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If you aren’t familiar with the UChicago essay prompts, you are really missing out. While many schools go the simple “Why” essay route, Chicago marches to its own drummer. As a college essay consultant, I love these essays so much. They are fun, challenging, and make the applicant think in creative ways they may be unaccustomed to. I spent hours with applicants just talking through the essays, trying to find the prompt that will be the most fun for them to write. My applicants are excited to apply to Chicago, but here’s the thing – they never ask, “What are they looking for?” The simple answer is, “No! What do you want to give them?”

So you go – the new essay prompts for this year. Don’t forget you can also use an essay from a previous year. My advice with these is, as always, “Be weird!”

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)

Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary.

“Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer.

“Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match).

A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept.

Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why?

There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. But of course, some rules should be broken or updated. What is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist? (Our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. Enjoy!)