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College Essays

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The University of Chicago is famous for its unique essay topics. They're some of the most creative and off-the-wall essay prompts you'll see when applying to colleges, and it can sometimes be confusing to know how to tackle them.

What should you write about in your UChicago essays? How can you show that you're intelligent, creative, and worthy of a place at their school? As someone who spent a long time on my UChicago essays (and who got into the school), I've figured out exactly what UChicago is looking for in these essays.

 Read on to learn all about the UChicago essays, what the admissions team expects to see in your responses, what topics you should write about, and which topics you should avoid. In this guide, we also suggest sample essay ideas for each of the 2022/2023 UChicago supplement essay prompts and analyze past University of Chicago essay samples so you can see what a great UChicago essay looks like.

What Are the UChicago Essays?

Before you can begin figuring out how you'll write your UChicago essays, you should know which prompts you'll be seeing and the rules for each one. You'll need to write two essays, and the UChicago essay prompts you must answer are commonly referred to as Question 1 and Question 2.

Question 1: Why UChicago?

The Question 1 prompt is the only UChicago supplement essay that stays the same each year, and it's also the only prompt that all applicants must answer (for Question 2 you'll have multiple prompts to choose from).

For this question, you'll need to write an essay that explains why you want to attend the University of Chicago and why you think the school is a good fit for you and your goals. UChicago doesn't have strict word limits for essays, but they suggest a response of 1-2 pages.

Here's the 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.

The nice part about this prompt is that it's a pretty standard "why this school" essay . And luckily for you, we have a complete guide that walks you through how to knock this type of essay out of the park.

how to answer university of chicago essay questions

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Question 2: Extended Essay

For Question 2, you have a choice of six essay prompts, and you'll choose the one you want to respond to. The essay prompts for this question change every year, and while there are always around six prompts, some years there may be one more or one less to choose from.

These are the more unique and offbeat essay prompts that UChicago is known for. Many of them were created by UChicago alumni and current students. Again, UChicago asks you submit a response 1-2 pages long.

Below are the essay prompts for the 2022/2023 school year.

Essay Option 2: “Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer.

Essay Option 3: “Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match).

Essay Option 4: A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept.

Essay Option 5: Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why?

Essay Option 6: And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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!

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The world is your oyster when it comes to answering UChicago essay prompts.

How to Answer the University of Chicago Essay Prompts

In this section, we explain what UChicago wants to see in your essays, give ideas for topics to write about for each of the essays, and discuss topics you are better off avoiding.

For this University of Chicago supplement essay, UChicago wants to know why you want to attend their school, what you hope to get out of attending, and how University of Chicago will help you achieve their goals. Basically, they want to know why you think their school is a better fit for you than all the other schools out there. For more analysis of this essay, check out our in-depth guide to the Why UChicago essay .

What Do They Want to See in Your Response?

The "why our school?" is probably the most common essay prompt you'll see on college applications. Why do schools, including UChicago, ask this question?

UChicago wants to first see that you really want to go to their school. Students who love a school are more likely to accept an offer of admission and attend it, and they are more likely to be committed to their studies, participate in extracurriculars, and give back after they graduate. Your passion for UChicago should be shining through in this essay.

Next, UChicago wants to see that you've done your research on their school and have an idea of what opportunities you want to take advantage of while there. You can do this by mentioning specific things you like about UChicago or that you plan to take advantage of as a student there. Potential things to discuss include professors you admire or are interested in working with, specific classes you want to take, and extracurriculars you want to participate in.

Finally, UChicago wants to see that you are a good match for their school. Your essay should explain how you'll make the best use of what UChicago offers, how your strengths match the opportunities they provide, and how UChicago will help you reach your goals for the future.

Potential Topics to Write About

There are many ways you could approach this essay prompt; although since UChicago is best known for its academics (as opposed to killer sports teams, for example), most people will discuss the academic side for at least part of their response. Below is a list of possible topics; most people will discuss one to three topics in their essay.

  • Majors or classes you're especially interested in
  • UChicago's core curriculum
  • Professors whose work you admire and whom you'd like to study with or conduct research with
  • Unique events like Scav and Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko
  • Research opportunities you'd like to have
  • University of Chicago students you've met who you admire
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Financial aid opportunities UChicago offers that make it possible for you to attend

Topics to Avoid

The key here is to avoid generic topics that could apply to practically any school or any student. You want it to be clear in your response what opportunities the University of Chicago offers you that no other school does and how you're going to make use of them. Topics that won't show this include discussing:

  • How pretty the campus is
  • Chicago weather
  • The food on campus
  • Where UChicago places on college ranking lists
  • Your future major and career path without connecting it back to what UChicago offers
  • Bashing other schools

The extended essay is when you can get especially creative. These prompts require you to move outside your comfort zone of typical essay topics and answer in a way that gives readers insight into who you are and what you care about. Remember: Question 2 is required, but you have six different prompts to choose from for this essay response.

Your response to Question 1 is meant to show what you like about UChicago and how you’re going to make the most of the opportunities it offers. Question 2 is less about UChicago and more about you. The admissions team wants to see who you are and what's important to you. Three main things they'd like to see in your essay response are:

  • Your personality
  • Your thirst for knowledge

Who are you? What have been the important events in your life? What kind of person are you? What do you love learning about? These are the questions UChicago wants you to answer. They want to know what's important to you, what events from your past shaped you, what kind of person you are now, and what you want to accomplish in the future. 

UChicago is particularly interested in students who love learning and have a lot of interests in different fields and topics. A mathematician who also does ballet? A creative writing major who started her own business? Bring it on! Make sure to show your love for learning in your essay.

Your passions and goals don't always need to be lofty though; in the second example essay below you can see how the writer took a quirky interest and managed to connect it to larger ideas. If you can connect one of your pet passions to an essay topic, do so!

The great thing about these UChicago essay prompts is you can write about almost anything you want to since they're so different from each other and give you lots of chances to be creative. And you can tackle it from any angle you want. On their website , UChicago states that "[This essay] can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between." Just remember, you want this essay to give UChicago a good idea of the type of person you are and what's important to you.

Essay Option 1

Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary.

You're allowed to let your imagination run wild with this prompt. You should try to find a pair of objects that the admissions panel didn’t think of, something wholly original that only you would think of. For this prompt, they want to see how imaginative you can be, but the most important part of this essay is justifying why your pairing makes sense and why it matters . The pair you choose will show off your personality, creativity, and cultural experiences. 

Make your response as wacky and original as you like, but remember to tie it back to yourself and your interests a nd/or potential major. For instance, say you go with the idea of an art conservator and the passage of time. You could discuss how time degrades the materials of a work of art, and then an art conservationist revitalizes the work, only to have the passage of time wear it down again. This would be an excellent segue into writing about your interest in history, creative writing, or U Chicago’s Department of Art History Conservation Science Teaching Program . 

You could also write about how you developed an interest in these subjects, and what other interests you have could be applicable . Weaving your story into your essay will show UChicago that you’re creative and intellectually curious. This can include your niche interests, quirky hobbies, or pet projects.

Essay Option 2

“Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer.

This is a classic UChicago question that allows you to answer the question literally...or not. (The year I applied, the version of this question was "Describe your table.") So, if this exemple were your actual song lyric, you address, where have all the flowers gone? You could answer this literally and describe how, for instance, flowers are changing colors in response to climate change . Perhaps you could then discuss your interest in horticulture and what led you to pursue that field.

Or (as always with UChicago essays), you can take it in a totally unexpected direction. This prompt is a chance to put your interpretive and reasoning skills into action. In fact, you could almost think of it like a riddle, except that the answer is anything that you can come up with and justify:

“Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” A valid question in a world where loneliness has been declared a public health emergency and social isolation can increase the likelihood of heart disease by as much as 29% ! 

“Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?” Likely not, considering radio listening has been trending downward for years, especially amongst young listeners and Rock Music is at the lowest point in its popularity since about 1960 . Where does this leave you, a young would-be guitar player with an interest in U Chicago’s ethnomusicology program ?

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” Perhaps you do, considering recent studies show a decline in empathy and corresponding rise in narcissism .

You get the idea. Whatever question you choose, don’t worry too much about having a great answer for it; the idea is to find a context for the question that is meaningful to you and relates to your interests , which will give UChicago insight into your values and personality, two things they want to see in these essays!

Essay Option 3

“Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match).

This prompt is a bit sillier, but you still have the chance to show U Chicago your personality and unique worldview. This prompt gives you a chance to play with language and create something that expresses a meaning that we don’t have a word for. The best way to go about this is to think of two areas that are important to you and find a pair of rhyming words related to each and combine them.

So, for instance, if you’re math-oriented but somewhat spiritual, you could take words from both mathematics and spirituality, and come up with something like “stamystics” (statistics+mystics). You could talk about how you became interested in math and how it relates to your spirituality, and so forth.

If you are more interested in sports than spirituality, you could come up with something like “mathleticism.” You could write about how you had to train your mind in order to grasp difficult or advanced mathematical concepts and, inversely, how your understanding of math deepens your appreciation of sports.

What U Chicago is looking for here is how you can connect two seemingly unrelated concepts and find a bridge between them. They’re looking for problem-solving in addition to insight into your personality.

Essay Option 4

A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept.

This prompt gives you an opportunity to think about familiar things in a new way. We probably don’t think much about peanuts not being nuts, but it’s obvious once you think about it that they are legumes. But, on the other hand, they are also closely related to peas–so the name has some validity. Even though they’re not actually nuts, they do taste like nuts…so is it wrong to call them nuts? Think about other examples that exist in your fields of interest.

And of course, be sure to let your experiences, interests, and values shape the way you rename or defend your misnomer . That way, UChicago will get a good idea of who you are and what’s meaningful to you!

Essay Option 5

Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why?

This prompt is your chance to be more overtly academic in your response . In writing about how this game will remain relevant in the future, you’ll be able to show your knowledge of history, culture, politics, economics, religion, scientific discovery…and so on! Choose a game that interests you in some way that you can tie into your personal history and academic interests. 

While brainstorming possible games will be really fun, the most important part of this essay is justifying why you think something that’s relevant today will continue to be relevant in the future. Think about what cultural, social, and political changes could be possible and what the implications of that could be for people today. As long as you’re creative, descriptive, and thorough, your response can range from serious to silly and meet the requirements for this prompt.

Essay Option 6

And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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!

If you aren't feeling any of the other five optional prompts, you can respond to this one, which asks you to choose and respond to a past UChicago optional essay prompt, or write and respond to your own prompt. With either option, you'll want to consider your identity, interests, strengths, and goals, and let those factors inform which prompt you choose, how you write your own prompt, and how you craft your response.

You may not feel up to the task of writing your own prompt, but you might like the idea of tracking down an old prompt that catches your eye. Read through the past prompts and consider which one will allow you to play to your strengths . If there's a particular experience or skill that you want to showcase in your response, select a prompt that is conducive to that.

Alternatively, if there's a specific experience you want to write about, you can write your own prompt and respond to it. To write your prompt, use the tone and structure of the existing UChicago prompts as a guide. It'll probably come as no surprise that your original prompt should fit right in with the ones provided on the application. This means you might have to be a little goofy, cryptic, or risky...and that's a good thing!

Though this option allows you to write your own prompt if you so choose, it's important to remember that your response to the prompt should still focus on showcasing who you are , what strengths you will bring to UChicago as a student, and why UChicago is the perfect place for you. Don't get too carried away trying to impress admissions with punny phrases or cryptic logic; be authentic, be bold, and be you.

Some people shy away from this prompt because they feel like it's "cheating" or less impressive to not follow one of the specific prompts that UChicago gives. However, this isn't true! As long as you write a compelling essay that gives readers a better insight into who you are, your essay will strengthen your application. For what it's worth, when I applied to UChicago, this is the prompt I chose, and I was still accepted to the school.

UChicago wants you to be creative here, so there aren't many topics that are off limits. However, you're trying to convince them that you'd be a great and interesting student to add to their school, so make sure you use your essay to show who you are and why UChicago would want to admit you.

This means you should avoid responses that don't give readers a good idea of who you are. For example, if you choose essay option 1, don't just state that “taco cat” is funny because it reminds you of your favorite meme. Instead, tie it back to yourself and your life by explaining its relevance, like making tacos with your abuela and fending off the family cat’s attempts to steal tacos. 

Because these prompts are creative, it can be easy to run away with them, but always remember to answer the prompt completely and give UChicago better insight into who you are.

Additionally, don't feel that certain University of Chicago essay prompts are "better" or more impressive than others . UChicago wouldn't have chosen these essay topics if they didn't think applicants could write outstanding responses to them, so please choose the prompt that you feel you can write the best essay for.

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University of Chicago Essay Examples

In this section are two University of Chicago essay examples, each written by an accepted applicant.

Below each UChicago supplement essay we discuss what makes the essay work so well.

Dear University of Chicago,

And now you inquire as to my wishes? They're simple, accept me for who I am! Why can't you just love and not ask why? Not ask about my assets or my past? I'm living in the now, I'm waiting for you to catch up, but you're too caught up in my past, I offer us a future together, not a past to dwell upon. Whenever I'm around you, I just get that tingle deep inside me that tells me you're the one; you have that air of brilliance and ingenuity that I crave in a person, you're so mature and sophisticated, originality is really your strongest and most admirable trait. I wish we could be together, I still think in my heart of hearts we were meant to be, but you have to meet me halfway, dear. I'm on one knee here with tears welling up in my eyes, the fireworks are timed and ready to light up the night sky for you, just say 'I accept...you.'

Why Does This Essay Work?

