Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays 2023-24
August 28, 2023
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 56% in the past three years). However, it is important for wannabe 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 2023-24 admissions cycle along with our advice for composing winning essays.
2023-2024 University of Virginia Tech Essay Questions
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)
Pretty much everyone applying to Virginia Tech is deeply involved in some semblance of a “community.” 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. You could 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. Or, perhaps you are the captain of a team, the editor-in-chief of your school paper, the president of a club, or simply 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.
Whatever you choose, be sure to 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.
Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays (Continued)
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)
The U.S. presently finds itself in an extreme state of polarization. There seems to be little agreement even as to what constitutes “truth” or “facts” Within this divided world, it can be hard for individuals with competing viewpoints to engage in civil and productive dialogue. Here, Virginia Tech is giving you the chance to reflect on a time when your voice may have been silenced (or when you observed someone else’s voice being silenced). What was the outcome? How do you feel about your reaction, and what did you learn from it? This is your opportunity to show that you are an open-minded, intellectually curious, self-aware young person. One key thing to remember when addressing this prompt is that you don’t have to be the hero of the anecdote. In fact, you may be one who learned to expand their thinking.
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.
Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays (Continued)
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, and 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 in the same tier of importance as the rigor of your coursework, GPA, first-generation status, geographical residence, state residency, and race/ethnicity.
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