How to Write the Virginia Tech Essays 2023-2024
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.
Since Virginia Tech is a fairly selective school, writing strong essays is essential to standing out as an applicant. 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!
Read these Virginia Tech essay examples to inspire your own writing.
Virginia Tech Supplemental Essay Prompts
Prompt 1: Virginia Tech’s motto is “Ut Prosim” which means ‘That I May Serve’. Share how you contribute to a community that is important to you. How long have you been involved? What have you learned and how would you like to share that with others at Virginia Tech? (120 words)
Prompt 2: Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community supports access and inclusion by affirming the dignity and value of every person, respecting differences, promoting mutual understanding and open expression, and strives to eliminate bias and discrimination. Reflect on a time when you were not able or allowed to express a different or diverse position or opinion (or you witnessed another person or group experience the same situation)? How did you respond or wish you would have responded? Did your viewpoint change in any way after this experience? (120 words)
Prompt 3: Share a time when you were most proud of yourself either as a role model or when you displayed your leadership. What specific skills did you contribute to the experience? How did others rely on you for guidance? What did you learn about yourself during this time? (120 words)
Prompt 4: Describe a goal that you have set and the steps you will take to achieve it. What made you set this goal for yourself? What is your timeline to achieve this goal? Who do you seek encouragement or guidance from as you work on this goal? (120 words)
Virginia Tech’s motto is “Ut Prosim” which means ‘That I May Serve’. Share how you contribute to a community that is important to you. How long have you been involved? What have you learned and how would you like to share that with others at Virginia Tech? (120 words)
The point of this prompt is to see how you have been an active member of a particular community so admissions officers can get a sense of your passions and how you will embrace the Virginia Tech community. 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.
When brainstorming for this prompt, you want to consider the extracurricular activities and community service activities that have been the most meaningful for you. For instance, if you volunteered at the local hospital for 3 years, you might discuss how through the interactions you had with sick patients you were able to brighten their day and seize moments in your own life because you never know when something terrible might happen. Maybe water polo was your favorite activity you participated in in high school because you were able to combine swimming with your competitive side, and now in your senior season you get to share your love for the sport when you help coach the freshmen.
Next, you want to demonstrate how your involvement in this specific community has shaped your development. A great way to do this is to show who you were (through thoughts, feelings, emotions, or physicalities) before you joined this community, and who you are now as a result. An example of this might be a student who joined the track and field team because they didn’t want the pressure and responsibility they would have on a traditional sports team. Through bus rides to meets, team dinners, and daily practices, this student became more comfortable with their teammates and relied on them both on and off the track. Now, this student’s favorite event is the relay because they work with their teammates, and nothing beats the feeling of hearing their teammates cheer them on.
This final piece is where you will convince admissions officers you are the right fit for the campus community. There is not “one right answer,” as this is highly personal to each individual. The way to approach this is to be as specific as possible about what you want to do on campus. Make sure however, that you can back up whatever you say with the rest of your application. You do not have to try and find some unique program that you think would make you stand out if it’s not something that connects to the community you were previously a part of.
For example, if you really enjoyed writing for your high school newspaper, then you could mention how you want to continue that passion by applying for a position on The Collegiate Times, the university’s newspaper focused on covering campus news, features, sports and opinions. Whatever it is that you want to continue doing in college, try to find the corresponding club or organization within Virginia Tech that you would join. Once again, this will help tie your individual goals with that of the university and show that you really spent time looking into them. Having more information about Virginia Tech will not only help you solidify your own reasons for applying, but it will also show the admissions team that the school is a good fit for you.
Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community supports access and inclusion by affirming the dignity and value of every person, respecting differences, promoting mutual understanding and open expression, and strives to eliminate bias and discrimination. Reflect on a time when you were not able or allowed to express a different or diverse position or opinion (or you witnessed another person or group experience the same situation)? How did you respond or wish you would have responded? Did your viewpoint change in any way after this experience? (120 words)
This essay presents a fantastic opportunity to showcase both how you navigate difficult situations and respect others’ opinions. At its core, it’s an essay about your growth as a person either by gaining your own voice, helping others speak up, or reflecting on how you could’ve done more.
For some, this may be a difficult prompt to brainstorm as we may want to block out the tough moments in life, but for others, this could be a deeply-provoking prompt that stirs up emotion. This may be especially pertinent for members of religious, ethnic or minority groups who have had their voices quelled. Alternatively, you could be a passive observer of a similar situation, or involved in school club or friend feuds.
