Chicago Favorites Essay

Some classic questions from previous years…

Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story.
—Inspired by Drew Donaldson, AB'16

Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about.
—Inspired by Raphael Hallerman, Class of 2020

What's so odd about odd numbers?
–Inspired by Mario Rosasco, AB'09

Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence.
—Inspired by Tiffany Kim, Class of 2020

In French, there is no difference between "conscience" and "consciousness." In Japanese, there is a word that specifically refers to the splittable wooden chopsticks you get at restaurants. The German word “fremdschämen” encapsulates the feeling you get when you’re embarrassed on behalf of someone else. All of these require explanation in order to properly communicate their meaning, and are, to varying degrees, untranslatable. Choose a word, tell us what it means, and then explain why it cannot (or should not) be translated from its original language.
– Inspired by Emily Driscoll, Class of 2018

Little pigs, French hens, a family of bears. Blind mice, musketeers, the Fates. Parts of an atom, laws of thought, a guideline for composition. Omne trium perfectum? Create your own group of threes, and describe why and how they fit together.
– Inspired by Zilin Cui, Class of 2018

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: mantisshrimp.uchicago.edu What might they be able to see that we cannot? What are we missing?
–Inspired by Tess Moran, AB'16

How are apples and oranges supposed to be compared? Possible answers involve, but are not limited to, statistics, chemistry, physics, linguistics, and philosophy.
–Inspired by Florence Chan, AB'15

The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it. So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words.
—Inspired by April Bell, Class of 2017, and Maya Shaked, Class of 2018 (It takes two to tango.)

"A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies." –Oscar Wilde. Othello and Iago. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Autobots and Decepticons. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).
–Inspired by Martin Krzywy, AB'16.

Heisenberg claims that you cannot know both the position and momentum of an electron with total certainty. Choose two other concepts that cannot be known simultaneously and discuss the implications. (Do not consider yourself limited to the field of physics).
–Inspired by Doran Bennett, BS'07

Susan Sontag, AB'51, wrote that "[s]ilence remains, inescapably, a form of speech." Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend. The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.
–Anonymous submission

"…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present." –The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern
Present: pres·ent
1. Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift.
Let's stick with this definition. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc. — pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it.
—Inspired by Jennifer Qin, AB'16

So where is Waldo, really?
–Inspired by Robin Ye, AB'16

Find x.
–Inspired by Benjamin Nuzzo, an admitted student from Eton College, UK

Dog and Cat. Coffee and Tea. Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. Everyone knows there are two types of people in the world. What are they?
–Inspired by an alumna of the Class of 2006

How did you get caught? (Or not caught, as the case may be.)
–Proposed by Kelly Kennedy, AB'10

Chicago author Nelson Algren said, "A writer does well if in his whole life he can tell the story of one street." Chicagoans, but not just Chicagoans, have always found something instructive, and pleasing, and profound in the stories of their block, of Main Street, of Highway 61, of a farm lane, of the Celestial Highway. Tell us the story of a street, path, road—real or imagined or metaphorical. 
–Anonymous submission

UChicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell entitled his 2005 book What Do Pictures Want? Describe a picture, and explore what it wants.
–Inspired by Anna Andel

"Don't play what's there, play what's not there."—Miles Davis (1926–91)
–Inspired by Jack Reeves

University of Chicago alumna and renowned author/critic Susan Sontag said, "The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions." We all have heard serious questions, absurd questions, and seriously absurd questions, some of which cannot be answered without obliterating the very question. Destroy a question with your answer.
–Inspired by Aleksandra Ciric

"Mind that does not stick."
–Zen Master Shoitsu (1202–80)

Superstring theory has revolutionized speculation about the physical world by suggesting that strings play a pivotal role in the universe. Strings, however, always have explained or enriched our lives, from Theseus's escape route from the Labyrinth, to kittens playing with balls of yarn, to the single hair that held the sword above Damocles, to the Old Norse tradition that one's life is a thread woven into a tapestry of fate, to the beautiful sounds of the finely tuned string of a violin, to the children's game of cat's cradle, to the concept of stringing someone along. Use the power of string to explain the biggest or the smallest phenomenon.
–Inspired by Adam Sobolweski

Have you ever walked through the aisles of a warehouse store like Costco or Sam's Club and wondered who would buy a jar of mustard a foot and a half tall? We've bought it, but it didn't stop us from wondering about other things, like absurd eating contests, impulse buys, excess, unimagined uses for mustard, storage, preservatives, notions of bigness…and dozens of other ideas both silly and serious. Write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard.
–Inspired by Katherine Gold

People often think of language as a connector, something that brings people together by helping them share experiences, feelings, ideas, etc. We, however, are interested in how language sets people apart. Start with the peculiarities of your own personal language—the voice you use when speaking most intimately to yourself, the vocabulary that spills out when you're startled, or special phrases and gestures that no one else seems to use or even understand—and tell us how your language makes you unique. You may want to think about subtle riffs or idiosyncrasies based on cadence, rhythm, rhyme, or (mis)pronunciation.
–Inspired by Kimberly Traube

These are my two supplement essays for the University of Chicago. I don't feel quite right about them. Any insight or corrections on them would be very helpful and i would be eternally grateful. Please don"t be afraid to hurt my feelings. I think i can take it...:/

Question 2. Would you please tell us about a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, magazines, or newspapers? Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own.

