Yes, it’s that time again, as the mundane meets the off-the-wall in the University of Chicago questions for 2019-2020. The mundane comes first:
University of Chicago Question 1 for 2019-2020 (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.
Their first question is pretty typical for many schools–call it the “Why I want to go there” question. This comes in many guises, but always suggests that you need to do some due diligence and get to know U Chicago more. It’s okay to have some attitude, but the prompt suggests that you not just wing it by yacking about crazy times doing the scavenger hunt, etc, etc. You should be looking at bit at the programs and areas you might choose for study. You are going to find this question in many applications, some more tightly focused than others, such as Cornell’s perennial College Interest essay in which you identify your area of study and discuss it and what your plans at Cornell are. I would suggest that this essay demands the due diligence of a couple of hours of clicking and reading on U Chicago’s website, but also chasing down particular work of interest by particular people in particular areas, up to and including reading up on research and experimental programs and projects that are ongoing.
Obviously not all research opportunities are open to undergrads, but in showing awareness and an ambition to participate you sketch a picture of yourself while showing that you have a high level of interest. And Chicago does have a focus on undergraduate research. Here are a couple of places to start looking at Chicago as a place to study:
Once you have looked through these, just keep looking around their website(s). Take the international opportunities: UChicago International
And let’s not forget the Humanities, Oh Humans: UChicago Humanities
And finally, the University of Chicago’s Admissions Blog, which is about much more than admissions and has quite a bit on campus life:
And why not, here is the famous Scavenger Hunt–
Scavenger hunt: Lore. The hunt represents the University of Chicago’s world view, taken to an extreme, so it is worth knowing about. You will get a broader look at the atmosphere and outlook of the university in a recent article published in the New Yorker: U of C Scavenger Hunt. Like my website, the New Yorker has a paywall on some content; if you or your parents have a New Yorker subscription, you can read the full article; if not, you may need to pay for access to it. This article does give you some history and insight into Chicago’s essay prompts and school tradition as well as the scavenger hunt itself–I’d say it is worth the fee to learn more about the school.
And finally, I have posted on writing for the U Chicago Prompt 1 before; take a look here:
That’s it for now. Take notes and start working on it. Go for a catchy hook and opener . . . .I can help with that and more ideas on where to find information for U Chicago if you want to work on essay development and editing–
Next up: the Off-the-Wall, otherwise known as Chicago’s Essay Number Two, which allows you to write about one of this year’s new prompts or pick from a selection of past questions–I have posted extensively on some of these in the past and will provide links to my discussions on past questions. Check out my post on U Chicago’s 2019-2020 Question 2 for more.