of our current students!) choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). 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!”
Have a question about the 2021-2022 University of Chicago essay questions? If so, let us know your question by posting it below. We’ll be sure to chime in.
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