What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write the Virginia Tech “Ut Prosim” Essay

The Virginia Tech essay prompt touches on the essence of its motto “Ut Prosim” – ‘That I May Serve’. This is your chance to showcase your commitment to service and how it ties into your vision for your future at Virginia Tech.


Let’s break this prompt down step by step. If you’re looking for more advice on the VT essays, check down our Virginia Tech essay breakdown.


Understanding the Prompt


Prompt: 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 first thing to recognize is the importance of the motto. It isn’t merely words; it’s a philosophy. It represents an ethos of service, of contributing to the larger good, of leaving a positive imprint on society.


The prompt is also emphasizing your involvement in a community – which can be interpreted in a broad manner. This could be your local neighborhood, school, a club, religious organization, online community, or any group to which you feel a deep connection.


Virginia Tech also specifically asks about the duration of your involvement, as duration can indicate dedication, consistency, and evolving impact. It’s one thing to volunteer for an event; it’s another to be committed long-term.


The final element concerns reflection. It’s about understanding the depth of your experience and how that can be translated into a shared experience at Virginia Tech.


Crafting Your Essay


Here’s how to start writing your essay.


1. Introduce Your Community: Begin with a vivid description of the community you’re referencing. Use sensory details and anecdotes to place your reader in the setting. This helps create an emotional connection.


2. Narrate Your Journey: Discuss how you became involved, mentioning how long you’ve been part of this community. Describe your evolution within the community – did you start as a passive member and eventually take on a leadership role? Were there pivotal moments that intensified your commitment?


3. Detail Your Contributions: This is where “Ut Prosim” comes to life. Describe your specific contributions, the challenges you faced, and the impact you made. Did you initiate a new project? Or perhaps you brought a fresh perspective or solved a long-standing problem?


4. Reflect on Your Learnings: Highlight what you’ve learned from these experiences. Go beyond surface-level lessons and dig deep. How did it change your worldview, or how you interact with people? What skills did you gain?


5. Integrate Virginia Tech: This is your bridge to the future. Discuss how you plan to bring these learnings and experiences to Virginia Tech. Are there specific programs, clubs, or initiatives at VT where you see yourself contributing? How do you plan to integrate the spirit of “Ut Prosim” into your college journey?


Ut Prosim Essay Example


From age 12, every Saturday I’ve been at our local library, gravitating towards the overlooked kids’ section. In four years, I transitioned from shelving books to leading lively story hours, sparking enthusiasm in young listeners. One boy, Ben, initially hesitant, grew into an animated participant. This transformation underscored the value of patience and adaptability for me. It wasn’t just about books; it was cultivating a space where kids felt valued. At Virginia Tech, inspired by “Ut Prosim,” I’m driven to establish similar environments through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, demonstrating that impactful service intertwines growth, community, and sharing experiences.


Overall Feedback


Your essay effectively highlights your commitment to serving your community through your involvement at the local library. It demonstrates your ability to create a positive impact on young readers and your dedication to cultivating supportive environments. I would rate this essay a 9 out of 10. The strength of your essay lies in the specific example and your genuine passion for service. However, there is room for slight improvement in expanding on your plans at Virginia Tech.




  1. Your essay provides a clear narrative of your long-term involvement at the local library and the impact you’ve made on young readers.
  2. You effectively convey your passion for service and your dedication to creating a welcoming environment for children.
  3. The essay demonstrates your ability to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned and your desire to apply them at Virginia Tech.




  1. Consider including a brief sentence on how your experience at the library has shaped your personal growth and how this will contribute to the Virginia Tech community. (Small impact)
  2. If possible, expand your essay by a few words to share more about the impact you made at the library and how it relates to the “Ut Prosim” motto. (Small impact)


What admissions would take away


Admissions officers would view you as a dedicated, compassionate, and service-oriented student with a long-term commitment to making a positive impact on your community. Your experience demonstrates your ability to create welcoming environments and your eagerness to continue serving at Virginia Tech.


Final Tips


  • Show, Don’t Tell: Instead of just saying you were a leader, show how you led. Maybe you organized events, resolved conflicts, or motivated others.
  • Stay Focused: With limited word count, resist the urge to list everything you’ve done. Instead, focus on a few impactful experiences that best represent your commitment.
  • Proofread: Ensure your essay is free from grammatical and punctuation errors. Also, make sure it flows smoothly and maintains a coherent narrative. You can get your essay reviewed for free by CollegeVine’s AI, Ivy.


Remember, the goal isn’t just to show that you’ve served, but to convey how this service is a core part of who you are and how you see your role in the larger Virginia Tech community.

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