Damn. The New York Times wrote up a kerfluffle involving the Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago, who sent out a sample essay that's a little too hott for some applicants and their parents.
...The essay, comparing the college to an elusive lover, has had a very different effect.
"Dear University of Chicago, It fills me up with that gooey sap you feel late at night when I think about things that are really special to me about you," the essay began. "Tell me, was I just one in a line of many? Was I just another supple ‘applicant' to you, looking for a place to live, looking for someone to teach me the ways of the world?"
Is that an admissions binder in your pocket, or are you just happy to be applying to the University of
Amateur T & A State
Chicago? The Times piece didn't print the rest of the essay, but linked to it on College Confidential. It really only gets better:
The closeness between us was beautiful, it couldn't have been just me that felt it, I know you felt it too. The intimacy was akin to that of scholar and original text, your depth as a person is astounding! To be honest, I must confess I had already dreamt of a rosy future together, one filled with late nights and long discussions over the Gothic era and the ethical stage of Kierkegaard, we would watch the sunset together and spend every Christmas snuggled in blankets. Eventually we would get older, I would become a well-educated corporate lawyer and you would enrich yourself within the domain of human knowledge. Your cup overfloweth with academic genius, pour a little on me.
I have no idea what the fuck this kid's talking about, but like the Dean of Admissions did, I would've admitted him to the school, if anything, for even giving me the impression that he were capable of being subversive (even if the kid is just another freshman horndog). But naturally, like all great (intellectual and/or creative and maybe sometimes literal) orgies, people are freaking out.
The Times reported on the students who were upset and/or offended by the essay, which made them question their confidence, which, in turn, makes this entire thing a great PASS/FAIL enterprise. Did you project your sexual and/or academic insecurity onto this essay? FAIL!
That said, the best are the parents who get their fangs out over it, far more so than the kids. One—"MumMum"—notes:
I agree with the person who said cloying and almost painful to read. Unless one really likes that mop commercial.
Jesus, parents are all over this College Confidential nonsense. That woman's logged 175 posts! Another user's name is VicariousParent. She claws:
I 'got' the essay (in the OP) but personally I thought it was 'meh'. It got a bit tiresome after the first few sentences.
Me-yow! Also, 'vicarious' would be a pretty 'meh' word for some of these people. She's got 2,371 posts logged. Scary!
This all goes without saying that the kid who wrote the essay is obviously a genius, and these other kids/parents are insecure and/or jealous about this issue, because he clearly understands what's important.
1. What the University of Chicago wants, which are
2. People who aren't the people flipping their shit over this essay, and also
3. His nubile young sexuality to deconstruct, which, for all parties involved, is now
4. The only reason one has to go to college now unless they're going to useful graduate schools and becoming doctors or lawyers or are trying to stave off the real world for another two years by getting an MFA in something that will ostensibly qualify them to be craftspeople at something like "creative literature" but really ain't worth shit these days, unless you go to Iowa and want nobody but people you secretly hate to read your writing, because otherwise, you get a piece of paper that keeps you out of the job market while you get your fuck on and learn how to take a proper bong rip. But mostly fucking. And then: you're broke for some time after that, the cost of the "education" withstanding.
Tragically, U Chicago's Dead of Admissions, Jim Nondorf (pictured), apologized for the controversy, noting that while he had the essay writer's permission, and that he was admitted, he didn't mean to scare up any trouble.
To calm the waters, a Chicago admissions representative on Tuesday posted a response telling students not to worry if their essays were similar. "We sent out the essay to lighten the mood, but it seems that it might have backfired a bit," the posting said, adding that the dean, James G. Nondorf, had asked to "pass on a sincere apology if it did not hit the mark." "Our general message in sharing it with prospective students," [Nondorf] wrote, "was that they shouldn't stress out about essay writing."
Bullshit! A really important edumacation institution would've sent this out to be subversive, admitted it, and then told these people to shove their indignity up their bleeding heart asses. But it appears that the University of Chicago will always have a certain je ne sais quois lacking in other schools like it. Check out the other essay questions:
Essay Option 1
How did you get caught? (Or not caught, as the case may be.)
Inspired by Kelly Kennedy, a fourth-year in the college.
You know what I think of when I think of people getting caught? Trouble. And you know what I think of when I think of fourth-year's thinking of trouble, after huffable drugs and throwing large objects off of buildings? Sex. Which you do, too.
They can't all be like this, can they?
Essay Option 2
The late-eighteenth-century popular philosopher and cultural critic George Lichtenberg wrote, "Just as we outgrow a pair of trousers, we outgrow acquaintances, libraries, principles, etc. at times before they're worn out and at times-and this is worst of all-before we have new ones." Write an essay about something you have outgrown, perhaps before you had a replacement-a friend, a political philosophy, a favorite author, or anything that has had an influence on you. What, if anything, has taken its place?
Trousers? And things outgrowing trousers? And things we've had to replace? The third one isn't that great, but the next two?
Essay Option 4
From game theory to Ultimate Frisbee to the great Chicago Scavenger Hunt, we at the University of Chicago take games seriously. We bet you do, too. Even if "just a game," sport, play, and other kinds of games seem to share at the very least an insistence that we take seriously a set of rules entirely peculiar to the circumstance of the game. You might say, in order to play a game we must take it seriously. Think playfully-or play thoughtfully-about games: how they distract us or draw us into the world, create community and competition, tease us and test us with stakes both set apart from and meaningful to everyday life. Don't tell us about The Big Game; rather, tell us about players and games.
Essay Option 5
In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. 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.
Here's my question: Are these not the best essay questions ever, or what? I want to apply to the University of Chicago just to see what they'll accept. Since, apparently, the rest of their smooth, soft, supple submissions just to happen to suck balls. Not like that. I mean they're mediocre and kind of pussies. Not, you know, I mean, right.