2 Great Georgia State Essay Examples by Accepted Students
Georgia State is one of the most desirable universities in the state, due to its expansive academic offerings, excellent reputation for research, and location in Atlanta, the state’s capital. To give you a sense for what Georgia State’s admissions officers are looking for, we’ve collected two examples of essays submitted by students who ended up being accepted.
Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized.
Essay Example 1 – 10 Minutes, 10 Million People
“She reveled in the comfort that reading brought her, as she knew that in the end, the characters would always have a happy ending: no surprises, no secrets, no lies, just love.” This is a line from a fan fiction I wrote when I was fifteen. Not to say that my writing is Pulitzer-Prize-worthy or anything, but I feel that teen fantasy authors are often reduced to basic grammatical mistakes and cringe-worthy, one-dimensional plots. Especially with fan fiction authors being predominantly female, girls within fandom spaces will often be ostracized and shamed for enjoying the same things as a male demographic.
The double-edged sword of women and literature decrees that if one reads romance books outside of the intellectual sphere, they “aren’t a real reader,” but if they only like “the classics,” they’re a “fake.” Being “real” or “fake,” as a notion, has taken on an entirely different meaning in fandom spaces. No matter what a woman does, scrutiny is sure to follow.
The countless number of times young girls will be interrogated with, “You like that book? Name three others by the same author,” or “I bet you like that game for attention from men,” is truly disheartening. Even more, with writing, women are often not taken seriously, historically even feeling inclined to abbreviate or use pen names to pass off as men. This is not to say all men perpetuate this toxicity, nor that women do not, but rather it is prevalent enough that girls are often discouraged from enjoying things or become a joke for doing so.
As someone who enjoys writing, myself, I know this struggle all too well. When I was younger, the criticism discouraged me so much that I kept my interests to myself. I still struggle with this from time to time, but I have since grown and pursued creative writing for my own enjoyment, as well as conducting research with the traditionally male entertainment form: superhero films.
It goes beyond the idea of femininity in society but even to the very nature of humanity itself. I remember sitting in my economics class, listening to the teacher speaking, saying, “No one would ever work for free.” Anytime anyone says anything along those lines, they negate the influence of thousands of teenage girls who craft entire universes solely from the devotion they carry in their hearts, and I hope that one day, they will be recognized for what they truly are: passionate visionaries rather than shallow fanatics.
What the Essay Did Well
This essay’s greatest strength is actually very simple: the writer has chosen a topic that she is clearly actually passionate about. With less structured prompts, that don’t fit one of the common supplemental prompt archetypes, there can be a temptation to go out of your way to impress admissions officers, rather than just being honest. But with this prompt, the most important thing to do is select a topic that you truly “care deeply about,” as that’s the only way the essay is going to feel genuine and natural.
The writer’s personal investment in the topic is apparent from the very first line, when she explicitly connects the topic to herself. That also allows her to then make some more general points, that show her overall thoughts about this topic, without those points feeling vague or irrelevant, as readers understand she’s drawing from her own personal experience.
For example, say the essay instead started with the line “The double-edged sword of women and literature decrees that if one reads romance books outside of the intellectual sphere, they ‘aren’t a real reader,’ but if they only like ‘the classics,’ they’re a ‘fake.’” While the topic is still an engaging one, there’s no personal framing for it, so admissions officers may initially be confused about what they’re supposed to be learning about the applicant. Particularly in supplemental essays, where your space is more limited, you never want to create that kind of confusion–your personal connection to your topic should be clear throughout.
In addition to immediately establishing this personal connection, the writer includes creative, thoughtful points about her topic that show she has strong critical thinking skills. Lines like “women are often not taken seriously, historically even feeling inclined to abbreviate or use pen names to pass off as men” and “this is not to say all men perpetuate this toxicity, nor that women do not” demonstrate she can think deeply about a topic, and consider multiple perspectives, both skills which are crucial to success in college.
What Could Be Improved
While the writer’s personal investment in her topic is clear, what’s less clear is what she has learned about herself, or which personality traits she has developed, as a result of her love of fanfiction.
She hints at this kind of growth with the lines “When I was younger, the criticism discouraged me so much that I kept my interests to myself. I still struggle with this from time to time, but I have since grown and pursued creative writing for my own enjoyment…” but her readers don’t get much elaboration. Perhaps rule #1 for the college essay is “show, don’t tell,” and these lines, while informative, are very tell-y.
A stronger way of making her point would be to describe a moment or experience that will give admissions officers a more concrete sense of how this transformation occurred. For example, after saying “I kept my interests to myself,” she could say something like “In third grade, I wrote three chapters of a Harry Potter fanfiction, but when I showed my friends at school, they laughed at me and asked me what the point was, because my efforts would never be as good as the actual books.”
With this addition, her readers have a more detailed understanding of her state of mind at this point in her life, and a similar example from the present would help them see how she’s grown since then. While the word count is always a factor, this writer is 40 words under the count. Plus, these specific anecdotes are important enough that it would be worth making cuts from elsewhere in the essay in order to include them.
