2019 - 2020 University of Chicago Essay Prompts

The University of Chicago is known for their witty (and somewhat bizarre) college essay prompts, inspiring essays written with a blend of creative thinking and a fair sense of humor. If you’re thinking about applying to the University of Chicago, definitely check out these prompts:

Question 1 (Required)

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.

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1

Cats have nine lives, Pac-Man has 3 lives, and radioactive isotopes have half-lives. How many lives does something else—conceptual or actual—have, and why?

Essay Option 2

If there’s a limited amount of matter in the universe, how can Olive Garden (along with other restaurants and their concepts of food infinity) offer truly unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks? Explain this using any method of analysis you wish—physics, biology, economics, history, theology… the options, as you can tell, are endless.

Essay Option 3

A hot dog might be a sandwich, and cereal might be a soup, but is a ______ a ______?

Essay Option 4

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” – Jessamyn West

Essay Option 5

UChicago has international campus centers around the world, but we don’t have any interplanetary, interstellar, or interdimensional campuses… yet! Propose a spot in time or space, in this or any universe, for a new UChicago campus. What types of courses would be taught at this site? What cultural experiences await students who study there?

Essay Option 6

“Don’t be afraid to pick past prompts! I liked some of the ones from previous years more than those made newly available for my year. Also, don’t worry about the ‘correct’ way to interpret a question. If there exists a correct way to interpret the prompt I chose, it certainly was not my answer.”

In the spirit of adventurous inquiry (and with the encouragement of one of our current students!) choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). 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!

Source: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/apply/uchicago-supplemental-essay-questions

Got an idea for one of these? Let us know!

Admissions Mentoring provides personalized one-on-one application mentoring services for students applying to colleges and other elite institutions. We work with students and families around the world to craft competitive applications. Click here to schedule a free consultation.