2017-18 Chicago Booth Essay

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Booth Essay

For many in Chicago, summer means visiting the local beaches along Lake Michigan, joining friends at free-outdoor concerts, movies, or weekly street festivals, and cheering on the world-champion Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. For those of us in Booth’s Admissions office, it includes watching the Class of 2017 graduate and become the newest members of our alumni community. As our graduates head to exciting jobs around the world, we begin the search for the world’s best and brightest from across the globe to compose the next class of future leaders – Booth’s Class of 2020.

At the end of each academic year, after reviewing thousands of applications, we like to take a moment and reflect on the entire applicant experience. Our goal is to continually evolve the process in ways that are enriching, and hopefully insightful, for our applicants. One of the most enjoyable parts of this phase is crafting our essay question—something that will be answered thousands of times over, albeit never in the same fashion. What makes Booth a truly special place for our students is exactly what we seek in our applicants—unique interpretations and diverse perspectives.

Two years ago, we evolved from the traditional open-ended essay question in favor of a “visual” prompt. We identified photos of meaningful aspects within the Booth experience and asked applicants to share why a particular moment resonated with them. Through this exercise, we were given a glimpse into the potential fit between each candidate and Booth. For the class of 2020, we wanted to continue building on this trajectory. We reviewed countless photos and ultimately selected six pivotal Booth moments. While the moments are new, the 2017-18 essay question will remain the same as last year: 

The following is a collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why. 

We’re often asked, “What advice can you give on how to answer such an unconventional essay”? Simply put, we want applicants to have fun with the question and let their personality shine through. Focus less on curating a certain image and more on embracing who you are. Please trust when I say that there is no hidden meaning in the prompt. Rather than spend time worrying about what you think we want to hear, focus instead on telling us why the Booth moment truly resonates with you. We invite you to be creative - to use your own pictures and/or your own words to let us know a little more about you—something we might not learn elsewhere in your application.  Have confidence in the things that make you, you. For those still searching for a starting point, I would encourage you to look at all six moments, read the captions for a bit of additional context, and see what you naturally gravitate towards. Once you identify your preferred moment, don’t hold back in exploring why you are drawn to it.

Additionally, our admissions committee will be hosting a live chat to answer questions about this year’s essay and application; register to join on June 21 from 12 - 1 p.m. CST. 

Best of luck to all of you, and don’t forget to enjoy your summer as well. We look forward to reviewing your application, reading your essays, and getting to know you!

Donna Swinford