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3 Tips for Writing Stellar Georgia Tech Essays

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Sep 14, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Info, College Essays

 

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Before you envision yourself getting settled in at Georgia Tech, you must get over the hurdle of writing the Georgia Tech essays. The Georgia Tech supplement requires you to write two short essays specifically for Georgia Tech. But what are the essay prompts? And what should you include in your Georgia Tech essay?

Keep reading to learn exactly what the Georgia Tech essays are, what kinds of topics you can write about (and what kinds of topics to avoid), and how to ensure you're submitting a quality essay.

Feature Image: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

 

What Essays Does Georgia Tech Require?

The Georgia Tech application includes a total of two essays. (They used to require three, but in 2019 they decide to drop one of their short answer questions to make their application easier to complete.)

While both essays are mandatory, you will be able to choose between two prompts for your second essay.

Most students will submit their essays through the Georgia Tech writing supplement that's available through the Common App portal, but Georgia Tech also uses application services like Parchment, SCOIR, SLATE, Naviance, Maia Learning, and GA Futures. The Georgia Tech admissions website encourages students to check with their high school to see which application service they use.

Now, let's take a look at the prompts you'll have to answer!

 

What Are the Georgia Tech Supplement Essay Prompts?

Like we just mentioned, you'll be writing two essays for your Georgia Tech application. All students will have to answer the first essay prompt, which is:

Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech?

 

For your second essay, you can choose between the following two prompts:

Georgia Tech is committed to creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Tell us how you have improved or hope to improve the human condition in your community.

If you feel that your personal or community background can provide additional insight to your application that we have not already seen elsewhere, please take this opportunity to share that information with us.

 

Now we're going to break down how to answer each of these prompts successfully!

 

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Essay #1: The "Why Georgia Tech" Essay

The prompt is essentially a version of the "why this college" prompt, which we discuss more in our in-depth guide on how to write a "why this college" essay.

You may write up to 300 words for your response. Here is the prompt for 2020-2021:

Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech?


Now that we've covered the basics of the Why Georgia Tech essay, let's take a look at how you should answer this prompt to give yourself the best shot at getting into this prestigious college.

 

body_why_yellow_postitFor this first essay, you must answer the critical question: why Georgia Tech?

 

How to Write the Why Georgia Tech Essay

As you answer this essay prompt, you should discuss why you decided to apply to Georgia Tech and how the major you've chosen will help you achieve your academic or professional goals.

This prompt is a version of the "why this college" prompt. Specifically, this prompt is a "why us" prompt, as it's asking you to elaborate on why this college and the major you've chosen are best suited to you and your aspirations. In other words, what about Georgia Tech and the field of study you want to pursue there will help you achieve your future goals?

To answer this question, you'll need to do some research on Georgia Tech and the academic program you're applying to. The easiest way to do this is to go to the Georgia Tech website to get an overview of what's offered by your program, including the kinds of classes, study abroad options, professors, and internship opportunities.

If possible, I suggest visiting the campus to sit in on classes and meet professors so you can get a clearer feel for the academic program as well as the environment at Georgia Tech as a whole.

In your essay, try to pick a specific characteristic to focus on—don't just say you want to attend Georgia Tech because it's prestigious or well known. Lots of colleges are!

Next, you'll need to know how your education at Georgia Tech will help you after college. For example, you could write about how you think Georgia Tech's cooperative education program will help you gain relevant professional experience and make connections with like-minded peers.

Regardless of what aspects of Georgia Tech and your major you want to write about, make sure to clearly connect the essay back to you and your own interests and goals.

Here are some possible topics you could use for your "Why Georgia Tech?" essay:

  • An anecdote relating some sort of positive personal experience you had at Georgia Tech (such as while on a campus tour)
  • A positive interaction you had with someone affiliated with Georgia Tech, such as a current student or professor involved with the major you're applying for
  • Your excitement about getting to work with a particular faculty member, and how this opportunity will help you further your career goals
  • Your enthusiasm for getting to study in a program or major/minor that's not usually offered at many schools or that has a unique, interesting angle at Georgia Tech
  • A special facility or piece of equipment you're looking forward to being able to work in or with, and that isn't offered on other campuses or is very rare

 


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Georgia Tech Essay #2

For the second Georgia Tech essay, you're given two prompts, but you only have to answer one. Let's take a look at those prompts and how to answer them! 

