How to Write the Georgia Tech Application Essays 2020-2021

Padya Paramita

How to Write the Georgia Tech Application Essays 2020-2021

The Georgia Institute of Technology recently made headlines with the announcement that it will no longer accept the Common Application personal statement. They will still use the Common Application system, but will “will no longer utilize the long essay portion of the Common Application.” Instead, the school has introduced its own essay prompts that students will answer alongside the rest of the Common App sections . While keeping their “why Georgia Tech” essay from last year as it was, the Georgia Tech application essays 2020-2021 have added two new prompts.

Writing essays on top of the “why school” prompt might sound intimidating at first. However, since chances are that you’re also writing a personal statement for other schools on the Common App, you likely already have content that can be repurposed for the Georgia Tech application essays 2020-2021. The new prompts are somewhat similar to the personal statement questions and ask students to reflect on their character, background, and interests. To guide you through each of the questions, I’ve gone over them in greater detail and added tips on how to make your essay specific to the university, and unique to your application profile.

Prompts for the Georgia Tech Application Essays 2020-2021

Both prompts below are required for all applicants. The school suggests that your answers stay within 50-300 words. Since you don’t have a lot of space, it’s important that you use your words strategically.

Essay Prompt 1

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

This is an accelerated version of the “why this school” essay, with a more clear focus on your choice of major. Your response shouldn’t revolve around broad categories that make Georgia Tech wonderful - everyone knows it’s a strong STEM college. This essay is not asking you to highlight extracurricular, cultural, or other resources at Georgia Tech; this essay is explicitly asking you to speak in depth about Georgia tech’s academic resources —major, curriculum, classes, professors, and more. When you get start, think about how a Georgia Tech education pertains to your goals, specifically. This means that you have to identify your goals in the first place. Then, whether you are applying for Industrial Design or Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies, demonstrate how Georgia Tech will help you accomplish your specific goals. The key is to connect experiences and aspirations with academic reasons for why  you’ve chosen the school. 

Research is the key to any “why this school” essay. Before you write this response, it’s important to sit down and look through Georgia Tech’s majors and course offerings in great detailOnce you’ve decided which major appeals to you, it’s time to think about your own experiences. How did your love for the field begin? How have you honed your skills in the discipline since then? If you’ve taken any challenging courses or started relevant clubs, how is Georgia Tech the perfect place for you to continue your exploration? No matter which major you’ve chosen, it’s important to show admissions officers why your interest makes sense for you and that your dedication to the field is real. 

Essay Prompt 2 

All applicants must choose one of the two questions below:

Option 1: 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.

Competitive schools are looking for students who will graduate from their schools and later go on to change the world for the better. With a STEM-oriented school like Georgia Tech, it is looking for students who will use their skills and ambitions to bring innovative solutions to issues in today’s world. When approaching this essay, you need to identify a community, think of a problem it has faced, and show concrete evidence that you’ve worked on solving this problem. 

Since the prompt hasn’t specified which kind of community, think about a place where you’ve actually made the biggest impact. Think about how to differentiate yourself from other applicants. While you can definitely improve the human condition through service trips abroad, this experience isn’t necessarily unique.. You could write about the smaller circles such as your family, friend group, or neighborhood. You may have helped the community as a whole or you could have helped one or two individuals who belong to it. 

To think about the kinds of contributions to elaborate on, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How have you collaborated - or hope to do so - with others in your community?
  • What is different in your community as a result of your involvement?
  • Have you taken any risks to help others? How have they paid off?
  • Have you spearheaded any initiatives towards change?
  • Are there any service examples that portray your curiosity and creativity?
  • Why do you care about this community? How have you shown it? 

If you choose a larger community - like your whole school or city - make sure your essay still focuses on your own contribution and role. A response to such a prompt needs to follow the classic “show, not tell” advice. Admissions officers won’t be satisfied with just “I helped my family.” You need to dig deeper and convince them through the Georgia Tech application essays 2020-2021 that you are the kind of hardworking and passionate individual who can thrive at Georgia Tech.

Option 2: 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.

This question is very similar to a prompt from the Common App essays and is a very open-ended prompt. You can pretty much go any direction with your essay since it’s asking about your personal background or a community that has shaped you. You could also write about how you hold certain beliefs that have defined the course of your life. You can choose to elaborate on a cultural tradition that you look forward to and how the ways you’ve celebrated it changed with time. You can focus your essay on your career interest - for example, is there a compelling story that changed everything for you and developed your desire to pursue a career in engineering after college? 

The key here is “we have not already seen elsewhere.Remember that Georgia Tech will receive the rest of your Common Application. So don’t directly copy/paste words from your activities list or honors section. Make sure your response adds new information about you that isn’t present anywhere else in your profile.

Additional Tips

  • Know what the school is looking for: An important part of doing school research includes digging in to find out what the school wants out of these essays. On its website, Georgia Tech adds that it’s wants your responses to achieve the following:
    • Demonstrate authenticity & self-awareness
    • Demonstrate thoughtfulness
    • Display attention to topic, style, and grammar
    • Demonstrate a student has thought about why Georgia Tech, specifically, is a fit for them and how their goals align with Georgia Tech’s mission statement: “The Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university established by the state of Georgia in Atlanta in 1885 and committed to developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.”

Make sure your answer fits this bill. If you’ve got any doubts, make sure you ask another reader such as a teacher, parent, friend, or college counselor to see if you’re meeting the criteria.

  • Use Your Common Application Profile As Inspiration - Chances are, other schools on your list also use the Common Application. You’ve likely already written a personal statement. While you don’t want to repeat yourself, you can likely repurpose your personal statement content to fit Prompt #2. If there’s anything in your Common App essay that you haven’t gotten a chance to express for the Georgia Tech essay, you can use your essay as a base, and cut down words to fit the limit the school has set.
  • Cut unnecessary words: It’s obvious that the Georgia Tech College supplemental essays 2020-2021 provide you very little room to write your answers. Between the two essays, you only get around 600 words! It can be tricky to get your point across in so little space. But, you can’t change the limit. So don’t waste your time sulking or complaining about the fact that you’re 300 words over on your essay and start cutting words. Use a thesaurus, ask a teacher or friend for feedback, and read sentences out loud to see if they’d still make sense if you shorten them. 

The Georgia Tech application essays 2020-2021 provide you with the chance to tell the admissions officer who you are. While the first prompt is all about showing that you really have done your research, the optional essays enable you to share more about your background and interests. Both are golden opportunities to solidify your interest in Georgia Tech and convince them how you embody the values they look for in students. So, take advantage of the supplemental essay component. Your knowledge of the school and stories exemplifying Georgia Tech’s ideal characteristics might end up getting you admitted.

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