Essays On Questions Of The Day

After accessing your application (through your MyNWC College Portal), you'll answer about 30 questions and submit three or four essays. Look for the to get further instruction about specific questions. After you're finished, be sure to click the Update General Application button at the bottom to submit your answers.


Most of the questions are straight forward with multiple-choice answers:

  • Be ready to provide information about where you live, the high school you attended, expected or actual date of graduation, intended program of study at NWC and high school GPA. If you're still enrolled in classes, you'll be asked to estimate your final GPA. You'll also answer questions concerning your student status, military service, age, and if you have NWC alumni connections or plan to participate in scholarshipped activities at NWC.
  • If you'll be a first-time student at NWC and want to increase your total scholarship award, consider answering "yes" to the question about attending Scholarship Day. We'll reserve a spot for you so you can bump up your chances of getting an Academic or Activity-Talent scholarship. You won't have this option if you're applying after Scholarship Day. Returning students are not required to attend Scholarship Day to apply for Academic or Activity-Talent scholarships.
  • An optional section will ask you about your religious affiliation to determine if you're eligible for scholarships with religious preferences. You are not required to answer the questions in this section.
  • Students new to the Art, Graphics or Photographic Communications programs (freshmen and transfer students) are required to upload a portfolio of 10-15 works, or provide a URL to their online location. The maximum size for each set of two files uploaded is 10 MB (two files=10 MB; four files=20MB; six files=30MB).


Here's where you sell yourself to scholarship selection committees. Each essay must be between 300-500 words in length (about the same as one or two double-spaced pages). Be sure to:

  • Write your essays in advance and ask others (parents, teachers, counselors) to review them.
  • Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Do not treat these essays as phone texts (the use of texting language will discredit your application).
  • Make yourself look good but always be honest.
  • When you copy and paste your essay into the application, be sure to double-check for formatting and other problems with punctuation/special characters that can occur when copying from one program to another.
These are the essays you'll be asked to write:
  • Describe your academic accomplishments and/or relatable employment experiences. Discuss any awards and honors you have received, involvement in school activities, and or/athletic or club participation.
  • Discuss whether or not you believe community involvement is important. How do you get involved in your community?
  • Tell us about your future plans and goals. Why have you chosen your field of study? What will you do after you finish your education at NWC?
  • (Optional) Describe how your financial need is greater than that of the average scholarship applicant.

Every year colleges and universities ask applicants to write essays to explain who they are and to show how they think and write (assuming that the students actually write the essays themselves). Even many of the hundreds of schools that accept the online Common Application still require supplemental writing samples. Most of the essay prompts are predictable — but not all. Here are some of the more unusual ones for the 2013-14 college application season.

The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase “Carpe diem.” Jonathan Larson proclaimed “No day but today!” and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?

The University of Chicago prides itself on its provocative essay questions, inspired by newly admitted students who are asked to contribute ideas for new prompts. Here are the ones for this admissions cycle:

Essay Option 1.

Winston Churchill believed “a joke is a very serious thing.” From Off-Off Campus’s improvisations to the Shady Dealer humor magazine to the renowned Latke-Hamantash debate, we take humor very seriously here at The University of Chicago (and we have since 1959, when our alums helped found the renowned comedy theater The Second City).

Tell us your favorite joke and try to explain the joke without ruining it.

Inspired by Chelsea Fine, Class of 2016

Essay Option 2.

In a famous quote by José Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher proclaims, “Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia” (1914). José Quintans, master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago, sees it another way: “Yo soy yo y mi microbioma” (2012).

You are you and your..?

Inspired by Maria Viteri, Class of 2016

Essay Option 3.

“This is what history consists of. It’s the sum total of all the things they aren’t telling us.” — Don DeLillo, Libra.

What is history, who are “they,” and what aren’t they telling us?

Inspired by Amy Estersohn, Class of 2010

Essay Option 4.

The mantis shrimp can perceive both polarized light and multispectral images; they have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. Human eyes have color receptors for three colors (red, green, and blue); the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain.

Seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp:

What might they be able to see that we cannot? What are we missing?

Inspired by Tess Moran, Class of 2016

Essay Option 5.

How are apples and oranges supposed to be compared? Possible answers involve, but are not limited to, statistics, chemistry, physics, linguistics, and philosophy.

Inspired by Florence Chan, Class of 2015

Essay Option 6.

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 are some of the supplemental essay prompts from the 2013-2014 freshman application. Limit: Half a page or roughly 250 words.

–You are required to spend the next year of your life in either the past or the future. What year would you travel to and why?

Imagine that you are backpacking through a country you have never been to before. You are interested in engaging with the local population and your backpack includes three items that will help them learn about your family and culture. What are those three items and how do they represent your background?

Choose one and respond in an essay of 400-500 words.

Most of us have one or more personality quirks. Explain one of yours and what it says about you.

What do you hope to find over the rainbow?

Why do you do what you do?

If you could travel anywhere in time or space, either real or imagined, where would you go and why?

Tell us about a time when your curiosity led you someplace you weren’t expecting to go.

Give us your top ten list.

There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular explorations. In response to the … prompt, keep it simple—choose one activity and add depth to our understanding of your involvement.

What do you do? Why do you do it? (Optional and 20-200 words in length)

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