 

Essay Option #1: The Creating Solutions Essay

Georgia Tech is committed to creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Tell us how you have improved or hope to improve the human condition in your community.

 

What Is This Essay Asking You to Do?

At its core, this prompt is asking you to describe your commitment to serving a community you're a part of in concrete ways.

This essay prompt is setting you up for a couple of different approaches. Explaining a single remarkable situation in which you helped others or an ongoing service you provide to your community is one approach.

Another approach is describing your big goals for improving the future using what you learn at Georgia Tech. Whichever you choose, it's important that you focus on a detailed, concrete past, ongoing, or future act of service you have or plan to engage in to improve the lives of others.

 

What Makes a Good Answer?

#1: A compelling story. Whether it's describing how you helped gather donations for hurricane relief or how you'll use your equine sciences degree to start a horse therapy nonprofit after you graduate, tell the story of how you serve or hope to serve. If you volunteer weekly, write about the people, places, and scenarios that you see during that time. If you have a plan for serving in the future, describe your vision for how that would look in your ideal world.

#2: Talk about the "so what." When you have an idea of the story that you want to tell in your response, take it a step further to articulate why your act of service matters. Ask yourself: "What difference does this service make in the world? In real peoples' lives? In my community?" Essentially, how does your contribution "improve the human condition?" Explaining your perspective on how your contribution has helped make the world a better place will show that you understand the depth and breadth of your impact.

#3: Think forward. Even if you choose a past contribution you made, it's important to write a bit about how that experience will impact your acts of service in the future, as a student at Georgia Tech, and beyond. You could explain what you learned from the service experience and how that knowledge shapes your attitude toward possible contributions in the future.

 

What Are Some Potential Essay Topics?

In addition to the examples provided above, here are two example topics that would make great responses:

  • You volunteered at an after school care program throughout high school that took the children to visit nursing homes. You write about how this experience taught you the value of intergenerational friendships to community life, and how you hope to write a curriculum for a similar program when you become an elementary school teacher after graduating.

  • You plan to major in mathematics at Georgia Tech. Your dream is to use what you learn to put on a free financial literacy program for teen parents at your local community center after you graduate.

 

Are There Pitfalls you Should Avoid?

#1: Don't exaggerate. When you describe the impact of your contributions, it's important to be realistic. Don't exaggerate the benefits of your service. Georgia Tech Admissions doesn't expect you to solve food insecurity or teach every struggling reader in your school district how to read. Your impacts might feel small in the grand scheme of the world's problems, and that's okay—what's important is that you show evidence that you're out there trying.

#2: Explain why your contribution matters. Describing what kind of contributions you've made or plan to make is a crucial part of your response, but it won't resonate if you don't explicitly state why that contribution matters. It might be easy to assume that the benefits of a particular kind of service are going to be obvious. But even if they can read between the lines of your story, admissions still wants to hear your interpretation of the impact of your service. They may be able to assume what the impact of your service is more generally, but they can't read your mind to figure out what it means to you.

 

Essay Option #2: The Background Essay

If you feel that your personal or community background can provide additional insight to your application that we have not already seen elsewhere, please take this opportunity to share that information with us.

 

What Is This Essay Asking You to Do?

This essay prompt is sort of an "any last words?" question. It's giving you the chance to fill in any gaps that you perceive in the rest of your Georgia Tech application.

This means that, if there is an experience, activity, or story from your life that you haven't been able to work into another part of your application organically, this is the place to write about it. It's also assumed that you would use this prompt as an opportunity to show how your background sets you apart from other applicants.

 

What Makes a Good Answer?

#1: Focus on something unique. This essay prompt is the place to write about something that sets you apart from other applicants. Lots of applicants will have stellar grades, exceptional test scores, and flashy extracurriculars on their resumes. If you have something in your background that falls outside of those categories, but that might give further insight into your achievements in those categories, write about that here.