  • Creative take on a standard prompt: The writer chose a very unique angle for this essay: comparing the University of Chicago to a lover. He's probably the first applicant to answer the essay prompt this way, which definitely makes this a memorable essay. In fact, UChicago loved this essay so much that they mailed it out to thousands of potential applicants (which actually got them a bit of backlash ). You absolutely don't have to take as unique an approach to this essay as the above writer did, but doing so can definitely help your essay stand out.
  • It answers the entire prompt: Even though this is an unusual essay, the writer still manages to answer everything the prompt asks for. He mentions his goal for the future (to become a lawyer), mentions varied interests he has (the Gothic era, the philosopher Kierkegaard), and explains what he likes about UChicago (the brilliance, ingenuity, and originality the school offers). He even manages to mention that he visited campus three times, which shows a serious interest in the school. If you choose to write an especially offbeat essay, it's key to do what this essay did and still answer the prompt while being creative.

This essay is from several years ago, so it doesn't use a current prompt, but it's still helpful to read and analyze.

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.

Now let's take a look at the successful essay:

The Illuminati changed my life. Three years ago, I found my first ambigram in one of my favorite novels, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I turned the page, and there it was: the word "Illuminati" printed into the exact center of the book. It was styled like a newspaper masthead, exquisite and complex, yet oddly symmetric. Curious, I rotated the book upside-down.

Impossibly, the inverted word was still "Illuminati." Gazing closer, I realized that the letters, I-L-L-U-M, actually shaped into a flipped I-N-A-T-I. Suddenly, I was reading it in both directions. My eyes waltzed along the broad curves and sharp twists of the calligraphy, striking poses in a glamorous font against a sheet of creamy whiteness, sliding between the dense vertical strokes, peering at the edge of the defined serif as it angled away, then bent boldly toward me. Every line was deliberate, every flourish smiling with purpose, and the whole word balanced on the delicate cord that joined two letters into one. It was unforgettable.

Ambigrams are words that can be read from different directions. Actually, "ambigram" is an umbrella term that encompasses dozens of distinct types of visual wordplay. The most popular ones are rotational, mirror image, and-my personal favorites-symbiotic ambigrams, which can spell two different things when viewed normally and upside-down.

Compelled by the striking art, I could not help but try my own hand at designing ambigrams, and slowly I felt the pitiful stick-figure artist inside me shrink away as my inner energetic graphic designer sprang up. Before early volleyball tournaments, I work myself up by filling up pages and pages of experimental letter combinations, gleefully satisfied at the way that a rounded lowercase "a" was a perfect upside-down lowercase "e." In my AP Literature class, I drew "She's a witch!" which revealed, when flipped, "Communist" to reflect Arthur Miller's contemporary motives for writing The Crucible. On a challenge from a friend, I even drew an ambigram of "Jay-Z" and "Beyonce" on a bumpy bus ride back from a leadership retreat.

In the last few months, I have also practiced drawing ambigrams as fast as I can. I dream about the day when I can effortlessly write out a message saying "Hi, how are you today?" normally and "The password is cherry268" upside-down, without pausing or rotating the paper. I imagine a world in which everyone had this ability, and could literally write two things at once. How would that change communication? Encryption? Trust? My legs swing comfortably from this innovative edge, excited to take a stab at the answers.

The best part about the ambigram is that it refuses to define itself as just one thing. It is a linguistic passion, a cryptographic endeavor, an artistic design, and an ironic illusion. I relish the fact that ambigrams force both the artist and the audience to reject first glances and embrace secret identities.

This may just be a nerdy obsession, but ambigrams have taught me far more than how to sketch fancy words. Their multidimensional truth implies that my hobbies of both writing Italian sonnets and solving logical riddles are not opposing functions of my left and right brains, but rather, a perfect conglomeration of my passion for creating and solving puzzles. The beauty of the most surprising combinations reminds me to take bold risks in both my life and my designs.

Above all else, ambigrams have taught me that I can create the impossible. I can make true and false the same word depending on something as simple as a 180-degree head turn. Victory can be defeat. Open can be closed. Am amateur piano player with an obsession for cryptology can learn how to program iPhone apps and get the game-winning kill at the varsity volleyball championship. A girl with divorced parents can make time for both families, and an inspired teenager from California can write her name into world history--both normally and upside-down.

- Samantha M.

Why This Essay Works

  • Shows passion: This essay focuses on a pretty unusual and specific topic: ambigrams. While many people may not even know what an ambigram is, the writer is clearly passionate about them. She discusses how much time she spends trying to create different ambigrams, what her goals for ambigram creating are, and some of her favorite ambigrams she's created. UChicago loves people who are passionate about something, even if it's an unusual or offbeat interest. It makes UChicago believe those students will bring that passion with them onto campus.
  • Gives insight into the writer's personality: The majority of this essay is about the author's interest in ambigrams, but she also manages to cleverly slip in multiple other references to her personality and interests. From her essay, we learn that she's a volleyball player, writes Italian sonnets, and loves solving puzzles. Adding these details gives UChicago a fuller look at what makes her tick.
  • Connects it to a bigger picture: The writer chose to write about a very specific topic—ambigrams—but was still able to connect that to bigger concepts, such as communication, truth, and how she's able to balance her different interests. She's able to take a quirky topic and show how it influences her worldview.

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Final Advice: UChicago Essays

When answering the University of Chicago essay prompts, keep in mind that the main reason UChicago is reading these essays is to find out who you are as a person and if you'd be a good fit at their school.

The University of Chicago wants students who are passionate about learning, creative, are excited to make the most of their time on campus, and have big dreams for themselves, and the UChicago supplement questions are designed to help you show these sides of yourself to the school.

For the "Why UChicago?" prompt, you'll want to show the school why you want to go there, why you think you're a good fit for the school, and how UChicago will help you achieve your goals during college and beyond.

For the extended essay, you can (and should) be more creative. These UChicago essays are more "out there," and in your response, you should show your personality and passion for learning.

For both University of Chicago essays, remember to show who you are and what you're passionate about, include details about yourself and the school to help you stand out from other essays, and mention your plans and goals for the future.

What's Next?

If you want a more in-depth look how to write about Question 1, check out our guide to the Why UChicago Essay , which includes an additional sample essay along with analysis of how to answer this prompt.

Are you working on the Common App essay ? Read our breakdown of the Common App prompts and our guide to picking the best prompt for you.

If you're planning to take the SAT or ACT one last time , try out some of our famous test prep guides, like "How to Get a Perfect Score on the SAT" and "15 Key ACT Test Day Tips."

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Prompts

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Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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how to answer university of chicago essay questions

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Respond to the 2023/2024 University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Prompts

Chicago isn’t only known for its deep dish pizza. It is also famous for being home to the prestigious University of Chicago, which has an acceptance rate in the 6% range. So, let’s learn how to make your UChicago supplemental essay question responses stand out! Applicants must complete two UChicago supplemental essays. To make your responses perfect, complete some research before! Figure out what it is about UChicago (besides deep dish goodness) that makes you want to attend their school! 

The University of Chicago is also famous for having some…unique supplemental essay questions. So, put on your creative cap and get ready to have some fun while responding to UChicago’s supplemental essay questions. Here’s our guide for how to ace these creative UChicago supplemental essays!

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

Essay question #1 

“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.”

This is your typical “Why us” essay. However, do not make your response boring or universal! Make it specific to UChicago. Use this space to really detail why this school is the perfect fit for you. 

Explore both the academic and extracurricular aspects of the university that stand out from others. Maybe you are extremely passionate about majoring in biology to soon become a doctor one day. Therefore, discuss what courses, research, and study abroad opportunities UChicago has to offer that will make this goal attainable. It is important to touch upon what you want your future to look like and how UChicago will get you to reach all of your goals. It is also important to touch upon the aspects of their school that makes them unique. What makes UChicago stand out from all of the other schools you are considering? 

Overall, an admissions officer reading your essay should have a good sense of what you are looking to get out of UChicago. In addition, they should easily be able to see how much research you have done and how serious you are about attending their university. 

Questions to consider

  • What makes UChicago unique from other colleges? 
  • Why are you excited to attend UChicago? 
  • Why did you choose to apply to UChicago? 

Also see: How to write a 500 word essay

Essay question #2: The extended essay

For the extended essay portion of your application, UChicago provides applicants with seven unorthodox essay options. Each of these choices were created by UChicago alumni and students, which means these questions were made with you in mind. They also emphasize creativity and unique ideas when responding to these prompts, so try to have fun with them! 

“Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary. -Inspired by Emmett Cho, Class of 2027” 

This is a question that requires your thinking hat to be on to answer it! To begin, just brainstorm! Try to come up with some ideas of 2 things that undo each other, bonus points if you can come up with something that has significance in your life such as something you use on a daily basis or something you are passionate about. For example, if you want to major in chemistry at the University of Chicago, discussing beta decay and electron capture could reveal your passion for the subject. However, no pressure if you can only think of something logistical rather than meaningful to you! Once you are satisfied with your idea, you should describe how these 2 things undo each other and why both are necessary. Ultimately, this question is trying to hint at how balance is important! You should try to use this prompt as a way to dig deeper into your life and reveal some aspects of your personality and thought-process. Below are some examples of things that undo each other in case you are completely stuck! 

Some examples of things that undo each other: 

  • Typos and autocorrect
  • Wetness and a towel
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Lock and key
  • Sewing and unthreading
  • Stains and laundry 
  • Photosynthesis and cellular respiration

Questions to consider:

  • What 2 things do you use in your daily life that undo one another? 
  • Do you believe that balance is necessary in life? 
  • Why do you think so many things in our lives undo each other? 
“”Where have all the flowers gone?” -Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer -Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB’21”

If you love music this is the perfect option for you! Think of your favorite singer, song or band and find a title or lyric that asks a question. The creativity with this prompt is endless, you can select a deep philosophical question or just an easy-to-answer funny question. Ultimately, what matters is that you answer the question in a creative and meaningful way. You want your unique personality to shine through throughout this response so be sure to be yourself in your writing. Below are a few examples of questions found in song titles or lyrics! But, feel free to select a question from a song that means a lot to you. The choice of lyric and singer can reveal a lot about your personality. 

Example of questions from song titles or lyrics:

  • “Should I stay or should I go?” -The Clash
  • “What would you do if you weren’t doin’ this?” -Luke Combs
  • “Wouldn’t it be nice?” -The Beach Boys
  • “Do you believe in magic?” -The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • “If the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?” -Taylor Swift
  • “What if I’m someone I don’t want around?” -Harry Styles
  • “What’s love got to do with It?” -Tina Turner
  • “Should I give up or should I just keep chasin’ pavements even if it leads nowhere?” -Adele

Question to consider:

  • What is your favorite song title or lyric that asks a question?
“Vlog, Labradoodle and Fauxmage. Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match). -Inspired by Garrett Chaflin, Class of 2027”

Language is fun due to the unique creative word mashups that can be made. So, put on your creativity hat and think about two words that just need to be combined! This question is specifically asking for a “new portmanteau” so do not use a common portmanteau! Rather, try to be extremely creative in coming up with your patch (perfect match)! However, try not to forget that this is an essay to help you become admitted to the University of Chicago! Therefore, try to take it one step further and create a portmanteau that uses 2 words that describe you or one of your passions. Using words that are aspects of your identity can reveal so much about yourself which is all the University of Chicago wants from your response! 

For example, maybe you choose the words “runner” and “scientist” to make “runnitist” to describe yourself because you love to run but love to focus on the science behind running and training to avoid injury and be the best runner you can be! This can also lead you to discuss how you want to become a physical therapist and that is why you want to attend the University of Chicago! See full circle! Or should we say furcle?

Examples of common portmanteaus:

  • Smog (smoke and fog)
  • Brunch (breakfast and lunch) 
  • Spork (spoon and fork)
  • Motel (motor and hotel)
  • What are 2 words used to describe yourself? 
  • Why do you think these 2 words fit so well together? 
“A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept -Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027”

Misnomers are a fun (or confusing) part of language. Therefore, spend some time researching and brainstorming some misnomers. Once you find one that you love (or hate) you should begin crafting your response. Ultimately, it does not matter if you decide to change the name or keep it, rather your argument should be prioritized. Your argument will show admissions how your brain works and disclose what you are passionate about. Therefore, focus on crafting a strong and persuasive argument that supports your reasoning, no matter how ridiculous this argument may seem! 

Examples of misnomers:

  • Koala bears = they are marsupials not bears
  • Light-year = a measure of distance not time
  • Silkworm = they are caterpillars not worms
  • Black boxes = they are bright orange not black
  • Centipedes = they do not have 100 legs rather it varies from 30 to 354
  • Should your selected misnomer name be kept? Why or why not?
  • Are misnomers confusing? 
“Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why? -Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027”

If you love game nights this is the prompt for you! Try to brainstorm some modern games which are games that are not considered classics such as checkers. Rather think of some recent games that have swept the newer generations such as mobile phone games or beach games such as Spikeball. Once you have decided on the perfect game that you believe will withstand the test of time, write about it! However, it is important to remember that the University of Chicago wants to know about you- not about a game! Therefore, try to limit your time explaining the game’s rules and intricacies! Rather, focus on how the game makes you feel or why you think games are important to society. Ultimately, be sure you are revealing unique qualities you demonstrate throughout your response!

Examples of modern games:

  • Candy Crush
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  •  What is a modern game you feel will withstand the test of time?
  • Why do you enjoy playing this game? Do you like that it’s a single player game? Teamwork game? Strategy game? 
  • Why is playing games important for society? What benefits does gameplay have? 
  • Has this game taught you anything? Any important life lessons? Any new skills? 
“There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. But of course, some rules should be broken or updated. What is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist? (Our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. Enjoy!) -Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026”

If you have ever been curious about some quirks of human life then this is the prompt for you! Try to think about an unwritten rule that has bugged you for a while. Why does this rule bother you? Why do you think people follow this rule even though it is unwritten? After you explain the rule and your side you should focus on shifting your response to reveal more information about your interests, goals and character.

Examples of unwritten rules:

  • Saying hello to fellow hikers on a trail
  • Asking people at tourist locations where they are from
  • Knock on the door before entering
  • Offering guests to your home a beverage or food
  • Don’t swipe on someone’s phone when they show you a picture
  • If someone is treating you to lunch, do not order the most expensive menu item
  • What is an unspoken rule that has always confused you? 
  • How does this rule make you feel? 
  • Why do you think this rule has been unspokenly accepted? 
“And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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!”

