UChicago Essay Prompts 2020: How to Write a Winning College Essay?

UChicago Essay Prompts 2020: How to Write a Winning College Essay?
Table of Contents
  1. UChicago Essay Prompts 2020: How to Write a Winning College Essay?
  2. The University of Chicago: What is it famous for?
  3. What UChicago college essay prompt will you have to respond to?
  4. Question 1: Why do you want to get an education at the University of Chicago?
  5. What do college admissions expect to see in your response?
  6. Question 2: Choose 1 of 6 college essay prompts
  7. Tips for writing a killer extended college essay
  8. UChicago supplemental essay options 2020- 2021
  9. UChicago supplement examples from previous years

Perhaps, you have already heard that it is not easy to be accepted to the University of Chicago. This educational establishment is known for its specific application requirements. Are you going to enter the University of Chicago and want to learn more about how to increase your chances to be approved? Then, check these effective UChicago essay prompts to know how the college application process takes place and how to become a UChicago student.


The University of Chicago: What is it famous for?

Every year millions of people apply to the University of Chicago. What is the reason for such popularity? First of all, this educational establishment is well-known for its responsible attitude to education. They appreciate students who are engaged in the research activity. The University of Chicago is famous for the largest number of Nobel Laureates, after Cambridge.

Only the best academics work here. The university is known for its curriculums and supplemental college essay papers, which differ from any other schools' academic essays. What is special about their college essays, ACT process, and how to get started? Keep on reading this guide to find out.


What UChicago college essay prompt will you have to respond to?

The main goal of writing an application essay is to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, show that you are a creative personality who deserves an opportunity to get an education in this honourable educational establishment. In order to achieve this goal, you need to work hard because applying for the University of Chicago isn’t as easy as ABC.

Before you proceed to write college essays, you’re recommended to learn more about unique UChicago college essays, their ACT guide, and check the ultimate University of Chicago essay breakdowns here. Keep in mind that there are two categories of questions, which means that applicants should submit two college essay papers, as a part of the admission process:

  1. The first prompt hasn’t been changed for years. It is the college essay prompt the main idea of which is  “Why have you chosen the University of Chicago?”
In 2020 it sounds this way "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."
  1. In the second part, you are free to choose any option among 5-6 topics. We will consider them later in this article.

Question 1: Why do you want to get an education at the University of Chicago?

It is not difficult to guess what to write about in this college application essay. Just tell about why you have given preference to this educational establishment, which makes it the best one for you, and how you see your future in this place. To share your thoughts, you have up to 500 words (a standard ACT requirement). One page may be not enough to tell everything you want. So, being up to a point is a great skill.

Avoid cliche phrases because many students are dreaming of entering this top college. So, you need to be original. The admissions officers should understand that it is not the choice of your parents, that it is you wants to enter the university not only because it is a prestigious place to get an education but because there are some more reasons behind your application. Be convincing and personal when writing this supplemental college essay. Check the list of the possible reasons behind choosing UChicago:

  • Traditions that one generation of students pass to the next generation. An opportunity to become a part of the community and live on the campus with history.
  • A chance to study with students who have the same interests and aspirations as you.

What do college admissions expect to see in your response?

The best way to answer the question “Why UChicago?” is to tell about your interest in the research activities. Tell that you have read about UChicago alumni who have made a great contribution to the world and you’d like to do the same. Mention that you are going to take part in volunteer projects. It is very important for admissions officers.

“A college degree is linked to greater employment prospects, higher earning potential, and the ability to contribute to our communities”.

Also, you should tell about the majors you would like to choose. Admissions officers would be glad to find out that you know much about the college and opportunities provided. Keep in mind that your task is to convince everyone that studying here is exactly what you need. Explain what opportunities UChicago offers, which aren’t available anywhere else.


Question 2: Choose 1 of 6 college essay prompts

After you have answered the first question, which is always on the application program, proceed to write an extended answer. This is also important for your admission / ACT. You are free to select one of the offered topics. Take into account that compared to the first college essay, which you can prepare for, the second question changes every year.

The choice of the University of Chicago essay topics is always 5 or 6 prompts, which should be answered within a word limit of 650 words (standard ACT / SAT terms). The min is 300-350 words. Now, let’s have a closer look at the college application prompts for the current year.

college students

Compared to the first question in which you write about UChicago, here you are expected to include more information about your personality. The second extended college essay is given with the aim to get acquainted with an applicant, learn more about his or her plans for the future, in this kind of learning community, and to listen to an interesting story.


Tips for writing a killer extended college essay

Check the useful tips for writing a high-quality application college essay:

  • Remember, you won’t have a second chance to make the first impression. So, being creative and original is a must.
  • An extended college paper is your great chance to show what you are during the ACT process.
  • Demonstrate your storytelling skills and the ability to express your thoughts in a clear manner.
  • Don’t exceed the word limit when writing a college application essay. Write not less and not more than it is required. It is how you will demonstrate your time-management skills and the ability to follow the guidelines.
  • Be personal but do not include your whole autobiography.
  • Due to the fact that every year UChicago invents new original prompts to answer, do your best to answer them impressively.
  • Let admissions officers feel you are a passionate person who loves learning.
  • Don’t answer prompts too seriously. Imagine you are writing a new post for your blog. Be sincere and use hooks to attract the reader’s attention.
  • Give a chance to understand from your essay who you are and what you are interested in.
  • Write in your University of Chicago essay about how your life will change in case your application is approved.

