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4 Tips for Writing Stellar UGA Essays

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Posted by Hannah Muniz | Sep 16, 2022 5:00:00 PM

College Info , College Essays



The University of Georgia is an excellent public school ranked in the top 50 universities nationwide. If you're applying here, you'll need to submit two amazing essays. So what are the UGA essay prompts? And how can you ensure your UGA essays will make you stand out?

In this in-depth guide, we give you all the current UGA essay prompts and tips for choosing and approaching the best prompt for you. We also look at an actual UGA application essay example to give you an idea of what your own essay can and should look like.

Feature Image: Boston Public Library/Flickr


What Are the UGA Essay Prompts?

The UGA application, which you can submit via the Common Application or the Coalition Application, requires all first-year applicants to submit two essays.

The first essay is the personal essay that's part of the Common App or Coalition App. You can find a list of the Common App prompts and how to answer them here (and you can find the same information for the Coalition App here).

The second essay you'll submit is unique to the University of Georgia application. The first UGA essay must answer the following prompt:

The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

This essay prompt is pretty different from what you'd expect in a college application; it offers you many possibilities, both content-wise and stylistically. But don't worry: we're going to break it down for you below!


body_woman_funny_glassesStressed? Who's stressed? I'm not stressed, you are.


How to Write the UGA Supplement Essay

All applicants must respond to this prompt in 200-350 words. Here it is again for reference:

The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

As noted above, this prompt isn't like most other college essay prompts in that instead of asking about your academic goals, skills, or accomplishments, it's trying to loosen you up by having you write about something fun and unique in your life.

In other words, UGA wants to tease out your less serious, less academic side to get a better sense of who you are as a person and not just as a student. Specifically, they want to know what holds meaning in your life and what kind of experience you think is worthy enough to share with the admissions committee.

Therefore, your first UGA essay must accomplish the following:

  • Should be different from what you've talked about elsewhere on your application
  • Should highlight your sincerity and personality
  • Should reveal something important about who you are and/or what you value
  • Should NOT be too serious—remember that UGA wants an "amusing" story!

Some of these qualities might go against everything you thought you knew about college essays, but it's important here to really try to be sincere, write with an authentic voice, and not shy away from showcasing your more irreverent side.

Here are some examples of possible topics you could write about:

  • A time you made a faux pas or silly mistake (in or outside of school), how others reacted, and what you did to remedy the situation and/or learn from it
  • A funny misunderstanding you had with someone, such as a teacher, friend, or parent, and what this experience taught you about the importance of clear communication
  • Something amusing or thought-provoking you watched, listened to, read, or did, and why you found this particular thing so fascinating (this shouldn't be any old movie or book but something a little more unique)
  • A unique hobby or interest you have, how you developed it, and why it's important to you

As you can see, you have a lot of options for what you can write about for this UGA essay. That said, make sure to avoid the following topics:

  • Politics, religion, or any other overly serious or potentially controversial topic
  • Death, illness, or any other grave event or moment from your life
  • Something everyone has experienced or heard of—your topic should be unique to you
  • Anything you've already mentioned in a different section of your application
  • Stories about bodily functions (UGA specifically mentioned getting too many of these stories, so have some pity on them and choose a different topic!)


A Real UGA Application Essay Example + Analysis

Below is an actual UGA application essay example written by an admitted applicant named Micaela B. This essay, which is a response to an older prompt ("Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it"), was taken from the UGA undergraduate admissions website where it was used as "an example of what we [UGA] consider a strong essay."

Here is the essay, at just around 300 words long (the word limit):

It's unassuming, the tiled top square table with mismatched chairs, its lacquer wearing thin from dishes being passed back and forth, room for four but always crowded by eleven. It may be unassuming but its power is undeniable.

As I grew older, the after-dinner conversations grew more intriguing to me. I began to stay and listen, to the politics I didn't understand and the adult gossip I shouldn't have been privy to. The dynamic of the debate shifted almost every time the topic changed, but the one thing that was consistent was that after all the plates were cleared and the chairs were pushed back in, everyone came together for dessert; pizzelles and biscotti. No afterthoughts, no bitterness.

