Jan 02

Answering College Application Essay Questions

Unusual college essay prompts should be approached with creativity and an open mind.

More and more universities are using creativity when it comes to the application process, which includes posing strange, absurd, and odd essay questions. Some applicants may panic at these unusual and extremely open-ended prompts since they are unaware of how to respond to these bizarre admissions essay topics.

Despite their scary appearance, these weird supplements are a fantastic way for applicants to show off their inventiveness and exercise their critical thinking skills. 

Take a deep breath! 

Colleges aren’t attempting to con you; the solutions to these questions are designed to be just as entertaining as the questions themselves.

Consider the following while responding to peculiar college application essay prompts:

Answering College Application Essay Questions

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Keep in mind that there is no “correct” response.

Don’t worry about giving the admissions officers the response you believe they are seeking; supplemental essays are an opportunity for institutions to get to know you. To address UVA’s question, “To tweet or not to tweet?,” there is no “correct” or “wrong” response. Colleges aren’t searching for a certain response; rather, they want to learn more about you as a person and student.

Therefore, leave any concerns over what you believe universities are looking for at the door. They simply want a chance to get to know you a little better.


Be mindful of your own interests

Keeping your interests, activities, and hobbies in mind is a terrific way to address peculiar application prompts. You want your response to reflect both who you are as a person and as a learner. Therefore, if at all feasible, tie your essay to a personal experience.

The admissions office frequently receives inquiries on how to respond to UChicago’s unique essay themes because of the school’s reputation for weird and offbeat application essays.

The best way to put it is from the assistant director of admissions: “A UChicago supplement essay that responds to our question with a topic you find interesting and compelling (that is, of course, well thought out and edited reasonably) will shine out much more than following a standard “college essay” format. Don’t be scared to challenge your thinking and have some fun.

Write about the subjects you are interested in, especially if you are enthusiastic about them. The question “What is the greatest invention of all time?” is one that USC poses. The daguerreotype, the first widely used photographic method, was the answer of a student who had a passion for photography.


Go deep

Colleges want you to be innovative and use your brain, which is why these questions are challenging and occasionally perplexing. Admissions departments want to examine how you tackle such open-ended questions because college courses and debates frequently present unique and unusual situations for students to ponder. Creativity and critical thinking are crucial.

Spend some time thinking about the writing prompt and your topic of choice. Time is of the essence; avoid writing a hurried, careless essay merely to get it over with. Each year, admissions committee members read tens of thousands of essays, and they can see how much thought and work you put into your response. Do your research, brainstorm, and take your time writing and revising. Keep in mind that supplements are also a method to show the school that you are interested in attending.


Be genuine

Being yourself is easier than you might imagine, despite the weird essay subject and lack of background making it appear difficult. Focus on writing an essay that represents you, not who you believe the college wants you to be. While reading essays, admissions staff are looking to learn something about you that can’t be learned from anything else in the application.


For instance, Villanova University queries, “What ignites your heart?” An active volunteer and student athlete both talked on the positive effects of community service on their lives. Another kid with a strong interest in the humanities wrote about how much they adored history. These comments may appear a little pedestrian in comparison to the topic, but they actually reflect the students’ personalities and interests, which is much more important than trying to outwit the prompt.

Avoid writing in an uncharacteristic tone or using language out of character when allowing your individuality shine through in your writings. Don’t reuse responses from prior essays as well. It defies the objective of the prompt, which is to make you think, because there is too much space for error.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Schedule your consultation with Tokyo Academics today!

Don’t use tricks

You might get some strange answers from wacky college application questions, but keep the eccentricity within the substance. Steer clear of gimmicks like acrostic poems, writing in reverse, or writing nothing at all (i.e. just visual responses.) Remember that admissions examiners read thousands of essays every year; if they have to spend too much time deciphering your formatting rather than reading the substance, the effect will be lost, and you risk being placed in the “no” pile.

If required, it’s acceptable to include a visual component to your essay, such as a picture or a video, but keep in mind that they asked for a written response since they wanted to showcase your writing style. Keep the essay’s formatting straightforward, yet dazzle them with its depth and substance! You should also keep in mind that in order to write a good essay you must master English vocabulary! Tokyo Academics has an online program specific to this need! You can find out more about it here.

It may first seem intimidating to approach odd college application essays, but if you take your time and really brainstorm, you may create a response that adds substance and character to your application!

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