College applications. I can't even remember my college applications or what essay they asked me. I think Antioch's had something to do with, "How do you define community?" or some granola crap like that. In Rx, Thyme (the main character) gets asked to "write your own question and answer it." I don't really know how useful that essay topic would be to the college since if it was me I'd probably copy-pasta an essay I had to write for a different application and change details as necessary.
But it got me to thinking about how...useful college application questions might be when not used as an anxiety-inducing, potentially life-altering exercise. Which is kind of funny since I don't remember any of my essay questions. Somewhere out there I bet someone has a blog that does nothing but answer college application essays, and if not, I want there to be one; the snarkier the better, graphics a definite plus. Especially with graphics.
Oh yeah, and I love off-the-wall essay questions like the ones the University of Chicago has. I think this is a great way to get freshman to talk to each other because it immediately gives them a shared topic, and one that is probably going to be pretty safe. Just look at one of their essay questions,
"If you could balance on a tightrope, over what landscape would you walk? (No net.)"
Seriously? This is kind of an awesome question. First of all, the question does not assume your competency at tightrope walking. So those who boldly state that they would walk over lava might not be the best candidates for your college, because they don't know to prepare for that kind of walk. On the other hand, if they can write a fabulous essay about how well they can tightrope walk and it would be the most daring walk of all time, it might be a good risk because they're aware of the work it would take and they also have a sense of adventure. Someone who would only walk over water, etc. might not be adventurous enough.
Here's an interesting one: if you were a college admissions counselor what kind of question would you want applicants to answer?*
*Hey, if you ask them in the comments, I might just give you an answer. So comment already.