I've never known a school whose application reflects its personality better than that of the University of Chicago. Even when they moved to the Common Application two years ago (and jettisoned their beloved "Uncommon Application"), Chicago's supplemental essay questions are still the same sort of intellectual, thoughtful and just plain quirky prompts we've come to expect from them.
U of C is a place where fit is just as important as intellect. The strongest applicants here are those who get giddy about the idea of immersing themselves in the experience that is unique to U of C, and they're able to express that on the application. If you think you're a good match, here are a few tips to help make the most of the opportunities the application allows.
Before you start, really consider why you want to attend U of C.
I say that because U of C is almost certainly not the place for you if you are applying because "it's a great school" or "it has a great reputation." You could say that about lots of other colleges, and proud Chicago students and faculty would be the first to tell you that the University of Chicago is most certainly not like other schools. True matches are keenly aware of this fact. I'll talk more about this below when we get to the essay question that asks why you want to attend.
Here are the supplemental essay prompts with their directions.
Respond to Question 1 – and, if you choose, Question 2 – by writing a paragraph or two for each question. Then choose one of the five extended essay options, indicate your choice, and write a one- or two-page response. This is your chance to speak to us and our chance to listen as you tell us about yourself, your tastes, and your ambitions. Each topic can be addressed with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between-it is your choice. Play, analyze (don't agonize), create, compose-let us hear the result of your thinking about something that interests you, in a voice that is your own.
Required Question 1. 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 Chicago.