2014-2015 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO WRITING SUPPLEMENT ESSAYS
THANKS TO U CHICAGO FOR THE EARLY RELEASE OF THEIR 2014-2015 ESSAY TOPICS
FROM THEIR SITE:
“The University of Chicago has long been renowned for its 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.
Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics. We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky.
As you can see by the attributions, some of the questions below were inspired by submissions by your peers.
2014-15 Essay Questions:
Essay Option 1.
What’s so odd about odd numbers? Inspired by Mario Rosasco, Class of 2009.
Essay Option 2.
In French, there is no difference between “conscience” and “consciousness”. In Japanese, there is a word that specifically refers to the splittable wooden chopsticks you get at restaurants. The German word “fremdschämen” encapsulates the feeling you get when you’re embarrassed on behalf of someone else. All of these require explanation in order to properly communicate their meaning, and are, to varying degrees, untranslatable. Choose a word, tell us what it means, and then explain why it cannot (or should not) be translated from its original language.
— Inspired by Emily Driscoll, an incoming student in the Class of 2018
Essay Option 3.
Little pigs, french hens, a family of bears. Blind mice, musketeers, the Fates. Parts of an atom, laws of thought, a guideline for composition. Omne trium perfectum? Create your own group of threes, and describe why and how they fit together.
— Inspired by Zilin Cui, an incoming student in the Class of 2018
Essay Option 4.
Were pH an expression of personality, what would be your pH and why? (Feel free to respond acidly! Do not be neutral, for that is base!)
— Inspired by Joshua Harris, Class of 2016
Essay Option 5.
A neon installation by the artist Jeppe Hein in UChicago’s Charles M. Harper Center asks this question for us: “Why are you here and not somewhere else?” (There are many potential values of “here”, but we already know you’re “here” to apply to the University of Chicago; pick any “here” besides that one).
— Inspired by Erin Hart, Class of 2016
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.”