This prompt is your chance to create something completely new and unlike any other application UChicago has ever received. Use your creativity to the fullest extent and figure out your own way to showcase your personality. However, make sure you don’t go too overboard and stay focused on your goal of getting into UChicago. 

Try not to make your essay revolve around your academic achievements. Instead, tell a story of how you’ve grown and what led you to UChicago’s doorstep, or describe an old proverb and how it relates to your life. Either way, your options are unlimited and making your own prompt demonstrates your interest in attending this university. 

  • What story do you want to tell the admissions office?
  • How can I best showcase your knowledge or skills?
  • What are some of the older UChicago prompts that caught your eye?

Next steps after applying to UChicago

Now that the fun is over, and you have completed your UChicago supplemental essays – it is time to celebrate! Treat yourself to some deep dish pizza because you are one step closer to the Windy City!

Now, continue to show that you are interested in the university! You can do this by following their social media accounts, scheduling a tour, and reaching out to their admissions officers. Doing any of these will prove you are willing to take the next step with UChicago. 

After you have proven your interest in the school, time to sit back and relax! All the hard work is over. Soon enough, you will be relaxing in a dorm that overlooks the city skyline of Chicago. 

Additional resources

We know that being a student applying for colleges is not easy. There are a lot of tough choices that need to be made when it comes down to selecting a college. Once you start hearing back from colleges you should use our college comparison spreadsheet to help you. You can also check out our guide to how many schools to apply to in order to ensure you’ve got yourself covered.

In addition, be sure to check out our free scholarship search tool to help you choose a financially smart educational institution! It is always important to consider finances when selecting a college. Good luck on your college journey! Remember you will always end up where you need to be! 

  • Fill out your FAFSA application
  • Learn about the CSS Profile
  • Get started  on your financial aid appeal letters

Start your scholarship search

  • Vetted scholarships custom-matched to your profile
  • Access exclusive scholarships only available to Scholarships360 members

Additional colleges to consider

  • Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)
  • New York University (New York, NY)
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)

Frequently asked questions about the University of Chicago supplemental essay prompts

How should i approach brainstorming for the university of chicago essays, can i reuse my common app personal statement for one of the supplemental essays, when are the application deadlines for the university of chicago, can i get creative with my university of chicago supplemental essay answers.

Related: When Should I Apply to College?

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A Guide to the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

Padya Paramita

August 3, 2021

how to answer university of chicago essay questions

You probably already know that admission into the University of Chicago, with its acceptance rate of around 6%, is far from guaranteed. But as you gear up to apply, you might get further thrown off by the essays you have to write. Alongside the required classic “why UChicago” question, this highly selective school also presents you with some rather unusual prompts in the UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 .  

You don’t expect to see references to Costco or Harry Potter when you’re getting into the mindset of convincing admissions officers why you’re a good fit for a school, and yet these have been part of past UChicago prompts. It goes without saying that UChicago’s unconventional prompts aren’t your typical supplemental essay questions. But despite their unique nature, the goal of the university is the same as any other school—to understand your perspective, to get a sense of your goals, and determine whether your values align with those that UChicago looks for in its students. To guide you through each of the prompts, I have outlined the questions, how to go about tackling them, and more tips to help you write the UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 .

The UChicago Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

UChicago prides itself on its thought-provoking supplemental essay prompts. Use these as an opportunity to introduce yourself, what you’re passionate about, and your ambitions and goals. Although there is no set word limit for any of the prompts, InGenius Prep counselor Natalia Ostrowski, who worked as the Assistant Director of Admissions at UChicago, recommends that you limit the first essay (“Why UChicago”) to a page (double spaced in 12 point font). The second essay—the more unusual one of the two—should be about two pages, double spaced, and in 12 point font. 

The voice in your essay can be serious, you can let your creativity completely loose, or you can find an in-between take on any issue you’re writing about. According to Natalia, “UChicago admissions officers want to see how you connect ideas and get a front-row view into your critical thinking, intellectual curiosity and excitement for knowledge.” 

So without further ado, let’s go through all of the prompts—including each of the odd ones—for the UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022, and ways you should dissect and answer them:

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.

Although there is no strict word limit on this “why UChicago” essay, don’t go overboard with what you like about the university. Admissions officers already know it’s a great school. How do you narrow down what you love about the school? Well, look at the question for hints. The question asks that you elaborate on how UChicago can help meet your needs when it comes to the following:

When reading your response to this question, admissions officers are looking for whether you’ve done your homework on UChicago to determine how much you’d fit into the college. Below are a few questions that Natalia suggests you ask yourself to brainstorm for this essay:

  • Why is the Core important to you? (And don’t just copy/paste what you wrote for Columbia and vice versa—they’ll know) 
  • What specific majors are you interested in and why? 
  • Has it always been your dream to work with [ insert professor here ] or study abroad in [ insert location here ]? Why? 
  • Which activities are you excited to contribute to? Why do you want to be a Maroon (yes, UChicago has sports!)?

Emphasize the community aspect —how do you hope to find your people on campus? Is it the opportunity to participate in student organizations such as Humor Magazine or the intramural wiffleball team that call out to you? Or are you keen to explore Chicago’s Revival Community Improv Theater within walking distance of the college? You might want to continue your community involvement work from high school by participating in the Neighborhood Schools Program, The Civic Knowledge Project, or one of the college’s several organizations that help give back to the greater Chicago community. 

Since you have space, you can provide context on who you are, your passions, and the kind of values you hope to bring to UChicago. Whatever you choose to write about, make sure you prioritize what you’re looking for from your college experience and how UChicago is the ideal place to explore these interests or goals. Show admissions officers that you have done your research and can convincingly argue for your place at the school, clearly outlining the parts of campus you wish to commit to.

Check out all supplemental essay prompts here!

Question 2: extended essay (required; choose one).

Now we get to the more peculiar essays. At first—and even second or third glance—these questions are out of the box in comparison to other schools’ supplemental essays. But where do you even start? Natalia affirms that “Admissions officers want to see how your brain works. It doesn’t matter what you write about or which question you answer—your ideas and how you write about those ideas is what matters.” 

She also adds that from your essay, “Admissions officers will be able to have a glimpse of who you might be in the classroom, or when you’re deep in discussion in the dining halls or dorms, or walking through the snowy Harper Quad on your way to get some hot chocolate at Hallowed Grounds.” 

The takeaway for admissions officers reading your UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 should be to understand what makes you tick and how you are going to contribute to the community. This is the goal you should keep in mind throughout your writing process.

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!

This question is quite straightforward, once you read it a couple of times. If you’re interested in astronomy, or even fiction writing, this is a great prompt to showcase your creativity. Think about celestial objects that fascinate you: it could be a planet, it could be the sun, or you could even choose an asteroid. What do you think the object of your choice could be made of—and why? You could choose a logical route to answer your question, referring to theories of math and physics to make your point. Or you can go the imaginary route and make a case for why the sun is actually made of chocolate chip cookies. As long as you “explore the implications,” you should be able to answer this prompt however you wish!

What’s so easy about pie?

This is another open-ended prompt. Since, unlike the last question, the college hasn’t specified that you should use an academic or creative subject to explain your answer, your options are truly unlimited in how you choose to answer the question. This prompt isn’t one where you should bring up your academic interests unless they flow in organically. But it is a great opportunity to show your humorous side and make the admissions officers smile. 

You could talk about an anecdote where an actual pie was involved. It could be the story of how you learned to bake—which would be a literal take on your response. However, you can also create a more elaborate metaphor about something else that equates the simplicity of pie to a broader incident. You can talk about anything—as long as you draw a conclusion about exactly what is so easy about pie. 

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?

The UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 can help admissions officers see how you might combine your creative and analytical sides. First of all, think about what you want to measure—and don’t be afraid to go out of the box. It could be the way to calculate the amount of maroon in UChicago’s logo, it could be a unit to measure the number of words in the average English novel. No matter what it is, make sure you go all out in explaining exactly why you’ve chosen to measure this particular thing, why it will be helpful, and how it is connected to other units of measurements.

"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.

This is a great prompt if you’re interested in the humanities. One factor to keep in mind if you tackle this prompt is to make sure that the subject has relevance to you. Since these essays help admissions understand what makes you unique and help them make their decision, think about how you can use your choice of topic to convey an interest or goal. If you want to be a film studies student, for example, you can argue why a particular movie is far more original than the other. If you’re a STEM student, you can also write about this topic! Make sure you’ve made your argument clear on exactly why or why not an issue is original.

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.

This question leans in a more academic direction than the others—since it explicitly brings up fields that you’d study in school and/or college. So if you’re not a fan of creative writing, this question might be more approachable for you since the answer can be framed with a scholarly angle. Whichever approach you choose, make sure to not emphasize the discipline, but rather how you believe it repeats itself. One thing to remember is that thinking broadly about chemistry or philosophy would be a trap.

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!

If you don’t like any of the other options, why not look at 30 of the previous years’ questions that UChicago has provided to inspire you. The question “What can actually be divided by zero?” might appeal to you more than any of the new prompts for UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 . And that is okay. 

Note that UChicago is giving you an incredible amount of choice here by providing access to their past prompts. If you decide to go the alternative route and come up with your own question, it HAS to be good enough. It wouldn’t be the wisest decision to go with your own silly prompt with the plethora of options in your arsenal. 

While UChicago doesn’t prefer that you answer questions 1-5 rather than 6, carefully weigh your options before you decide to pick number 6. Is there nothing you might have to say for the first five essay questions? If that is indeed the case, and you’re willing to take the risk (and UChicago appreciates risk-takers) put your unique spin on a previous—or completely original—question!

Additional Tips for Writing the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2020-2021

Now that you’ve taken a look at the prompts for the UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 , here are a few tips to help your brainstorming process: 

  • Standout essays for standout prompts : The prompts for the UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 are without a doubt, highly unique. It’s okay to feel intimidated, and you might choose a prompt that asks for a more academic-leaning response if you’re not a creative writer. While it’s fine to find an option that’s tailored towards your assets, note that other applicants will be writing all sorts of weird and highly imaginative essays. So you need to come up with something memorable and original to stand out among the competition.
  • Consider multiple approaches : Each of the questions for the UChicago supplemental essays 2020-2021 have different routes you can choose. For some, such as the “pick something (besides yourself)” prompt or the topic of your choice questions, you can write about anything. So don’t restrict yourself to thinking there is a right answer. While it might feel like the college may want you to answer a certain way, UChicago wants to understand your personality and background. Stay true to yourself and authentically convey who you are and the way you view the world.
  • Don’t let the prompts discourage you from applying to the school : While the prompts set by the University of Chicago are definitely unusual and undoubtedly tricky, they are not impossible to answer. The school has set a standard for similarly quirky questions and hundreds of students still get in every year. So the minute you see these on the Common App, don’t be tempted to run away and remove UChicago from your school list. It’s a great school, and if you have a strong application to compete with other top students, don’t miss out on the chance just because the supplemental essays seem a little intimidating!

The UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 can add depth to your application and help admissions officers understand who you are and what you’re looking for from your college experience. The “why UChicago” prompt is your chance to convey how you would be a good fit at UChicago and vice versa. On the other hand, the essay question is a great component to capitalize on so that admissions officers understand your interests, creativity, and how you view the world. The task at hand might seem like a tough uphill battle, but it’s definitely not impossible. Good luck!

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How to Write the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

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The University of Chicago supplemental essays are designed to test your creativity, reveal your curiosities, and highlight your unique spark. Known as the quirkiest prompts on the college essay circuit, the UChicago essays strike fear into the hearts of many aspiring Chicagoans. But in reality, the UChicago supplemental essays are one of the few places in a college essay where your personality can truly shine.

UChicago campus on a fall day

There are two UChicago supplemental essays . For the first essay, you’ll select from a series of prompts created by current students or create your own. For the second essay, you’ll explain why you want to attend UChicago and feel that it’s the right school for you. This blog post will guide you through answering each prompt so that you can approach your UChicago essays with confidence.

UChicago’s 2023-2024 Prompts

Extended essay questions.

  •  Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary. —Inspired by Emmett Cho, Class of 2027
  • “Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. —Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB’21
  • “Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match). —Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027
  • A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept. —Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027
  • Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why? —Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027
  • There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. But of course, some rules should be broken or updated. What is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist? (Our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. Enjoy!)  —Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026
  • And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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!

“Why UChicago?” Essay

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..

Next Admit Essay Review promotion

We need to address the elephant in the room. These essays do not have a word limit. Instead, you need to upload a document with a 1-2 page answer. This raises a lot of questions for students. Is the page double- or single-spaced? Or 1.5-spaced? Times New Roman font or Comic Sans? How big should the margins be?

Relax. Unless formatting is essential to your essay in some way, just keep your margins, spacing, and font standard. Double-spaced is generally advised. Again, unless your formatting is part of the essay itself, you’ll want to make it so ordinary that it isn’t noticed.

Option 1: Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary. —Inspired by Emmett Cho, Class of 2027

Like many of these prompts, Option 1 begins with some examples and then explains what kind of examples they are. Then, the prompt suggests that you come up with your own examples and explain them to the reader. But what does the prompt actually mean?

Let’s start with the simplest example. Pencils write, erasers erase writing. But then a pencil can just write again, effectively “erasing” the power of the eraser. In this way, pencils and erasers undo each other and both are necessary. Similarly, if you square a number by giving it an exponent of two, you can undo that process by giving it a square root. Lastly, during the process of beta decay, neutrons turn into protons, while electron capture causes protons to become neutrons, undoing the effects of beta decay.

Once you’ve come up with your own example of two things which undo each other, see what you can do to bring your personality, background, and unique areas of knowledge into your short essay response. It’s totally possible to discuss topics like beta decay and exponents with a clinical, distanced tone, but you can bring in anecdotes from your life, puns or jokes, topics you’ve researched, or career paths you aspire toward.

