原标题：College Essay Prompts Get Absurd. ‘So Where Is Waldo, Really?’
原刊于：Wall Street Journal
第一个提到的是 University of Chicago 的，有要求写一个关于智齿的文章 “What advice would a wisdom tooth have?” 觉得没思路，也可以挑选其他的。上面这个是学校6个Essay Options 里的其中一个。
Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)
Essay Option 1
Was it a cat I saw? Yo-no-na-ka, ho-ka-ho-ka na-no-yo (Japanese for “the world is a warm place”). Może jutro ta dama da tortu jeżom (Polish for “maybe tomorrow that lady will give a cake to the hedgehogs”). Share a palindrome in any language, and give it a backstory. - Inspired by Leah Beach, Class of 2026, Lib Gray SB ’12, and Agnes Mazur AB ‘09
Essay Option 3
You are on an expedition to found a colony on Mars, when from a nearby crater, a group of Martians suddenly emerges. They seem eager to communicate, but they're the impatient kind and demand you represent the human race in one song, image, memory, proof, or other idea. What do you share with them to show that humanity is worth their time? —Inspired by Alexander Hastings, Class of 2023, and Olivia Okun-Dubitsky, Class of 2026
Essay Option 4
UChicago has been affiliated with over 90 Nobel laureates. But, why should economics, physics, and peace get all the glory? You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific category, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment. —Inspired by Isabel Alvarez, Class of 2026
Essay Option 5
Genghis Khan with an F1 racecar. George Washington with a SuperSoaker. Emperor Nero with a toaster. Leonardo da Vinci with a Furby. If you could give any historical figure any piece of technology, who and what would it be, and why do you think they’d work so well together? -Inspired by Braden Hajer, Class of 2025
Essay Option 6
And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun!
从Inspired by 的部分可以看出来，这些 题目都是前几届的同学选送的，学校也说了：Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics.University of Chicago 当然也有常规的文书，上面的的几个都是Question 2， Question 1 如下
Question 1 (Required)
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. 其他文中还有其他的比较“别致”的文书题目
University of Maryland（2021-22 申请年份）： has asked students to detail their favorite thing about…last Tuesday. Princeton University （2021-22 申请年份）： “What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?”
Pomona College（2021-22 申请年份）： “Marvel or DC? Pepsi or Coke? Instagram or TikTok? What’s your favorite ‘this or that’ and which side do you choose?”
Wake Forest University（2021-22 申请年份）： has asked students to give a top 10 list with the theme of their choice. 当然这些看着开放可以展现创新能力的题目，真的要让自己的回答别出心裁还是比较困难的。
比如 Rice University 的有个保留文书题目叫"THE BOX"
The Rice Box: In keeping with Rice’s long-standing tradition, please share an image of something that appeals to you.
Yvonne Romero DaSilva, vice president for enrollment at Rice, says more than a few applicants have sent a photo of rice—the actual grain. “One might consider that clever,” she says. “But it’s been done so many times that it proves to be unoriginal.”
只是“机灵”，或者创意这个东西， 当我们硬实力过硬的时候，这个叫“有趣”； 当我们硬实力不够的时候，这个叫“油腻”。