Every year, the University of Chicago asks applicants to write an additional long essay. Their prompts are some of the most creative around. They can often spark a great essay that applicants can use somewhere else or that even can become their common application long essays.
Here is the full supplement.
2013-2014 University of Chicago Writing Supplement.
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.Required Extended Essay. (Required, 275 Word Maximum, Paste In).
2. 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. (Required, 275 Word Maximum, Paste In).
3. Choose one of the six extended essay options and upload a one- or two- page response. (Required, Upload). Please upload your response here. Hint: A .pdf file under 500 KB in size will be accepted.
Essay Option 1.
Winston Churchill believed “a joke is a very serious thing.” From Off-Off Campus’s improvisations to the Shady Dealer humor magazine to the renowned Latke-Hamantash debate, we take humor very seriously here at The University of Chicago (and we have since 1959, when our alums helped found the renowned comedy theater The Second City).
Tell us your favorite joke and try to explain the joke without ruining it.
-Chelsea Fine, Class of 2016
Essay Option 2.
In a famous quote by José Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher proclaims, “Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia” (1914). José Quintans, master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago, sees it another way: “Yo soy yo y mi microbioma” (2012).
You are you and your..?
-Maria Viteri, Class of 2016
Essay Option 3.
This is what history consists of. It’s the sum total of all the things they aren’t telling us.– Don DeLillo, Libra. What is history, who are “they,” and what aren’t they telling us?
-Amy Estersohn, Class of 2010
Essay Option 4.
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:http://www.mantisshrimp.uchicago.edu What might they be able to see that we cannot?
What are we missing?
-Tess Moran, Class of 2016
Essay Option 5.
How are apples and oranges supposed to be compared? Possible answers involve, but are not limited to, statistics, chemistry, physics, linguistics, and philosophy.
-Florence Chan, Class of 2015
Essay Option 6.
In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful, then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.