UChicago supplemental essay options 2020- 2021

In 2020, the Uchicago offers its applicants 7 options for the extended to choose from. Check them out.

1. Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics... it's all up to you (or your woodchuck).

Inspired by Blessing Nnate, Class of 2024

2. What can actually be divided by zero?

Inspired by Mai Vu, Class of 2024

3. The seven liberal arts in antiquity consisted of the Quadrivium — astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and music — and the Trivium — rhetoric, grammar, and logic. Describe your own take on the Quadrivium or the Trivium. What do you think is essential for everyone to know?

Inspired by Peter Wang, Class of 2022

4. Subway maps, evolutionary trees, Lewis diagrams. Each of these schematics tells the relationships and stories of their component parts. Reimagine a map, diagram, or chart. If your work is largely or exclusively visual, please include a cartographer's key of at least 300 words to help us best understand your creation.

Inspired by Maximilian Site, Class of 2020

5. "Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so.

Inspired by Chris Davey, AB’13

6. Engineer George de Mestral got frustrated with burrs stuck to his dog’s fur and applied the same mechanic to create Velcro. Scientist Percy Lebaron Spencer found a melted chocolate bar in his magnetron lab and discovered microwave cooking. Dye-works owner Jean Baptiste Jolly found his tablecloth clean after a kerosene lamp was knocked over on it, consequently shaping the future of dry cleaning. Describe a creative or interesting solution, and then find the problem that it solves.

Inspired by Steve Berkowitz, AB’19, and Neeharika Venuturupalli, Class of 2024 

7. In the spirit of adventurous inquiry (and with the encouragement of one of our current students!) 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!

UChicago supplement examples from previous years

Over the years, they have been updating the base of creative topics for University of Chicago supplemental essays to let you demonstrate your creativity and address the issue with some specificity your own wishes or aspirations. Your writing should disclose your personality and your thought well, but do not be too wordy. Keep in mind that the Uchicago essay length is up to 500 words. Here are a few options to explore the University of Chicago prompts you are likely to face:

1. “Cats have nine lives, Pac-Man has 3 lives, and radioactive isotopes have half-lives. How many lives does something else – conceptual or actual – have, and why?”

You could start this SAT section with a search for the definition of life. Obviously, it could be used in many senses, especially when speaking about fictional characters or notions. Next, guide your reader through some examples, fun ones would do as well. Particularly, it is worth mentioning an electron has in fact two ’lives’: one as a particle and one as a wave. And the same could be said about Batman and Jekyll and Hyde. After that, you could focus on books or comic series you like and talk more about them, with certain specificity, while keeping close to the topic.

2. “Fiction reveals the truth that reality obscures.” – Jessamyn West”

If you love to read, this SAT prompt is a great opportunity to describe the merits of you favorite literature styles. You could explain how fiction provides options to inspect some elements of our life from an unexpected angle – the one we are not used to in our mundane life, with house affairs, work, social problems and politics captivating a good deal of our attention. Argue that, in order to analyze a problem it is always useful to look at it from many angles, even unexpected ones – and that what fiction does. This could be an interesting thought for literature classes' learning community and future students to ponder about.

3. “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.”

This supplement essay is meant to talk about a way to reach the goal (some place), not about the goal itself. Select the place you would like to reach through a portal, then tell how you found this opportunity, how you prepared for your ‘adventure’ and describe how you ‘travelled’ through the ‘portal’ to reach it, what did it cost you and what you have learned in the process. Alternatively, speculate about your planned ‘portals’ (as instructed, better avoid talking about SAT, studies and schools) and what you expect from them. You might add that even a most spectacular portal would not satisfy your desire for adventure, only strengthen your wish to see what lies beyond it.

4. “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?”

There are some well-known personality types you could describe and even relate to: actors and thinkers, introverts and extraverts, technicians and empaths, and so on. Select your favorite kind for this SAT and talk about it. Otherwise, you could argue with the topic idea and insist that the international variety of human traits must generate much more of diverse types. Provide some observations showing how using simple schemes is too common for us, as we are used to analyzing our surroundings as quickly as possible, in order to keep up with our work or studies. 

5. “In 2015, the city of Melbourne, Australia, created a "tree-mail" service, in which all of the trees in the city received an email address so that residents could report any tree-related issues. As an unexpected result, people began to email their favorite trees sweet and occasionally humorous letters. Imagine this has been expanded to any object (tree or otherwise) in the world, and share with us the letter you’d send to your favorite.”

In this SAT supplement topic, you are invited to share some of your feelings and dreams. An animal species you are interested in, a park fountain you used to love, an old tree near your previous school stadium, your future workplace, or a perfect house you aspire to build - any one of these entities could be your pen friend. Tell them how you miss the old times - or, on the contrary, how you prefer to look forward to new experiences and fun. Share your best educational idea. Or just explain what their important role in your life or your career choice is.

Have no ideas on how to write an SAT / application college paper that stands out? Get professional writing services to create the University of Chicago application essays quickly and effectively by a talented team of professional writers. Your homework could also be done properly and on time. Just say a spell that works wonders: “Help me with UChicago essay prompts!”.