essay questions

For any of you applying to Northwestern for fall ’05, if you haven’t looked at the major essay questions, here they are:

1. In 1972 meteorologist Edward Lorenz theorized that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could cause a tornado in Texas. What small action had a larger impact than you expected? How were you affected by the consequences?

2. Ballpoint pens do not write in zero-gravity conditions. While a pen manufacturer spent more than $2 million and years of research developing a pen that worked in outer space, astronauts solved the problem by using pencils. Describe a time when you discovered a simple solution to a seemingly complex problem. What was its impact on you or others?

3. According to astronomer Carl Sagan, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” What unknown would you like to see revealed in your lifetime? Why is this of personal importance?

4. U.S. President Richard Nixon (1969-74) stated, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.” In what “crisis” situation were you aware of the danger but were able to seize the opportunity, and how did this experience affect your future actions?

Sorry, but these questions are extraordinarily bogus.

I feel like writing some of my OWN questions now. (And yes, that is one of the questions in the short-answer section: to write your own question.)

1. New shoes are often stiff and sometimes have an odor. It is not until a few wears that they actually begin to fit. Discuss a time when you felt uncomfortable in a new situation, and it took you a while to become acclimated. How did that make you feel?

2. Most would agree that freshly picked flowers are beautiful and exciting. They soon, however, begin to wilter. Mint gum tastes great in the beginning–minty fresh–but after a few minutes of chewing, begins to taste like the shoes in the last question. Discuss a time in your life when something that used to excite you “lost its flavor.” Did you move on to new interests?

3. The Arabs and Israelis are often criticized for their bitter relationships. However, the word for peace in Hebrew is “shalom” and in Arabic is “salaam.” Discuss a time in your life when your differences with other people masked similarities that could have brought you closer together.

4. Former President Jimmy Carter used to be a peanut farmer. Describe a journey in your life where you started as something seemingly unimportant, but ended as an accomplished person.

Writing essay questions is fun! I think I found a new hobby.

Feel free to answer any of these! Or think of your own.


10 thoughts on “essay questions

  1. 5. Blatant morons often think that Swiss cheese is the holiest of dairy products, and they subsequently worship its very existence. Clearly, such incredible ignorance lends itself to relentless mockery. Discuss a time when you publicly humiliated someone to reinforce your mental superiority.

  2. West Word is infiltrating your livejournal!

    And Beckus, did you read her profile? It lists every Jewish group on Earth as an interest. How could this NOT be Lia Lehrer?

  3. Former president Jimmy Carter used to be a peanut farmer. Describe a time in your life when you succeeded at going above and beyond, but would have been better off in your original situation.

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