university of chicago personal essay

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University of Chicago’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Select-a-prompt essay.

Choose one of the seven extended essay options and upload a one- or two-page response. Please include the prompt at the top of the page.

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. —Inspired by Emmett Cho, Class of 2027

“Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. —Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB‘21

“Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match). —Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027

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. —Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027

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? —Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027

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!) —Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026

And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, thought provoking. 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 This College Essay

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.

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

Admissions Tips: How to Write Essays That Elevate Your Application

Esha Banerjee (MA'18), writes on how to write an effective admissions essay.

You’ve filled out your name, academic information, and work experience, uploaded your transcripts and test scores, and requested letters of recommendation. Now you face the Herculean task of writing the motivation statement and questions race through your mind: What to write? How to start? How do I fit everything in so few words, or for some, how do I write so much about myself? Should I start with a quote or is it too cliché?

As you keep staring at the blank screen in frustration, with the cursor blinking as a constant reminder that you should be writing, consider these few words of advice from a fellow sufferer.

Essays shouldn’t be a one-night or all-nighter task    

These essays tend to not be something you can just ace in one night. They should accurately represent the "essence" of you that needs to be presented to someone who has never known you personally and has limited information to assess your admissions profile. Give yourself enough time to work through drafts and reflect on your writing. Do not panic if you haven’t started the process earlier; learn to pace yourself well and set personal deadlines.

To finish, you have to start

When you start, it’s easy to get bogged down by the whole scheme of things: how the essay is going to turn out, how to fit in all the content, how it will flow, etc. Just be confident and type down those first few words; write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t be afraid of hastily scribbling down words— you can ruthlessly edit later. Throw in small paragraphs adding in whatever you feel is relevant — it will make sense in the end.

Google is not the answer for everything

Google might help you with facts, but writing your statement is something that you have to do on your own. Do not be tempted by sample essays on the internet or the essay that your mentor or friend so helpfully provided you. By all means, seek advice from people but do not try to build up on an existing essay. Your essay needs to be as original as you are! Admission committees value honesty and have an uncanny knack for detecting botchy work.

To write is human; to edit is divine

Edit mercilessly. While editing, try to get rid of redundant words and paragraphs that do not make sense when placed one after the other. Do not be afraid to reorganize and reorder. Detach yourself from your essay and judge it as an observer. Treat your life as a movie and think of the viewer. Does it make sense to them? If you find it lacking, go back and start over. While the next bit of advice is obvious, it is often overlooked in haste: make sure your writing is free from grammatical and spelling errors and the formatting looks good. Stick to standard fonts and font sizes.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions

Let someone who knows you well look over your essay. Sometimes, we tend to miss achievements and aspects of our life that our well-wishers might be quick to point out. Do not be defensive about feedback — it is what will make your writing better!

Begin planning to complete your essays and application today . 

Good luck and happy writing!

P.S. Never make the cardinal mistake of forgetting to edit the name of the school you are writing the essay for! 

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 4 tips for writing a stand-out 'why uchicago' essay.

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College Essays


For students applying to the University of Chicago, the "why UChicago?" essay is more straightforward than most of the other essay prompts you'll see, but it can still be intimidating to try to figure out how you should tackle this essay.

What should you mention? What will impress the admissions team? What are they really looking for in your response?

We break down the "why UChicago?" essay, explain everything the University of Chicago is looking for in this essay, suggest topics to write about that'll help you stand out, and provide "why UChicago?" essay examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

The Why UChicago Essay Prompt

The "why UChicago?" essay is the only prompt that shows up every year on the UChicago application. It's also the only prompt that everyone must answer (you'll have multiple prompts to choose between for the other essay). This alone should tell you that the University of Chicago takes applicants' responses to this prompt very seriously.

Here is the prompt:

"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."

There is no strict word limit to this essay, but UChicago suggests a response of one to two pages.

What Is the Purpose of This Essay?

Why does UChicago require applicants to answer this essay? What are they really looking for in your response? Let's analyze this prompt.

No matter which schools you're applying to, "why our college?" is probably the most common prompt you'll see on college applications, and for good reason: colleges, including the University of Chicago, want to see that you really want to attend their school. Why? Applicants who love UChicago are more likely to accept an offer of admission, be committed to their studies, participate in extracurriculars, and give back after they graduate.

If you show in your essay that you really love UChicago, it makes admissions officers feel more confident you're going to have a significant and positive impact on their school.

If you can't give any compelling reasons for choosing UChicago or you don't seem to have done much research on it, that makes UChicago admissions staff worry that you're not that invested and will do only the bare minimum in college without having much of an impact at the school or afterward. They may also think you don't really care about getting into their school, which can make them less likely to admit you.

Additionally, UChicago asks you to write this essay to ensure that you and their school are a good fit for each other . If you use the "why UChicago?" essay to talk about how much you love Division I sports teams or how you want to be a famous geologist, the admissions team may hesitate to offer you a place because their sports teams are Division III and they don't have a geology major.

Ultimately, the purpose of this essay has two parts: UChicago wants to make sure you know and value what they offer, and they also want to see how you're going to make use of these opportunities to reach your goals for the future.


What Should You Write About in Your "Why UChicago?" Essay?

There are multiple ways to approach this essay prompt. However, since UChicago is best known for its academics, most applicants will make sure that at least part of their response touches on coursework and specific majors.

Here's a list of possible topics you can write about:

  • Majors or classes you're especially interested in
  • The UChicago Core curriculum
  • Professors whose work you admire and whom you'd like to study with or research with
  • Extracurriculars that you'd be interesting in joining
  • The school's intense academic atmosphere
  • UChicago Scav
  • Research opportunities you'd like to have
  • Small class size and discussion-based classes
  • UChicago students you've met who you admire
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Financial aid opportunities UChicago offers that make it possible for you to attend

In your response, you should choose about one to three reasons why you think the University of Chicago is the best school for you. For each reason, you should describe what UChicago offers and connect it back to your interests and skills to show how you're a good match for the school. Remember to answer the prompt completely; this means talking about both the learning and community at UChicago, as well as your plans for the future and how UChicago can help you achieve them.

Want to build the best possible college application?   We can help.   PrepScholar Admissions combines world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've guided thousands of students to get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit and are driven to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in:

Tips for a Great Response to the Why UChicago Essay

Regardless of how you decide to answer this prompt, there are four tips everyone should keep in mind to make sure they're fully answering the question, giving the information UChicago wants to see, and making sure they stand out from other applicants.

#1: Do Your Research

Before you begin writing your response to this essay prompt, you should know exactly why you want to attend the University of Chicago. There are multiple ways to do this research:

  • School website
  • Course catalog
  • School newspaper
  • Campus visit
  • Meeting with an alum or current student
  • Meeting with a professor

#2: Be Specific

From your research, you should have come up with specific reasons why UChicago is a great school for you. The more specific you can be when answering this prompt, the better. Don't say UChicago has great academics, caring professors, and an interesting student body. Most schools have that.

Instead, try to mention opportunities only UChicago can provide, such as specific professors, course names, extracurriculars, or research opportunities. The things you discuss should be things your other top schools don't offe— things that really make UChicago stand out.

#3: Show Your Passion

UChicago wants students who care a lot about their studies and their school, so make sure this comes across in their response. A bland statement like, "I am impressed by UChicago's strong economics program" doesn't tell the school anything about you or help you stand out from other applicants.

You've done your research to mention specific qualities of UChicago that have enticed you, and now you need to discuss specific qualities about yourself as well . Why does the economics program make you so excited? What do you want to get out of it? Do you want to use your knowledge to study the economies of different developing countries and use that knowledge to fight global poverty? That's what you should write about.

Showing a passion that's unique to you will help differentiate you from other applicants and show UChicago that you're going to take your studies seriously.

#4: Discuss Your Vision for the Future

The "Why UChicago?" prompt clearly asks you to connect your desire to attend UChicago with your future goals. So let them know your plans!  Do you hope to use your time at UChicago as a launching pad for a career as a researcher at Fermilab? Do you want to major in theater and performance studies and eventually open a drama school for underserved kids?  UChicago wants students who dream big, so let them know what your dreams are.


"Why UChicago?" Essay Examples

To help you get a better idea of what a great response to this prompt can look like, below are two Why UChicago essay examples. The first is an excerpt of an essay written by an admitted student, and the second is an essay we wrote. After the examples we explain what makes them excellent responses.

As I prepare to leave my home for a university, I dream of joining the University of Chicago community. In all honesty, UChicago is probably the only university that will accept and even encourage my eclectic thinking and passion for finding adventure in everyday life. Although I hope to major in Computer Science, I also want to study political science and the Italian language to the extent that I can confidently debate Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan and copy Dante's terza rima poetry. I want to learn about game theory and astrophysics not just in surface-level introductory classes, but through in-depth discussion and analysis. At UChicago, the Core curriculum will feed my hunger for a broad undergraduate education by guaranteeing  that one-third of my studies will be dedicated to the exploration of the humanities, sciences, and arts. I yearn to engage in vibrant discussion with UChicago musicians who study neurosciences, business majors who star in theatrical productions, and psychology students who are learning Mandarin. At any other school, I would be an untraditional student, but at UChicago, I will fit right in. Traditional warrior princesses feel at home in castles; it is no surprise that UChicago's campus is full of them. At UChicago, surrounded by diverse thinkers and unique personalities of every kind, I know that I will feel at home, too. — Samantha M.