Option 2: “Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. —Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB’21

If you’re inclined toward music or writing, then this might be the prompt for you. Alternatively, if your application looks very STEM-focused or doesn’t provide an indication of your media consumption—what kinds of books you read or movies you watch—then this prompt might give you a chance to add nuance to your application by showing a different side of yourself.

There are many angles you can take this question. Once you’ve settled upon your favorite question from a song title or lyric, you can answer it by discussing politics, ethics, rhetoric, or even physics or sociology. Song lyrics tend to ask ambiguous, open-ended questions, which allows you to show your unique personality and worldview in your answer.  

Still stuck? Here are a few examples of how to approach this question (please come up with your own unique, authentic responses):

  • Olivia Rodrigo’s song “vampire” asks, “ How’s the castle built off people you pretend to care about? ” You could respond with your views on the role of major corporations in contemporary society.
  • 2Pac’s song “Changes” asks, “ Is life worth livin’? ” You could respond with a discussion of your growth into a self-confident person who sees their future clearly.
  • Taylor Swift’s song “Lover” asks, “ Have I known you twenty seconds or twenty years? ” You could respond by discussing a person who has had a major impact on your life.

Option 3: “Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match). —Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027

This prompt will be great for you if you enjoy playing with language and considering the flexibility of linguistic expression—or if you have a humorous portmanteau you’ve come up with! Still, you’ll want your imagined portmanteau to have some dimension and allow you to give the reader a sense of your personality.

If you love this prompt but are having trouble thinking of portmanteaus, try playing a game of word association with yourself. Look up a random word generator and in response to the word, write down whatever you first think of. See if those words fit together or give you inspiration!

Note that your essay should not be repetitive and explain the same portmanteau over and over, or provide dozens of reasons in favor of your portmanteau without any consideration of the reasons against. For instance, “patch” is a fun portmanteau of “perfect” and “match,” but “patch” is already a word, which provides the potential for confusion. Make sure you can give a thoughtful and well-rounded argument for your portmanteau, even if it is tongue-in-cheek. Consider the ways in which your imagined portmanteau might be useful in your daily life, how it might be uniquely useful to you, and how it might be useful (or useless) to others. 

Option 4: A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept. —Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027

Like Option 3, Option 4 is a great prompt for you if you’re a wordsmith or pun-master or poet—or an aspiring one! This prompt gives you the opportunity to pick an interesting word or phrase and explore its metaphorical, figurative, and humorous implications if taken literally. If you’re someone who often takes things literally, you might be especially interested in this prompt.

Once you’ve come up with your misnomer, you’ll have to decide whether you want to defend its name or suggest a change. If you defend its name, be sure to develop a well-rounded argument, even if satirical; address opposing viewpoints, explain yourself from a few different angles, and make sure your essay culminates in an insightful, interesting, and/or entertaining point. If you come up with your own name, you’ll need to make sure your argument is thoughtful and your new name has reasons beyond the practical to support it.

Consider that this essay prompt, although casual, will give the reader insight into how you might write an argumentative essay for a UChicago course, or approach a lively classroom discussion. Whether your essay has a creative structure or a standard one, a lighthearted tone or a serious one, the essay should feel cohesive, purposeful, and well-argued. 

Option 5: Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why? —Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027

This prompt allows you to discuss your own interest in a particular game which may have become a significant part of your social and/or intellectual life. Do you play D&D with your friends every weekend? Have you joined a Muggle Quidditch community? Do you connect with your grandparents over Clue? 

Whatever modern game speaks to you, you can discuss its impacts up-close and far away. A game stands the test of time by engaging a wide range of players. Maybe D&D brings your creative side out, and you believe its worldbuilding nature will allow it to continue evolving for centuries. Maybe you feel like the massive fandom behind Muggle Quidditch will allow it to live on, and its ability to create community has spoken to you. And maybe Clue has helped your family grow closer, representing to you a broader cultural shift.

You can interpret the term “game” and the descriptor “modern” loosely while answering this prompt. Just be sure to clarify how you’re using those terms at the beginning of your essay if you do employ them creatively! Also, remember that your reader might not be familiar with the intricacies of your game of interest, so you may want to explain the rules or objectives briefly in your essay’s introduction.

Option 6: There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. But of course, some rules should be broken or updated. What is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist? (Our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. Enjoy!)  —Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026

This prompt will work well for you if you are a forward-thinking change-maker, a skeptic, a revolutionary, or an out-of-the-box thinker. Remember, these are the unwritten rules that “everyone” (you can interpret this word loosely) follows or has heard. These aren’t federal laws that need amendments or school policies worth updating. Instead, they’re cultural norms, societal expectations, or familial obligations which you believe are behind the times.

Consider the position from which you view the world as you respond to this prompt. How will the dissolution or evolution of this unwritten rule impact people who are different from you? Will the impact be positive, negative, or neutral? How might other people included in your definition of “everyone” feel about changing or discarding this unwritten rule?

As you compose your answer, you’ll also want to discuss how you will improve the rule, or what might fill the void left behind this rule. You could also consider discussing how the rule would be broken in the first place—on an individual level, or by many people all at once. Lastly, be sure to tie your essay back to your own personal life and experience at least once or twice in your essay. Ultimately, this essay is about you !

Option 7: And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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!

If these prompts weren’t creative and open-ended enough for you, you can come up with your own. Given that some of the prompts are so open-ended that you can almost discuss whatever you want, be sure to only select this option if you have a cohesive, coherent, and thoughtful idea. Consider giving yourself a specific prompt (which can even be included in the essay itself) to guide your writing process.

In addition, do your best not to turn this essay response into something that could’ve been submitted to another college or university. After all, UChicago’s prompts stand out because they are looking for students who stand out. If your essay response doesn’t stand out, you’re putting your application in jeopardy.

That said, if you have an excellent idea that would feel forced if applied to any of the six prompts above, then you have free reign here. Good luck!

Like many colleges and universities, UChicago’s admissions officers want to know why you specifically want to attend UChicago. What programs, courses, professors, clubs, or opportunities are available to you only at UChicago? What aspects of the campus culture speak to you? Why do you see yourself as a part of UChicago’s community?

Note that prompt’s emphasis on specificity. Use concrete details and sentences which could apply to no other institution than UChicago. Indicate how your unique future plans would be best served by learning and studying at UChicago. If you’re stuck, read through their website, watch videos about UChicago, and visit the campus if you’re able. Good luck!

If you need help polishing up your UChicago supplemental essays, check out our College Essay Review service. You can receive detailed feedback from Ivy League consultants in as little as 24 hours.

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2 Great UChicago Essay Examples

UChicago is famous —or shall we say infamous—for their highly-quirky essay prompts. In previous years, students have been tasked with mind-boggling questions like “Find X,” or “A hot dog might be a sandwich, and cereal might be a soup, but is a __ a __?”

These essays may seem silly, but they invite students to share their personalities and perspectives as fully as they wish. UChicago is looking for creative thinkers, and these essays help them distinguish the “kind” of applicant they want. After all, most applicants will have stellar grades and test scores, so these essays are your chance to stand out and beat the odds of the very low acceptance rate.

UChicago requires two essays—one that is a typical “ Why This College? ” prompt, and the other, your choice among seven zany prompts. The seventh option actually allows you to make your own prompt, or pick one from previous years.

In this post, we’ll go over some strong UChicago essay examples from real applicants and share what they did well and what could be improved.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our UChicago essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 

Essay Example #1

Prompt: “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.

As I entered the bare-walled room, I could see the sky was painted blue through the tinted windows. It was my first day in my new high school where I’d have to spend the next two years. I wanted to make new friends.

I started walking towards a boy, introduced myself and exchanged pleasantries. After a few minutes of conversation, the topic of music came up and I introduced him to my love for the iconic classical ambient hit ‘Clair de Lune’. He put on my headphones, the song started playing, and he was amazed by the music’s ethereal, mellow, and serene chords. Or so I thought.

You know that awkward feeling when you show a funny video to your friends and nobody laughs? It was equivalent to that.

As days passed, I started noticing everyone was only listening to the loud pounds of the bass, the buzz saw synths, the crispy hi-hats, and every other element found in Electronic Dance Music, also known as EDM. Realizing that people in my school didn’t like Clair de Lune because they were emotionally invested in only the EDM genre, I had an idea– “What if I create an EDM remix of Clair de Lune to reach out to the audience of both genres?”

I tried to understand what the composer was trying to express through his composition and attempted to create an impression of the classical piece. The main challenge was to add musical elements from relatively two of the most unconventional music genres– Classical and EDM. Incorporating the rich and sometimes heart-wrenching chord structure of Clair de Lune to the multiple layers of EDM saw synths, I adjusted the volume of my instruments to the intensities with which the notes needed to be played and panned the sound in different directions to set the appropriate ambiance.

A few weeks later, I uploaded my work to the various Discord music servers that I am a part of with shaky hands. Nervous of what people might interpret my work to be, I awaited the replies I would receive. The server was filled with users from North America, and since I was in India, I realized that most people weren’t active at midnight when I uploaded my mix. I called it a night and went to sleep. When I woke up, my inbox was flooded with a mix of appreciations and suggestions. The users from the server really liked my idea and it went on to become a weekly competition where everyone would try to incorporate multiple genres into one song. I also made my classmates listen to the mix and later made friends who were interested in music production.

Music has constantly been transcending and bridging different identities cross-culturally through the fusion of genres. The key lies in capturing the emotions and the structure linked to the song, but most importantly, working to understand diverse cultures.

This raises a critical question– are the genres we listen to now truly unique on their own or just a complex amalgam of countless genres throughout history? The answer is that it depends on how experienced an artist is at the art of impression. Honoring instead of degrading, studying instead of skimming, crediting instead of plagiarizing, and transforming instead of imitating will lead an artist to a remix instead of a rip-off. As an artist keeps repeating this process, they’ll make unique decisions– maybe they’ll add an inimitable form of reverb on the synth or include a cymbal crash in their alien music structure. Regardless, those small changes and preferences– in the long run– will amount to a magnitude of alteration in style and develop a completely new identity for an artist. This is when the art practically becomes original while bearing into itself countless unoriginal remixes and impressions of different songs, artists, and genres.

What This Essay Did Well

This essay is a great example of taking a prompt that seemingly has nothing to do with the student on the surface and turning it into an exposé of the student’s personality and interests. The point of every college essay is to reveal who you are, so even when the prompt asks for something unrelated like a piece of art or technology, the ability to tie that back to you is key.

The reader is taken on a journey from seeing the defeat this student felt when no one liked their music taste, to their determination to produce a remix, to the success and positive impact caused by their creativity. Having a well-defined beginning, middle, and end creates a good pace and makes it easy to follow.

Another positive aspect of this essay is the way the student describes music and their process. When you write about your hobbies or interests in an essay, your passion, as well as your expertise, should shine through. The reader can clearly tell this student cares about musical motifs and sound mixing through their description of classical and EDM music, but they also demonstrate their knowledge in this area by explaining the steps they took to produce a remix.

What Could Be Improved

While this student did a great job of turning this prompt into a story about themselves, a definitive answer to the prompt fell through the cracks. After an entire essay focused on them, the student generalized in the last paragraph in an attempt to answer the prompt. The result was an essay that ended on a good note, but didn’t leave the reader with a final impression of the student.

To make sure the ending was as strong as other parts of the essay and that there was a concrete answer to the prompt, this student should have tied the lessons they learned through their experience into their perspective on originality.

For example, they could have decided there’s no such thing as originality because even when they were developing their remix they relied on known aspects of music to recreate genres. On the flip side, they could have concluded that of course there are new ideas because even though they had influences, the comments on the Discord server said they had created something no one had ever seen before. 

It’s okay to take a stance in a prompt like this one. You aren’t being evaluated on whether you picked the “right” answer because there is no right answer. The important part is to connect the answer back to the rest of the essay, and thus emphasize how the answer relates to you.

Essay Example #2

Prompt: 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. —Inspired by Josh Kaufman, AB’18 

When I shared the video of me eating fried insects in Thailand, my friends were seriously offended. Some stopped talking to me, while the rest thought I had lost my mind and recommended me the names of a few psychologists. 

A major in Gastrophysics at UChicago is not for the faint hearted. You have to have a stomach for it! I do hope I am accepted to it as it is the only University in the U.S. with this unique major. My passion for trying unique food such as fish eye has made me want to understand the complexities of how it affects our digestive system. I understand that Gastrophysics started with a big pang of food, which quickly expanded to famish. Bite years are used to measure the amount of food ingested. I look forward to asking, “How many bite years can the stomach hold?” and “How do different enzymes react with the farticles?” 

Gastrophysics truly unravels the physics of food. At UChicago I will understand the intricacies of what time to eat, how to eat and how food will be digested. Do we need to take antiparticle acid if we feel acidity is becoming a matter of concern? At what angle should the mouth be, for the best possible tasting experience? When I tried crocodile meat, I found that at a 0 degree tilt, it tasted like fish and chicken at the same time. But the same tasted more like fish at a negative angle and like chicken at a positive angle. I want to unravel these mysteries in a class by Professor Daniel Holz in gravitational gastrophysics, understanding the unseen strong and weak forces at play which attract food to our stomachs. 

I find that Gastrophysics is also important for fastronomy. I want to learn the physics of fasting. How should we fast? Hubble bubble is a good chewing gum; an appetite suppressant in case you feel pangs of hunger. I have read how the UChicago Fastronauts are stepping up to test uncharted territories. Intermittent fasting is a new method being researched, and UChicago offers the opportunity for furthering this research. Which is better: fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8, or fasting for 24 hours twice a week? It is just one of the problems that UChicago offers a chance to solve. 

I can also study the new branch it offers that uses farticle physics. It is the science of tracking farticles and how they interact with each other and chemicals in the stomach space. It could give rise to supernovae explosions, turning people into gas giants. It would also teach about the best ways to expel gas and clean the system and prevent stomach space expansion. 

