Long known for its mind-stretching application essay prompts, The University of Chicago topics for 2013 give applicants prime opportunity to tell about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. As described by the University, “they can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.”
Each year the University of Chicago emails newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topic suggestions. Regardless of whether or not you apply to the University of Chicago, the prompts provide good food for thought.
Below are some of the 2012-13 essay topic options:
“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).
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).
Susan Sontag, AB’51, wrote that “[s]ilence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend. The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.
“…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present.” –The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern
In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful, then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. 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.
So where is Waldo, really?
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