It was reading an issue of the Chicago Shady Dealer that made me know the University of Chicago was the right school for me. Any school that produced a satire paper that included hilarious and clever articles joking about students taking a math class in an abandoned parking garage or hysterical preaching and projectile vomiting during alumni weekend was a place where I knew I'd belong.

After speaking with a current UChicago student, I felt even more strongly that this is the school for me.  This student is a Creative Writing major, as I plan to be, and he mentioned so many opportunities for University of Chicago students to publish their writing, from the Shady Dealer , to the Chicago Maroon , to Sliced Bread . My only concern was having enough time to write for all these publications! I'm especially interested in the student magazine Diskord because of its focus on student opinions of national and global news. Many people dismiss young people as uninformed or naïve, but I've found many have my peers have extremely important things to say, and it's important to hear each other. The student I spoke with on the phone also mentioned that he was able to combine his interests in poetry and French Literature, and I really like how interdisciplinary the major is.

Theater and scriptwriting is something I've always been interested in learning more about, and I think University of Chicago's theater workshops and groups like Court Theatre could help me gain more skills in this area. People joke the University of Chicago is where fun comes to die, but from what I've seen, it's just the opposite. I've never met a group of students who were so funny, creative, and intent on making an impact, and I'd love to be a part of that.

Why Do These Essays Work?

  • Answer the entire prompt:  Both of these responses answer every part of the "Why UChicago?" essay prompt. They mention the type of learning the writers hope to receive, the type of community they want to be surrounded by, and what their plans for the future are.
  • Give details:  There are many details in both these responses, such as specific classes the authors want to take, what they want to major in, specific extracurriculars, and school publications they want to join.
  • Show where they fit in: It's clear from reading these essays how the authors see themselves fitting in at UChicago The first hopes to major in computer science while also debating famous literary works with fellow classmates, whereas the second wants to become a writer for school papers and possibly work on theater productions. They've shown that UChicago has opportunities they want to take part in and contribute to, and they tie this into their goals for the future.

The "Why UChicago?" essay likely won't be the make-or-break factor in your application, but it can help give the admissions teams a good idea of why UChicago is a great fit for you .   The purpose of this essay prompt is for you to show UChicago that you've done research on their school, you feel it's a good fit for you, and you already know some of the opportunities at the school you want to make the most of.

In your UChicago essay, you can write about multiple topics, including academics, the student body, extracurriculars, and research opportunities. Just make sure to thoroughly research the school, be specific, show your passion, and mention plans you have for the future. When in doubt, don't forget to check out successful "Why UChicago?" essays!

What's Next?

You'll need to write one other essay when you apply to the University of Chicago. Check out our other guide to learn how to tackle both UChicago essays .

The "Why This College?" is a common essay topic on college applications. Learn how to write a great "Why This College" essay for every school you're applying to by reading our guide on the topic.

Want to see some more college essay examples? We have links to 145 great college essays that includes our expert analysis on how you can write a standout essay of your own.

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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UChicago Essay Examples (And Why They Worked)

The following essay examples were written by several different authors who were admitted to University of Chicago and are intended to provide examples of successful UChicago application essays. All names have been redacted for anonymity. Please note that has shared these essays with admissions officers at University of Chicago in order to deter potential plagiarism.

For more help with your UChicago supplemental essays, check out our UChicago Essay Guide ! For more guidance on personal essays and the college application process in general, sign up for a monthly plan to work with an admissions coach 1-on-1.

Question 1 (Required; Choose one) 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.

When I visited UChicago, a friend invited me to step into her Comparative Literature class: Monstrosity and the Monstrous. Desperate for refuge from the cold (as a Bay Area resident, I hadn’t packed for the Chicago winter), I quickly obliged. I expected to silently observe, but when I mentioned that I’d read Antigone , her professor was thrilled–he immediately invited me into the discussion. For an hour and a half, we weighed the pros and cons of civil disobedience: did Antigone’s actions permanently destabilize Thebes, and in the modern day, when does protesting against a government cross the line? Was Antigone justified in interpreting the will of the gods? And, if so, would Sophocles support pardoning well-intentioned criminals? Beyond the enthralling analysis of the play, I was captivated by the spirit of UChicago: a campus that invites everyone (including a loitering high school student) to contribute and develop their ideas.

Now, it’s surreal to imagine taking “The Economics of Crime” from someone as renowned as Professor Levitt (I’ve been a fan since reading Freakonomics ) and staying after class to clarify the finer points of the latest Freakonomics podcast (I particularly enjoyed “Speak Softly and Carry Big Data,” on using data analysis to perfect foreign policy decisions). I hope to add to UChicago’s legacy of pushing the boundaries of our economic understanding by participating in undergraduate research, and perhaps put my findings to use through crafting social policy for the Harris School’s Public Policy Practicum. Prior to graduating, I’ll sample tastes of future careers through the Fried Public Policy and Service Program or the Trott Business Program. Simultaneously, as someone who enjoys conversing and respectfully challenging ideas, I look forward to immersing myself in the Core Curriculum and obtaining a strong foundation of knowledge. Above all, I appreciate that UChicago teaches students how to think, encourages dialogue, and prompts students to question norms.

Beyond an unparalleled education, UChicago boasts an incredible student body. Whether it’s over $1 milkshakes, at a desk beneath the stunning glass dome of the Mansueto library, or over a game of pick-up basketball, students at UChicago have a reputation for cultivating the most interesting conversations, both miscellaneous and profound. I hope that culture will only intensify within groups like the student government, Muslim Student Association, or the (undefeated) Model United Nations team. Though I look forward to Scav, the prospect of another scavenger hunt is even more enticing; over the next four years, my peers and I will discover the impact we intend to have on the world. Whether I end up delving into politics, finance, or the nonprofit sector, I know UChicago will guide me through that process–more importantly, as a member of a campus of visionaries, I hope to learn how I’ll change any field I enter. I look forward to four life-changing years–this time, with a warm winter coat.

Why this UChicago essay worked, from an ex-admissions officer

The author of this essay did a great job highlighting their familiarity with the faculty’s research and the university’s traditions. In doing so, admissions officers know that this student conducted the necessary research and is not solely interested in the university based on its rankings and reputation but rather the intangibles- the things that set UChicago apart, from other colleges/universities.

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of visiting UChicago’s campus. What I found was exactly what I’d hoped for: an absurdly specific and drawn-out debate over which poem was better, The Iliad, or The Odyssey.

It happened in a dorm. After my official tour, a good friend of mine, Lizzie, who I’d met two summers ago on a writer’s retreat offered to show me around campus. The insider tour: coveted by many, enjoyed by few. As we were leaving the common space on her floor in Max P., we were discussing our respective class schedules. We came to find that we were doing similar coursework with regard to Classical studies, and with a simple groan at my mention of the adventures of Achilles in Ilion, the battle began.

Quickly, I found myself drawing my spear—the initial jab: “The portrayal of Odysseus in The Odyssey is lackluster and inconsistent with prior descriptions at best.”

She dodged, “Maybe, but The Iliad is just a bunch of gore. I want a real story.” The phalanxes were starting to form; war cries echoing, bouncing off doors which held the empty beds of students wintering at Mansueto, I stopped.

“Listen,” I said, with a ring reminiscent of a sword being gloriously drawn from its sheath. “Homer may not have even been the mind behind much of The Odyssey . On top of that, how do you reconcile Odysseus’ supposed military genius spanning ten years with his seemingly cavalier attitude towards his men’s safety on the voyage home?” In turn, she threw her arms up with a sigh of exasperation—a shield, a deflection.

“Maybe, but Achilles’ melodramatic fits aren’t worth reading. If I wanted to witness overwrought pouting, I’d go find a four-year-old. Besides, an inconsistency doesn’t damn a story to the pits of inadequacy.”

Round and round we went, like Achilles and Hector around the city of Ilion, neither of us gaining an inch, and neither of us drawing nearer escape. But then, for us, escape wasn’t the point, was it? It was the chase. The Iliad would have been far less exciting had Achilles settled for glory, fought for Agamemnon, and killed Hector immediately. Likewise, The Odyssey is nothing but a story of a journey, and therefore wouldn’t have a leg to stand on without the chase. From my point of view, this is what UChicago is all about—the chase; the journey—the questions asked and examined, not only those answered. Lizzie and I never came to a conclusion about which poem is better (thankfully we could agree that The Aeneid was objectively well written, and well told), but we had a riveting, impassioned conversation on a dime. My favorite part of this? It happened on the way to her Physics discussion.

That’s why I love UChicago; this is what I crave. The perpetual hall pass to unapologetically geek out with fellow cats whom curiosity didn’t kill, but strengthened. To walk by the chapel, and hear the bells playing Kiss the Girl, to sit in the Reading Room and write, to marvel at the marketing genius behind the naming of Grounds of Being ; to have conversations with poetry nerds, language lovers, people who can rant about the beauty of the C7 chord or the curvature of a parabolic function. I can only see myself in a place that emphasizes interdisciplinary studies, that offers a slew of majors, minors, and career courses—that not just allows, but encourages exploration—that finds its students discussing Homer on the way to a physics class. I would not be able to function without the camaraderie that comes with the $1 shake, or the friendships born of mutual vitriol at the notion of their disappearance. This community is not tied, but melded together—one that challenges, one that nips stagnancy in the bud. So, paint me maroon and point me towards Axelrod; I’m ready to join this Odyssey-loving, manhole-cover-thieving, Royal Tenenbaum-esque family.

