The University of Chicago admissions essay questions are out for the 2015-2016 admissions cycle and we’ve got them for our readers. When so many universities simplify their essay prompts so as to encourage more students to apply (and ultimately boost their all-important “US News & World Report” ranking), the University of Chicago has proudly defied this trend for some time. And yet the university still attracts so many applicants and it still ranks very highly in “US News & World Report.” There’s certainly something to be said for this.
So what are the essay questions for this coming admissions cycle at the University of Chicago? Here’s the first prompt: “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.” So it’s a Why Chicago essay. Here’s the second prompt, which is optional (though by optional you should read that as mandatory!): “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.”
And then there are seven prompts for the quirky required extended essay question, which read as follows: “1. Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced? —Inspired by Payton Weidenbacher, Class of 2015. 2. “I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” –Maxine Hong Kingston. What paradoxes do you live with? —Inspired by Danna Shen, Class of 2019. 3. Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story.
—Inspired by Drew Donaldson, Class of 2016 4. “Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” –Paul Gauguin. What is your “art”? Is it plagiarism or revolution? —Inspired by Kaitlyn Shen, Class of 2018.”
Oh and that’s not all. The following sentences do not contain unintentional typos. “5. Rerhceseras say it’s siltl plisbsoe to raed txet wtih olny the frist and lsat ltteres in palce. This is beaucse the hamun mnid can fnid oderr in dorsdier. Give us your best example of finding order in disorder. (For your reader’s sake, please use full sentences with conventional spelling). —Also inspired by Payton Weidenbacher, Class of 2015. Payton is extra-inspirational this year! 6. 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. 7. In the spirit of historically adventurous inquiry, to celebrate the University of Chicago’s 125th anniversary, please feel free to select from any of our past essay questions.”
Some really quirky questions, right? And congratulations to one of our former students whose essay question made the cut! Who knew that our students from years past would be writing the questions for our current students!