I admire my family's ability to embrace each other for their differences, instead of letting it break us apart. There was no greater example of the lesson in acceptance than when my family learned of the change in sexuality of one of our relatives. After the dissolution of a marriage and a traditional family, the initial resentment towards her for the challenge to our family values was difficult to digest, yet unavoidable. It was the first dispute that ever brought tears to that weathered table with the peeling laquer. Instead of allowing differing lifestyles to drive a wedge between us, our family challenged each other's misconceptions, we discussed, we cried and we accepted.

Being raised in such a racially, economically and religiously diverse community, I am lucky to have developed the skill set to empathize with the people around me and understand that not everyone thinks the same way. In fact life would be pretty boring if everyone acted in uniformity; in a more harmonious world, everyone should be able to voice their opinions and speak their minds, and still come together for dessert.


Here's what makes this UGA essay work:

  • It opens with a captivating description: This essay, especially the first two paragraphs, is undeniably attention-grabbing. The vivid image of the "tiled top square table" and how it is "always crowded by eleven" thrusts us directly into Micaela's boisterous life, making us feel as though we're sitting right there beside her and her family.
  • It's tightly focused and easy to follow: From the beginning, we can tell that the crux of this essay is family, specifically the challenges that come with being a member of a large, diverse group. The story here really begins to open up by the third paragraph, where Micaela relates a surprising event—the "change" in a relative's sexuality—and shows how her family learned a valuable lesson in acceptance as a result.
  • It's got a positive spin: Even though the essay discusses the challenges for a family to come together, it ultimately ends on a high note. This reveals to us a lot about Micaela's character, especially her commitment to harmony and her open-mindedness toward others.


4 Essential Tips for Your UGA Essays

Now, it's time to wrap up with some final helpful tips for your UGA essays.


#1: Be as Specific as Possible

Specificity is key to producing an effective and compelling college essay. In both your UGA essays, make sure you're being as specific as you can be: use real names of people or places, describe the emotions you felt at the time, and tell us what was said, both by whom and to whom.

Details are what will ultimately make the UGA admissions committee be able to more easily relate to your experiences, passions, and point of view. So don't forget to include them!


#2: Use an Authentic Voice

The essays are the time for your personality to shine, so don't hold back—use your natural voice to tell your story. It's OK to tell some jokes or emphasize your love of flowery language with a few poetic metaphors, for example.

That said, essays don't give you free rein to be impolite or to completely break the conventions of English grammar, so know what your limits are as you write.


body_red_panda_tongueUse your real, honest, authentic voice—unless it's really, really weird.


#3: Write Concisely

You only have up to 350 words for the supplemental UGA essay, so it's important to focus on being concise. If one of your rough drafts exceeds the word limit by a lot, you can try to trim it down by deleting any irrelevant or wordy passages.


#4: Remember to Edit and Proofread

Finally, don't forget to edit and proofread your UGA essays! As you edit, spend time looking for the following:

  • Irrelevant passages, phrases, and/or sentences
  • Redundant words, phrases, and/or descriptions
  • Awkward-sounding or misplaced phrases/passages
  • Errors in spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation

Once you've done your own edit of your UGA essays, give them to someone to look over, such as a teacher, parent, or older sibling. Ask this person to proofread the essays and to offer you any advice they might have on how you can improve them in terms of organization, examples or details, word choice, etc.




What's Next?

Applying to other colleges in the eastern United States? Then check out our in-depth guides for tips on how to write the Georgia Tech essays, the Duke essays, and the Johns Hopkins essay.

Lots of colleges use the Common App and require an essay submitted through this system. Read our guide to learn all about the Common App essay prompts and how you can ensure your essay will impress admissions committees.

Still want to know more about UGA? Take a look at our UGA admissions requirements page to get info on the GPA and test scores needed to secure admission to this popular school.


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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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