In this essay, the writer connected her seemingly random conversation with a friend to the interdisciplinary focus of the university and the ways in which, others challenge her views. Oftentimes, when we think of a college education- there is so much focus on the rankings, reputation, and major, career opportunities, return on investments, and salary– all of which, are very important; however, one could argue that that true purpose of college is to challenge yourself, to step outside of your comfort zone, meet new people and challenge others as well. This writer understands those values are paramount to an education at UChicago. The admissions officer reading this essay, knows this student will thrive at UChicago, but most importantly, this student will leave UChicago in a better place than where they found it by challenging those around them.

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)

Editor’s Note: The UChicago supplemental essays change each year, as the University is known to reach out to newly admitted and current students for essay prompts. These are examples of previous successful approaches to essay prompts.

2017-2018 UChicago Essay Prompt

What’s your armor.

I won’t knock on wood for luck if the wood isn’t demonstrably pure as the waters of the Piscine Molitor. When I say I won’t, I don’t mean that I will knock on a table, or a bench occasionally through gritted teeth if I’m in dire need of cosmic intervention, no, I mean I will not, under any circumstance, on a train, a plane, or even in Spain, knock on anything other than natural, uncoated in any way, wood. I recognize the scientific irrationality, not just of superstitions, but of being picking nits within a particular superstition. I have my reasons.

Two years ago, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stumbled across a disconcerting “fact” that probably wasn’t a fact . The post asserted that more than ninety-percent of all wooden tables, benches, chairs, etc are not, in fact, strictly wooden. Rather, they are a mix of synthetic materials and wood. Granted, in most cases, the synthetic is likely just a coat of protective varnish, but you see, that tarnishes the product for the superstitious. It was a moment of earth-shattering ramifications. In a matter of three seconds, I questioned every bit of trust I’d ever placed in the universe. It all seemed futile, meaningless. Now, I’m not knocking on wood, I’m knocking on wood that has been coated once, twice, ninety-six times with preservative varnish. At that point, it’s just a synthetic graveyard with a foundation of wood. There is no luck to be found in an ungodly cemetery of bones like that. I might as well knock on glass, or grass, or a plastic container. It surpasses trivial in the scheme of things, but imagine I were to have something especially important looming, something that has the potential to frame the context of the rest of my life, something like college applications. Why would I take a chance on something that merely resembles pure wood for luck? I wouldn’t. I’d run straight outside, find the nearest tree (the only real guarantee), and knock until my knuckles resembled shredded calf-liver. It’s really not worth the risk.

Why does it even matter, though? Who, and/or what enforces frivolous matters like outdated pseudo-religious compulsions? I like to imagine that there is a being in charge of each superstition, both the common and obscure. The Being of Repetition would oversee all attempts to cheat one’s destiny by uttering a word thirty-seven times, the Being of Self-Induced Discomfort would superintend those who hold their breath while they cross bridges or drive past cemeteries, and the Being of Sylvan Knocks would assure that not a single soul who bops their knuckles on a tarnished, synthetic-wood abomination receives their prize of favor. This being watches and keeps tabs on those foolish enough to put their faith in the preternatural equivalent of fool’s gold, and shames them by leaving their worlds deservedly unaltered. However, those who are devoted enough to search out the nearest tree and give it a few raps for good measure, will find magnificent rewards from their generous karmic sugar daddy. Call me a purist, call me ridiculous, but I’m convinced that this is the indisputable truth.

So convinced, in fact, that those closest to me have picked up on my idiosyncratic neurosis. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the friendship of observant souls, one of whom, named Jack, happens to be a skilled woodworker. Upon confessing to him my cognitive dissonance of being vehemently non-superstitious, while also controlled like a marionette by this irrational belief, he took it upon himself to, at the very least, ease the inconvenience of finding a tree in my panic. He gave me a teardrop-shaped, knuckle-sized piece of pure wood. Not just that, but he put a small hole in it so that it would fit on my keychain. I carry it everywhere. I give it a little knock every now and then just for the extra luck. Knowing that no matter the place, no matter the scenario, I’m always in the good graces of the Being of Sylvan Knocks means that I never again have to add “find a tree” to my mental to-do list. It means release—means freedom.

Maybe one day I’ll get over my manneristic malady, but until that day comes, I’ll keep carrying my teardrop everywhere I go, and hope that Jack never tells me that my charm is anything less than Piscine pure, unadulterated luck. Knock on wood, right?

2013-2014 UChicago Essay Prompt:

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. seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp: . what might they be able to see that we cannot what are we missing.

The red and purple hues of the sunset warm the chilly summer evening; the soft pastels blend perfectly under my fingers to emanate the photograph; each Van Gogh and Renoir mesmerize me as I creep through the brightly lit museum. Photographs and paintings capture the beauty that we see with our eyes. Our almighty sense of sight allows us to be immersed by the extraordinary, but at the same time, it hinders us.

Although breath-taking to witness, the mantis shrimp, majestic as a unicorn or narwhal from the outside, relates more closely to a soul-sucking dementor. Its mighty claws enable it to chomp nearby prey instantaneously. Is it possible that the violent behavior of a mantis shrimp is related in someway to its heightened abilities of sight?

Segregation, discrimination, isolation; so many “tion”s can be attributed to our sense of vision. In elementary school, the concept of being popular is already engrained in our minds. As a first grader, I got my first glimpse of this when a girl was forced to tell her best friend that they couldn’t hang out anymore because she “wasn’t cool enough.” And what deems someone to be popular? Of course, attitude and self-confidence are key, but popularity is equally derived from having the newest backpack and sparkly shoes that light up with each step. In the 1940s, having “the look” meant blonde hair and blue eyes with the emanating threat of concentration camps and execution. America, the land of the free, cannot forget its very own history of segregation that nearly split the nation in two. People were belittled and harassed due to the color of their skin. Throughout history, mankind has associated superiority with skin color and race. Our sense of sight has limited us oftentimes to fixate on seeing instead of understanding.

The kaleidoscopic exoskeleton of the mantis shrimp indicates its very own evolutionary emphasis on beauty. Why else would one attempt to look so radiant if not to mate and produce heirs? I would probably be pretty picky too if I had such a powerful pair of eyes—fixating on each segment, each tentacle, each antenna. Over the centuries, the selectivity of the mantis shrimp possibly eliminated less attractive members from the gene pool. It never thought “Oh well, maybe she has a nice personality and a good sense of humor.” In a world of plastic Barbie dolls and glossy magazine covers, I would hate to see an even greater emphasis on aesthetics.

As a child, I read A Wrinkle in Time and journeyed to the planet Ixchel where Madeline L’Engle’s fictional character Meg tries to explain the concept of seeing to a creature with no eyes. In response the beast states, “We do not know what things look like, as you say… We know what things are like. It must be a very limiting thing, this seeing.” As a child, I pondered the difficultly of explaining sight to someone incapable of it and all the words that a person wouldn’t understand—light, dark, colors, shades. When I initially read this prompt about the mantis shrimp, I was reminded of this passage. The difficulty of imagining all that the mantis shrimp can see is possibly just as difficult as it is for someone who is blind to imagine the red of a robin’s belly, the illustrious light blue sky, or the shades of skin tones. I was originally perplexed by the idea that seeing can be “a very limiting thing.” Over half a decade later, as I reread Madeline L’Engle’s words, I find the truth in this phrase. We do not need sight. It is convenient being able to color coordinate files and match shoes with shirts, but the ability to see can often overpower our other senses. We judge and make first impressions by the way a person dresses, often neglecting what that person says or thinks or knows.

Perhaps the mantis shrimp’s eyes allow it to see further than our color spectrum, into infrared, ultraviolet, or radio waves. Maybe this allows it to see its predators inching closer before they devise an attack. The shrimp’s vision could possibly replace its sense of feeling and hearing—observing sound waves in the wavy, salty sea or having thermal imaging abilities. However, the extent to its abilities is far greater than we can perceive. It would be impossible to imagine the full capabilities of the mantis shrimp without having a “Freaky Friday” moment and switching brains. As humans, we have become too accustomed to our perception of superiority that it is difficult to imagine abilities greater than our own. What we lack, we attempt to compensate for with technology and scientific advancements. We have escaped the mentality of our cavemen and cavewomen ancestors—scavenging for food and hiding from predators. Machine guns and others weapons of mass destruction have given humans the mindset that we are on the top of the food chain.

The short novel Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott was enforced upon my Geometry class over spring break. Although initially a lesson about the multiple dimensions, Flatland also explores the challenge of explaining higher realms to those who cannot experience it. The king of Pointland is so narrow-minded and insular that he refuses to believe that there are objects larger than he is. When confronted with a square, all he sees is another point. As humans, our abilities are limited as well. We do not have the innate skills of the mantis shrimp with its sixteen receptors; however, centuries of innovation have made us inept to fully perceive the skills we are incapable of.

