2022-23 Virginia Tech Essay Prompts and Tips
Unlike many other public institutions with notable strengths in the areas of business, computer science, and engineering, Virginia Tech’s acceptance rate does not yet strike fear into the hearts of prospective applicants (although it has fallen from 70% to 58% in the past two years). However, it is important for wanna-be Hokies to be aware that the admissions process at this university is becoming highly-selective. This is particularly true for the aforementioned popular majors. Thus, prospective Virginia Tech students need to take advantage of every component of the application in order to stand out. This includes the Virginia Tech supplemental essays.
(Want to learn more about How to Get Into Virginia Tech? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Virginia Tech: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)
Virginia Tech’s motto “Ut Prosim” is Latin for “That I May Serve”. The school requires all undergraduates to complete the “Ut Prosim Profile” which consists of four service-related essay prompts. These essays are “very important” to the admissions committee. Therefore, it is vital that all Tech applicants dedicate a significant amount of time to these short answer questions.
Below are Virginia Tech’s supplemental prompts for the 2022-23 admissions cycle along with our advice for composing winning essays.
2022-2023 University of Virginia Tech Essay Questions
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 term “community” can have many meanings. In this instance, it could be an ethnic, religious, or neighborhood community or a group of individuals who gather for a club, sport, or service project. Pretty much everyone applying to Virginia Tech is deeply involved in some semblance of a “community”. Perhaps you are the captain of a team, the editor-in-chief of your school paper, or the president of a club. On the other hand, you may simply be a valuable contributing member. Regardless of whether you are a leading man/woman or a still-essential bit player, make sure that you use your writing ability to show the admissions officer what type of community member you are rather than merely telling them.
You can also discuss how you have engaged with your high school local/community and what you have learned from interacting with people of a different ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, etc. Draw on past evidence of your commitment to being a positive force in your community and speculate how that is likely to manifest on Virginia Tech’s campus. Research and cite Virginia Tech student-run organizations or local nonprofit groups. The admissions committee wants to understand precisely how you will contribute to their campus community of 30,000+ undergrads. Drawing the link between your past efforts and future aims is critical here.
For example, if you’ve done work with Habitat for Humanity throughout your teens, it will be most impactful if you express your commitment to joining Tech’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity in the future.
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)
Colleges like students who demonstrate grit, perseverance, and resilience as these qualities typically lead to success in a postsecondary environment. No matter what type of example you offer, demonstrating these admirable traits can do wonders for your admissions prospects. Challenges can be anything from disabilities, depression, anxiety, or attentional to a tumultuous event like: you moved in the middle of junior year, the COVID-19 pandemic interfered with your activities, your parents got divorced, a grandparent passed away, or any number of other personal/family traumas one can name.
Remember that the problem/roadblock itself is just a prelude to a recounting of your resilient actions. Even with a fairly tight 120-word count, be sure to answer the final part of the question. Sum up how you grew as a result of this experience. Be as emotionally honest and nuanced as possible. Trust us—the admissions reader will appreciate your honest thoughts (even if they are a bit scary to share) more than clichés and platitudes.
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)
Leadership is an admirable quality, but it can manifest in many different forms. This essay is not only for those who captained a varsity team to a state title, started a charitable organization, or made sweeping changes as student body president. Teamwork and collaboration are also valued leadership skills both in academia and in the workplace, and students with strong interpersonal skills and a high EQ can be an asset to any university. Think beyond the title that you may have held and more about the action(s) of which you are most proud.
To sum up, this essay is about leadership, broadly defined. You can chronicle anything from mentoring others on your debate team to a simple instance of conflict resolution within your peer group. Along the way, just make sure that you provide answers to each question embedded in the prompt. This includes what you learned about yourself through this role modeling/leadership moment.
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)
Through this prompt, Virginia Tech wants to know more about your goal-setting, work ethic, and level of executive functioning. Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that becoming a master or expert at anything takes 10,000 hours of practice. Consider talking about the grind and sacrifice it will take you to become great at a given skill. Further, explain how you see that skill becoming even more finely-tuned/developed over time. If this goal fits into your future academic/career plans, all the better—share that too! As with the other three prompts, #4 packs in a lot of questions into a single prompt.
Ultimately, you’ll need to produce a well-edited, concise piece of writing that chronicles not only your goal, the steps you will take to achieve it, the timeline of the steps, but also who will help you along the way. Answering the last question is key in showing that you are a mature learner who understands that you will need mentorship, assistance, and other resources along the path toward achieving your dreams.
How important are the Virginia Tech supplemental essays?
The essays are “very important” to the Virginia Tech admissions committee. This places them the same tier of importance as the rigor of your coursework, GPA, first-generation status, geographical residence, state residency, and race/ethnicity.
Want Personalized Essay Assistance?
Lastly, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Virginia Tech supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.
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).