I want to take Fluid dynamics 101, another important course in Gastrophysics; teaching about the importance of water and other fluids in the body, and the most important question: what happens if you try to drink superfluids? 

I hope to do interdisciplinary courses with observational gastrophysicists and work with environmental science majors to track how much methane is given by the human and animal gastrointestinal tract in the atmosphere and how much it contributes to the global climate change. I believe, with the help of courses in date science, they have been able to keep a track of how much methane is entering each day, and they found that during Dec 24-Jan 3 period, a spike in the methane and ethane levels could be seen. Accordingly, algorithms are being programmed to predict the changes all year round. I would love to use my strong mathematical background to explore these algorithms. 

These courses are specially designed by the distinguished faculty of UChicago. Doing interdisciplinary research in collaboration with biological science students to determine what aliens may eat, with fart historians to know more about the intestinal structure of medieval Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Swedish and French people to better their lives is what I look forward to. The Paris study abroad program is an immersion course into fastronomy, where I will have the opportunity to test my self-control with all the amazing French food and desserts around! 

My stomach rumbles now, so I am going out to try out new food – hopefully it will be in Chicago a few months later. 

What the Essay Did Well

This is a fun essay! This student’s voice is present and their goofy personality is especially evident. Not only did they change the name of their major, but this student incorporated word play throughout the essay to showcase their imagination. Phrases like “the big pang of food”, “bite years”, “fastronauts”, and “farticle physics” keep the tone lighthearted and amusing. 

Beyond the humor and creativity that makes the reader chuckle—always a great way to stand out—this student still manages to incorporate aspects of their real intended major that fascinate them. While it might take a little extra connecting the dots to get from gastrophysic to astrophysics courses, the reader still understands what this student wants to study at UChicago and how they might use this knowledge.

While this essay definitely takes some risks, it’s safe to say that they paid off. They are able to delve into their love for astrophysics all while maintaining vivid, engaging language. The writing style is simultaneously playful and mad-scientist-esque. Truly “geeking out” about their interests makes for a great essay.

Even extremely creative essays like this one can always be made stronger. In this case, it would have been nice to get more background on what drew this student to astrophysics (not gastrophysics). We get a sense for their love of trying new foods, but the essay is lacking an explanation that relates to astrophysics. 

Obviously, in an essay about gastrophysics, astrophysics would be out of place. But given this student’s level of creativity, they could have found a punny way to tie their interest in space into the essay. It doesn’t need to be too extensive, but since this effectively serves as UChicago’s “Why This Major?” essay, a strong essay should include more background on why the student wants to pursue their actual major (not the fake one).

Where to Get Your UChicago Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your UChicago essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

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How To Answer U Chicago's Supplemental Essay Prompts 2022/23

How To Answer U Chicago's Supplemental Essay Prompts 2022/23

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. It has an acceptance rate of around 7%, making it one of the most prestigious and selective schools in the United States. One way in which applicants get to showcase their personality and separate themselves from the other applicants which whom they are competing against is through the U Chicago Supplementary Essays. The essay prompts serve to offer a more holistic view of each applicant to admission officers so as to allow them to make a more informed decision on whether to admit an applicant to the school. This blog serves as a guide as to how one may approach the U Chicago Supplementary Essays.

What are the University of Chicago supplemental essay prompts for 2022/23?

The University of Chicago is known for its unique and unusual supplemental essay prompts . This year wasn’t any different.

Prompt 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.

Prompt 2: Extended Essay  (Required; Choose one)

Was it a cat I saw? Yo-no-na-ka, ho-ka-ho-ka na-no-yo (Japanese for “the world is a warm place”). Może jutro ta dama da tortu jeżom (Polish for “maybe tomorrow that lady will give a cake to the hedgehogs”). Share a palindrome in any language, and give it a backstory. - Inspired by Leah Beach, Class of 2026, Lib Gray SB ’12, and Agnes Mazur AB ‘09
What advice would a wisdom tooth have? –Inspired by Melody Dias, Class of 2025

You are on an expedition to found a colony on Mars, when from a nearby crater, a group of Martians suddenly emerges. They seem eager to communicate, but they're the impatient kind and demand you represent the human race in one song, image, memory, proof, or other idea. What do you share with them to show that humanity is worth their time? —Inspired by Alexander Hastings, Class of 2023, and Olivia Okun-Dubitsky, Class of 2026

UChicago has been affiliated with over 90 Nobel laureates. But, why should economics, physics, and peace get all the glory? You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific category, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment. —Inspired by Isabel Alvarez, Class of 2026

Genghis Khan with an F1 racecar. George Washington with a SuperSoaker. Emperor Nero with a toaster. Leonardo da Vinci with a Furby. If you could give any historical figure any piece of technology, who and what would it be, and why do you think they’d work so well together? -Inspired by Braden Hajer, Class of 2025

And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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!

Check out more UChicago questions from previous years

How this Economics Student got into UChicago

How to answer Prompt 1

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 wishes and how they relate to uchicago..

This essay prompt essentially teases students' motivations and reasons for applying to UChicago. However, instead of asking, “Why UChicago?” the admission officers have decided to ask in a more specific manner. Hence, the last you want to do is to offer generic reasons that can be “copied-paste” to any “Why (this school)” question. Instead, it would help if you had researched what academic programs and extra-curriculextracurricularpportunitiesUChicago offers.

You should be able to explain why you have chosen UChicago, backed with adequate research. In doing so, you should also be able to ascertain what kind of learning environment/ community you wish to pursue and contribute to and how UChicago can satisfy your wishes. Through your answer, it is also essential to demonstrate your enthusiasm and show how you would contribute to UChicago.

Helpful Tips for Prompt 1

1. be specific.

For example, let’s say you’re interested in UChicago’s premier economics program. You’ve taken the AP courses , completed econ-related extracurriculars , and you want that interest to guide your college experience. Research how the economics program works at UChicago, any professors whose research you might be interested in, and any student organizations that work in econ. Then, imagine how your experience will grow when you have access to those resources.

2. It’s not just about school

UChicago will receive your grades separately, so set aside your GPA . You’re not just a student in college. You’re a roommate, study partner, and gym buddy. UChicago has a reputation for attracting hard workers and prides itself on diverse student cultures. Adding that layer of depth when you’ve only got 250 words is challenging. If you’re unsure whether to describe another detail about your studies or about an extraordinary experience you had, go with the latter.

3. Stay humble

It’s not just how you’ll take advantage of UChicago’s opportunities but how your contributions will benefit others. Listing your accomplishments might sound like an excellent way to show your worth, but remember you’re joining thousands of other hopefuls from many different walks of life. If you were lucky enough to have beautiful experiences, focus on how they changed your sense of self rather than just listing positive outcomes.

4. Stay positive

Never criticize other schools. If you want to talk about UChicago’s first-year “Core Experience,” with its focus on interdisciplinary texts, don’t write negatively about how other universities lack those courses! You can build up UChicago’s unique offerings without speaking negatively about other institutions.

  • Read more on how to answer the “Why This College” prompt

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How to answer Prompt 2

The University of Chicago is renowned for its provocative essay questions . These questions allow students to tell the school more about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. Students approach these questions with absolute seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.

Each year UChicago asks newly admitted and current college students for essay topics. They receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky. The questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.

Choose one of the following prompts and respond in a maximum of two pages.

Essay Option 1

A palindrome is **“**a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forwards.” Here is a list of palindromes you can refer to spark some ideas.

The purpose of this prompt is for the admission officers to see how imaginative you can be . The palindrome you eventually choose and give a backstory to will illustrate your personality, cultural experiences, and creativity in a way that your academic grades or your CV cannot do.

Ideally, you should make your story as original and thought-provoking as possible and link the story to yourself or your thoughts or opinions. For example, if you choose the palindrome “Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?” , you may want to think of a story of how humans and animals interact.

It is possible to link this to the current COVID-19 pandemic, where there are theories that wildlife trade and animals such as bats are the sources of the coronavirus. You can then introduce your thoughts/ opinions on the matter. Of course, this is just one way to do this – there is no wrong way per se as long as your answer is engaging, compelling, and can demonstrate certain traits about you (e.g., being intellectually curious). If you wish to make this more personal, you can introduce other aspects of yourself through the story, such as your interests, hobbies, or projects.

Essay Option 2

Again, the admission officers are trying to test if you can think outside the box and justify your answer to the best of your ability. As long as you can explain your answer, you’re on the right track, given that the admission officers are not looking for a particular answer but a logical explanation that can demonstrate your values and personality to them.

One way to approach this question is to interpret it literally , in that your wisdom tooth was probably plucked out before college, and the experience was perhaps painful. Hence, what advice would your then wisdom tooth have given to your past self when undergoing painful experiences?

Another way to approach this question is to interpret it figuratively , in that a wisdom tooth represents obsolete events, given that the wisdom tooth eventually becomes obsolete after being plucked out. Hence, what advice can a wisdom tooth give to other things/people who seemingly have become obsolete?

In your essay, it is essential to set out how you interpret this question and then go ahead and give your answer and explain it in a way that shows admission officers that you are capable of reasoning and analytical thinking.

Essay Option 3

You are on an expedition to find a Mars colony when a group of Martians suddenly emerges from a nearby crater. They seem eager to communicate, but they're impatient and demand you represent the human race in one song, image, memory, proof, or another idea. What do you share with them to show that humanity is worth their time? —Inspired by Alexander Hastings, Class of 2023, and Olivia Okun-Dubitsky, Class of 2026

Essentially, this prompt wants to know your view on humanity . You may want to start by thinking about some art, history, or literature that you find fascinating and that can represent humanity. In choosing what you think is the most exciting thing to represent humanity, consider the values, message, and revelations that that thing conveys. In your answer, you should be able to articulate

  • The thing that you have chosen
  • Why have you chosen it?
  • What it represents on the value of humanity
  • What does it matter

Of course, there are two ways to approach this – one is by representing humanity in a positive manner and the other in a negative manner.

In the first way, you would want to persuade the Martians that humanity is worth their time by “marketing” humanity to them and showing how great it is.

Latterly, you can persuade the Martians that humanity is worth their time by showing some “crisis” of sorts and that urgent action is needed. Through your answer, the admission officers hope to gain insight into your perspective on humanity while also understanding who you are.

Essay Option 4

UChicago has been affiliated with over 90 Nobel laureates. But why should economics, physics, and peace get all the glory? You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific type, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment. —Inspired by Isabel Alvarez, Class of 2026

This prompt is very broad and allows students to challenge the standard markers of glory in society . Currently, society seems to value economics, physics, and peace for the Nobel Prize. However, in answering this question, you may want to challenge this societal assumption and how society values one field/industry/issue over others.

You can talk about why other things should be recognized and included as a category for the Nobel Prize. In doing so, you can seize this opportunity to write about your passions, interests, and values.

For example, if you are very interested in baking, you can discuss creating a Nobel Prize category for baking. Let your experiences and values shape how you describe the category and its criteria. Of course, depending on how you frame this question, you can choose to be very serious or light-hearted in your response.

Essay Option 5

This prompt is more academic than the rest because it requires you to show your knowledge of history, politics, culture, and economics .

In brainstorming the historical figure, you should consider which historical figure you admire, how they have impacted the people and community they were in, and what about them resonates with you.

As for the piece of technology you wish to pair with them, think about what technology would be helpful to them, or what technology would have prompted their imagination and possibly changed their decisions, or what they would have done with this technology. This could have specific implications for the people and community they lived in. Be as creative and descriptive in your response!

Essay Option 6

And, as always… the classic choose your adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, select one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, and thought-provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, a citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun!

If you do not like any of the other prompts, you may engage with this prompt, which essentially gives you free reign to design any prompt or choose any of the past UChicago prompts .

Regardless of your choice, think about what you want to showcase to the admission officer. Essentially, you want to show your thoughts, values, experiences, passions, interests, etc. Hence, when choosing a prompt, you want to select something that allows you to showcase these things about yourself to a certain degree.

If you choose to craft your own prompt, be sure to use the way UChicago craft their other application prompts as a guide – this would mean that you may have to think a little out of the box, which is something that UChicago admission officers are looking out for!

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Helpful Tips for Prompt 2

1. remember your purpose..

Ultimately, you want your essays to show the admissions officers a facet of your personality that they want to see at UChicago in the fall. While you should write freely, the creativity of prompts means it’s easy to deviate from the prompt. If the prompt asks you to write a letter, tell a story, or argue a point of view, make sure you’re doing that, even as your imagination runs wild.

2. Get someone (or three) to proofread.

There is no quicker essay-killer than a bad typo during the good part. While this advice applies to anything you write, it is especially crucial for this type of essay since you’re likely not sticking to a standard paragraph format. Writing dialogue, keeping tenses in a story, and even staying consistent in your tone and vocabulary isn’t easy. Pick people who know you and your voice. Increase the font size to check for spacing and spelling errors. Break down each paragraph into one-sentence summaries, and check that the flow of the essay moves smoothly.

3. If you choose to write on your own prompt, keep the scope narrow.

The “choose your own prompt” option is always a temptation. Sometimes it’s an excellent choice! But it can be hard to keep the bigger goal in mind when deciding what to write. Your purpose is to display your writing abilities on a specific topic while showing admissions a bit of your personality.

4. Admissions officers are human beings too.

UChicago’s fun prompts highlight a critical aspect of all college admission essays: no formula will guarantee entry or even predict your college experience. The answer to the prompts is not as important as how you express your thoughts. Don’t write what you think UChicago wants to hear. If you’re not confident in your humor, rely on persuasion instead. If you are excited about a contentious topic, write with the same balance and respect you’d use when talking to a human being.

Final Thoughts

The UChicago essays are offbeat and eccentric. Try to have fun with them. The committee wants you to convey a sense of playfulness, hoping these essays will help them better understand your personality.