The mantis shrimp can see a greater spectrum of rays and waves and possibly some great unknown, but perhaps, it is better that its abilities remain a mystery. At this time, we are probably not ready for such visual capabilities; our current ones have already proven to be overbearing. Maybe the best things in life are not meant to be seen because they must be felt or understood.

These UChicago essay examples were compiled by the advising team at . If you want to get help writing your UChicago application essays from Admissions Experts , register with today.

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university of chicago personal essay

The University of Chicago The Law School

Program info, faqs: personal statement, what is the admissions committee looking for in the personal statement.

The Admissions Committee is primarily looking for two things in the personal statement:

  • Who are you: Will this applicant be a likeable and interesting addition to our community? Are you thoughtful and reflective? Will our professors and your classmates enjoy working with you and learning from your perspective?
  • Writing and communication ability: Can you communicate your thoughts effectively? Are you able to present information in a clear, organized, and concise manner (much like you will be required to do in law school and as an attorney)?

What should I write about in my personal statement?

Our application does not provide a specific topic or question for the personal statement because you are the best judge of what you should write. Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you. This may include writing about a significant aspect of your background, a quality or trait you believe defines you, a transformative experience, or the things that interest and motivate you. Don’t worry so much about selecting a unique or novel topic. Just be yourself. Your personal statement will be unique if you are honest and authentic. See these examples of personal statements .

How does the personal statement fit into the rest of my application?

Think about the personal statement as the fun and interesting part of your application. This is where we get to learn more about who are you as a person and go beyond the transcripts, test scores, and resume. Let each part of your application speak for itself and do what it is intended to do - you don't need to worry about selling us on your credentials in the personal statement.  

Do I need to tell the Admissions Committee why I want to go to law school?

Not necessarily. We request a personal statement; it is not a statement of purpose. You are welcome to discuss your reasons for applying to law school, but please make sure we will still get to know you as an individual. Law schools have different views on this topic, so please consult each school to which you are applying. 

What are some tips for a successful personal statement?

There are few rules that apply to every applicant because of the individual nature of the personal statement, but here are some tips based on our experiences that all applicants should follow:

  • Be straightforward. Do not make it more complex than it is. We simply want a candid, well-written essay that helps us learn about you, your story, and your background.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Your personal statement should not have errors - this is a sample of your writing and it should be a strong reflection of your written communication skills. Edit extensively and make sure to remove tracked changes.
  • Be concise and organize your thoughts. Remember basic writing skills and essay structure. You want to present your ideas in a logical, clear manner.
  • Make sure your personal statement is about you . Keep the focus on you with any topic you choose. Focusing too much on a family member or family history, a social or legal issue, or stories about others is a very common mistake. Even if you tell a moving and interesting story, it will not be a successful personal statement if it does not allow us to get to know you.
  • Be yourself. We are confident every one of our applicants is unique. Be honest. Do not write about something you think you are supposed to write about or rely too heavily on sample topics or model statements. A topic will not be effective unless it is appropriate for your specific application and background. Don’t try to fit your personal statement into a defined category or box.
  • Write in your own voice. This makes your personal statement believable and authentic. Don’t use phrases and vocabulary that you wouldn’t normally use in writing and conversation. It is usually not a good idea to lead with a quote. We are looking for clarity and honesty.
  • Make it personal. If someone else could write your personal statement, it probably is not personal enough. We often see this happen when applicants discuss a social issue or area of the law. Remember you are not trying to educate the Admissions Committee about the law or any particular issue.  Your goal should be to educate the Admissions Committee about you.

What are some of the common mistakes I should avoid?

While what works for one individual will not work for another because the personal statement is so individualized, here are some common mistakes we see from applicants: 

  • Restating your resume. Resume restatements are one of the most common errors. We will read your resume in detail. We want the personal statement to tell us something new about you.
  • Listing your qualifications.  Don't try to overtly sell yourself to the Admissions Committee. This isn't the place to convince us how qualified you are. Your qualifications will shine through in other parts of your application. Remember, this is the part where we get to know you as an individual.
  • Typos and “tracked changes”. Make sure to upload the correct version of your personal statement into CAS. If you plan to reference law schools by name, please reference the correct school for each application. 
  • Legalese or Latin phrases.   Avoid using legal terms or Latin phrases if you can. The risk you are incorrectly using them is just too high.
  • Extensive discussions of the law and attorneys. It is not necessary to discuss the law, tell us what type of law you want to practice, or convey the extent of your legal experience. Legal experience is not a factor in admission.  It is not the place to demonstrate your knowledge of the law or the role of attorneys. These personal statements do not tell us much about the applicant as an individual.
  • Telling us you'll be a good lawyer because you like to argue.
  • Name-dropping. It is not necessary to cite the names of our faculty and programs from our website in your personal statement unless you are placing the reference in a meaningful context. It detracts from your authenticity. However, if one of our faculty members or something about our community has genuinely inspired you, you are more than welcome to tell us about it.
  • Covering too much information. You don't have to cover your entire life story. Use your discretion - we know you have to make a choice and have limited space. Attempting to cover too much material can result in an unfocused and scattered personal statement. 

Is there a page limit on my personal statement? 

There is no page limit, but we generally find 2-4 pages to be sufficient. If it is longer, make sure it is absolutely necessary and really interesting. We do not have any formatting rules with respect to spacing, font type, font size, or margins. 

May I submit additional essays?

You may submit additional essays to highlight particular topics you wish to bring to our attention. Please remember you want to be concise and genuine.

Examples of types of additional essays include Diversity Statements and explanations of undergraduate and/or standardized test performance. 

  • UChicago aims to train well-rounded, critical, and socially conscious thinkers and doers. Describe how your background or experiences will contribute to the UChicago Law and Chicago Booth communities. Example topics include: lessons you have learned; skillsets you have developed; obstacles you have overcome based on your background or upbringing; or topics you have become passionate about studying in law school based on your lived or educational experiences.
  • Undergraduate and/or Standardized Test Performance: If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why.

The Admissions Committee typically finds one page or less is a sufficient length for most additional essays. 

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university of chicago personal essay

2 Great UChicago Essay Examples

UChicago is famous —or shall we say infamous—for their highly-quirky essay prompts. In previous years, students have been tasked with mind-boggling questions like “Find X,” or “A hot dog might be a sandwich, and cereal might be a soup, but is a __ a __?”

These essays may seem silly, but they invite students to share their personalities and perspectives as fully as they wish. UChicago is looking for creative thinkers, and these essays help them distinguish the “kind” of applicant they want. After all, most applicants will have stellar grades and test scores, so these essays are your chance to stand out and beat the odds of the very low acceptance rate.

UChicago requires two essays—one that is a typical “ Why This College? ” prompt, and the other, your choice among seven zany prompts. The seventh option actually allows you to make your own prompt, or pick one from previous years.

In this post, we’ll go over some strong UChicago essay examples from real applicants and share what they did well and what could be improved.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our UChicago essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 

Essay Example #1

Prompt: “There is no such thing as a new idea” – Mark Twain. Are any pieces of art, literature, philosophy, or technology truly original, or just a different combination of old ideas? Pick something, anything (besides yourself), and explain why it is, or is not, original.

As I entered the bare-walled room, I could see the sky was painted blue through the tinted windows. It was my first day in my new high school where I’d have to spend the next two years. I wanted to make new friends.

I started walking towards a boy, introduced myself and exchanged pleasantries. After a few minutes of conversation, the topic of music came up and I introduced him to my love for the iconic classical ambient hit ‘Clair de Lune’. He put on my headphones, the song started playing, and he was amazed by the music’s ethereal, mellow, and serene chords. Or so I thought.

You know that awkward feeling when you show a funny video to your friends and nobody laughs? It was equivalent to that.

As days passed, I started noticing everyone was only listening to the loud pounds of the bass, the buzz saw synths, the crispy hi-hats, and every other element found in Electronic Dance Music, also known as EDM. Realizing that people in my school didn’t like Clair de Lune because they were emotionally invested in only the EDM genre, I had an idea– “What if I create an EDM remix of Clair de Lune to reach out to the audience of both genres?”

I tried to understand what the composer was trying to express through his composition and attempted to create an impression of the classical piece. The main challenge was to add musical elements from relatively two of the most unconventional music genres– Classical and EDM. Incorporating the rich and sometimes heart-wrenching chord structure of Clair de Lune to the multiple layers of EDM saw synths, I adjusted the volume of my instruments to the intensities with which the notes needed to be played and panned the sound in different directions to set the appropriate ambiance.

A few weeks later, I uploaded my work to the various Discord music servers that I am a part of with shaky hands. Nervous of what people might interpret my work to be, I awaited the replies I would receive. The server was filled with users from North America, and since I was in India, I realized that most people weren’t active at midnight when I uploaded my mix. I called it a night and went to sleep. When I woke up, my inbox was flooded with a mix of appreciations and suggestions. The users from the server really liked my idea and it went on to become a weekly competition where everyone would try to incorporate multiple genres into one song. I also made my classmates listen to the mix and later made friends who were interested in music production.

Music has constantly been transcending and bridging different identities cross-culturally through the fusion of genres. The key lies in capturing the emotions and the structure linked to the song, but most importantly, working to understand diverse cultures.

