Why College X - Out of the Box

Essay Prompt

How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

Sample Essay

I cannot begin to count how many times someone has told me to “think outside the box,” to open my mind to other possibilities and to approach a problem with a different set of eyes. But what does this actually mean? How do you actually do that? And once you are outside, where do you go? The answer to the riddle is, of course, deceptively simple. To actually "step outside the box" of your current thinking, you must jump into another one. If you are stuck in a mathematics box, jump to physics or chemistry or history or maybe even poetry.

Therefore, in order for me to be able to truly “think outside the box,” I have to have more than one box I know. Through the Core, UChicago will introduce me to different “boxes” and give me practice jumping from one to another. This “expansion of boxes” is precisely what I need from an undergraduate education.

UChicago will also provide me with something else especially valuable: a very particular community. The University of Chicago attracts and sustains a community of faculty and students who value inhabiting and moving between all the boxes of thinking. They are even bold enough to construct new boxes when the existing ones can no longer contain the ideas and concepts they have. Because UChicago demands that students from across disciplines interact and relate, I am sure I will make lifelong connections with people exploring different “boxes.” Studying literature alongside a biology major may give me great insight into the human condition or the behavior of a character. Rooming with an arts major might help me understand why an economics guy loves musicals so much.

By the end of my time at UChicago, I am confident that I will be able to “think outside the box” anytime it is warranted. I’m also confident that I will have redesigned and expanded my own personal “box” in profound ways. That’s what I desire and that’s what I’ll get.

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