How to Get Into Georgia Tech: Admissions Data and Strategies
Atlanta, 1990: The MLB’s Braves are busy assembling a young nucleus of talent that will lead them to a record 14-straight division titles. A Southern hip-hop style is taking over the country with artists like Usher and TLC earning the city the nickname “The Motown of the South.” Atlanta-based cable news channel, CNN, pulled in 10 million viewers per night to watch Operation Desert Storm unfold live on America’s televisions. And in Midtown, the city’s most dense neighborhood, rests a public university of little fanfare—the Georgia Institute of Technology which, that year, accepted 69% of its 5,843 applicants.
Fast-forward to 2006, and the Braves dynasty was over, TLC had gone their separate ways, and CNN had been replaced as America’s top-rated news network and yet, the admit rate at Georgia Tech remained unchanged at 69%. Major increases to research expenditures and enrollment that began in the ‘90s finally started to pay dividends in the mid-aughts. From that point on, the school’s prestige rose as rapidly as the acceptance rate declined. By 2013, roughly half of applicants were accepted; the next year, only one-third. The 40,000+ vying for place in the Class of 2024 were accepted at just a 20% clip. Georgia Tech is now an elite school and those seeking to enter the College of Engineering or College of Computing face an admissions gauntlet almost as fierce as that of MIT, Caltech, and Carnegie Mellon—particularly if applying from out of state.
All of this history perhaps serves to explain why there are few schools that applicants underestimate more than Georgia Tech in terms of selectivity. To remedy this issue, we will provide those considering applying to Georgia Tech:
1) An in-depth and realistic understanding of what you are up against.
2) More data on which to accurately assess your chances of admission.
3) Advice for how to get your Georgia Tech application to stand out, even against other top-of-the-class students.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- Georgia Tech’s Class of 2024 EA acceptance rate
- Georgia Tech’s Class of 2024 acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Georgia Tech applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2023 and 2024
- Georgia Tech’s system for rating applicants
- A look at the demographics of Georgia Tech undergraduates
- The percent of accepted students that attend the university
- Tips for applying to Georgia Tech
- How to assess whether applying to Georgia Tech is even worth the $75 application fee (for you)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Georgia Tech Early Action Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024
Georgia Tech received 22,199 EA applications in the 2019-20 admissions cycle and admitted 21% of that group. GT offers two rounds of Early Action. The first deadline is October 15, 2020 and the EA II deadline is on November 2, 2020.
Georgia Tech Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024
Out of 40,962 regular decision applications submitted for a place in the 2020-21 freshman class; just 7,984 were accepted working out to just shy of 20%. This is very similar to the 20.5% acceptance rate for the Class of 2023.
Georgia Tech Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank
The middle 50th percentile SAT scores for members of the Class of 2023 were 1310-1480; on the ACT the range was 29-34. An impressive 90% of those attending placed in the top decile of their high school class and 98% were in the top quartile. The mean weighted GPA for freshmen entering the university in 2019-20 was an astounding 4.08.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- Georgia residents were accepted at a 39.1% rate compared to 16.5% for non-Georgia residents.
- 30% of the Class of 2024 were either the valedictorian or salutatorian of their high school class.
- 13% of incoming Georgia students were from rural areas.
- 92% of 2020-21 freshman indicated that they plan to eventually pursue an advanced degree in their field.
- First-generation students make up 11% of the Class of 2021.
How Georgia Tech Rates Applicants
There are only three factors that Georgia Tech ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, GPA, and extracurricular activities. Class rank, standardized test scores, essays, state residency, geographical residence, character/personal qualities, paid and unpaid work experience, and talent/ability are “important” to the admissions committee. Factors that are “considered” are recommendations, first-generation status, legacy status, racial/ethnic status, and the level of applicant’s demonstrated interest.