Books; they are to my mind what ecstasy is to the body. I love to sit next to Hari Seldon as he works on Psychohistory, to stand out on the moors with Heathcliff or to play against Harry Potter in a Quidditch match. Since I was little, I have never been able to refuse any book; be it a textbook on the migration of man or an illustrated storybook on the Titanic, I keep them all. Isaac Asimov, Hari Seldon's creator, is a god amongst science fiction writers. His Foundation novels are by far some of my favorite to read; it seems that they can always lead me down an unexpected path. My favorite books are the ones that make a sudden twist and in turn can blow my mind. Take the Once and Future King for example. T.H. White almost completely changed the story of Arthur and made it completely riveting. I found it absolutely intriguing how Merlin lived his life in reverse; I still cannot completely wrap my mind around the concept. Needless to say, my parents no longer allow me to go to book stores because I usually end up buying half of their supply.

I read books because they are my way of learning. They let me experience and recognize others points of view and thoughts. Without my passion for reading, I do not think I would be the same person I am now.

Question 1. How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to Chicago.

As I know the University of Chicago now, I believe that it was made for me. I had gone for months without knowing this school existed, then one day it smacked in the face for overlooking it. My stomach suddenly filled with one too many butterflies and I knew that this is where I wanted to spend the next four, if not more, years of my education. Not only is it located in one of the best cities (a close second to Saint Paul of course) but it offers a superior business program and exquisite alternative majors, if the first does not play through swimmingly. Other schools that I have looked at only offer one or another of my interests. On top of that, I plan to study abroad, more than likely in Paris, and to my joy the University of Chicago does indeed offer that option.

Community and family has always been a huge factor in my life. When I saw that the University of Chicago had house systems, not only was I thrilled because there would be a community like factor, but also because who wouldn't love to live in a situation that was rather reminiscent of Hogwarts houses.

The alumni that flow from this establishment are so very remarkable. From Donald Johansen to Edwin Hubble to football great Jay Berwanger. I want to be one of the greats; I want to be something more than what my life prescribes me to be. It is my belief that I have found the right place at the University of Chicago to do so and it would be the perfect catalyst in my journey.

Again, ANY help would be awesome. Thanks in advance!

As for your favorite books:
I'm not really sure if they want lists or an in-depth coverage of one category like you have done. What you have wrote reads great though.

And for "Why Chicago?"

In general, I think you need to do a little bit more research. There's not too much time left, but at least find the program you love about UofC.

It flows nicely, not too many grammatical errors.

As I know the University of Chicago now, I believe that it was made for me.
I believe that the University of Chicago was made for me.
The "it" seemed to read a bit weird.
OR you could just go without that first sentence and just use:
I had gone for months without knowing the University of Chicago existed...

then one day it smacked in the face for overlooking it.
then one day it smacked in the face .
a little redundant i think. considering you already have the first part of this sentence.

My stomach suddenly filled with one too many butterflies and I knew that this is where I wanted to spend the next four, if not more, years of my education.

you really made up your mind just like that? maybe you are really interested in UofC, but perhaps this bold statement should go after a little support. they do like "deep thinkers".

Not only is it located in one of the best cities (a close second to Saint Paul of course)
Not only is it located in Chicago
not necessary. perhaps tell them about Chicago's opportunities for business

but it offers a superior business program and exquisite alternative majors, if the first does not play through swimmingly.
They DO HAVE A world-class ECONOMICS program. Maybe thats what you're really interested in.

Other schools that I have looked at only offer one or another of my interests. On top of that, I plan to study abroad, more than likely in Paris, and to my joy the University of Chicago does indeed offer that option.

Be more specific. List their study abroad program if you can find it. Maybe explain what you want to study abroad in?

Community and family has always been a huge factor in my life...
Delete "family". what's after it doesn't match.

When I saw that the University of Chicago had house systems, not only was I thrilled because there would be a community like factor, but also because who wouldn't love to live in a situation that was rather reminiscent of Hogwarts houses.

I'm just a little worried about the harry potter relation. Maybe its a bit trite (overused). I would just check out a particular house, and maybe tell about some house events, and say that you would like to be a part of them. Select these carefully, they may tell the reader a little about you!

I have found the right place at the University of Chicago to do so and it would be the perfect catalyst in my journey.
I have found the University of Chicago would be the perfect catalyst for my journey.

It reads nicely. I like how you address the alumni. However, I would also talk more about your own goals and values, instead of the vague "greatness". Then relate what Exactly at UofChicago will help you attain these goals.

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