College Essay Prompts 2014-15

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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.

Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).

PS: A picture is worth a thousand words.“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” –Oscar Wilde. Heisenberg claims that you cannot know both the position and momentum of an electron with total certainty.

Susan Sontag, AB’51, wrote that “[s]ilence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend.

The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.“…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present.” —The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern Present: pres·ent 1.

) choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). 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! Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution.

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. Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History... In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure.

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.

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