by Danny Kuhn
As seniors at WHS apply to college, they will be very grateful to the schools that are on the Common Application. The Common App is a practical way for students to write one essay that can be submitted to multiple colleges of their choice, reducing stress and the amount of time spent on the application process. However, many schools require supplemental essays and some still refuse to take the Common App at all.
Many colleges and universities like to ask questions they believe the Common App cannot provide. By asking unorthodox questions, students have to give answers that show their individuality. However, these questions only provide more stress for students, and rarely show the character of the individual as a whole.
Some of these unorthodox questions are borderline ridiculous. The University of Chicago is notorious for asking bizarre questions on their supplemental essays, such as “So where is Waldo, really?” according to businessinsider.com. According to huffingtonpost.com, Brandeis University asked one year: "If you could choose to be raised by robots, dinosaurs, or aliens, who would you pick? Why?" These essays are required for applying to these schools.
These questions may seem comical, but they ultimately make it look like university officials are treating essays like a joke. In reality, students might spend weeks or even months desperately trying to figure out a creative answer to the location of Waldo.
Also, refusing to use the Common App exclusively does not benefit the colleges themselves. Students who are already crammed on time their senior year between school, applications, and extracurricular activities, are going to be less willing to apply to certain schools if it means writing a whole new essay.
There is no good reason for all schools not to start using the Common App, and both the students and universities will be able to reap the success. Because when the University of Chicago asks to “write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard”, the joke is funny for only so long.