College Essay Prompts Get Absurd. ‘So Where Is Waldo, Really?

Isabelle Sarraf:

The University of Maryland, College Park, has asked students to detail their favorite thing about…last Tuesday. That’s a tough one if your Google Calendar shows a lot of white space. One college-admissions consulting blog advises, “If you laid in bed all day Tuesday, but went for a beautiful hike on Wednesday, write about the hike.” The school says it continues to ask that question, but changes the day each year.

Chapman University asks applicants to name one dish they would cook for the school’s admission team. Princeton University, meanwhile, has asked “What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?”

To get into Pomona College, last year’s seniors had to answer, in 50 words or less, “Marvel or DC? Pepsi or Coke? Instagram or TikTok? What’s your favorite ‘this or that’ and which side do you choose?”