Depending on how many universities being applied to, the seemingly never ending question, “Why do you want to attend (fill in the blank) college?” starts to become more of a monotonous chore than a true expression of yourself and your accomplishment. It seems some colleges are catching on to the fact that these questions tend to limit creativity and a genuine understanding of the prospective student as they have begun asking questions a lot more outside of the box.
The Los Angeles Times reports about the latest trend in college application questions that have some students scratching their heads and others laughing before they dive right in. Students applying to the University of Chicago this year probably saw a question on their application like, “So where is Waldo, really?". Caltech saw this question on their applications, “Please describe an unusual way in which you have fun.” And Tufts simply instructs the applicant to “celebrate your nerdy side” while writing their essay.
Garrett Brinker, an admissions official at University of Chicago, explains why he feels the new style of essay questions will allow admissions officers to understand their applicants better. Brinker says, “It's a way to see students who can think differently and go beyond their academic, intellectual and extracurricular comfort zones.” And also, “break up the monotony of the application process.”
But not all students are excited to see the unique essay questions posed on their applications. Judy Rothman, author of "The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions,” explains how the unusual questions throw a lot of students for a loop, especially the ones who expect to slightly tweek one essay question in order to apply for a number of schools. Rothman says, “For a kid who is natural writer, it is relief and a great break from the tedious process of the applications. For the kids who just want to get through all their applications, it's a nightmare because you can't recycle material.”
What do you think of the new unusual college essay questions some schools have added to their applications?
Do you think these new questions are a nice change or just add too much extra work for the prospective student?