#2: You could also choose challenge. Some applicants may have had overwhelming hardships in their personal life or community experience that impacted their perspective, identity, or educational performance. If that applies to you, this essay prompt provides a great opportunity to explain those hardships.

#3: Make sure you're making connections. While there are probably many details from your life story that are interesting or unique, you only want to include the most important ones. You need to be selective and think carefully about what your answer will reveal about other parts of your application. For example, maybe you want to major in international studies and plan to study abroad. Explaining your background as a child of military parents growing up in the Middle East will help Georgia Tech admissions understand your academic interests and what you'll add to the GT community.

 

What Are Some Potential Essay Topics?

While the range of appropriate topics for this response is broad, here are a couple of potential topics you could work into a solid answer:

  • You are a National Merit Scholar and had a top score on your ACT/SAT. You describe your background growing up with parents who worked hard but are not functionally literate and how their determination inspired you to achieve your goals.

  • You put civil engineering as your intended major on your application. You explain how growing up in a coastal community and witnessing the consequences of hurricanes fuels your desire to become a civil engineer and design city infrastructures that can sustain high force winds and flooding.

 

Are There Pitfalls you Should Avoid?

#1: Don't ramble. If you don't have a clear, specific situation or experience in mind to write about, this probably isn't the essay prompt for you. Identifying one story and going deep on the details is the ideal approach for this question. You don't want to go into your entire life story here!

#2: Don't repeat your application. This essay prompt isn't asking you to regurgitate your high school resume. In fact, it's best not to write about anything that you've already described in other parts of your application. So, while you might explain an experience in your background that made finishing school with a 4.0 extremely challenging, you wouldn't want to list off all the AP courses you took and extracurricular activities you participated in for this essay. The former gives more insight into your educational journey; the latter simply tells the admissions committee stuff they already know about you!

 

Georgia Tech Essay Examples + Analysis

We've written two Georgia Tech essay examples to help give you an idea as to what and how you could write your Why Georgia Tech essay. Additionally, we go over what makes them good essays for a Georgia Tech application.

 

Georgia Tech Essay Example 1

"Honestly, I can't imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't gone to Georgia Tech."

Katrina was a few years older than me and the sister of my best friend, Troy, who'd given me her email address so I could ask any questions I had about her time at Georgia Tech. This was the last line of her response—and by far the most memorable.

Like Katrina, I can't imagine myself not attending Georgia Tech. As an aspiring environmental engineer, I see Georgia Tech as a gateway to not just learning but also professional success. The flexibility of the major would allow me to focus specifically on my passion for reducing the negative effects of climate change and securing access to clean water. As a senior, I plan to take several hydraulics-focused electives.

In addition, through the InVenture Prize, which I hope to participate in at least twice, I'll be able to utilize the knowledge I've gained through my classes, projects, and fieldwork by translating it into a concrete vision—specifically, an invention that will increase the availability of fresh, healthy water for disadvantaged communities.

After graduation, and as a proud Georgia Tech alumnus (ideally with an InVenture Prize), I plan to implement the skills I've gained through my environmental engineering major in the nonprofit sector.

I haven't met Katrina yet, but I feel as though I know her—perhaps it's that shared sense of joy at having discovered the perfect school for the paths we've chosen.

 

Here's why this Georgia Tech essay works:

  • It's got a creative hook that draws you in. This Georgia Tech essay opens with a quotation that immediately makes it feel as though you're reading a compelling story. It then goes on to connect this hook directly to the narrator who "can't imagine … not attending Georgia Tech," ensuring the focus remains on the applicant and not Katrina.
  • It mentions specific features of Georgia Tech. The applicant doesn't just write about how prestigious Georgia Tech is but specifically mentions opportunities she's interested in taking advantage of, such as hydraulics courses and the famous InVenture Prize competition.

 

body_accepted_stampThe mark of a good college essay = an acceptance letter!

