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3 Tips for Writing Stellar Georgia Tech Essays

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Nov 3, 2018 12:00:00 PM

College Info, College Essays



Before you envision yourself getting settled in at Georgia Tech, you must get through the hurdle of writing the Georgia Tech essays. The Georgia Tech supplement requires you to write two short essays. So what are the possible essay prompts? And how should you answer them?

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 three essays.

One of these is a personal essay that answers a prompt from either the Common App or the Coalition App (depending on which system you apply through). This essay should be around 500-550 words, and must not be longer than 650 words. You can visit the Common App and Coalition App websites to see the essay prompts for the 2018-19 application cycle.

The other two essays are part of the Georgia Tech supplement and are referred to as the Georgia Tech short answer questions, since your responses to these are shorter than the personal essay you must write for the Common App/Coalition App.

Like the longer personal essay, these two shorter essays are required components of the Georgia Tech application. The prompts for these essays are given on both the Common App and Coalition App, and each short answer must be 250 words or less (about half the length of a regular college essay).

This is just a general overview of the Georgia Tech essays. But in order for you to write them, you need to know what the current Georgia Tech essay prompts are. We'll take a look at the prompts next!


What Are the Georgia Tech Supplement Essay Prompts?

As you now know, in addition to writing a long Common App or Coalition App personal essay, you must answer two questions as part of the Georgia Tech supplement. Below are the possible essay prompts you’ll have for these questions.


Georgia Tech Essay 1: Why Georgia Tech?

For the first Georgia Tech supplement essay, there is just one prompt, which asks you to discuss why you’ve chosen to apply to Georgia Tech. This 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 250 words for your response. Here is the prompt:

Why do you want to study your chosen major at Georgia Tech, and how do you think Georgia Tech will prepare you to pursue opportunities in that field after graduation?


Georgia Tech Essay 2: Mini Personal Essay

For the second Georgia Tech essay, you’ll have three possible prompts from which to choose. Each question is fairly different from one another, giving you a broad choice in terms of how you can approach this essay.

It's best to think of this essay as a mini personal essay since you’ll be writing about a certain aspect of yourself (depending on the prompt you choose). Once again, your response must be 250 words or less. 

Here are the prompts:

Please choose ONE of the following questions and provide an answer in 250 words or less.

  • Tech’s motto is Progress and Service. We find that students who ultimately have a broad impact first had a significant one at home. What is your role in your immediate or extended family? And how have you seen evidence of your impact on them?  
  • Georgia Tech is always looking for innovative undergraduates. Have you had any experience as an entrepreneur? What would you like Georgia Tech to provide to further your entrepreneurial interests?
  • In our application review, we want to get to know you better. One way to do that is to understand a typical day for you. Please describe your typical day.


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

In this next section, we'll go through both supplemental essays and their prompts, giving you tips on how to choose the best prompt for you so you can write a memorable essay.


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


How to Write Georgia Tech Essay 1 (Why Georgia Tech?)

As a reminder, the first Georgia Tech essay prompt asks you to explain, in 250 words or less, why you want to attend the school:

Why do you want to study your chosen major at Georgia Tech, and how do you think Georgia Tech will prepare you to pursue opportunities in that field after graduation?

In your response, 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 for. 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 ondon’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


How to Write Georgia Tech Essay 2 (Mini Personal Essay)

For your second Georgia Tech essay, you’ll get to choose from three possible options and write a response in 250 words or less on some aspect of yourself. Below, we go over each essay prompt, giving you tips on whether to choose a prompt and what to write about so you can come up with an effective response—one that will ideally wow the admissions committee!


body_geese_familyWhat kind of impact do you have on your family/gaggle?


Prompt 1: Your Family Role

Tech’s motto is Progress and Service. We find that students who ultimately have a broad impact first had a significant one at home. What is your role in your immediate or extended family? And how have you seen evidence of your impact on them?

This essay prompt is focused on how you impact your own family and what kind of (positive) role you play in your family unit.

Georgia Tech asks this question to get a feel for how you act in personal situations and what these experiences might suggest about your possible future impact on other Georgia Tech students and on society as a whole.