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What Makes Crimson Different

Key Resources & Further Reading

  • University of Chicago University Profile
  • MIT Supplemental Essay 2021/22
  • Harvard Supplemental Essay 2021/22
  • Columbia Supplemental Essay 2021/22
  • Princeton Supplemental Essay 2021/22
  • Acing your College Application Essay: 5 Expert Tips to Make it Stand Out from the Rest
  • How to Tackle Every Type of Supplemental Essay
  • 2021-22 Essay Prompts Common App Essay Prompts
  • What are the Most Unusual US College Supplemental Essay Prompts?

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Prompt's How-to Guide for the University of Chicago Essays

Our best advice for impressing uchicago admissions officers with your supplemental essays..

No college’s essay prompts are more fun to read … or more scary to get started with. UChicago definitely wins the award for most creativity, but you may want a few helpful hints.

From our long experience at Prompt helping applicants succeed at college essays, we’ve developed a step-by-step guide to these questions (the post will be updated, but the advice is still on-point for 2021).

In a nutshell, UChicago’s prompts consist of two required essays with no word limit :

  • Why UChicago. [ Prompt suggests 250-500 words.]
  • Choose from a vast selection of “eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky” essay prompts. And “have fun!” [Prompt suggests~650 words.]

Finally, all writing calls for feedback. Especially college essays. Especially tricky ones like here. So find someone you know well and respect, and ask for some. And if you like the idea of personalized guidance from people who’ve done this thousands of times, get started here .

UChicago supplemental essay questions for 2020-2021

Question 1 [Why UChicago?]: 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.

  • Tip 1: This one requires research. Give specifics: talk about a particular course, program, professor, opportunity, or some combination.
  • Tip 2: Don’t share all your doubts and nuances. Choose one path that genuinely excites you, even if it’s not the only one, and talk about it with gusto. Nobody’s going to hold you to it if you change your mind next year.

Question 2: Extended essay (Choose one):

  • Option 1: Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics... it's all up to you (or your woodchuck).
  • Option 2: What can actually be divided by zero?
  • Option 3: The seven liberal arts in antiquity consisted of the Quadrivium — astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and music — and the Trivium — rhetoric, grammar, and logic. Describe your own take on the Quadrivium or the Trivium. What do you think is essential for everyone to know?
  • Option 4: Subway maps, evolutionary trees, Lewis diagrams. Each of these schematics tells the relationships and stories of their component parts. Reimagine a map, diagram, or chart. If your work is largely or exclusively visual, please include a cartographer's key of at least 300 words to help us best understand your creation.
  • Option 5: "Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so.
  • Option 6: Engineer George de Mestral got frustrated with burrs stuck to his dog’s fur and applied the same mechanic to create Velcro. Scientist Percy Lebaron Spencer found a melted chocolate bar in his magnetron lab and discovered microwave cooking. Dye-works owner Jean Baptiste Jolly found his tablecloth clean after a kerosene lamp was knocked over on it, consequently shaping the future of dry cleaning. Describe a creative or interesting solution, and then find the problem that it solves.
  • Option 7: 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!

[ Bonus note: While many of the past prompts are listed on UChicago’s application page, Prompt found all of them here , thanks to a Reddit thread .]

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, university of chicago essay questions.

I'm really excited about applying to the University of Chicago, but I've heard they have some pretty unique essay questions. Could you share what their current essay questions are and any advice on how to tackle them creatively and effectively? Thanks so much!

I'm glad to see that you're excited about applying to the University of Chicago! It's true that they're known for having innovative essay prompts that can be both challenging and fun to answer. While I'd recommend visiting their admissions website ( https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/apply/essay-questions) to get the most up-to-date list of essay questions, I can provide you with some general advice on how to tackle these unconventional prompts creatively and effectively.

1. Embrace the unconventional nature of the prompts: Unlike many other schools, the University of Chicago intentionally designs its essay questions to be offbeat and thought-provoking. When reading your response, admissions officers are looking for the same qualities. Keep an open mind, and don't be afraid to explore unusual ideas, scenarios, or perspectives.

2. Show your intellectual curiosity: At its core, the University of Chicago is an academically rigorous institution. They want students who genuinely enjoy thinking critically and delving deeper into topics. When approaching their essay questions, use them as an opportunity to show off your intellectual curiosity and genuine interests.

3. Make it personal: Even though the essay questions might be unusual, this is still an opportunity for you to showcase who you are and what makes you unique. Find a way to make the prompt relevant to your life experiences, passions, or values, so it still functions as a genuine reflection of your personality.

4. Don't shy away from humor: A little bit of humor, when used appropriately, can make your essay stand out from the crowd. Given the nature of the University of Chicago's prompts, there might be more leeway to incorporate humor into your response compared to other schools. Just make sure that your humor is appropriate and doesn't detract from the overall message or quality of your essay.

5. Edit and revise: As with any essay, effective writing requires multiple drafts and revisions. Even if you have a brilliant idea, it's crucial to fine-tune your essay until it's polished and well-structured. Ask for feedback from teachers, friends, college counselors, or parents to ensure you're presenting your ideas in the best possible way.

For more information on these essays click here: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-uchicago-essays-2023-2024

Remember, the University of Chicago's unique prompts are designed to encourage creativity and critical thinking – two qualities that the school highly values. Don't be afraid to take risks and explore new ideas in your essays; this might just be what sets you apart from other applicants and helps you craft a truly memorable response. Good luck!

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CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

Essay Prompts 2021

The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our 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.

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How to write the university of chicago supplemental essays, updated for 2023-2024, 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. (250-500 words)

Explanation:

UChicago’s first supplemental essay is a classic “why this college” prompt that can be separated into three components: learning, future, and community.

Responding to the “learning” question requires laying out your intended major (or couple of majors) that you hope to pursue, along with specific class offerings, research opportunities, immersion experiences, internships, etc. for that major or related program.

The “community” component can be addressed by discussing an extracurricular or club offered at the college (called RSOs at UChicago) that you would like to get involved in. This can also add depth to your “learning” response if the organization is related to your intended major. Additionally, discussing UChicago’s size, location, history, and/or educational philosophy—the unofficial motto “Life of the Mind” emphasizes intellectual inquiry simply for the sake of learning—can be an excellent way to showcase how you picture yourself as a member of the UChicago community.

For the final “future” component of this essay, clearly lay out your current plan for your future pursuits and how you hope to achieve your goals by the time you graduate from the University of Chicago. How will the opportunities you pursue and the community you build impact your plan for post-college life?

I’ve stared up at the night sky through my prized Orion Spaceprobe Reflector telescope all over the United States—from the deserts of Arizona to the highest points of California’s many national parks. I’ve captured detailed photographs of Saturn’s rings and carefully coordinated, award-winning time lapse shots. I’ve gone on journeys through dense forests and down unmarked dirt roads to achieve the ultimate stargazing experience. But standing in my school’s parking lot, reveling in observing the Harvest Moon with my classmates, I realized there’s nothing I want more than to share my passion with my peers.  

The University of Chicago offers unparalleled astronomy and astrophysics opportunities—but just as importantly, it presents an incredible community possible to share in that experience. I’ll be the first in line to take hands-on classes like “Observational Techniques in Astrophysics” and the two-part “Field Course in Astronomy and Astrophysics” that will provide the rare chance to use the university’s array of powerful research telescopes and publish scientific papers in collaboration with my classmates. Meanwhile, classes focused on the theoretical side of astronomy and astrophysics like “From Fossils to Fermi’s Paradox” will allow me to geek out over the universe’s greatest questions with fellow self-proclaimed hardcore space nerds. I’m equally interested in connecting with professors, and (if possible) I’d be eager to assist in any way with Professor Jacob Bean’s work identifying potentially habitable exoplanets.

Perhaps most exciting of all, the Paris Astronomy Program offers the opportunity to combine astrophysics with my other academic passion—French. Communication between international labs and scientists from different countries is a major component of modern science, and this program offers an immersive component to my intended minor in French. Envisioning the conversations I’ll have seated at Parisian cafes and touring through famous labs and museums ignites my imagination and excitement. While I understand that the Paris Astronomy Program is generally oriented towards astrophysics minors, I believe taking advantage of this opportunity as early as possible in my college experience will build a foundation for my specific education in both astrophysics and French in the same way that the Core creates the a structural baseline for my general education at UChicago. 

While much of the UChicago community and opportunities I’ve pointed to take place inside the classroom, I’m equally looking forward to everything that happens outside of the campus’ gothic buildings. Visiting my friend currently living in the “South” dorm has made me especially excited for the experience of living on campus and forming relationships with other residents in my dorm. From the house-specific dining table with Harry Potter-esque banners hanging over them to the inter-house broomball battle, I was able to witness firsthand the O Week scavenger hunt throughout the dorm—the experience provided me with a built in community that will be waiting for me the moment I step on campus. However, I don’t plan to let this community make me complacent in my social life. Joining RSOs like the Outdoor Adventure Club and Ryerson Astronomical Society will allow me to continue my passions for intense hiking and casual stargazing while connecting me with other students on campus who are equally excited about those activities! 

From my perspective, there’s no desire for learning, community, or my future that UChicago does not satisfy. While others might make claims about the school where “Fun Goes to Die,” I can hardly wait to get started! 

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one). 650 words max

UChicago’s “extended essay” is also occasionally referred to by its old name: “The Uncommon Essay.” When writing this essay, you should aim to break away from traditional essay formats and take creative control to showcase both your writing ability and unique perspective. Get creative with your responses: humor, interesting structuring, and unique writing motifs will go a long way towards impressing the admissions officers.

Each of the prompts may seem almost nonsensical at first, but start by writing down your initial ideas for approaching each of the options. If you’re brainstorming for any one of these prompts and one idea jumps out at you—go with it!

The trick to these essays is responding in a way that feels natural to you, don’t try to get too smart and outthink yourself. Try crafting the direction of your essay as it goes rather than trying to plan your essay perfectly before you start writing, as this method will allow you to better showcase your thought process. If none of the essay prompts inspire you, take advantage of Option 7 and look over past prompts until you find one that speaks to you. Don’t write off any idea as stupid, and try to keep your phone or a notepad near you as you think over the prompts—inspiration can strike at the strangest of times!

Finally, stick with the obvious theme of the essay, but don’t try to overdo it. Make sure you find a creative way to fully answer any questions posed by the prompt while also including some insight into yourself or your background. For instance, a unique response to Essay Option #3 might reflect on how portmanteaus are part of a larger trend to characterize new ideas by combining them with something familiar—but trying to combine two separate essays and calling that a portmanteau could result in a confusing and ideologically diluted essay. Likewise, Essay Option #6 requires coming up with an unwritten rule you disagree with, but your argument should also reveal something about you or your way of thinking (e.g. if you’re deeply passionate about human and animal rights, discussing your opposition to the practice of documentary staff not helping those they film—and perhaps how you break this rule when filming content for a conservationist group you volunteer with—would both answer the prompt and tell admissions officers a bit about one of your activities and how your mind works).

As an example to offer a bit of guidance: for the classic prompt “Find x,” the admissions officers do not want to see a sheet filled with math problems. However, if you use math as a writing motif by which you compare using substitution to find x with comparing activities to find what you’re passionate about… you might just have a perfect essay idea on your hands!

Essay Option 5 Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why? – Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027

Humans might be the dominant species on our planet, but we’re rarely the best athletes from a physical perspective. Famed Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt would be left in the dust by a cheetah. The legendary Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor would be bowled over if an NFL team suddenly employed a silverback gorilla as a running back. Even Michael Phelps, the winner of twenty-three Olympic medals for his swimming prowess, was left floundering when he raced against a shark—or at least a CGI projection of one! 

However, mankind did not come to rule the planet through our intellect and endurance alone. We had a secret weapon no other species has mastered—throwing projectiles. Sure, a chimpanzee can manage a halfhearted toss, but it wasn’t until Homo Erectus came to walk this Earth that any creature had the combination of unique anatomical traits necessary to truly master the art of the throw. Over millennia, we Homo Sapiens have developed countless modern sports that rely heavily on this ability: baseball, football, and basketball just to name a few. Of the many activities humans have created to show off the pinpoint accuracy of our throws, one game truly represents the culmination of millions of years of human evolution: darts. 

I believe that darts will be played for centuries to come. There are countless ways to play darts: Cricket, 301, Legs—but the specific game mode is irrelevant to the longevity of the activity. Simply put, the game of darts offers the best blend of compactness and complexity required to light up the neurons in our brain that have been pre-wired with a desire to throw objects accurately. Carnivals and theme parks have taken countless dollars by understanding this aspect of human nature, but darts offers a way to scratch that itch without the high cost and space requirements of classic carnival games like Ring Toss, Can Knock Down, or Balloon Darts. Not to mention, the odds aren’t stacked against us in darts! 

I can accept that not everyone might believe that darts is a “modern” game, as the game was officially created with the invention of the dart board all the way back in 1896. However, in the face of games that have existed for thousands of years, like chess, a game that’s not even as old as the first car is modern in my book. Additionally, for anyone who’d like to argue that the game of darts was created in medieval times when soldiers started throwing knives at tree trunk cross sections, I’d posit that a game is only as old as its rules. If hunting wooly mammoths with spears isn’t playing darts, neither is chucking knives at trees. Every human throw leading up to the creation of darts was simply the creative process, but the game of darts itself is the final masterpiece!

Though it will undoubtedly stand the test of time, darts will not look the same forever. Modern boards offer magnetic darts and electronic boards to prevent the potential collateral damage darts entail. Perhaps in the future, game designers will advance the game of darts through virtual reality or haptic feedback gloves so people can walk right in front of the game without fear. But wherever space is limited and people want to be entertained, darts will follow. Even if the next century’s version of darts is unrecognizable in everything but the dartboard (which could be a hologram or a projection at that point), the spread of darts through future bars and basements is as certain as its initial proliferation through English pubs.

