• The two essays you submit represent the cornerstones of your application to join the UVU Honors Program. We borrowed and adapted the questions below from the University of Chicago's famously unusual admissions essay tradition, among other places. 
  • Your response will be evaluated on the focus, originality, and creativity of the content, but form (spelling, grammar, and punctuation) matters, too. 


The most impressive essays will be clear and lively and will give us a vivid sense of who you are and what passion, focus, and innovation you might bring to the Honors Program.  



  • Draw on your best qualities as a writer and thinker
  • Take some risks and have fun
  • Have someone edit your writing
  • Proofread carefully to remove typos, clichéd phrasing, and unclear ideas



  • Let an editor erase your unique voice 
  • Share your darkest thoughts, fears, or desires
  • Preach or lecture
  • Plagiarize 


Limit your response to about 300 words for each essay.  You will select ONE Analytical Option and ONE Creative Option. 


Honors Housing Students on the field


Honors students at the game

Prompt One Options (More Analytical):


A. Cats have nine lives, Pac-Man has three lives, and radioactive isotopes have half-lives. How many lives does something else—conceptual or actual—have, and why? (Analytical)


B. "There is no such thing as a new idea" - Mark Twain. Are any pieces of art, literature, philosophy, or technology truly original, or just a different combination of old ideas? Pick something, anything (besides yourself and any other real person), and explain why it is, or is not, original.


C. A famous quote by José Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher proclaims, "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" (1914). José Quintans, from the University of Chicago, sees it another way: "Yo soy yo y mi microbioma" (2012). Make a case that you are you and your. . .? How do you mediate between the two?





Prompt Two Options (More Creative):


A. “…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present.” —The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern

Present: pres·ent
1. Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift.

Let’s stick with this definition. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc.—pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it.


B. In Homer’s Iliad, Helen had a “face that launched a thousand ships.” A millihelen, then, measures the beauty needed to launch one ship. The Sagan unit is used to denote any large quantity (in place of “billions and billions”). A New York Minute measures the period of time between a traffic light turning green and the cab behind you honking. Invent a new unit of measurement. How is it derived? How is it used? What are its equivalents?


C. T. Mitchell entitled his 2005 book What Do Pictures Want? Briefly but richly describe a picture (a painting, drawing, etching, graffiti, photograph, print, etc. would each suffice), and then explore what it wants. You must include a high-quality image at the beginning of your essay.