NOTE: Like many other institutions, Georgia Tech has gone test-optional for the Class of 2021 only
Georgia Tech is not going to be impressed that you filled the ten spaces on the Common App Activity List; they are looking for genuine excellence in one or more activities. In fact, they explicitly state that: “Typically students are involved in 3-5 activities in a meaningful way, so don’t feel pressure to fill in all the blanks. As you complete your application, we recommend that you start by listing the activities you care about the most.” For example, you won a prestigious international science or mathematics competition, you coauthored original research, or you to develop an app, or you used your skills to help a charitable organization. Athletics can also provide a boost if you are skilled enough to be recruited by one of the 17 NCAA Division I Yellow Jacket squads; 400 student-athletes compete at this level.
When conducting a holistic review, the GT admissions team wants to see evidence of:
- Personal Responsibility
- Compassion for Others
- Intellectual Curiosity
Who Actually Gets Into Georgia Tech?
Let’s look at the demographics of the Class of 2024.
Geographically, the greatest number of incoming freshman hailed from the following states :
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
Competition is harshest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you come from a less populated state like Alaska, North Dakota, or Montana, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances.
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown for the freshman cohort entering in fall of 2019 was as follows:
- White: 40.3%
- Asian: 37.5%
- Hispanic: 8.3%
- African American: 7.7%
- Two or more: 4.6%
The countries sending the greatest number of students into the GT Class of 2024 were:
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Taiwan Turkey
The breakdown by gender is as follows:
- Male: 61%
- Female: 39%
With far fewer women entering the university, female applicants certainly have a significant edge over male applicants. Men gained acceptance at a 17% rate in 2019-20 while women were successful 28% of the time.
The extracurricular pursuits most commonly pursued by GT students were in high school were:
- Community service (82% participated)
- JV/varsity athletics
- Academic clubs
- Internships (24% landed one while in high school)
- Student government
- Religious organizations
- Work (42% held a part-time job)
Georgia Tech’s Yield Rate
Georgia Tech’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 41%. This number is over 40 points lower than Harvard and Stanford but in the same ballpark as many other selective private universities. Georgia Tech sports a similar yield rate to schools like NYU, Rice, USC, and Carnegie Mellon.
Tips for Applying to Georgia Tech
If you plan on joining the 40,000+ Yellow Jacket hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- Georgia Tech does not offer any type of in-person or alumni interviews for incoming freshmen. As a result, one of the best ways for admissions officers to get to know on a personal level is through your two required teacher recommendations. For tips on which teachers to target and how to ask revisit our blog on the subject.
- Georgia Tech does consider “demonstrated interest” so you may be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit (in non-pandemic times), contacted an admissions officer, etc. Given the school’s lower yield rate (compared to some other elite schools), it is never a bad idea to reach out to admissions officer with a question, attend a virtual session, or engage with the school on social media.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to two 50-300-word supplemental essays required by Georgia Tech. In the 2020-21 cycle, they are as follows:
- Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech?
The keys to tackling the first short response can be found in our blog entitled Mastering the “Why this College?” Essay.
- All applicants must choose one of the two questions below:
- Georgia Tech is committed to creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Tell us how you have improved or hope to improve the human condition in your community.
- If you feel that your personal or community background can provide additional insight to your application that we have not already seen elsewhere, please take this opportunity to share that information with us.
Either prompt can be a viable pick here. Applicants should think long and hard about the most compelling story about themselves that they have yet to tell anywhere else in their application. Think about whether this story can be tied into one of the two prompts. If you are entering a STEM field, it may be advantageous to select the first option unless you had a particularly unusual or challenging upbringing.
Should I Apply to Georgia Tech?
If you bring strong academic and extracurricular credentials to the table, there is no harm in filling out a Georgia Tech application, but—as with all highly-competitive colleges in 2020—even the best and brightest teens need to have an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. Those that will fare best in conquering this admissions gauntlet will boast a transcript of straight ‘A’s in an exceptionally rigorous program of classes, superior standardized test scores (when possible to take them with the pandemic), and at least one or two talents and passions outside of the classroom.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).