How to Write the Virginia Tech Application Essays 2020-2021
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more commonly known as Virginia Tech, is a public land-grant university located in Blacksburg Virginia. It is one of 6 U.S. senior military colleges. With over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs and over 30,000 students, Virginia Tech is the largest university in Virginia.
Virginia Tech’s admissions rate is around 65%, making admission somewhat competitive. This application cycle, Virginia Tech requires applicants to apply using the Coalition Application or the Common Application, asking students to complete 4 supplementary essays. Students are not required to write the Coalition Application essay, and Virginia Tech explicitly states that it will not review any Coalition Application essays submitted. This makes their school-specific supplements even more important!
At first glance, completing these essays might seem like no easy task. However, we at CollegeVine are here to provide guidance on how to approach Virginia Tech’s supplements! Want to know your chances at Virginia Tech? Calculate your chances for free right now.
Virginia Tech’s motto is “Ut Prosim” which means ‘That I May Serve’. We are interested in learning more about your interests and how you have been involved and/or served. Briefly describe a group, organization, or community that you have been involved with. Is this a special area of interest for you, and why? How long have you been involved? What role did you play? What contributions have you made to this group? Were you able influence others and/or influence decisions for the good of the group? (120 words)
With a word count of only 120 words, there is little room to be too verbose or detailed. However, 120 words is still enough room to fully answer the prompt and give the necessary details asked of by the question.
When brainstorming for this prompt, you want to consider the extracurricular activities and community service activities that you’ve been involved in. For instance, if you are a member of your school’s yearbook committee, you could discuss the role you had throughout the years you participated. Perhaps you began as a staff writer but later was able to reach editor, and now editor in chief. Maybe you played a pivotal role in designing the previous year’s yearbook and design has become something that you’re passionate about. This would be a fitting example to discuss for this prompt.
For the serving the community option of the prompt, you could discuss a meaningful volunteer endeavor that you partook in. If you volunteered at the local hospital for 3 years, for example, you could discuss the interactions you had with patients and the impact you had on these patients or the impact that they had on you. Perhaps you were a leader in your volunteer group and influenced the structure in which the community service was performed.
It’s important to keep in mind the word count and the specific questions that the prompt is asking. You want to make sure you address each aspect of the question and completely answer the prompt. Regardless of your chosen topic, you want to make it personal and make sure it highlights one of your significant interests.
Describe a situation where you were involved or witness to an act of discrimination. How, or did, you respond? Do you wish you would have responded differently? Did this situation cause any change to happen based on this event and did you have a role in that change? What did you learn from this experience? (120 words)
Here, Virginia Tech wants to see how you respond to ethical dilemmas, specifically discrimination. You want to write about an instance in which you responded in a positive or appropriate manner, meaning you do not want to be perceived as being the one who is discriminatory.
For instance, if one of your friends made a racial slur towards another individual, perhaps you responded by telling your friend that that behavior is not acceptable. Maybe you decided your moral values were more important than that friendship, as you realized that you do not want to maintain relationships with narrow-minded individuals.
For another example, perhaps someone directed a discriminatory comment towards your immigrant family. Maybe at the time, you decided that silence was the best response, causing you to ignore that individual’s remarks. However, looking back, maybe you wished you had been more vocal in order to defend your family and validate your family’s pride. From this, you learned to speak out on these issues rather than taking a spectator perspective.
Cases of discrimination are not limited to racial discrimination, however. You can also discuss a case in which you were involved in discrimination based on gender, weight, or appearance. No matter the situation, you want to ensure that the situation served as a learning experience and allowed you to grow as an individual.
Describe an example of a situation where you have significantly influenced others, took on a leadership role, helped resolve a dispute, or contributed to a group’s goals. What was your role, what responsibilities did you take on? Did you encounter any obstacles, and if so how did you respond, were you able to overcome them? What would you do differently? (120 words)
At first glance, this prompt seems quite broad, as you have the choice between discussing one of several options: influencing others, leadership, resolving a dispute, or contributing to group goals. However, while these may seem different, each of these is centered around the idea of leadership. With that being said, you want to you describe a situation in which you took an active role, as this will highlight your leadership and problem-solving abilities. Since this prompt is similar to the first prompt, you also want to choose a different topic.
An example of this could be if you were a member of the Robotics Team. Perhaps prior to competition, you and your group faced various obstacles that delayed or prevented the design from being properly executed. Maybe you proposed an improvement and work division system that allowed you and your team to work more efficiently, later allowing you to win the competition. An example similar to this one would be an excellent way to showcase your leadership and problem-solving abilities.
You could discuss your role in a group project and how you and your team worked together to execute your goals, but this is quite cliche. Instead, you want to consider a scenario with a little more weight; while your school project may have seemed important in the moment, it usually isn’t accompanied with any larger implications.
Briefly describe a personal goal you have set for yourself. Why this goal, what is your timeline to achieve this goal, what precipitated this goal? Have you turned to anyone for advice or help, what was their role, what did you learn about yourself, are you still working toward this goal? (120 words)
For this essay, your goal could be from any aspect of your life. This could be an academic goal, a career goal, or a more personal goal. Here, you want to describe what and why you want to achieve this goal and the motivations you have had behind setting this goal.
For instance, if your goal is is to become a heart surgeon, you could outline your plan to study biological sciences, volunteer at the local hospital to interact with patients and eventually shadow a physician to obtain a more direct perspective. Perhaps you are a member of the pre medical society at your school and turned to you advisor for help on achieving this goal. This would be a great place to discuss that,
Your goal, however, does not have to be as long term as a career goal. For example, your goal could be learning to cook dishes from your families culture. Perhaps you always witnessed your grandparents and parents cooking traditional family recipes, and this motivated you to set a goal to do the same. You could discuss your hopes to pass on these traditions and foods to future generations, allowing you to preserve your culture.
Overall, with all these essays, you want to give the admissions committee a glimpse into your individuality. Although all these essays are short, a short, meaningful paragraph can give the reader the insight needed to gauge your personality, values, and goals. Remember, make these essays personal! We hope this guide has allowed you to approach Virginia Tech’s application with the utmost confidence. Happy writing!
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