Colleges That Require Supplemental Essays

Tell us the story of a street, path, road—real or imagined or metaphorical.

University of Chicago alumna and renowned author/critic Susan Sontag said, “The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.” We all have heard serious questions, absurd questions, and seriously absurd questions, some of which cannot be answered without obliterating the very question. Superstring theory has revolutionized speculation about the physical world by suggesting that strings play a pivotal role in the universe.

Choose a word, tell us what it means, and then explain why it cannot (or should not) be translated from its original language. The mantis shrimp can perceive both polarized light and multispectral images; they have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom.

Human eyes have color receptors for three colors (red, green, and blue); the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain.

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… UChicago has international campus centers around the world, but we don’t have any interplanetary, interstellar, or interdimensional campuses… Propose a spot in time or space, in this or any universe, for a new UChicago campus.

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.

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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