Chicago Optional Essay

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Last year I attended the AIGAC conference, hosted for one morning by Chicago Booth.

During the informative sessions at Booth, the admissions committee members made clear that they are looking for students who demonstrate self-awareness and direction.

they’ve made a decision to apply to a particular university; that they are rooted in some important academic or cultural aspect of the institution with which they are associated. The release of the extended essay questions each fall is a notable event in the world of college admissions, where counselors are as often intrigued as they are annoyed at the year’s brand new set of complex thought experiments, unusual juxtapositions, and portmant-odes to pop culture. The University of Chicago may not be right for you.

For the University of Chicago, the extended essay is a marketing tool and a warning—a declaration to prospective students that the institution is seriously intellectual and, just as frequently, seriously unserious.

What “interests, leadership experiences, and other passions” influenced your choices?

Is there a common thread to your decision-making process that will tie together these decisions, as well as your essay?

Ian received his master’s in policy, organization, and leadership studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

Prior to joining College Coach, Ian worked as a senior admissions officer at Reed College.

If you’re willing to read on, however, we can help.

First, the basics: the University of Chicago essay supplement is split into two assignments.


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