More On The University of Chicago Essay Sample

From high above we see... Crazy things afoot.

From high above we see... Crazy things afoot.

The recent problems with the University of Chicago’s admissions department highlight a number of things we should all be aware of regarding the process. First and foremost, it is not a science. There are any number of reasons that can keep you from an acceptance letter, many of which are completely out of your control. Elements such as where you grew up, past histories of applicants similar to you, even the number of kids from your high school applying to the same university can weigh heavily on an admissions officer’s decision if spaces are highly competitive.

But more importantly, recognize that the sample essay the dean of UChicago saw fit to send out was an example of something novel. It gave him a bit of a shock in its approach and its form. It was not the kind of five-paragraph thesis essay the school has seen a thousand times. The writer had an idea and committed to it, and that commitment allowed him to stand out in a spectacular way (perhaps more than he would have liked, in this case!)

You should also notice that it is not the best piece of writing known to man. It is not a work that would make Fitzgerald blush with its superior insight into the human condition. But it is clear. Very clear. It has purpose and intent, and above all, it tells us something about the person reading it that the application cannot. That, above all, should be your goal in developing your application essays.

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