Oddball Questions Tutor

The Oddball Questions In College Application Essays

Brooklyn Letters IconBrooklyn Letters

1139 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn

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    We had a very positive experience with Alissa as a tutor for our pod of 5th grade boys from January - June 2020. She cared a lot about the boys and worked hard to create meaningful activities for them. The pod experience was invaluable … More for all of our families during a difficult year and we were so grateful to have found this partnership! We also want to appreciate Craig for helping to match us with a tutor on very short notice after we had cycled through a few folks who were not able to see the commitment through. Thanks for sticking with us!
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    My child worked with Gillian D virtually for math enrichment. She is an excellent teacher. She took time to understand my child's specific learning style and provided tools that would be engaging. She was kind and empathetic- really … More made it her goal to connect with my child and build trust and rapport. My child started the school year with confidence and without the typically "brain-drain" that occurs over the summer, thanks to Gillian.
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    I am going into my second year as a Themba tutor. I have met so many great individuals while working for this company. Craig and the rest of the Themba team do such an excellent job picking and choosing Themba tutors that suit each client's … More individual needs! I look forward to meeting new tutors and clients in the 2021-2022 school year!
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Oddball Questions Tutor

The college application process is fraught with anxiety and anticipation. Amid compiling transcripts, perfecting a resume, and obtaining sterling recommendation letters, there lies the intimidating task of writing the dreaded college application essay. However, what bemuses applicants are the unexpected, offbeat questions that certain colleges toss into their application process. From philosophical riddles to queries about personal quirks, these questions showcase the strange side of college application essays.


This blog post will dive into some of the oddest prompts that have baffled students and offer guidance on tackling them with creativity and finesse.

What Are Oddball Questions?

Oddball Questions” in college application essays are unique and unconventional essay prompts that some colleges and universities include in their application process. These questions are designed to challenge applicants unexpectedly and elicit creative, thoughtful, and sometimes playful responses. While the specific questions can vary widely from year to year and from one institution to another, they are typically open-ended and encourage applicants to think outside the box. The goal is often to assess an applicant’s creativity, critical thinking skills, and ability to respond to unexpected challenges.


Examples of “Oddball Questions” might include:

  • University of California, Berkeley (2022-2023): “You are holding a ticket. Where will it take you?”
  • Yale University (2022-2023): “Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.”
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2022-2023): “What is your comfort food and why?”
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (2022-2023): “Share a moment when kindness guided your actions.”
  • University of Maryland (2022-2023): “You are stranded on a deserted island. What five books, movies, or albums would you take with you?”
  • University of Notre Dame (2022-2023): “You have 150 words. Take a risk.”
  • Oberlin College (2022-2023): “What’s your favorite ride at the amusement park? Why?”
  • University of Michigan (2022-2023): “If you could only do one of the activities you listed in the Activities section of your Common Application, which would you keep doing? Why?”

These questions allow applicants to showcase their personality, creativity, and ability to think on their feet. While they may seem unconventional, they are an integral part of some college applications and offer an opportunity for applicants to stand out. It’s essential to approach these questions authentically and provide thoughtful, engaging responses that give admissions committees a glimpse into your character and unique perspective.

Reasons Why Universities Include Oddball Questions In Their Application Essays

When it comes to college admission essays, many schools are now asking applicants to answer “Oddball Questions” in their application essays for several reasons.


Here are the top 7 reasons why universities include Oddball Questions” in their application essays:

1. Creativity Assessment: These questions allow universities to assess applicants’ creativity, imagination, and ability to approach challenges from unconventional angles.
2. Personality and Character Evaluation: “Oddball Questions” provide insight into an applicant’s personality, character, and sense of humor.
3. Differentiation: In a highly competitive applicant pool, universities use these questions to differentiate among qualified candidates.
4. Holistic Assessment: Admissions committees aim for a holistic evaluation of applicants, considering not only academic achievements but also personal qualities, interests, and potential contributions to campus life.
5. Engagement and Enthusiasm: The unconventional nature of these questions often elicits passionate and enthusiastic responses.
6. Problem-Solving Skills: Some “Oddball Questions” present applicants with puzzles or hypothetical scenarios that require creative problem-solving.
7. Encouragement of Authenticity: By prompting applicants to respond in unconventional ways, “Oddball Questions” encourage authenticity.

Incorporating “Oddball Questions” into the application process allows universities to gain deeper insights into applicants’ personalities, perspectives, and potential contributions to campus life. It also adds an element of fun and engagement to the application process, making it more enjoyable for both applicants and admissions committees.

