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The 7 UChicago Essay Prompts: How to Write Stellar Responses

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 18, 2020 12:00:00 PM

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? 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 2020/2021 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 around 250-500 words.

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.

 


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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. UChicago recommends this essay be around 650 words. (While they can be longer, the admissions office recommends against it!)

Below are the essay prompts for the 2020/2021 school year.

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).

 

Essay Option 2: What can actually be divided by zero?

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?

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.

Essay Option 5: "Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so.

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.


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!

 

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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.

 

Question 1: Why UChicago?

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 your school. Your essay should explain how you'll take 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
  • Discussing your future major and career path without connecting it back to what UChicago offers
  • Bashing other schools

 

Question 2: Extended Essay

The extended essay is when you can get especially creative. This question requires you to move outside your comfort zone of typical essay topics and answer one of the prompts in a way that gives readers insight into who you are and what you care about.

 

What Do They Want to See in Your Response?

Your response Question 1 is meant to show what about UChicago you liked and how you were going to make the most of the opportunities it offered. 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 response to this essay are:

  • Your story
  • 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 helped 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, do so!

 

Potential Topics to Write About

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. 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

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).

 

The UChicago Optional Essay prompts kick off with probably the wackiest option. The purpose of this tongue twister prompt is to allow you to show off your storytelling and logic skills. To respond to this prompt, you'll need to pick a tongue twister—any tongue twister—and explain your idea of what it means.

Now, it's probably obvious that UChicago isn't looking for some universal solution to the tongue twister you choose (there probably isn't one, anyway!). Instead, they want to see how imaginative you can be. Can you dream up an explanation for your tongue twister that's surprising, clever, and totally original? This should be one of your main goals if you choose to respond to this prompt.

So, pick a tongue twister, choose an approach, and get to brainstorming. Here's an example. Say you "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers" and decide to perform a cultural analysis of it, start by asking some questions and thinking about how you'd answer them. Why did Peter Piper pick an entire peck of pickled peppers? Is he making some spices? Is he going to sell his spices at the market? Does this ultimately mean that Peter Piper's peck of pickled peppers have travelled around the world, seasoning delicious meals for many different people?

This is just an example, of course, and you'll probably be able to think of many more important questions to ask to help you flesh out the story behind—and, ultimately, the solution to—the tongue twister you pick.

 

Essay Option 2

What can actually be divided by zero?

 

While this essay question seems like a math problem, it's actually just asking you to show how you think. 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.

For instance, could go for a rhetorical analysis of the question itself by broadly interpreting the word "divided" as "separated" or "set apart" by zero, then writing about something that you imagine could be separated by zero. You could also interpret zero as meaning "nothing" and consider writing about things that can be divided or split up by nothing. But those are just possibilities, and there's probably no wrong answer to this question. If you can think of a compelling explanation for how and why something can be divided by zero, pick it up and run with it.

Ultimately, responding to this prompt requires thinking outside the box about the wording of the question and the concepts included in the question. If you're able to come up with an interesting, logical explanation for why the thing you propose can be divided by zero, you'll be on the right track for a good response to this prompt.

 

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?

 

The Quadrivium and the Trivium are curricula from the Middle Ages, each made up of three distinct but compatible disciplines. These are the subjects that were considered crucial for a student's education during that historical period. These subjects make up the core of a modern education too.

But what if you have some different ideas about what subjects are crucial for everyone to know? This prompt is your chance to describe and justify your own version of the Quadrivium or the Trivium. You can get started by asking, "Are there bodies of knowledge I'm that have enriched my life? How do they relate to each other? How would I organize them into my own Quadrivium or Trivium?"

It's totally appropriate to get really specific in your answers here. For instance, if you're interested in an obscure subculture and want to justify how everyone would benefit from learning about it...go for it. Above all, be sure your response incorporates a justification for your proposed version of an essential education. And, remember: it's perfectly fine if your answers border on the bizarre!

 

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.

 

If you don't know what a Lewis diagram is, fear not: this essay prompt is basically just asking you to rewrite the connections among related places, things, people, and/or concepts and explain your revisions. This means you can choose any map, diagram, or chart and present your version of it.

Like with the other questions on this list, if you don't have a specific map or chart that comes to mind immediately, your best bet for choosing a topic for this essay is probably thinking through your interests, passions, talents...or even just things that reflect your sense of humor. For instance, if you're a passionate gardener, you could reimagine Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as "Maslow's Hierarchy of Seeds," replacing the different levels of his classification system with the seeds you'd need in order to grow a garden that allows you to be self-sustaining.