Here are some possible roles you could discuss in your essay (since you won’t have a lot of space for your response, it’s best to choose the role you think best defines you and in the most positive light):

  • Mediator of conflicts or fights
  • Encourager of trying new things or getting someone out of their comfort zone
  • Supporter of others in difficult situations or times of need
  • Decision maker (i.e., someone who often makes major decisions for their family or helps others in their family make important decisions)
  • Protector/caretaker of younger siblings, cousins, or other family members
  • Planner of activities or events, such as vacations, chore schedules, meals, etc.


Should You Choose This Prompt?

You don’t have to come from a particularly interesting, crazy, or unique family to be able to choose this prompt and write a great essay. The point of this essay is to explain what kind of impact you’ve had on your family or a family member, and to relate this to your future role and impact at Georgia Tech and beyond.

If you can quickly identify how you interact with your family and what kind of effect you’ve had on them, this is a good prompt to choose. If, however, you’re not sure whether this prompt is a good fit for you, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a certain noun or adjective your family members would use to describe you and your role in the family?
  • Do you have any younger siblings or cousins whom you’ve had to lead, give advice to, or offer support to in some critical way?
  • Was there a time you had a positive impact on or made a positive contribution to your family? What happened, and what might this imply about what kind of role you’ll have as a student at Georgia Tech?


Tips for Answering This Prompt

  • Focus on a specific anecdote to make your essay more realistic and relatable. Don’t just say you’re a mediator because you always have to break up fights between your two younger siblings. Give us the details, the nitty-gritty: who said what and to whom? How did you react? What kind of (positive) outcome did your involvement have in the end?
  • Write about something that's significant to you. You don’t have to write about something super rare or out of the ordinary, but it should still be important and memorable to you. For instance, you could write about the time you cheered up your sister after she tripped during a track meet, making her miss the chance to come in first. This indicates that you’re not only caring but are also supportive and willing to be there for people in times of need.




Prompt 2: The Innovative Entrepreneur

Georgia Tech is always looking for innovative undergraduates. Have you had any experience as an entrepreneur? What would you like Georgia Tech to provide to further your entrepreneurial interests?

This essay prompt is a lot more professionally-oriented than the first one, which mainly focuses on your personality and interpersonal relationships. With this prompt, you’re expected to talk about a specific experience you’ve had as an entrepreneur.

This could be a highly professional experience, such as that time you worked part-time with a startup to build and sell an invention that prevents wildfires. Or it could be something that you did entirely on your own, such as going door-to-door to sell soaps and lotions you made.


Should You Choose This Prompt?

This prompt specifically targets applicants with entrepreneurial backgrounds. If you don’t have entrepreneurial experience or aren’t interested in entrepreneurship, it's best to choose a different prompt.


Tips for Answering This Prompt

  • Focus on just one entrepreneurial experience. Don’t cram in a list of all your professional endeavorsthis isn’t what Georgia Tech wants! Instead, talk about only the most significant experience you’ve had in the field. This could be your first venture into entrepreneurship or your most recent. Then, concentrate on what made the experience so meaningful to you.
  • Be specific about how Georgia Tech can help you accomplish your goals. Don’t just say that the rigorous academic environment will encourage you to work hard. What specifically does Georgia Tech have that can help you explore your professional interests? For example, you could mention its Global Social Venture Competition or Ideas to Serve Competition and how you plan to participate in these events to boost your entrepreneurial skill set.




Prompt 3: Your Typical Day

In our application review, we want to get to know you better. One way to do that is to understand a typical day for you. Please describe your typical day.

This final essay prompt is arguably the most fun and creative of the three since it’s all about your day-to-day life. By seeing what your usual routine looks like, Georgia Tech can learn more about what kind of person you are and how your personality and interests might mesh with those of other students on campus.


Should You Choose This Prompt?

I recommend picking this prompt if you are a fan of its more laid-back, creative nature and are enthusiastic about being able to delve deep into the ostensibly mundane details of your life.

