Fall 2016 University of Chicago Uncommon Writing Supplement Prompts


Fall 2016 2015-2016 University of Chicago Writing Supplement

Thank goodness the University of Chicago relishes college application essays. Tuesday, June 2, 2015, they released their 2015-2016 prompts for Fall 2016 applicants. Here’s the text of its email announcing the prompts. Check our website and app for other updates as they get released. 

uchicag“As the University of Chicago prepares to celebrate our 125th year this fall, we’ve gotten a little nostalgic about our traditions. A lot has changed in 125 years–the swim test is no longer a graduation requirement, and the University’s groundbreaking work in economicspolitics, and molecular engineeringis supported by amazing new institutes. But surprisingly, a lot has stayed the same–our commitment to fearless inquiry, the importance of asking big, important questions, and our traditional Uncommon admissions essays. Every year, our applicants choose one of several prompts to respond to, none of which fit the “traditional” college essay mold. Think of this as a chance to think creatively, apply your knowledge, and have some fun. Wherever your imagination leads you, enjoy the adventure!

So, without further ado, here are the 2015-2016 University of Chicago essay prompts:

  1. Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll,
    ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced?
    Inspired by Payton Weidenbacher, Class of 2015
  2.  “I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” –Maxine Hong Kingston. What paradoxes do you live with?
    Inspired by Danna Shen, Class of 2019
  3. Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story.
    Inspired by Drew Donaldson, Class of 2016
  4. “Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” –Paul Gauguin.
    What is your “art”? Is it plagiarism or revolution?
    Inspired by Kaitlyn Shen, Class of 2018.
  5. Rerhceseras say it’s siltl plisbsoe to raed txet wtih olny the frist and lsat ltteres in palce. Tihs is beaucse the hamun mnid can fnid oderr in dorsdier. Give us your best example of finding order in disorder. (For your reader’s sake, please use full sentences with conventional spelling).
    Also inspired by Payton Weidenbacher, Class of 2015. Payton is extra-inspirational this year!
  6. In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful, then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.
  7. In the spirit of historically adventurous inquiry, to celebrate the University of Chicago’s 125thanniversary, please feel free to select from any of our past essay questions. A collection of prompts can be found at U Chicago Past Prompts

From All College Application Essays.

These were also part of the University of Chicago 2014-2015 Supplement. We will update the entire set of requirements as they are released in mid-June. 

2. 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, Upload)

3. Freshman Applicants Only: 

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. (Optional, Upload)

3. Transfer Applicants Only: Please tell us why you are planning to leave (or have already left) your current college or university. (Required, Upload)

*Students may create a UChicago Account before or after beginning the Common or Universal Application. To create a UChicago account before you begin working on either application, please visit getstarted.uchicago.edu. If you would like to create a UChicago account after beginning to work on the Universal Application or Common Application, we will send you an email with instructions on how to do so. When you sign in to your UChicago Account, you will be able to submit your UChicago Supplement, complete and update your profile, apply for financial aid, upload supplementary materials, and view your admissions decision.

Questions about technical matters related to using the Common Application should be directed to the folks at the Common Application or Universal Application. Questions about our own requirements and recommendations should be directed to us.


About Rebecca

Dr. Rebecca Joseph is the developer of this unique integrated website and mobile application that provides all college application requirements for more than 750 major universities in the US and Canada. She has a PhD from UCLA and is a national expert on writing powerful college application essays.

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