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College Essays

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Are you hoping to be part of Virginia Tech's next matriculating class? If so, you'll need to write strong Virginia Tech essays to supplement your application.

All Virginia Tech applicants are required to answer four short answer questions as part of their application. In this article, we'll break down what the Virginia Tech essays are and what the admissions committee is looking for in your answer.

Why Does Virginia Tech Require Applicants to Answer Essays?

Virginia Tech requires all applicants to answer four short answer questions. If you're applying to the Honors College, your answers will also be shared with the Honors College admissions committee. You don't need to answer any separate questions as an applicant to the Virginia Tech Honors College.

The Virginia Tech essays are designed for the admissions committee to get a better sense of who you are, both as a student and a person. The short answers questions ask about your character, leadership, and goals. The admissions committee will use your answers to better understand you as a person—who are you? What do you care about? How will you fit in on Virginia Tech's campus?

It's important to put some serious effort into your Virginia Tech essays so that you represent yourself well to the admissions committee. These essays are your chance to present a well-rounded version of yourself that makes the admissions committee say, "We have to admit this student!"

What Are the Virginia Tech Essays?

Virginia Tech requires that every applicant answer four short answer questions. These short answer questions are just that—short! Each has a word limit of 120 words. Let's take a look at the 2022-2023 essay questions:

#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?

#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?

#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?

#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 and how do they support your progress as you work on this goal?

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Virginia Tech Essays, Analyzed

Now that we know what the Virginia Tech essays are, let's break down how to answer each one as best as possible.

Since the Virginia Tech essays are so short, the key is to be super targeted in your responses. For each prompt, we'll break down what the essay is asking and how you can tailor your response to make sure it's what the admissions committee wants to hear.

Essay Question 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?

This essay question is asking about your involvement or service with a specific community. The admissions committee is looking for you to demonstrate a genuine commitment to a cause —what the cause is doesn't matter as much as the fact that you genuinely care about it.

To start, think about the communities that are important to you. This could be your family, neighborhood, school, place of worship, a club, etc. Then think about how you've worked to have a positive impact  there. Finally, consider the lessons you've learned from helping the community that you'll bring with you to Virginia Tech. 

You should pick a community that you've made real, lasting change at. Don't choose something that sounds the best if you haven't actually done a lot for them. For instance, if you were a member of your school's Habitat for Humanity club but didn't actually attend very many meetings, don't talk about how meaningful it was to build houses for disadvantaged people just because you think it sounds nice. Any insincerity in your application will be very obvious.

Essay Question 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?

This second question can seem intimidating—you'll need to reflect on a tough time and analyze how you grew as a person because of it.

Fortunately, this doesn't need to be an all-out catastrophe that happened in your life. Anything that you found a challenge but were able to overcome and learn from is fair game. For example, you could discuss not making the school basketball team, even though it was your dream to play on it, then deciding to rededicate yourself to practicing so you wouldn't let this failure define you. 

Your goal isn't to impress the admissions committee with the most tragic tale they've seen, but instead to show how you learn and grow from challenges.  So, as you're writing, keep the actual description of the setback short and focus most of your response on how you showed resilience because of it.

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Essay Question 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?

This prompt wants to know two things: first, have you taken on the responsibility of leading other people? Second, what did it teach you about yourself?

The admissions committee wants to know that you don't shy away from mentorship roles and growth opportunities. You don't have to be president of a club or captain of a sports team to demonstrate leadership. Perhaps you took on the role of project coordinator for a classroom project or are section leader of a few instrumentalists in the band. The size of the role isn't as important as the scope of your influence—how did your choices and actions influence others as well as your perception of yourself?

The question also specifically asks you to explain how you relied on others for guidance, so be sure to make it clear that you weren't just making decisions unilaterally. In this essay, you want to show that you're capable of making decisions, but also that you're capable of cooperation and self-reflection.

Essay Question 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 and how do they support your progress as you work on this goal?

The final Virginia Tech short essay question assesses your commitment to growth. Notice that the question asks about a personal goal—that means you don't have to pick something lofty or world-changing. You just have to pick something that resonates with you.