Admittedly, even the most patient parents might want to put a stop to the next generation of dart throwers when they inevitably find the small holes in the basement wall made by errant darts from their kids’ attempts to improve their accuracy. However, they can rest assured that millions of years of evolution have led up to us all throwing those darts at that dartboard. With that kind of history on our side, we should all be able to hit that bullseye consistently before too long… right?   

how to answer university of chicago essay questions

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The Admissions Strategist

How to write the university of chicago essays 2020-2021: the scholar’s guide.

The University of Chicago has an acceptance rate of 8.4%, and its application process can be daunting for even the most stellar applicants.

The school is well known for its rigorous academics, heavy emphasis on scholarship, and beautiful campus. Prominent alumni include over 50 Rhodes Scholars, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and astronomer Carl Sagan.

If you want to attend the University of Chicago, you need to be serious about and dedicated to your chosen academic field.

The school prioritizes writing across the disciplines, so you want to make sure your supplemental essays are tidy, insightful, and maybe even a little offbeat .

This guide will help you write the best essays for this top school:

What are the University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Requirements?

You’ll need to write two essays when applying to the University of Chicago.

The first – “Why The University of Chicago?” – doesn’t change. It’s the well-known “Why This College” essay   that has the ability to show the admissions committee that you’re made for the University of Chicago as much as it can turn the committee toward keeping you away.

The second, the extended essay, is a choice from a series of quirky and provocative questions inspired by current students and alumni. These prompts change every year. Luckily, there are seven prompts available and you only need to choose one, so you can easily pick the one that shows off the best pieces of yourself.

The “Why Chicago” Supplemental Essay:

“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.”

This essay is a prologue to your masterwork, the extended essay. Like all good prologues, this is the “hook” which will spark the interest of the admissions officer and keep their attention. Ask yourself, “What will pique his or her interest?”

There is a pretty clear clue in the words “particular” and “specificity.” UChicago makes it very explicit: They want students who own and love their unique subculture and singular curiosities and know how they will thrive at their university. Here are some examples of how “particular” and “specificity” can be portrayed in this essay.

  • It’s good to write “I love literature written by marginalized groups,” but it’s better to say something like “I have a penchant for Spanish-language literature published in urban centers in the United States.”
  • Rather than write “I really enjoy rock music,” you can express that “Although I enjoy the majority of rock music, my tastes tend toward 1980s Hair Metal and Glam Rock, which I’m constantly explaining the difference to my friends.”
  • Instead of “I’m fascinated by the study of genetics,” write about how you “love reading research related to twin theories because I have had some experiences with my twin that are difficult to explain scientifically.”

The first example also shows the admissions office that their commitment to the South Side of Chicago will align with your commitment to urban literature. The last one could be relevant in the research around quantitative biology and human behavior at UChicago.

Ties like this are both important and impressive, if you can naturally fit them into your piece.

The prompt also wants you to focus on your “learning,” “community”, and “future.” While you don’t necessarily want three equal paragraphs that focus on each one, you want to be sure to cover each of the bases throughout, so you should brainstorm each before you begin.

The following thought processes will work well for UChicago, as well as most “ Why This College ” essays you write.

When considering your learning:

  • Ask yourself “What are my values?” Check out a core value chart , choose two or three that stand out right now, and write them down.
  • The academic questions that inspire your curiosity are likely connected to these values.
  • If you value “balance,” for example, you might be interested in questions pertaining to health, fitness, mental wellness, and the human body.

In order to identify your studies:

  • Ask yourself “What sorts of questions drive my studies?”
  • So, you’re good at physics? This is fine, but it’s not enough. What is it about physics that motivates you?
  • Tell them how you get lost in thoughts about gravitational time dilation while getting a haircut, or how your interest in aerodynamics was inspired by an inquiry about the dimples on golf balls.

When considering your community:

  • Ask yourself “What type of people do I spend my time with? What are their dreams, what makes them sad, and what makes them laugh?”
  • Take a look at the University’s student organizations page and see if any of the 400 groups appeal to you. “How would I thrive at the University of Chicago?” If you’re a West Coast surfer, maybe you’ll aspire to start a Great Lakes Surf Club. If you like hiking or trail running, maybe you’ll organize weekend groups to trek the Indiana Dunes.
  • Think about how you will balance your academics and the rest of your life.

When considering your future:

  • Ask yourself “What sort of mark would I like to make in the world?” Think beyond, “I want to make the world a better place.”
  • Maybe you want to make the workplace more equitable or help change the values of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • You don’t have to be definitive about your career, or even your major, but you do want to have some kind of vision that aligns with your values. How will the resources of UChicago support this vision?

You will want to look up specific programs and classes. For example, if you’re interested in international business, describe how you plan to double major in Chinese and Economics and then spend a semester in Beijing.

  • Discuss what you hope to accomplish during your time there and what type of internship or experience will help you reach that achievement.

You’ll probably also want to take a campus tour. If you’re not able to visit the campus in person, take a virtual tour, meet with representatives at a college fair, and look at their brochures. Do your homework so you can speak with sincerity about the resources of UChicago, and how you can see yourself flourishing there.

  • While the essay has no instructions regarding word count or structure, the admissions office advises to stay between 250-500 words.

Remember to keep your essay specific, and avoid generalities like “I will excel given the school’s rigorous academics.”

Tell them which academics, and how you will excel. Remember to cover everything – learning, community, and future – while artfully balancing both your aptitudes with an awareness of UChicago’s strengths and resources.

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The university of chicago extended supplemental essay.

The University of Chicago’s selectivity makes their quirky extended essay prompts all the more intimidating. Maybe this is another example of the school’s offbeat sense of fun.

In past years they’ve asked questions about odd numbers, vestigial structures, and mantis shrimps. There are some brief yet totally compelling prompts like, “Find x.”

  • All of their questions evoke a sense of play, and should demonstrate the applicant’s capacity for creative, incisive thought.

As the admissions office puts it, “We think of [the extended essay] 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.”

UChicago doesn’t give you a strict limit, but advises you to keep it under 650 words.

The following are a list of the 2020-2021 prompts, with tips and examples to help you as you brainstorm:

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 1

“Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics… it’s all up to you (or your woodchuck).” —Inspired by Blessing Nnate, Class of 2024

This is an intriguing prompt because when you first read through it, it sounds completely whimsy. Then you get a little further and realize it’s giving you a one-of-a-kind chance to show off your knowledge and/or innovation within your chosen major (or another academic field).

Let’s break this prompt into two pieces.

First, they’re looking for something unique and even a little bit silly. They want to see that you are creative, and that you’re able to think outside of the box.

Start by brainstorming through the tongue twisters you grew up memorizing. If no brilliant ideas pop up after a few minutes, search the internet for a few tongue twisters you may have forgotten about.

Keep in mind that tongue twisters can be translated from another language, opening up your options significantly. This is a wonderful option if you grew up in another country or if you speak more than one language, as it gives you the opportunity to show the admissions team even more about what makes you you .

When you look into a tongue twister, try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the protagonist’s conflict?
  • Could its solution fall within your desired major or another academic field?
  • Is the potential solution unique and intriguing?

Once you’ve got your riddle, you’ll need to relate it to that academic field. If you’ve got an excellent idea from another subject, it’s definitely okay to go that route. However, we recommend relating the tongue twister to your own major. This will show the admissions team at the University of Chicago that your knowledge and out-of-the-box thinking are needed within your future major’s department.

Some other tips for writing this essay include:

  • Make the majority of your word count about the solution. That unique way of thinking is what UChicago really wants to see here.
  • Showcase a bit of who you are, whether that’s through a tongue twister from another culture or just from choosing a solution within your chosen major
  • Be unique! Even if your answer seems a bit crazy, that ingenuity is sure to help you stand out from the thousands of other applications being submitted this year.

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 2

“What can actually be divided by zero?” —Inspired by Mai Vu, Class of 2024

When you first read through this question, it might not even make sense. Of course, nothing in math can be divided by zero. So how do you answer this question? You relate it to real life.

Once again, if a creative thought pops into your head right when you read through the prompt, run with it. Those “light bulb” ideas are often the best ones.

If you don’t have an idea right away, don’t disregard this prompt just yet.

Read it ten, twenty, even thirty times. Read it in your mind and then read it outloud. Call a friend and ask them the question (without taking their answer, of course, just to find the necessary motivation).

  • Is there anything around you that exists but should go to no one?
  • Is there a theoretical item that no one should have or no one deserves?
  • What about something that is nothing already, so it can be divided by zero without really changing at all?

Remember, this is not a math question, even if it is talking about numbers and division (unless you’re a future math major with a genius idea on how this could actually work in the numerical world; then, go for it).

Most answers to this prompt, however, are going to be theoretical.

Use this platform to share about an issue you care about or one of your deepest passions (when applicable).

It’s a tricky question, but don’t limit your creativity. Come up with an answer no other applicant will submit. What could make your application stand out more than an essay that is 100% unique in every possible way?

Make the admissions team think in a way they never have before. What could impress them more than that?

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 3

The seven liberal arts in antiquity consisted of the Quadrivium — astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and music — and the Trivium — rhetoric, grammar, and logic. Describe your own take on the Quadrivium or the Trivium. What do you think is essential for everyone to know? —Inspired by Peter Wang, Class of 2022

This essay prompt is partially great for history majors, and partially great for creative storytellers.

Have you studied up on what Quadrivium and Trivium were in ancient times?

Are you passionate about all things Medieval?Then this prompt may be perfect for you.

Even if the Medieval times aren’t really your thing, you can get pretty creative with bringing these terms to our current times.

Start by researching the ins and outs of Quadrivium and Trivium.

  • If these were the only two majors today, which would you choose and why?
  • What type of careers would come from Quadrivium majors? And Trivium majors?
  • Does everyone need to choose one major, or will each student need to study both?

Once you describe how these two fields of study could exist in our world, describe why every person would need to know both.

Include the details of Quadrivium and Trivium in Medieval times, as well as the specifics of how they’d look today.

Remember to be creative. Show off your storytelling skills, and don’t forget to include a few details that help the admissions team get to know you.

Maybe you’re a college student getting ready to study the two fields? WHat do you hope to learn and why?

Have fun with this topic; If one thing’s for sure, we know it’s not meant to be boring!

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 4

Subway maps, evolutionary trees, Lewis diagrams. Each of these schematics tells the relationships and stories of their component parts. Reimagine a map, diagram, or chart. If your work is largely or exclusively visual, please include a cartographer’s key of at least 300 words to help us best understand your creation. —Inspired by Maximilian Site, Class of 2020

This is another prompt that is really meant to get your creative juices flowing. Pick a map, diagram, or chart and get to work.

How will you choose which schematic to redesign?

Consider choosing something that is related to the place you grew up, giving you yet another chance to allow the admissions team to get to know you.

  • Do you live in the heart of New York City? Consider going with the Subway maps.
  • Are you a future medical student? Mix up the estimated growth charts that pediatricians use.
  • Do you love history? Maybe even scramble up the order of the years that have gone by.

Once you’ve chosen your map, diagram, or chart, it’s time to get creative.

What crazy thing would happen if what you’ve chosen was all mixed up?

  • Do homosapiens evolve backward, bringing us closer and closer to our days as apes?
  • Do the subway tunnels and tracks involve some crazy twists and turns, allowing them to spell out an ever-important word or phrase?

Whatever you think up, fill your essay with detail and bring it to life. Take the admissions team into your mind, showing them a small piece of who you are along with a large chunk of your incredible, unprecedented imagination.

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 5

“Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so. —Inspired by Chris Davey, AB’13

This essay is almost too easy to believe in our current society where misinformation is constantly being spread on the internet.

It’s the perfect prompt for a journalism or English major, as you can demonstrate the power of words along with your ability to use them in an outstanding fashion.

First, pick a historical figure (or even a well-known person who is still alive today).

Look into who they are and what they are known for.

Then, find or create a quote of your own that they would never say in a million years.

It could be against their beliefs, It could be outside of their personality. It could be completely strange and random. The limits here are endless.

You can make the admissions team laugh, make them think, or show them something you’re passionate about.

  • Maybe a two-party politician comes up with a real plan for peace that involves both sides coming together.
  • A historical figure could prophesy about the danger of a future filled with electronics.

No matter what you choose, make sure it’s obvious that the person would have never said it. Make the admissions team stop and think, “What did I just read?”

At the same time, though, make sure you’re writing for a purpose. Show a piece of who you are or what you’re capable of. It is a college application you’re writing for, after all.

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 6

Engineer George de Mestral got frustrated with burrs stuck to his dog’s fur and applied the same mechanic to create Velcro. Scientist Percy Lebaron Spencer found a melted chocolate bar in his magnetron lab and discovered microwave cooking. Dye-works owner Jean Baptiste Jolly found his tablecloth clean after a kerosene lamp was knocked over on it, consequently shaping the future of dry cleaning. Describe a creative or interesting solution, and then find the problem that it solves. —Inspired by Steve Berkowitz, AB’19, and Neeharika Venuturupalli, Class of 2024

This prompt is for all of you entrepreneurs and future inventors out there. It is often said that inventing and business-founding is a passion, it’s not something that just happens. It’s the way you are and the way your brain works. You want to do something new, solve a problem, etc.

If this sounds like you, get ready to allow all of those inventive juices to flow right out onto the page.

The admissions team wants you to use this prompt to show them your ingenuity and what you’re capable of creating from the power of your own brain.

Start by thinking back to a problem you’ve experienced in life. It could have been yesterday, last year, or even when you were a child.

Now, find a solution. This solution could be real, it could be a hypothesis, or it could be completely made up. The prompt never says it has to actually work. It just has to show your potential for future innovation.

  • Be creative
  • Show the admissions team who you are and what you’re capable of
  • Give your essay a fun flare

No matter what your invention is, if you’ve got that entrepreneurial passion, your essay is sure to be a hit with UChicago.

University of Chicago Supplemental Essay Option 7

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!

The University of Chicago prides itself in its unique prompts written by current and former students. They change every year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a prompt you fell in love with last year while applying right now.