Of course, you don't have to be that cheesy. There are likely many areas of interest that you can draw from in order to reimagine a map, diagram, or chart. What's perhaps most important in your response is to think of your selected map as a system of connections. If you rearrange or reimagine those connections, how will the whole system be affected? How would you describe the new system?

 

Essay Option 5

"Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so.

 

We see it all the time on social media: memes circulating with misattributed quotes. Besides being a sign of the times, at its core, this prompt is really just asking you to select a quote and then explain it...but with a twist! Answering this question requires you to do three main things: 1) select a quote, 2) misattribute it, and 3) explain. Now, let's dig into how to handle this step-by-step.

Selecting a quote might seem difficult because you can truly pick anything. To narrow it down, think about quotes that you've found meaningful, confusing, or funny. Above all, make sure you understand the original context of the quote and what its intended meaning is. This will help you explain the implications of the misattribution later on.

After you select a quote, you have to decide who you'll misattribute it to. There are several effective approaches here as well. You could go for something similar to the misattribution in the prompt and make it comical. You could be serious and think about how misattributing the quote would change society as we know it. Whatever you decide, take time to piece together a strategy for your explanation of the misattribution. Doing so should help you settle on who you'll choose.

The final piece of your response is explaining the implications of misattributing the quote. To do this, you want to think beyond the obvious implications, like misleading people or spreading false information. Consider questions like, "How would being associated with this quote change this person's identity? Their public image? Their role in history? Their impact on society?" Answering these questions can get you started on a solid explanation of the implications of misattributing your chosen quote.

 

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.

 

You don't need vast knowledge about history's quirkiest inventions to respond to this prompt, but you do need to think about how problem-solving can work. In fact, this question asks you to invert the problem-solving process that we're most familiar with in order to think like a world-famous inventor. In other words, this question asks you to show your ability to envision solutions in daily life and put them into practice.

So, how do you write a stellar answer to this question? You might start by thinking about the mundane aspects of your everyday life and imagining them as solutions to problems. Are there any weird life hacks that you rely on that you could reimagine as solutions to weird problems? Is there a service or product that you dream of using but doesn't exist? Write that up as an interesting solution, then describe the problem that it solves.

And, remember: while you want to make sure that your proposed solution would actually solve the problem you describe, the problem itself can be bizarre, uncommon, or even unlikely. It could be a past, present, or future problem that you dream up! The solutions described in the essay prompt probably seemed weird at the time, but now they're just part of life. Use the same logic to dream up your solution-problem, and think about how it could change our lives.

 

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!

 

If you aren't feeling any of the other six 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.

 

Topics to Avoid

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 an 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 5, don't just state that you'd create a spell that blocked out all nearby sound. You'd want to tie it back to yourself and your life by explaining the reasoning. For example, maybe you have a grandparent living with you, and you want them to be able to relax in peace.)

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 can 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.

 

Question 1

Dear University of Chicago,

It fills me up with that gooey sap you feel late at night when I think about things that are really special to me about you. Sometimes I just hunger for more, but I keep that a secret. The mail you send is such a tease; I like to imagine additional words on the page. Words like "you're accepted" or "you're awesome!" or "don't worry, she still loves you!" but I know they're all lies. You never called after that one time, I visited you thrice, but you never come around anymore. Tell me, was I just one in a line of many? Was I just another supple "applicant" to you, looking for a place to live, looking for someone to teach me the ways of the world? The closeness between us was beautiful, it couldn't have been just me that felt it, I know you felt it too. The intimacy was akin to that of scholar and original text, your depth as a person is astounding! To be honest, I must confess I had already dreamt of a rosy future together, one filled with late nights and long discussions over the Gothic era and the ethical stage of Kierkegaard, we would watch the sunset together and spend every Christmas snuggled in blankets. Eventually we would get older, I would become a well-educated corporate lawyer and you would enrich yourself within the domain of human knowledge. Your cup overfloweth with academic genius, pour a little on me. You're legendary for it, they all told me it would never work out between us, but I had hope. I had so much hope; I replied to your adorable letters and put up with your puns. I knew going into it that you would be an expensive one to keep around, I accounted for all that; I understand someone of your caliber and taste.

 

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.'

Always,

Rohan

 

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 prompts 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.

 

Question 2

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

Here 's the prompt:

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 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 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 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 Sarikas
About the Author

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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