This raises a critical question– are the genres we listen to now truly unique on their own or just a complex amalgam of countless genres throughout history? The answer is that it depends on how experienced an artist is at the art of impression. Honoring instead of degrading, studying instead of skimming, crediting instead of plagiarizing, and transforming instead of imitating will lead an artist to a remix instead of a rip-off. As an artist keeps repeating this process, they’ll make unique decisions– maybe they’ll add an inimitable form of reverb on the synth or include a cymbal crash in their alien music structure. Regardless, those small changes and preferences– in the long run– will amount to a magnitude of alteration in style and develop a completely new identity for an artist. This is when the art practically becomes original while bearing into itself countless unoriginal remixes and impressions of different songs, artists, and genres.

What This Essay Did Well

This essay is a great example of taking a prompt that seemingly has nothing to do with the student on the surface and turning it into an exposé of the student’s personality and interests. The point of every college essay is to reveal who you are, so even when the prompt asks for something unrelated like a piece of art or technology, the ability to tie that back to you is key.

The reader is taken on a journey from seeing the defeat this student felt when no one liked their music taste, to their determination to produce a remix, to the success and positive impact caused by their creativity. Having a well-defined beginning, middle, and end creates a good pace and makes it easy to follow.

Another positive aspect of this essay is the way the student describes music and their process. When you write about your hobbies or interests in an essay, your passion, as well as your expertise, should shine through. The reader can clearly tell this student cares about musical motifs and sound mixing through their description of classical and EDM music, but they also demonstrate their knowledge in this area by explaining the steps they took to produce a remix.

What Could Be Improved

While this student did a great job of turning this prompt into a story about themselves, a definitive answer to the prompt fell through the cracks. After an entire essay focused on them, the student generalized in the last paragraph in an attempt to answer the prompt. The result was an essay that ended on a good note, but didn’t leave the reader with a final impression of the student.

To make sure the ending was as strong as other parts of the essay and that there was a concrete answer to the prompt, this student should have tied the lessons they learned through their experience into their perspective on originality.

For example, they could have decided there’s no such thing as originality because even when they were developing their remix they relied on known aspects of music to recreate genres. On the flip side, they could have concluded that of course there are new ideas because even though they had influences, the comments on the Discord server said they had created something no one had ever seen before. 

It’s okay to take a stance in a prompt like this one. You aren’t being evaluated on whether you picked the “right” answer because there is no right answer. The important part is to connect the answer back to the rest of the essay, and thus emphasize how the answer relates to you.

Essay Example #2

Prompt: 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. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History… a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here. —Inspired by Josh Kaufman, AB’18 

When I shared the video of me eating fried insects in Thailand, my friends were seriously offended. Some stopped talking to me, while the rest thought I had lost my mind and recommended me the names of a few psychologists. 

A major in Gastrophysics at UChicago is not for the faint hearted. You have to have a stomach for it! I do hope I am accepted to it as it is the only University in the U.S. with this unique major. My passion for trying unique food such as fish eye has made me want to understand the complexities of how it affects our digestive system. I understand that Gastrophysics started with a big pang of food, which quickly expanded to famish. Bite years are used to measure the amount of food ingested. I look forward to asking, “How many bite years can the stomach hold?” and “How do different enzymes react with the farticles?” 

Gastrophysics truly unravels the physics of food. At UChicago I will understand the intricacies of what time to eat, how to eat and how food will be digested. Do we need to take antiparticle acid if we feel acidity is becoming a matter of concern? At what angle should the mouth be, for the best possible tasting experience? When I tried crocodile meat, I found that at a 0 degree tilt, it tasted like fish and chicken at the same time. But the same tasted more like fish at a negative angle and like chicken at a positive angle. I want to unravel these mysteries in a class by Professor Daniel Holz in gravitational gastrophysics, understanding the unseen strong and weak forces at play which attract food to our stomachs. 

I find that Gastrophysics is also important for fastronomy. I want to learn the physics of fasting. How should we fast? Hubble bubble is a good chewing gum; an appetite suppressant in case you feel pangs of hunger. I have read how the UChicago Fastronauts are stepping up to test uncharted territories. Intermittent fasting is a new method being researched, and UChicago offers the opportunity for furthering this research. Which is better: fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8, or fasting for 24 hours twice a week? It is just one of the problems that UChicago offers a chance to solve. 

I can also study the new branch it offers that uses farticle physics. It is the science of tracking farticles and how they interact with each other and chemicals in the stomach space. It could give rise to supernovae explosions, turning people into gas giants. It would also teach about the best ways to expel gas and clean the system and prevent stomach space expansion. 

I want to take Fluid dynamics 101, another important course in Gastrophysics; teaching about the importance of water and other fluids in the body, and the most important question: what happens if you try to drink superfluids? 

I hope to do interdisciplinary courses with observational gastrophysicists and work with environmental science majors to track how much methane is given by the human and animal gastrointestinal tract in the atmosphere and how much it contributes to the global climate change. I believe, with the help of courses in date science, they have been able to keep a track of how much methane is entering each day, and they found that during Dec 24-Jan 3 period, a spike in the methane and ethane levels could be seen. Accordingly, algorithms are being programmed to predict the changes all year round. I would love to use my strong mathematical background to explore these algorithms. 

These courses are specially designed by the distinguished faculty of UChicago. Doing interdisciplinary research in collaboration with biological science students to determine what aliens may eat, with fart historians to know more about the intestinal structure of medieval Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Swedish and French people to better their lives is what I look forward to. The Paris study abroad program is an immersion course into fastronomy, where I will have the opportunity to test my self-control with all the amazing French food and desserts around! 

My stomach rumbles now, so I am going out to try out new food – hopefully it will be in Chicago a few months later. 

What the Essay Did Well

This is a fun essay! This student’s voice is present and their goofy personality is especially evident. Not only did they change the name of their major, but this student incorporated word play throughout the essay to showcase their imagination. Phrases like “the big pang of food”, “bite years”, “fastronauts”, and “farticle physics” keep the tone lighthearted and amusing. 

Beyond the humor and creativity that makes the reader chuckle—always a great way to stand out—this student still manages to incorporate aspects of their real intended major that fascinate them. While it might take a little extra connecting the dots to get from gastrophysic to astrophysics courses, the reader still understands what this student wants to study at UChicago and how they might use this knowledge.

While this essay definitely takes some risks, it’s safe to say that they paid off. They are able to delve into their love for astrophysics all while maintaining vivid, engaging language. The writing style is simultaneously playful and mad-scientist-esque. Truly “geeking out” about their interests makes for a great essay.

Even extremely creative essays like this one can always be made stronger. In this case, it would have been nice to get more background on what drew this student to astrophysics (not gastrophysics). We get a sense for their love of trying new foods, but the essay is lacking an explanation that relates to astrophysics. 

Obviously, in an essay about gastrophysics, astrophysics would be out of place. But given this student’s level of creativity, they could have found a punny way to tie their interest in space into the essay. It doesn’t need to be too extensive, but since this effectively serves as UChicago’s “Why This Major?” essay, a strong essay should include more background on why the student wants to pursue their actual major (not the fake one).

Where to Get Your UChicago Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your UChicago essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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university of chicago personal essay

University of Chicago

18 Successful UChicago Essays

Updated for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle.

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The University of Chicago is a private research institution with a strong history and dedication to education quality, located in the lively, diverse city of Chicago. Founded in 1890, UChicago has long been a national leader in research, academic rigor, and cutting-edge technology. Known for its strong humanities and social science programs—particularly its economics department—the University of Chicago houses Nobel Prize-winning faculty and over 15,000 students from all walks of life. The school is also known for its deep commitment to social justice, and it has projects centered around economics and poverty, the environment, and global health. For students hoping to access a vibrant campus culture at an excellent Midwestern school, the University of Chicago is an incredible option.

Unique traditions at UChicago

1. Fundamentals: University of Chicago students, faculty and alumni perform a complex swing dance known as "Fundamentals" each year at the University's reunion weekend. 2. Rubbing the Russell: It’s believed that if you rub the staff of sculptor Henry Hering’s Russell on the Main Quad at the University of Chicago, you will get an A in your next class. 3. Scav-Hunt: The world-renowned Scavenger Hunt is a five day event hosted by the student organization organization, the Hysterical Society. Teams compete to complete tasks, photo challenges, and other odd tasks for the chance to win a trophy. 4. Kerplunk: Every year, the University of Chicago holds an unofficial competition called “Kerplunk,” in which teams compete to build an intricate, motorized sculpture and have it reach the top of the campus' tallest building. 5. Student Court: Each year, the University of Chicago holds a unique mock trial competition called the Student Court, in which students must put on a fully-staged trial in order to prove the innocence or guilt of one of the University's most famous alumni.

Programs at UChicago

1. Student Government: University of Chicago’s elected Student Government is a student-led organization that focuses on creating a more vibrant and passionate campus community. They host programming and advocate on behalf of students on a wide range of issues. 2. debate Team: The University of Chicago debate Team engages in preparation and research to compete with the highest levels of collegiate debate. It offers a unique space for students to both improve their debating skills and learn the importance of civic engagement. 3. Maroon Investment Group: This unique club provides University of Chicago students with the opportunity to develop their financial knowledge and to create and manage a real-world portfolio of local stocks and mutual funds. 4. Music Association: This student-run music association provides support for budding student musicians and creative expression. Through events, like jams and artist meetups, the Music Association provides a safe and collaborative space for students to explore various genres of music. 5. International House: Located near the main campus, the International House is a unique living space for students from all over the world to live together and develop a global perspective. The house also offers a range of educational, cultural and social activities that promote global understanding and cross-cultural exchange.

