As you start to research and write college supplemental essays, you’ll notice most prompts are pretty similar. Why do you want to attend this school? What are your academic goals and how will you pursue them? Describe a moment of failure and what you learned from it. It’s easy to understand why these questions are commonly asked. However, one university takes a different approach to the supplemental essay. University of Chicago asks creative questions intended to let you demonstrate your personality.
Every year, UChicago asks their current and past students to submit essay prompts for the upcoming application cycle. About 1,000 submissions are received annually–current UChigaco students love submitting prompts because they actually enjoyed writing the supplement when they applied. The admissions committee chooses five of the submitted prompts to use in their application. If none of the current prompts spark any ideas, they also allow applicants to choose from any of the past prompts or, if they want to be even more creative, they can even write their own! The admissions officers offer multiple options because they recognize students have unique interests and experiences. Here is a list of the current prompts for the current application cycle. Our personal favorite for this year is “what’s so easy about pie?” Our past favorites include “so where is Waldo, really?” and “what can actually be divided by zero?”
Unlike other college supplements, there are many different ways to approach these questions. The admissions officers at UChicago want to gain insight into what makes you, you. They want to learn how you adapt and react to new situations using your critical thinking skills. Creativity, flexibility, and exploration are important UChicago values, and the school will use your supplement to determine if you would be a good fit and add to their unique student body. These creative prompts warrant creative answers. You can be sure that your answer to this question will be unique to you. Are you witty? Sarcastic? Inquisitive? However you choose to describe yourself, make sure that comes across in your essay. So, give each prompt some thought, see which inspires an idea, and make sure your personality shines through.
The UChicago supplement provides a welcome respite in the sea of monotonous essay writing. It provides a creative outlet to express yourself, your personality and your hook. Besides, when else will you be able to write about where Waldo is? With this essay, even the sky is not the limit.