Common App Essay Questions 2011

Seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp: mantisshrimp.What might they be able to see that we cannot? 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. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies.Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc.—pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it.

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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.

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. Parts of an atom, laws of thought, a guideline for composition. Create your own group of threes, and describe why and how they fit together.

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

Human eyes have color receptors for three colors (red, green, and blue); the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain.They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics.) choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). 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 are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? 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.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. Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History... In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure.Write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard. Imagine you’ve struck a deal with the Dean of Admissions himself, Dean Nondorf.People often think of language as a connector, something that brings people together by helping them share experiences, feelings, ideas, etc. It goes as follows: you’re guaranteed admission to the University of Chicago regardless of any circumstances that arise.Susan Sontag, AB’51, wrote that “[s]ilence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend.The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.“…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present.” —The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern Present: pres·ent 1.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.

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