At a glance…

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Real Essays from UChicago Admits

Prompt: 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..

Reading about random things is fun. No seriously, have you ever tried it? Well, let me explain it to you! If a stranger could take a peek in my search history, they would find me dual-tasking subjects that have little to no connection, and leave with a puzzled look on their face. My after-midnight reading about the Collatz Conjecture is balanced with watching countless UChicago student videos filled with squirrels and hammocks. On other nights, they would see me looking through the New York Times, reading about the international disagreements of America, Russia, and China, all the while scrolling through the university’s vast, fascinating—and quite funny—meme Facebook page.

Because of my interest in exploring different topics, it has come to the pressing time where I need to make an important decision—which thematic track of global studies would I like to pursue at the University of Chicago? Law, Borders, and Security lets me dive into the complexities of borders, and how people immigrate to other countries to uncover new opportunities, as my Jamaican parents did. During high school, I conducted an independent study on misinformation and global politics. While researching, it led me to discover the ways these two things can create false perceptions concerning countries and migration. Reading the syllabus for Professor Solomon's course “Anthropology of Borders,” has made me excited to study the trends and practices of border crossings, and how the police and military play a role. However, the connections between different aspects of human life, from urbanism and environmentalism, compel me to consider the Health, Environment, and Urban Studies track. Getting lost in sustainable cities through my [Name Redacted] research, I learned about governance and the established policies for urban farming, while developing new solutions for food insecurity. Because of this, I wish to take Professor Schlutz’s course “Philosophies of Environmentalism and Sustainability,” allowing me to study the philosophical nature of land ethics, and the ways that humans have treated land.

Fueled by my night time Google searches, I’ve found myself intrigued with the stars up above and our genetic code. But there’s an easy fix for this, which also happens to be my favorite part of UChicago: the Core. My desire to take classes in these subjects is allowed by the various options within the interdisciplinary curriculum, and supported by the average class size of under twenty. I can apply all my searching and reading by being allowed to pick and choose what kind of classes I can take to fulfill the requirements. I can ultimately learn more about why stars shine so brightly and the development origins of cells. And, I can even ramble on and on about what I’ve learned to my future inquisitive and motivated UChicago classmates. Speaking of classmates, I have big plans to develop future friendships. Being able to spend time in one of many libraries—with my personal favorite being the automated Mansueto—we can study topics we’re deeply passionate about. At Hallowed Grounds, I can grab a snack and laugh with them over The Shady Dealer. And on Wednesdays, we can drink $1 milkshakes, while walking around the main Quad and talking about our lives.

UChicago allows me to keep up with my love for discussion and diplomacy through its Debate Society and Chicago Model United Nations. Providing accurate reporting is very important, so I aspire to get involved and become a positive influence in the UChicago journalism community. I wish to continue my journalistic writing I did throughout high school, by joining the university’s student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, where I can report on campus, and cultural news. UChicago also fosters my interest in discovery and understanding, so I hope to conduct research in the Energy and Environment Lab. Here, I’m able to combine everything I did during my [Name Redacted] research, including when I studied the connection between food production and economics. I’m excited to work in this Lab where I can learn more about various aspects of city sustainability, including how to limit the impacts of air pollution and improve urban settings.

Ultimately, the university fulfills my desire to continue giving back, as many of my weekends are spent tutoring children in my city. The Neighborhood Schools Program allows me to keep my passion for mentoring by being able to help children around Hyde Park excel in various subjects. But, with everything that UChicago offers, it has left me with one final question: What impact do I wish to make? I have hopes of becoming knowledgeable about the laws that govern us in order to help people, but I also wish to pursue deeper research of global issues to benefit others. However, no matter where my future at UChicago takes me, I want to have a bit of fun by writing about it too.

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Essay by Neverland

Political Science Major (Maybe Pre-Law we'll see lol) at the University of Chicago

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Someone with the same interests, stats, and background as you

Watch CBS News

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, Israel supporters stand off on fourth day of protests at Northwestern University

By Shardaa Gray , Andrew Ramos

Updated on: April 29, 2024 / 12:53 PM CDT / CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Tensions are escalating in Evanston as hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters take over Deering Meadow , a large plot of green space at Northwestern University. They are calling on the university to divest from Israel. 

On Sunday, those protesters faced off with pro-Israel demonstrators, and things got very heated at times. 

On day four of the protest, the number of student protesters has grown on both sides. Support has also come out from the community. 

"I came because I think it's important to support the students who feel intimidated and feel threatened," said pro-Israel protester Alan Kotlyar. 

"We're doing this, first and foremost, for the people of Gaza and Palestine," said Eden Melles. "We are here today, as we have been for the last four days, to stand in solidarity." 

Sunday marks the fourth day that students will spend the night outside. They echoed the demands of protesters nationwide. 

"We are requesting specific demands from Northwestern, protection of free speech disclosure investments and divestment from not only the Israeli regime but just generally companies that invested in the military-industrial complex," said Melles. 

One concerning clash that unfolded on campgrounds over the weekend was captured on cell phone video. A woman who identified herself as a Jewish American appeared to call 911, claiming she felt threatened by several pro-Palestinian protesters who would not let her leave. But people around her said they were not stopping her from leaving. 

CBS 2 reached out to Evanston police to get more information about that incident. Police said there was no information available. It's unclear if she even called police.

Police have not made any arrests or issued any citations during the protests, but the encounter was among many posted on social media that raised questions about the activity in and around the growing protest.

Jewish students like Cesar Ades say they feel unsettled staying on campus. 

"Last night they painted and Jewish star and then a huge X around it," Ades said. "As a Jewish student, you see that, it definitely does not make me comfortable, doesn't make me feel welcomed anywhere around here."

He said the goal is to bring unity. 

"Today the whole point is to bring people together and show we're a team," he said. 

"I just want to say this camp stands against anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia, all other forms of racism, sexism and discrimination," Melles said. 

Students from both sides say they will continue to push their messages for as long as possible. 

  • Northwestern University

Shardaa Gray is a Multimedia Reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She joined the team in December 2021. She was born and raised in the south suburbs. She's happy to return home to report on her community.

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University of Chicago United for Palestine protesters clash with counterprotesters

DePaul students advised to avoid Lincoln Park Quad due to escalating protests

World Press Freedom Day: Over 100 journalists killed in Gaza

Navigating College Admissions Podcast

At UChicago, you are more than your GPA or test score.

UChicago welcomes students from all backgrounds, and each application at UChicago goes through the same contextual review process. There’s no one piece of information—academic and extracurricular records, essays, letters of recommendation, or SAT/ACT scores—that alone determines whether or not you would be a good fit for the College. Instead, we want you to, through your application, show us who you are in your own voice. What is your story? Why did you choose to pursue certain opportunities? What activities are most meaningful to you? The very best way to approach your UChicago application is to simply be yourself and write in your own voice. We care about you and who you really are, not what you think we want to see in an application.

Required Application Materials

The application materials below are those required for all first-year and transfer applicants, including international applicants , first-generation applicants ,  rural & small-town applicants , QuestBridge applicants , home-schooled applicants , and veterans . With the exception of prospective students-at-large , applicants may apply for entrance in the Autumn Quarter only.

Required Materials

Application for admission and supplement essays.

Applicants should submit their choice of  Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir  or the  Common Application *, both of which include the University of Chicago Supplement . Applicants will also be prompted to create a  UChicago Account , where they can submit information and view their admissions decision.

Select One of Two Applications

There are several online application platforms accepted by many colleges and universities. Through the online application platform, you submit basic information about your background, academic profile, and extracurricular activities, as well as a brief personal statement; all of this information can be easily shared with multiple colleges you decide to apply to. If you apply to the University of Chicago, you will also submit two supplemental essays, which will not be seen by other institutions.

UChicago accepts  Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir  or the  Common Application  for both first-year and transfer applicants. We treat both equally in the admissions process. You'll want to pick a single application platform to use, whichever you feel works best for you. Transfer applicants should use Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir.

Questions about technical matters related to using one of the consortium applications should be directed, respectively, to the folks at  Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir  or the  Common Application . Questions about our own requirements should be  directed to us.

Extracurricular Activities

We recognize that, in these unprecedented times, many extracurricular events and activities have been disrupted. We will still recognize all the hard work you have put into extracurricular activities leading up to the pandemic and any of your efforts to stay involved with your community moving forward.

In your list of extracurricular activities, you should include whatever it is that you spend your time doing outside of class. This could be an official club, team, or competition; a hobby you pursue on your own; a part-time job; a family responsibility; or anything else you do with your time outside of class. Colleges ask for this information not because they have any specific expectation or preference for how you spend your time, but to see what's meaningful, worthwhile, or interesting to you. We do not require certificates proving participation in activities. If the space provided on Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application to list all extracurricular and work experiences is not sufficient, you may share further details in the Additional Information section of the application or through your UChicago Account.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your chance to present yourself and your ideas in your own words. Through Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application, your personal statement will be sent to all of the schools you are applying to. As a result, it should not be specific to any one school. Your personal statement should be appropriate for a wide array of audiences and should put your best foot forward. Be sure to proofread and edit your essay, and have someone you trust, like a friend, family member, or counselor, read it over before submitting it.