Oddball Questions Tutor

How Should You Approach Answering Oddball Questions In Your Application Essay?

Answering “Oddball Questions” in your college application essays requires a distinct and thoughtful approach. Start by comprehending the question’s nuances and intent, ensuring you understand precisely what it seeks. Then, brainstorm creative responses, exploring unique angles and experiences that can make your answer stand out. However, authenticity remains paramount; your response should reflect your genuine personality, interests, and values.


Craft your response as a compelling narrative, employing storytelling techniques to engage the reader and make your essay memorable. Creativity is encouraged, so don’t hesitate to think outside the box and, when appropriate, infuse humor or playfulness. Use descriptive language and personal insights to convey your perspective, showing rather than telling. Connect your response to the university you’re applying to, highlighting aspects of the institution that resonate with your answer.


Remember to edit and revise meticulously, seeking feedback from trusted mentors. Reflect deeply on the topic if required, going beyond surface-level observations. Always maintain respect and appropriateness in your response, avoiding controversial or offensive content. By approaching “Oddball Questions” with enthusiasm and a unique perspective, you can seize this opportunity to make a memorable impression on the admissions committee.

Do Oddball Questions Influence The College’s Decision To Accept Your Application?

Oddball essay questions, while unconventional, can play a role in influencing a college’s decision to accept your application. Here’s how:

1. Demonstrating Creativity and Uniqueness: Admissions committees often value students who can approach challenges with innovation and a fresh perspective. A well-executed oddball essay can highlight your creativity and uniqueness, positively influencing your perception of yourself as an applicant.
2. Personal Insight and Authenticity: Oddball Questions may encourage applicants to share personal anecdotes, experiences, or reflections that provide deeper insight into their character, values, and interests. This authenticity can help admissions committees get to know you more personally beyond your academic achievements and extracurricular activities.
3. Memorability: Admissions committees review numerous applications, and a memorable essay can make you more distinguishable in their minds, potentially increasing your chances of being remembered during the selection process.
4. Fit with Institutional Culture: A thoughtful response that connects your experiences or interests to the institution’s can demonstrate your fit and genuine interest in attending that college.


While oddball essays can positively influence your application, they are typically just one component of a holistic admissions process. It’s essential to approach all parts of your application, including more traditional elements like grades and standardized test scores, with the same level of care and attention. Ultimately, the decision to accept your application depends on a combination of factors, and oddball essays are just one piece of the puzzle.

Oddball Questions Tutor

How Can Themba Tutors’ College Application Essay Tutor Help?

Themba Tutors college application essay tutors are indispensable allies for addressing “Oddball Questions” in your college applications. Our tutors offer extensive expertise, beginning with a deep understanding of the unique question. We excel at breaking down the intricacies, intent, and themes within the oddball prompt to ensure your complete comprehension.


Moreover, Themba Tutors fosters creativity through tailored brainstorming sessions, helping you generate innovative ideas that captivate admissions committees. We assist in personalizing your response by identifying aspects of your background, experiences, or interests that align with the question and the college’s values. Crafting compelling narratives is our forte, ensuring your response is structured effectively and engages the reader. Creativity is encouraged, and we guide you in striking the right balance between authenticity and the demands of the question.


Furthermore, meticulous editing, proofreading, and collaborative revisions guarantee a polished, error-free response that effectively conveys your ideas. Themba Tutors also helps you manage time effectively and create an application strategy that ensures your oddball question response complements your entire application.


Contact us today to schedule your first session and embark on the path to college success. Together, we’ll make your college dreams a reality!

Chat with Themba Tutors today.
Let our college application essay tutors help you nail your college essay!


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Meet Craig Selinger, the passionate owner behind Themba Tutors, a renowned practice specializing in executive function coaching and tutoring. Together with his team of multidisciplinary professionals, they bring their extensive knowledge to numerous locations: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as offering remote services. As a licensed speech-language pathologist in the state of NY, executive functioning coach, and educational specialist with an impressive track record spanning over two decades, Craig has professionally assisted thousands of families. Craig's proficiency encompasses a wide spectrum of areas, including language-related learning challenges such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. He is also well-versed in executive functioning, ADHD/ADD, and various learning disabilities. What truly distinguishes Craig and his team is their unwavering commitment to delivering comprehensive support. By actively collaborating with the most esteemed professionals within the NYC metropolitan region – from neuropsychologists to mental health therapists and allied health experts – they create a network of expertise.
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