Essay Example 2 – Extracurricular Essay
When I was in ninth grade, I volunteered at a legal foundation where attorneys provide free legal services to victims of domestic violence. I initially volunteered because I wanted to observe the legal profession at work, as it was a profession I was and still am passionate about pursuing. However, once I was there, I realized that I was observing a much greater force at work.
My job was simple; I was to scan and file old case files. But, as I was tasked with copious amounts of files, I quickly realized the extent to which domestic violence impacts people. 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 4 men, have been victims of domestic violence. While I was familiar with domestic violence before, this experience was eye-opening.
Domestic violence is a major issue within today’s society, and victims often feel uncomfortable with reporting. Services like the foundation I volunteered at help make legal aid more accessible, which can help victims feel more comfortable reporting their abuse.
Domestic violence is an issue that I have thought about since this experience. When I started my true crime podcast as a sophomore, I wanted to spread awareness about domestic violence and its prevalence in criminal investigations. I allocated specific episodes to research cases where domestic violence resulted in a more escalated crime. This includes the stories of lesser-known victims such as Evelyn Colon and Kathleen Peterson.
Further, this experience encouraged me to consider doing pro bono work in the future. I want to pursue a career in the legal field, and I want to work to make a difference in the lives of domestic violence victims. Free legal aid can help deter abusers and assist victims in leaving dangerous situations. Ultimately, this brief volunteer experience made a major impact on my future goals and altered the way in which I consider domestic violence.
What the Essay Did Well
The most important thing in any college essay is to show how an interest or experience has impacted your personal growth, and that’s especially true when responding to this prompt, which, in addition to fitting the “Extracurricular” archetype, explicitly asks you to describe an “activity…that has changed your view on a particular social issue.”
This essay does a phenomenal job of showing the writer’s growth. We see the writer go from a general interest in legal work, and the “simple” task of scanning files, to developing a sophisticated understanding of the social issue of domestic violence in particular, and a desire to channel their legal ambitions towards improving this issue.
Additionally, the writer reflects thoughtfully on the impact of their own actions, while also acknowledging the scale of the issue. With this kind of essay, you don’t need to make it sound like you solved world hunger–if anything, overstating what you did can make you sound ignorant about the complexity of a major issue. At the same time, though, you don’t want to sell yourself short.
This writer does a great job of striking the right balance here. Lines like “Services like the foundation I volunteered at help make legal aid more accessible, which can help victims feel more comfortable reporting their abuse” demonstrate the importance of the writer’s volunteer work, while also recognizing that this work is only part of the solution.
Finally, the writer describes how their volunteer work has influenced their life as a whole, by telling us about how they used their podcast to raise awareness about little-known domestic violence crimes. One of the main reasons the college essay exists is so that admissions officers can see whether or not you’re genuinely passionate about your interests and activities, or only doing them to pad your resume.
In this essay, we see that the writer’s dedication to helping victims of domestic violence is indeed genuine, as they have used their free time to continue building on their initial volunteer work. We also get a sense for how their experiences around this issue connect to their goals for the future, with lines like “this experience encouraged me to consider doing pro bono work in the future.” While the prompt doesn’t explicitly ask for that, colleges want to accept motivated, proactive students, and this kind of reflection shows the writer possesses these qualities.
What Could Be Improved
While supplemental essays are often a little more formulaic than the personal statement, you still want to show, rather than tell, as much as possible–in other words, use examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points, rather than just telling them to your reader. Unfortunately, this essay is quite tell-y, particularly at the beginning.
That means that, although the writer’s points are good ones, their rather dry presentation takes away some of their weight. For example, think about if this essay instead started off with a description of an actual moment from the writer’s volunteer work, like:
“My hands were full of papercuts from rifling through old domestic violence files all day and my eyes were sore from the light of the scanner, but my mind was crackling with a newfound appreciation for the value of pro bono legal work.”
This hook uses sensory details to show, rather than simply tell, us what the writer is thinking and feeling. As a result, we readers are immediately engaged in the story, whereas with the original version, the essay takes a few lines to get into the swing of things.
Along the same lines, you want your word choice, and overall writing style, to capture your emotions, not simply describe what happened. While clarity is of course important, at some points this essay feels a little too factual.
For example, the line “Domestic violence is an issue that I have thought about since this experience” is incredibly vague. We’re all always thinking about tons of different things, from getting Taylor Swift tickets to avoiding traffic on the way home. So the writer just saying they “have thought” about domestic violence doesn’t actually teach us anything about them, or their knowledge of this issue.
Even some slight changes here would go a long way towards making this line more informative. For example, the writer could say “Domestic violence is an issue that I have been dedicated to helping fix since this experience,” or “Since this experience, I have been devastated by the lack of awareness around domestic violence.” Both of these alternatives give us a much clearer, more specific idea of how the writer’s thinking about this issue was shaped by their volunteer work, which also provides a better set-up for their description of their podcast work.
Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay
Want feedback on your Georgia State essay before you submit? That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!