UChicago Supplement

The University of Chicago Supplement  requires one extended essay of your choice from our list of several prompts and one short essay on why you would like to attend the University of Chicago. The Supplement is available through  Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir  or the  Common Application . 

Your UChicago Account

Students may create a UChicago Account before or after beginning the Common Application or Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir. To create a UChicago Account before you begin working on either application, please visit . If you submit your application through the Common Application or Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir, you will receive an email with instructions on how to set up your UChicago Account. When you  sign in to your UChicago Account , you will be able to complete and update your profile, apply for financial aid, upload supplementary materials, and view your admissions decision.

Application Fee or Automatic Fee Waiver

The University of Chicago does not charge an application fee for students applying for need-based financial aid, veterans, and veteran dependents. For students not applying for need-based financial aid, our application fee is $75 and can be submitted through Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application .

Credit Card

Please follow the instructions on Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application for submitting the application fee online.

Check or Money Order

Please include a note with the check or money order with the applicant's full name and address, and mail it to the College Admissions Office by the appropriate application deadline. Checks should be made payable to the University of Chicago.

The Office of College Admissions Attn. Matt Cowell 1101 E. 58th St. Rosenwald 005 Chicago, IL 60637

Secondary School Report and Transcript

We understand that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have experienced disruptions and implemented changes to grading structures or practices. UChicago always reviews applicants in the context of their school's environment and grading practices, and will continue to give full consideration to all applicants regardless of the method of grading or assessment your school has selected during this time. If you wish to provide any additional explanations or context for elements included in your application, please provide that in the "Additional Information" section of your application.

Ask your secondary school counselor to complete the Secondary School Report and submit it along with an official transcript. If you do not have a secondary school counselor, a teacher or school administrator may submit the Secondary School Report and transcript instead. Students may also self-submit transcripts.

Secondary School Report

The Secondary School Report provides us with an overview of your high school academic record. All secondary school counselors have the option of submitting letters of recommendation and school forms online via Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application . High school counselors should follow the instructions on the Coalition or Common Application  for submitting these forms. Counselors may print out and submit these forms on paper even if you submit your application online.

High School Transcript

An official transcript detailing your coursework and grades over your entire high school career should be sent from your high school. In reading your application, your transcript will serve as a roadmap of your academic path in high school. We will be looking at your academic record across all four years of high school, primarily to see that you have challenged yourself productively in your course selection and done well in those courses. 

Your transcript is considered in the context of your high school. Course offerings and opportunities can look very different from one high school to the next, and we want to see how you took advantage of what was available to you at your high school. You would never be at a disadvantage in the admissions process for not having pursued an opportunity that was not available to you. A School Profile is usually included with your transcript that tells us about the environment at your school, course offerings, curriculum, and educational outcomes. We do not require complete syllabi.

If you have taken courses at a school other than your current high school, such as a previous high school or a local college, please be sure to have those grades sent as well. They may be reported either on your current high school transcript or in a separate transcript from the original institution.

Transcripts written in a language other than English should be accompanied by a certified translation and a grading scale.

Self-Submitted Transcripts

UChicago will review the applications of students using either self-submitted or official transcripts and midyear transcripts. We realize that there can be costs associated with ordering transcripts. If students have a hard copy or digital copy of their transcript, they may fax, mail, or upload through their UChicago Account. Students will not be required to submit official transcripts unless they are admitted and choose to enroll.

Two Teacher Evaluations

We require two recommendations from teachers who have taught you in an academic subject: high school teachers for first-year applicants and college instructors for transfer applicants. Academic subjects, as defined for the purposes of letters of recommendation, include mathematics, social studies, history, science, English or literature, foreign language, and other courses in which you are doing substantial amounts of reading, writing, or class discussion. If you have questions about whether a particular course is a good choice, feel free to  contact your regional Admissions Counselor .

Ask for recommendations from teachers who know you well and can speak specifically and positively about your contributions in the classroom, academic interest, and interactions with classmates. This does not necessarily need to be the teacher who gave you the best grades, but instead someone who best knows your academic personality and thinks highly of you. Plan to have a brief conversation with your recommender to give them context on your educational plans, as this can be helpful in writing a more detailed letter.

As teachers are often writing letters of recommendation on their own time and are therefore not getting paid to do it, we also strongly encourage students to write their recommenders a thank you note.

Submitting Letters of Recommendation

All school counselors and teachers have the option of submitting letters of recommendation and school forms online via  Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir  or the  Common Application . They should follow the instructions on the relevant application for submitting these forms. Teachers and counselors may print out and submit these forms on paper even if you submit your application online. Letters of recommendation must come directly from the recommender and should not be sent by the applicant. Letters of recommendation can be added to your application after the application deadline, so you do not need to ask your recommender to submit their letter before or at the same time as you have submitted your application.

If your recommenders are most comfortable writing in a language other than English, they may do so. Have them submit the original letter accompanied by a translation.

Supplemental Recommendations

If you feel that we won't be able get a full picture of who you are without a third letter of recommendation from another teacher, an employer, role model, youth leader, or friend, you may submit one additional letter. Submitting a supplemental letter of recommendation is not an expectation, and please be considerate of the significant time commitment writing a good letter of recommendation takes before asking a potential recommender.

Transfer Students

If you are a transfer applicant and feel that you have not had satisfactory contact with professors at your college or university, you may ask a teaching assistant or lab instructor who may have had more experience working with you to provide a recommendation. 

No Harm Testing Policy

Submitting an SAT or ACT is optional and not required for admission. In addition to being test-optional, UChicago practices a “No Harm” policy for application review when considering SAT or ACT scores. Any SAT or ACT score submitted will only be used in review if it will positively affect an applicant’s chance of admission. Test scores that may negatively impact an admission decision will not be considered in review. All applicants, including domestic students, international students, and transfer students will be reviewed under this policy.

Reporting Scores

Students submitting SAT or ACT scores may share either official or self-reported scores. Students sharing self-reported scores will not be required to submit official score reports unless they are admitted and choose to enroll. You are able to self-report test scores through Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application . You will not need to superscore your own results or recalculate your scores in any way; send your scores exactly as you receive them. To be considered official, scores can be sent by a school official, listed on a transcript, or sent to the University of Chicago directly from the testing agency. UChicago’s SAT code is 1832; the ACT code is 1152.

Testing Deadlines

While we would, if possible, like to receive your scores before the appropriate deadline, we will accept October ACT and November SAT scores for Early Action and Early Decision I, December SAT and ACT scores for Early Decision II, and January SAT and February ACT scores for Regular Decision. For transfer applicants, we will accept scores from the February ACT or March SAT.

College Reports and Transcript (transfer students only)

College reports.

The College/Transfer Report should be completed by a dean, registrar, or academic adviser who has access to your disciplinary and academic records and sent directly to the Office of College Admissions. Current college coursework should be included in the Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir application, or submitted separately in a Mid-Term Report for students using the Common Application. If you are not currently enrolled in courses, you do not need to submit current college coursework or a Mid-Term report.

College Transcripts 

Transfer students are required to submit both a final high school transcript and college transcripts for every post-secondary school attended. You are encouraged to upload unofficial copies of your transcripts when you apply. These can be uploaded in the documents section of the Common Application, or in the Coalition Application Supplement if applying through Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir. If you prefer, you can arrange for official copies of your transcripts to be sent instead, but official copies are only required for admitted students who choose to enroll at UChicago.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores (international applicants only)

The University of Chicago only admits students who have demonstrated a superior level of English language competence. Students are invited to submit scores from any English proficiency examination they believe represents their English language ability. If you feel as though mastery of the English language is already represented throughout your application, you are not required to submit formal exam scores. 

Students who choose to submit English proficiency scores may share either official or self-reported scores. Students sharing self-reported scores will not be required to submit official score reports unless they are admitted and choose to enroll.

UChicago does not offer an ESL program for admitted students.

Midyear Report (first-year applicants only)

Please have your high school counselor submit a midyear report with grades or a transcript for your first semester or first trimester by February 1 of the year you have applied, or as soon as possible thereafter. We are aware that schools may issue midyear grades at a later time, and students will not be penalized for submitting the report after this date. Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir and the Common Application provide a Midyear Grade Report form, or you may use your own school’s midyear report. You are also welcome to make updates to your application by logging into your  UChicago Account  and clicking “Update Your Application." Students may choose to self-submit their midyear transcript.

Optional Components

Financial aid application, u.s. citizens and permanent residents.

Applicants to the College are not required to submit an application for financial aid to be considered for admission. If you do intend to apply for need-based financial aid, however, you should do so at the same time you apply for admission so that you can factor your financial aid package into your college decision process. Learn more about  applying for financial aid .

Once a student is admitted, regardless of that student’s country of origin, the University of Chicago will meet 100% of their demonstrated financial need throughout their four years in the College with a grant-based financial aid package. UChicago financial aid packages do not include a loan expectation.