 

Georgia Tech Essay Example 2

Atlanta has been my home all my life, and I've always known that I want to be one of the people who help make it such a wonderful place to live. My dream is to create my own business that makes it easier for other start-up businesses to get up and running. Georgia Tech is my dream school because I know it will give me the absolute best chance of achieving my goals.

The course catalog for Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business makes it clear that all business students receive a top-notch and comprehensive business education no matter what area they choose to focus on. However, what really interests me is Scheller's emphasis on entrepreneurship. I'm so excited to take advantage of the opportunities the school offers, like LBAT and study abroad programs that focus on starting a new business, the certificate in entrepreneurship, and the Enterprise Innovation Institute where I hope to collaborate with professors, business leaders, and peers to learn how to create and grow and successful business of my own.

Growing up in Atlanta, learned early that it has many resources for people hoping to go into business, and I know Georgia Tech will help me take advantage of them. Under the school's internship program, I hope to work for a start-up company, learning about what makes some new companies thrive while others fail, and getting on-the-ground experience learning what new companies need to do well and avoid common pitfalls. I'll also use Georgia Tech's extensive connections with local business leaders to continue to expand my business acumen outside the classroom.

I have so many ideas for what I want to do with my career, and I can't wait to attend Georgia Tech to learn the skills I need to make these dreams possible.

 

Here's why this Georgia Tech essay works:

  • It goes in-depth on what Georgia Tech offers. Like the first essay, this one also gets specific on exactly which parts of the school the writer plans to take advantage of the most. From mentioning the course catalog, specific business programs, and the school's connections with the community, it's clear the writer did her research and knows which of Georgia Tech's resources will be of most value to her.
  • It has a clear vision of a career path. You don't need to know exactly what you want to do after you graduate college, but having a general idea can really help you show the admissions committee how you're going to take advantage of what Georgia Tech offers. In this case, it's the entrepreneurship and business opportunities at the school, which will help the writer start her own business after graduation.

 

How to Write a Great Georgia Tech Essay: 3 Essential Tips

Now that you know the specifics of the Why Georgia Tech essay prompt, here are three key tips to use while writing your essay.

 

#1: Be Specific and Concise

The Georgia Tech supplemental essay only gives you room for up to 300 words. That's a pretty short essay! Since you're so tight on length, you'll need to make sure you're using the space you have wisely. Don't write super flowery, verbose descriptions or rely on overly vague examples.

Instead, be as specific as you can be so that you're emphasizing only the most important parts of the story you want to tell. Specificity will make your essay more concise and easier to follow.

 

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#2: Show, Don't Tell

You've probably heard this refrain a million times, but it's especially important for college essays: show your experiences, emotions, and perspectives instead of simply telling them to your readers. Doing this will make your Georgia Tech essays sound vibrant and alive rather than dull and boring.

One of the very best ways to catapult your descriptions to a whole new level and to lend a stronger voice to your writing is to use a variety of literary devices, including flashbacks/anecdotes, imagery, and euphemisms.

 

#3: Polish and Proofread

Before you submit your Georgia Tech essays, make sure to take some time to read them over, edit them, get feedback, and proofread them.

The best way to do this is to start by writing a rough draft. Once finished, put your essay away for a little while—anywhere from a couple of days to a week or so depending on the amount of time you have left before college applications are due—and then take it out again.

As you read your essay, mark any areas that are unclear, awkwardly worded, or irrelevant. You should also proofread your essay for any glaring typos and errors in punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

Once you've repeated this process a few times, it's time to get a new set of eyes to look it over for you. Ask someone you trust, such as a teacher, parent, or counselor, to read your essay and offer comments and corrections on it.

Doing all of this will ensure that your essay is completely polished by the time you turn it in to Georgia Tech!

 

What's Next?

If you're reading this, you're likely not only applying to Georgia Tech. Get more tips with our expert guides to the Stanford essays, the Northwestern essay, and the Harvard essay.

Applying through the Common App? Check out this comprehensive list of schools that accept the Common App, and learn more about how to write the Common App essay.

To learn more about Georgia Tech and how to get in, take a look at its admission requirements page.


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Hannah Muniz
About the Author

Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.



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