How to Write the Virginia Tech Essays 2021-2022

 

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! 

 

 

Read these Virginia Tech essay examples to inspire your writing.

 

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Virginia Tech Supplemental Essay Prompts

 

All Applicants

 

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: Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt and learn from a difficulty. Reflect on a time that you have exhibited resilience. What growth did you see in yourself 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)

 

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)

 

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. We hope that this guide was helpful, and wish you the best of luck with your writing!

 

Prompt 2:

Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt and learn from a difficulty. Reflect on a time that you have exhibited resilience. What growth did you see in yourself after this experience? (120 words)

 

At some point in our lives, we’ve all dealt with a hardship or obstacle we’ve had to overcome. For many colleges, this situation is something they may ask you to write about in your essays.

 

The purpose of the “Overcoming Challenges” essay prompt is for schools to understand how you might handle the challenges of college. They also want to see how you grow, evolve, and learn when you face adversity. For this topic, there are many clichés, such as getting a bad grade or losing a sports game, so be sure to steer clear of those and focus on a topic that’s unique to you. You want to write about an instance in which you responded in a positive or appropriate manner.

 

A common struggle for students is deciding on a topic to write about. Students who have not experienced trauma might feel as though they don’t have an adequate challenge to write about. On the other hand, students who have gone through a traumatic experience might find it difficult to talk about. 

 

Keep in mind that the purpose of an overcoming challenges essay is to learn more about you. It matters more how you handled a given set of circumstances and what they revealed about your character than the actual circumstances themselves. 

 

That being said, try not to choose a hackneyed subject, like getting a bad grade on a test. Choose something that speaks uniquely to your life experiences so admissions officers can get a deeper look into who you are. Think about personality traits and qualities that you possess that have not been mentioned in other areas of your application. Think about what aspects of your life or personality feel like they are still unaddressed, and try to generate instances that showcase these traits. 

 

A good example of a unique challenge might be for a student who wanted to start their own robotics club at their school, but when they proposed it to the board it was rejected since there wasn’t enough funding. Rather than accepting defeat, this student rallied his peers and presented a strong petition to the board and gave a 15 minute presentation about the club. While they were unable to get the club passed, they realized they enjoyed representing their peers and decided to run for student government, and have been able to affect positive change for the school as a class representative.

 

Once you’ve picked a topic, take a few sentences to provide some context for your reader. This should be a couple sentences that lay the groundwork, but don’t give away all the details. 

 

An effective method for accomplishing this is a narrative-like approach that starts in the middle of the issue at hand. 

 

For example, if your challenge is public speaking, your essay can start right when you are being spontaneously called on to present something. This approach captures the reader’s attention and makes them more invested in your response. Be sure to include how you felt in the moment! This humanizes you and helps admissions officers understand the situation and get to know you better.

 

 

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)

 

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.

 

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)

 

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 For Free

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 Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. Since they don’t know you personally, they can be a more objective judge of whether your personality shines through, and whether you’ve fully answered the prompt.

 

You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. We highly recommend giving this tool a try!

 

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