Domestic Financial Aid Application Materials

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Prior-prior year's tax returns (including all schedules and W-2 forms)
  • UChicago-Specific Financial Aid Worksheet (can substitute College Board's CSS Profile)

International Applicants 

UChicago will meet 100% of international students’ demonstrated need. International applicants go through the same contextual review process as domestic applicants, with the only difference being that international students are required to submit a financial aid application prior to admission if they think they may require need-based aid at any time while enrolled at UChicago. Learn more about applying for financial aid as an international applicant.

International Financial Aid Application Materials

  • The International Financial Aid Worksheet
  • Supporting documentation of family’s income and asset information

Transfer Applicants 

While funding is limited for transfer students, we are committed to meeting 100% of your demonstrated need with a loan-free financial aid award for all U.S. citizens and permanent residents if you are admitted and applied for funding. Transfer students are eligible for financial aid only if they apply for funding during the admissions process and will not be eligible for financial aid after receiving their admissions decision or during their four years in the College. If you think you will need financial aid at any point during your four years at UChicago, you should apply for financial aid when you apply for admission.

The number of quarters for which you receive financial aid will depend on your transfer credit evaluation, which you will receive after you are offered admission. Learn more about  applying for financial aid .

If you are neither a citizen of the United States nor a permanent resident, then we consider you to be an  international transfer applicant , even if you are currently studying at a U.S. college or university. International transfer applicants are not eligible for financial aid.

Recommended Video Profile

You have two options to submit a video introduction if you would like to add your voice to your application. You may upload a two-minute video directly through your UChicago Account or create a 60-90 second video using Glimpse by InitialView . You may submit your video at any time, but we recommend doing so by November 6 for Early Action and Early Decision I or January 8 for Regular Decision and Early Decision II. Your recording does not need to be extensively rehearsed or polished, and the video does not need to be edited.

You are encouraged to film in a quiet space that limits outside distractions (background noise, music, pet or sibling interference, etc). While it’s ok to rehearse your message a bit so that you feel confident and ready, it’s helpful for us to hear these spoken in your normal, conversational voice. If there is any important information relevant to your candidacy you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.

Supplemental Materials: Optional Art, Creative, Research, or Other Supplements

Students may submit supplemental material representing a significant talent, passion, or achievement by self-upload through their UChicago Account. These materials include, but are not limited to, creative writing projects, highlights from music/dance/visual art/theater performance, school capstone projects such as AP Capstone or the equivalent, research projects, business plans, or other work of note.

Students may also elect to submit results of AP exams on an optional and self-reported basis. Statistics or Calculus Mastery Certification

Students are welcome to submit certification to their application. Once you’ve completed certification in a specific subject area, you’ll be able to download a PDF document verifying your completion. You can upload this PDF to your UChicago Account. Learn more and view FAQs at .

Submitting Documents

UChicago accepts Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir and the Common Application for both first-year and transfer applicants and Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir for transfer applicants. In order to expedite the assembly of your application (and save trees!), the Office of College Admissions prefers electronic submission of all documents through Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application. Any additional materials you would like to be added to your application file should be sent to us through the methods outlined below:

  • Direct Upload to your UChicago Account: This is the fastest and most efficient method to submit documents to your application.
  • Fax to 773.702.0661: This is the preferred fax line for submission of any additional documents that you would like added to your application. If this line is busy due to high volume, you may use our secondary fax line, 773.834.5297.
  • Mail documents to: The Office of College Admissions 1101 E. 58th St. Rosenwald 129 Chicago, IL 60637
  • We discourage sending sensitive documents via email and believe that one of the two methods listed above should be sufficient to ensure that your documents arrive to our office safely and securely.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time.


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  1. UChicago Supplemental Essay Questions

    The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our provocative essay questions. We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. ... Start with the peculiarities of your own personal language—the voice you use when speaking most intimately to yourself, the vocabulary that ...

  2. How to Write the University of Chicago Essays 2022-2023

    Communicate who you are as an academic. The point of your essay is still to tell admissions officers about yourself. Give them an image of how you will perform in and contribute to an academic environment. You can't just gush about your topic—you have to prove that you can engage with it at a highly intellectual level.

  3. How to Write the University of Chicago Essays 2020-2021

    In 2020, its acceptance rate was 7.94%, so steel yourself for the essay writing. It's gotta be your best. You can complete your UChicago application through the Coalition App, Common App, and UChicago portals. Their essay questions for this season are on their website, as well as listed below.

  4. UChicago Essays: How Real Students Approached Them

    UChicago Essays: How Real Students Approached Them. Located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, the University of Chicago is known for its rigorous academic experience and engaged student body. In 2020, the school ranked 6th on the US News' Best Colleges Rankings. For the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, UChicago accepted only 6.2% of applicants.

  5. University of Chicago's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

    Option 7. And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of ...

  6. How to Get into the University of Chicago: Essays and Strategies That

    Part 4: 2023-2024 University of Chicago supplemental essays (examples included) ... A UChicago supplement will reflect their advice to be authentic and write in a unique personal voice—they are looking for people with the potential to be the independent and revolutionary thinkers that they are known to produce. So above all, your child ...

  7. Writing a Personal Statement

    Writing a Personal Statement. When I was starting the process of completing my college applications, the concept of writing a "general essay" about myself seemed incredibly daunting. With just one essay, I had to present a picture of myself to every single school I applied to. ... The University of Chicago College Admissions Rosenwald Hall ...

  8. Admissions Tips: How to Write Essays That ...

    Do not be tempted by sample essays on the internet or the essay that your mentor or friend so helpfully provided you. By all means, seek advice from people but do not try to build up on an existing essay. Your essay needs to be as original as you are! Admission committees value honesty and have an uncanny knack for detecting botchy work.

  9. The 7 UChicago Essay Prompts: How to Write Stellar Responses

    Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. Essay Option 3: "Vlog," "Labradoodle," and "Fauxmage.". Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a "patch" (perfect match). Essay Option 4: A jellyfish is not a fish.

  10. 4 Tips for Writing a Stand-Out 'Why UChicago?' Essay

    Essay 1. As I prepare to leave my home for a university, I dream of joining the University of Chicago community. In all honesty, UChicago is probably the only university that will accept and even encourage my eclectic thinking and passion for finding adventure in everyday life.

  11. How to Write the University of Chicago Supplemental Essays

    Step #1: Do your research. Spend 1 hr+ researching 10+ reasons why UChicago might be a great fit for you (ideally 3-5 of the reasons will be unique to UChicago and connect back to you). Step #2: Use this chart to map out your research. Step #3: Decide on your approach.

  12. UChicago Extended Essays: An In-Depth Guide + Examples

    UChicago Extended Essays: An In-Depth Guide + Examples. Every year, UChicago provides six new extended essay prompts that are designed to highlight how you engage with complex ideas and, through that, essentially show how you fit within the UChicago community. Your job is to pierce through the seeming absurdity of the questions to showcase your ...

  13. UChicago Essay Examples (And Why They Worked)

    The following essay examples were written by several different authors who were admitted to University of Chicago and are intended to provide examples of successful UChicago application essays. ... For more guidance on personal essays and the college application process in general, sign up for a monthly plan to work with an admissions coach 1 ...

  14. FAQs: Personal Statement

    Your personal statement should not have errors - this is a sample of your writing and it should be a strong reflection of your written communication skills. Edit extensively and make sure to remove tracked changes. Be concise and organize your thoughts. Remember basic writing skills and essay structure.

  15. 2 Great UChicago Essay Examples

    2 Great UChicago Essay Examples. UChicago is famous —or shall we say infamous—for their highly-quirky essay prompts. In previous years, students have been tasked with mind-boggling questions like "Find X," or "A hot dog might be a sandwich, and cereal might be a soup, but is a __ a __?". These essays may seem silly, but they invite ...

  16. 18 Successful UChicago Essays

    The University of Chicago is a private research institution with a strong history and dedication to education quality, located in the lively, diverse city of Chicago. Founded in 1890, UChicago has long been a national leader in research, academic rigor, and cutting-edge technology. Known for its strong humanities and social science programs ...

  17. Personal Statements/ Essay Questions : r/uichicago

    Personal Statements/ Essay Questions . Question ... It's more a "Chicago" experience than the University of Chicago, which unlike UIC, is the college campus "bubble" archetype. At UIC, they don't throw activities at you (they certainly have them readily available and are proactive at making sure you know what opportunities are), but ...

  18. Concerning the Encampment

    The impact of an encampment depends on the degree to which it disrupts study, scholarship, and free movement around campus. To be clear, we will not tolerate violence or harassment directed at individuals or groups. And, disruption becomes greater the longer the encampment persists. With a 24-hour presence, day after day, we must for example ...

  19. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, Israel supporters stand off on fourth

    CHICAGO (CBS) -- Tensions are escalating in Evanston as hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters take over Deering Meadow, a large plot of green space at Northwestern University. They are calling on ...

  20. Apply

    Applicants should submit their choice of Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir or the Common Application*, both of which include the University of Chicago Supplement.. Applicants will also be prompted to create a UChicago Account, where they can submit information and view their admissions decision. Select One of Two Applications. There are several online application platforms accepted by many ...