This question allows you to take any questions that have been offered as part of the UChicago application in the past and use them for the current year.

You can find a long list of old prompts here , but we’ll list some below to give you a little inspiration as well:

  • 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 .

—Inspired by Josh Kaufman, AB’18

  • 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

  • The mantis shrimp can perceive both polarized light and multispectral images; they have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. Human eyes have color receptors for three colors (red, green, and blue); the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain. Seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp: mantisshrimp.uchicago.edu What might they be able to see that we cannot? What are we missing?

—Inspired by Tess Moran, AB’16

Again, this prompt is really something you can turn into anything.

If none of the six essays from this year’s application inspire you, use this as an opportunity to find the perfect fit that really shows off who you are and what you’re capable of.

When you choose the right essay, your unique attributes will shine through and the University of Chicago will likely take note.

Conclusion: Writing the University of Chicago Supplemental Essays

The University of Chicago is a school that prides itself on academic, quirks, and offbeat traits. When writing your essays, don’t be afraid to demonstrate your uniqueness and vulnerability.

If you have special interests or perspectives that weren’t mentioned in your other supplemental essays, the University of Chicago essay is a great place to input those quirks.

The admissions site says these essays “can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between,” so really let your real personality shine.

Always check your work, revise with precision , and strive to craft a narrative.

Compelling and unique essays are key when it comes to earning yourself a ticket for admission to UChicago.

Learn how we can help you with college and career guidance! Check out our YouTube channel!

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University of Chicago 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 2

You Have: 

University of Chicago 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 2 essays of 1-2 pages each

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why , Oddball

This is it, the infamous U Chicago supplemental application. These quirky prompts have been a rite of passage for generations of applicants, so before you dive in, just remember: if they could do it, so can you! Your goal in writing your Chicago extended essay should be the same as ever: to reveal something new to admissions. It might even help to have a few ideas in mind before reading through your options. These prompts are so specific and strange that, in the end, the key is just to follow your instincts. What speaks to you right away? What inspires you?

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..

Think of this run-of-the-mill why essay as the overture to your magnum opus (i.e. the Extended Essay). Chicago wants you to cover all the bases – “learning, community, and future” – so as with any why essay, you’d best buckle down and do your homework. The more specific details you can incorporate into your essay, the more sincere and personal it will feel (and be!). Explore both academic and extracurricular opportunities. How will you pursue your interest in oceanography? With a major in biology and a semester in Australia? What research opportunities will you pursue? Will joining the club crew team help you feel more connected to aquatic life despite your midwest location? One thing you won’t find on the school website, though, is that third piece, that “future” thing. Think about where you’d like to be five or ten years from now – your career or the impact you’d like to have or even just a geographic location. How will a U Chicago education help you get there? How will your scholarly and social pursuits help you grow? Show admissions how U Chicago is the bridge between the person you are and the person you hope to be.

Question 2: Extended Essay ( Required; Choose one )

Essay option 1, exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary., – inspired by emmett cho, class of 2027.

Ah, an essay about balance. Typos and autocorrect come to our mind immediately, and not just because our brains often think faster than our fingers can type! The examples admissions have provided do a great job of showing how you can take this idea in multiple directions and apply it to any discipline. What about pasta sauce and our Tide To Go pens? Not a day goes by that we’re not dreaming of penne alla vodka or pappardelle with arrabbiata and the resulting stains we’ll be wearing for the rest of the night! (Just us?) Use this prompt as a way to go deeper into one (or more) aspects of your life, and remember that the prompt is merely a springboard, a jumping off point. Don’t be afraid to write and see what comes of it—you can always backspace later to undo it!

Essay Option 2

“where have all the flowers gone” – pete seeger. pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer..

– Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB’21

Well, well, well, if this isn’t a fabulous prompt for art lovers and philosophers, alike. “What would you do?” (a thoughtful question asked by members of City High). “Are we out of the woods yet?” (a question repeated over and over by Taylor Swift).. “What’s love got to do with it?” (an evergreen inquiry from the great late Tina Turner). Think through some of your favorite tunes and select a question that strikes a chord within you (music puns!), then start writing. This is one of those prompts where your final product can vary greatly from your initial plan—or not! The important thing is not to rush the process; explore the question posed by an artist who has touched you, then leave yourself plenty of time to shape and finetune your writing into a polished essay worthy of submission to the University of Chicago. If you’re lucky, you can finish your draft weeks before it’s due. “Wouldn’t it be nice?” – The Beach Boys.

Essay Option 3

“vlog,” “labradoodle,” and “fauxmage.” language is filled with portmanteaus. create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match)..

– Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027

This might just be our favorite prompt of this admissions season, since you can take it in just about any direction you like. If nothing comes immediately to mind, try taking a piece of paper and writing down a list of things you like to do or aspects of your identity that are important to you. This prompt is fantastic because you can use it to write an essay about two areas of your life that may not otherwise intersect in an obvious way and give admissions a chance to better understand who you are in the process! Maybe the two words you choose are “introvert” and “performer,” because the stage allows you to express yourself in ways you never would in day-to-day life, giving you “introformer”! (Which sounds like a really cool robot, just saying.) Or perhaps you are chomping at the bit to write an essay about your experience in the Atlanta ballroom dance community as a proud Latina. “Lattrot?” Whatever two aspects of your identity, personality, or background you choose to write about, remember to have fun with it – and UChicissions (UChicago admissions) will too!

Essay Option 4

A jellyfish is not a fish. cat burglars don’t burgle cats. rhode island is not an island. write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept..

– Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027

This playful, creative prompt will likely call to those who can think of a few examples off the top of their heads. Maybe you think of fireflies, which aren’t flies (or fire for that matter) at all, but beetles. Do you think they should be renamed accordingly, since words and categorization matter? Or do you think “fireflies” should be kept, since the name has become something bigger than the bug itself, and no one will think fondly of summers at their grandmother’s house catching “luminescent beetles”? Ultimately, your argument will (hopefully) show admissions how your brain works and pepper in a few insights as to the kinds of things you hold dear along the way.

Essay Option 5

Despite their origins in the gupta empire of india or ancient egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. what modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why.

– Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027

Calling all game-fanatics: this is the perfect opportunity to wax poetic about your favorite pastime! Whether you’re convinced that Dungeons and Dragons is here to stay or that cyborgs will be playing Uno in space station community halls in 2123, this is the opportunity for you to make your case. Now, there are some pitfalls that come with this prompt, so beware. Although admissions is asking about games, they really want to get to know the player behind the game (i.e. YOU). Use this prompt to offer admissions more insight into who you are and what makes you tick. Don’t slip down the slope of dedicating too many words to explaining rules and intricacies; instead, reflect on why you love the games you do and why you think gameplay is important to humanity or what is required to withstand the test of time. 

Essay Option 6

There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. but of course, some rules should be broken or updated. what is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist (our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. enjoy).

– Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026

This prompt option will likely jump out to those who have been questioning the silly little things humans do since they were toddlers. Well, here’s your chance to call us out. Maybe you’ve always been an incredibly direct person and consistently puz zled by the way the people in your community communicate between the lines. Or, perhaps there is just one unwritten rule that you’d like to strike down for the rest of eternity (NO MORE TALKING TO STRANGERS ON HIKING TRAILS!). See how you can finesse your response to reveal more information about your interests, goals, and character through an unsavory unspoken cultural agreement.

Essay Option 7

And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option in the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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.

We love all the prompts from the past —there are so many quirky ones! If this year’s questions aren’t inspiring you, don’t be afraid to peruse the archives to find one that stands out to you. If you belong at UChicago, there is no doubt you will find a prompt that sparks a story within you. 

We’d also like to note that this is a great opportunity for recycling essays. If you wrote a strong longform essay for another school, see if any of the old prompts work in your favor, or make up your own question custom-built for your essay. Good luck! 😊

About Kat Stubing

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IMAGES

  1. How to Answer the University of Chicago Essay Prompts

    how to answer university of chicago essay questions

  2. How to Answer the 2023-2024 UChicago Essay Prompts Explained by a

    how to answer university of chicago essay questions

  3. How To Get Into The University Of Chicago: Step-By-Step

    how to answer university of chicago essay questions

  4. Answering the Uni of Chicago Supplemental Essay Prompts

    how to answer university of chicago essay questions

  5. University of Chicago Essay Guide

    how to answer university of chicago essay questions

  6. University of Chicago Supplemental Essay 2021-2022 -U of C Essay

    how to answer university of chicago essay questions

VIDEO

  1. Chicago's Morning Answer (LIVE)

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  3. Chicago's Morning Answer (LIVE)

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  6. Chicago's Morning Answer (LIVE)

COMMENTS

  1. The 7 UChicago Essay Prompts: How to Write Stellar Responses

    Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. Essay Option 3: "Vlog," "Labradoodle," and "Fauxmage.". Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a "patch" (perfect match). Essay Option 4: A jellyfish is not a fish.

  2. UChicago Supplemental Essay Questions

    The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our provocative essay questions. We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. ... Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. - Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB'21. Essay Option 3 "Vlog ...

  3. How to Write the University of Chicago Supplemental Essays

    Step #1: Do your research. Spend 1 hr+ researching 10+ reasons why UChicago might be a great fit for you (ideally 3-5 of the reasons will be unique to UChicago and connect back to you). Step #2: Use this chart to map out your research. Step #3: Decide on your approach.

  4. How to Write the University of Chicago Essays 2022-2023

    Communicate who you are as an academic. The point of your essay is still to tell admissions officers about yourself. Give them an image of how you will perform in and contribute to an academic environment. You can't just gush about your topic—you have to prove that you can engage with it at a highly intellectual level.

  5. A Guide to the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    A Guide to the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2023-2024. As you prepare to apply to the University of Chicago, we all know that admission is far from guaranteed, with an acceptance rate of approximately 5%. However, the challenge doesn't stop there. The essays required for UChicago are anything but ordinary.

  6. How to Respond to the 2023/2024 University of Chicago Supplemental

    Essay question #2: The extended essay. For the extended essay portion of your application, UChicago provides applicants with seven unorthodox essay options. Each of these choices were created by UChicago alumni and students, which means these questions were made with you in mind.

  7. A Guide to the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

    The UChicago Supplemental Essays 2022-2023. UChicago prides itself on its thought-provoking supplemental essay prompts. Use these as an opportunity to introduce yourself, what you're passionate about, and your ambitions and goals. Although there is no set word limit for any of the prompts, InGenius Prep counselor Natalia Ostrowski, who worked ...

  8. How to Write the University of Chicago Essays 2020-2021

    Read the 2021-2022 UChicago essay guide. UChicago is a rigorous, top-tier school located in beautiful Hyde Park, Chicago. It's famed for its research emphasis, neo-gothic architecture, and school of economics. If you're interested in delving deep into theory, bookishness, and the most hardcore of academic materials, UChicago may be your place.

  9. A Guide to the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

    The UChicago supplemental essays 2021-2022 can help admissions officers see how you might combine your creative and analytical sides. First of all, think about what you want to measure—and don't be afraid to go out of the box. It could be the way to calculate the amount of maroon in UChicago's logo, it could be a unit to measure the ...

  10. University of Chicago's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

    Option 7. And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, 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 ...

  11. How to Write the UChicago Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    The University of Chicago supplemental essays are designed to test your creativity, reveal your curiosities, and highlight your unique spark. Known as the quirkiest prompts on the college essay circuit, the UChicago essays strike fear into the hearts of many aspiring Chicagoans. But in reality, the UChicago supplemental essays are one of the few places in a college essay where your personality ...

  12. University of Chicago 2021-22 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    University of Chicago 2021-22 Application Essay Question Explanations. The Requirements: 2 essays of 1-2 pages each. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball. This is it, the infamous U Chicago supplemental application. These quirky prompts have been a rite of passage for generations of applicants. So before you dive in, just remember that if ...

  13. UChicago Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    UChicago Question 2. For the second of UChicago's supplemental essays 2023-2024, applicants are presented with diverse prompts, each requiring a unique approach and a deep well of creativity. Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary.

  14. 2 Great UChicago Essay Examples

    The important part is to connect the answer back to the rest of the essay, and thus emphasize how the answer relates to you. Essay Example #2 Prompt: 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.

  15. How To Answer U Chicago's Supplemental Essay Prompts 2022/23

    How to answer Prompt 2. The University of Chicago is renowned for its provocative essay questions. These questions allow students to tell the school more about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. Students approach these questions with absolute seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.

  16. Prompt's How-to Guide for the University of Chicago Essays

    In a nutshell, UChicago's prompts consist of two required essays with no word limit: Why UChicago. [ Prompt suggests 250-500 words.] Choose from a vast selection of "eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky" essay prompts. And "have fun!" [Prompt suggests~650 words.] Finally, all writing calls for feedback. Especially college essays.

  17. University of Chicago essay questions

    1. Embrace the unconventional nature of the prompts: Unlike many other schools, the University of Chicago intentionally designs its essay questions to be offbeat and thought-provoking. When reading your response, admissions officers are looking for the same qualities.

  18. Essay Prompts 2021

    Essay Prompts 2021. The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our 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. About UChicago and Our Philosophy.

  19. How to Write the University of Chicago Supplemental Essays

    Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. - Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB'21. 3. "Vlog," "Labradoodle," and "Fauxmage.". Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a "patch" (perfect match). - Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027. 4.

  20. How to Write the University of Chicago Essays 2020-2021 ...

    While the essay has no instructions regarding word count or structure, the admissions office advises to stay between 250-500 words. Remember to keep your essay specific, and avoid generalities like "I will excel given the school's rigorous academics.". Tell them which academics, and how you will excel.

  21. University of Chicago 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    University of Chicago 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations. The Requirements: 2 essays of 1-2 pages each. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball. This is it, the infamous U Chicago supplemental application. These quirky prompts have been a rite of passage for generations of applicants, so before you dive in, just remember: if they ...