This is also a good prompt to choose if you aren’t sure whether the other prompts are well suited for you or if you really can’t think of anything interesting or unique to write for them (the big plus with this essay prompt is that the main topic of your essay is essentially given to you!).


Tips for Answering This Prompt

  • Write about the most interesting, unique, or important parts of your daily routine. You don’t need to have some crazy or super weird routine, but since you don't have a lot of space to write, you'll want to focus on the most interesting and significant moments from your day. For instance, say you take harp lessons every day after school; this would be a unique detail to mention. Or maybe you volunteer at an animal shelter a few days a week. Even if you feel your days are boring, you can always shake up your essay by inserting some fun and quirky description (see the next tip for more details on how to do this).
  • Avoid overly general descriptionsadd color with specificity. You can liven up your essay by being specific and injecting your voice into what you write. Instead of writing, "I wake up at 7 a.m. and eat a bowl of cereal before heading to school," it’d be far more interesting to write, "My alarm goes off at 7 a.m., but I don’t get up until 7:32. After launching into a familiar panic and rummaging through my dresser to find that one pair of holeless socks I own, I race downstairs to scarf down a small bowl of Apple Jacks before rushing outside and hopping on the rusty bicycle I’ve owned since I was 12."
  • Reflect on what you dodon’t just list your activities. The topic of this essay runs the risk of becoming a laundry list of what you do each day. Remember that the point of this prompt isn’t to list your actions but to present a running commentary on why you do the things you do and how these have influenced your personality, point of view, interests, and/or goals.
  • Don’t be afraid to shake up the organization of your essay. Most applicants write about their daily activities in chronological order. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you can illuminate your more creative side by writing about your routine in a more unique way, such as by grouping similar activities together or by ranking your level of satisfaction at each point throughout the day. No matter what style of organization you choose, just make sure that your essay is comprehensible and doesn’t come off too pretentious-sounding.


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Georgia Tech Essay Examples + Analysis

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


Georgia Tech Essay Example 1 (Why Georgia Tech?)

"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 (Mini Personal Essay)

For this essay example, the applicant is responding to the third prompt, which asks you to describe your typical day.

I like to think I’ve gotten used to that sense of dread before English class, but not quite yet. It’s my first class of the day, and I’m feeling a little too tired to be able to make sense of Pride and Prejudice. But I try anyway because I really love the book. It sits on my shelf, creased and torn from years of curling up in bed with it.

At lunchtime, I pull out my copy of Freakonomics. My aunt lent it to me weeks ago after I told her I was interested in reading more nonfiction. And I can’t seem to put it downeven as my tuna sandwich begs me to eat it before the bell rings.

School ends at 2:30, and a few minutes later I hop on the bus, take Freakonomics out of my backpack, and immediately flip to the bent corner of page 68, where I'd left off at lunch.

At 4, I leave home to go to my part-time job at the local library. There, my manager, Shelley, greets me with her toothy grin and sing-songy voice: "Hey, Reggie, how was school?" I smile and chat a bit before heading straight for the bookshelves, as if I'm being pulled forward by an invisible thread.

While working, I can't help but devour the title of each book I put away. Maybe one of these days I'll leave work without checking out a new book to read—but I can't see this happening anytime soon.

Here’s why this Georgia Tech essay works:

  • It has a focused, interesting narrative. This applicant isn’t just describing banal day-to-day activities but is concentrating on how his daily routine ultimately connects back to his love of reading. This approach makes the essay far more unique and memorable.
  • It uses specific, creative imagery. With this prompt, telling a captivating story is vital. After all, most people’s "typical days" aren’t that exciting. This applicant, however, uses interesting imagery, from his manager’s "toothy grin" to the tuna sandwich that "begs" him to eat it. All of this drives home the fact that the applicant is not merely an avid reader but is also a very creative thinker and writer.


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

Now that you know the specifics of each Georgia Tech essay prompt, here are three key tips to use while writing your essay, no matter which prompt you choose.


#1: Be Specific and Concise

The Georgia Tech supplemental essays only give you room for up to 250 words, which is about half the length of a typical personal statement. 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.




#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 graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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