Thank God I didn’t apply to UChicago

December 7, 2020 — by Edwin Chen

This top university’s infamous supplemental essay is enough to cow even the most fearless writers.

The University of Chicago is well known for its tricky essay questions. With college application season in full swing, I thought it would be fun to check them out, especially after writing so many boring “Why do you want to attend” responses for other colleges. 

UChicago has two required supplemental essays, one of them being the typical “Why UChicago,” but the second offers a list of unusual prompts. I decided to take a shot at two of them.


Prompt #1: 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.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Peter appears to have some sort of severe condition of short term memory loss if he is unable to locate the peck of pickled peppers that he just picked. In order to derive where the peck of pickled peppers are, we must ask Peter a series of questions: Where does he remember last placing the peppers, why did he place the peppers down, and where did he even get pickled peppers from in the first place?

In any case, Peter can always get new pickled peppers. But the greater concern is what is wrong with Peter’s brain?

Ignoring the fact that Peter actually wants to eat pickled peppers, which itself should be considered a mental condition, how can Peter so quickly forget where he placed a glass jar of brightly colored peppers?

There are only a certain number of places pickled peppers belong: the cupboard, kitchen counter, dining room, pantry, and most importantly, trash can. It should not be hard to locate pickled peppers.

Besides, what did he intend to do with the peppers? Surely he would have remembered if he finished the peppers. If he wanted to use them in a sandwich, he would have placed them in the cupboard or somewhere easily accessible. The way I see it, Peter either has short term memory loss and somehow lost the pickled peppers, or he is hiding the pickled peppers with a secret plot. 


Prompt #5: Misattribute a famous quote and evaluate the consequences of it.

“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.” — Kanye West.

Kanye is a man of multiple titles: award-winning rapper, billionaire, fashion designer, Time Person of the Year candidate, even presidential candidate. But what most fail to realize is Kanye is an absolute genius who does not need his medicine.

Many have been critical of Kanye for his impulsive and sometimes outlandish behavior. He has been unfairly labeled as insane because his true form is not comprehensible to us humans.  

Kanye is actually a god who came to Earth to bless mere mortals with his presence. All of Kanye’s music is meant to spread his wisdom. His fashion apparel is made so people could dress in Ye’s vision. His run for president was an attempt to rule the people so he could bring world peace and end world hunger with his intellect. 

The bottom line is that West only seems insane to the rest of us humans because he is on a higher intellectual level than any of us measly humans can possibly reach. Kanye’s “insanity” and god-like thinking abilities form a true genius.