Write down a list of possible topics, and don’t worry too much about the context of the discussion so much as its content and impact. In any case, you should aim to anecdotally share this experience, but keep in mind that the word limit is very limited at 120 words, so ensure that a majority of your response is spent answering how you responded to the situation and what you learned.
Also, determining whether an issue is “important” or not can be a subjective matter. Your essay doesn’t necessarily need to be about weighty topics such as being ignored as a woman in an entirely male Model UN cabinet meeting or your school canceling your club’s planned walk-out for the Black Lives Matter movement. In fact, it is more than reasonable to write about “smaller” situations (local issues can be especially promising). For example, maybe you weren’t allowed to speak at the local town hall meeting because no one took you seriously as a non-adult, or maybe your friend group ostracized someone after they discovered she had different political beliefs.
By virtue of Virginia Tech including this prompt, you want to emphasize how you include new perspectives into your life, strive to eliminate bias and discrimination, and respect differences.
After creating your list, scan your potential topic ideas. Pay special attention to the second half of the prompt and consider how you responded to the situation. Which experience was the most transformative? Emotional? Unique? Which do you remember the most clearly and why? Once you’ve narrowed down your options into a few viable ones, pick the one that you feel will make it easiest to craft a compelling story especially considering the limited word count.
When starting this essay, include just enough to set the scene. Don’t dwell on exposition, irrelevant details of the conversation, or negative emotions surrounding the event for too long. Who was there? Whose voice was the loudest in the room? What was the power dynamic? Introduce each viewpoint as succinctly as possible while still preserving important details, keeping in mind the strict word count.
Really dive into how your thinking was shifted or augmented by your experience or even what broader lessons you may have learned after understanding the issue at hand. What did you do during or after the event took place? Did you research the topic more deeply or take other action?
For example, maybe you weren’t taken seriously as the only non-adult at a local town hall meeting, and you weren’t able to share your proposal. At first, you felt dejected, but after speaking with others who felt similarly frustrated, you formed a student-group subcommittee that provided strength in numbers, allowing you to raise points to the committee in unison. As a result, you led the proposal for the construction of safe road-side pathways and sidewalks for students walking home after school to prevent accidents from occuring in your downtown and local inner neighborhood roads.
By the end of the essay, your reader should feel that you know how to stand up for yourself or others and are able to create positive change as a result.
Share a time when you were most proud of yourself either as a role model or when you displayed your leadership. What specific skills did you contribute to the experience? How did others rely on you for guidance? What did you learn about yourself during this time? (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 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 should choose a new 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 at the moment, it usually isn’t accompanied with any larger implications. However, you could spin this trivial moment to talk about how you had to assume one of the hardest responsibilities of a leader, which is confronting team members who don’t pull their weight. By discussing your thought process and how you learned how to skillfully get your point across without offending your group member, you can turn an insignificant group project into a huge turning point in your development.
As long as the focus of this essay is on you—specifically your skills and character traits—this essay will accomplish its goal of proving to admissions officers you are capable of being a leader. Make sure you include the circumstances that required you to step up, you highlight two or three skills you demonstrated by describing your actions and thought process in the situation, and you finish by articulating how this experience helped you grow as a leader.
Describe a goal that you have set and the steps you will take to achieve it. What made you set this goal for yourself? What is your timeline to achieve this goal? Who do you seek encouragement or guidance from as you work on this goal? (120 words)
For this essay, your goal could be from any aspect of your life. You could choose an academic goal, a career goal, or a more personal goal. Here, you want to describe why this goal is important to you by describing the motivations you have for setting this goal.
For instance, if your goal 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 your advisor for help on achieving this goal. The most important part of your essay is why you want to be a heart surgeon, so you need to include that somewhere in your essay. For example, you might start your essay by describing how your grandma had a heart attack when you were younger and you idolized the surgeons who were saving her life. The why is the most important part of your essay, so revealing it through an anecdote is a great way to explain your why, while also including an emotional connection.
Your goal, however, does not have to be as long term as a career goal. For example, your goal could be learning to cook authentic dishes from your family’s culture. Perhaps you always witnessed your parents in the kitchen, following recipes passed down from generation to generation, and this motivated you to continue the tradition so you can feel closer to your heritage.
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!
Where to Get Your Virginia Tech Essays Edited
Do you want feedback on your Virginia Tech essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. 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!