U Of A Admission Essay Prompt

Undergraduate Application Options

Transfer and freshman students alike can apply using either the U of M application linked above, the Common Application, or the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success application.

We do not have a preference for which application platform you use, but please submit only one application. Submitting more than one application will delay your admission decision.

Freshman and transfer definition:

  • You are a freshman applicant if you will graduate from high school in 2018. (Even if you will complete college credits while in high school.) You are also a freshman if you have graduated from high school, but have NOT enrolled at a college, university, or any other school after high school.
  • You are a transfer applicant if you are a high school graduate who has registered or enrolled at a college, university, or any other school after graduating from high school.

Note about Civic Engagement:

The University of Minnesota welcomes free speech. A student applying for admission to the University, who has been suspended for participation in a protest, would not be required to report such activities. In the application for admission, we do provide students with space to share more information about themselves and their particular beliefs and the activities in which they have engaged and feel are important. We are consistently in awe of the great work that high school students are accomplishing to make their community, state, and country better.

Other application links:

Application Checklists

We look at several pieces of information to make an admission decision. Be sure to use these application checklists to ensure your application is complete by the deadline!

Application Deadlines

Be sure to meet these important deadlines! Applications received or completed after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis.

Application Tracker

You can use this tool to determine which application materials have been received, and whether a decision has been made on your application.

Admission Decisions

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 from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.

To begin working on your UChicago supplement visit, getstarted.uchicago.edu, the Coalition Application, or the Common Application.

2017-18 UChicago Supplement:

Required Question:

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.

Extended Essay Questions:

(Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1.

“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert

Sometimes, people talk a lot about popular subjects to assure ‘victory’ in conversation or understanding, and leave behind topics of less popularity, but great personal or intellectual importance. What do you think is important but under-discussed?

-Anonymous Suggestion

Essay Option 2.

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: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/academics/majors-minors.

-Inspired by Josh Kaufman, Class of 2018

Essay Option 3.

Earth. Fire. Wind. Water. Heart! Captain Planet supposes that the world is made up of these five elements. We’re familiar with the previously-noted set and with actual elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, but select and explain another small group of things (say, under five) that you believe compose our world.

-Inspired by Dani Plung, Class of 2017

Essay Option 4.

The late New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham once said "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization." Tell us about your “armor.”

-Inspired by Adam Berger, Class of 2020

Essay Option 5.

Fans of the movie Sharknado say that they enjoy it because “it’s so bad, it’s good.” Certain automobile owners prefer classic cars because they “have more character.” And recently, vinyl record sales have skyrocketed because it is perceived that they have a warmer, fuller sound. Discuss something that you love not in spite of but rather due to its quirks or imperfections.

-Inspired by Alex Serbanescu, Class of 2021

Essay Option 6.

In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose your own question or choose one of our past prompts. 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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