Maybe you decided to wake up 30 minutes earlier every day so you can meditate or do yoga before school. Maybe you made it a goal to complete all of your essays two days before they were due so you could revise your work. Maybe you made it a goal to try a sport this year when you normally hate sports.

Whatever your goal is, you want to demonstrate that you're capable of self-reflection and of positive growth —that you're constantly assessing how to better yourself.

You also want to show humility in this prompt—that you can rely on or ask for help from others when you need it. The admissions committee doesn't expect that you'll have all the answers yourself. They want to see that you can collaborate with and learn from others when you need to.

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Tips for Answering Your Virginia Tech Essays

Follow these general tips for making sure that your Virginia Tech essays are as strong as possible.

#1: Demonstrate Growth and Self-Reflection

Virginia Tech places a strong emphasis on service and self-reflection. These qualities are reflected in the choices of essay topics.

You should demonstrate these qualities in your answers. Show that you're constantly working to better yourself. Demonstrate humility and understanding. Virginia Tech wants students who will grow on their campus—not ones who will matriculate already thinking they're perfect.

#2: Be Honest and Sincere

All of the experiences that you outline in your Virginia Tech essays should be real—they need to have actually happened to you.

It can be tempting to lie about or exaggerate your experiences to make them seem more impressive. Don't do this!

First of all, lying on your application is a major ethics violation and can get you in some pretty serious trouble if you're caught.

Second all, insincerity will be super obvious. The admissions committee reads thousands of applications every year. They can easily sniff out people who are lying. Be as honest as possible in your Virginia Tech essays and remember—they WANT to hear about how you've grown.

#3: Proofread!

It should go without saying, but your Virginia Tech essays should be the best examples of your work possible. Don't just write your essays and be done with them. Take the time to formulate an answer and then go back and edit it. Make sure to proofread and run your work through a spelling or grammar checker to ensure it's polished.

#4: Get a Second Opinion

Getting a second opinion on your work can be a helpful way to assess whether your Virginia Tech essays are demonstrating your best qualities. Ask someone to read your work who really knows you, so they can tell you whether or not you're underselling yourself or missing a key feature of your personality that the admissions committee should know.

That being said, there's a fine line between getting a second opinion and plagiarism. It's okay to ask for someone's opinion on your work. It's not okay to steal their ideas and pass them off as your own. Make sure you're doing the former, not the latter.

Recap: Responding to the Virginia Tech Essay Prompts

The Virginia Tech essays are designed to show who you are as a student and how you'll fit in on Virginia Tech's campus.

  • Be honest and sincere.
  • Highlight opportunities you've taken to grow and change.
  • Edit and proofread your work to make sure it's as strong as possible.
  • Lie or over exaggerate to make yourself seem better.
  • Steal anyone else's ideas.
  • Sweat the short answers too much. They're important, but they won't make or break your chances at admission to Virginia Tech.

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What's Next?

Want to know how to make your extracurriculars stand out even more? Check out this guide to four amazing extracurricular activities and learn why they're so impressive to colleges.

Thinking of applying to other great schools like Princeton , Brown , or Columbia ? Then be sure to check out our guides to learn how you can write amazing essays for these schools' supplements.

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022

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Not sure how to write Virginia Tech supplemental essays? CollegeAdvisor.com ’s guide to the Virginia Tech application essays will show you exactly how to write engaging Virginia Tech essays and maximize your chances of admission. If you need help crafting your Virginia Tech supplemental essays, create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

Virginia Tech Essay Guide Quick Facts:

  • Virginia Tech’s acceptance rate is 67% 
  • U.S. News considers Virginia Tech a selective school.
  • Virginia Tech is ranked #75 on the U.S. News ‘ list of National Universities .

Does Virginia Tech Have any Supplemental Essays?

Yes. In addition to the personal statement that you will write for the Common App or the Coalition App , you’ll also answer four Virginia Tech essay prompts. The Virginia Tech essay questions are designed for the admissions committee to get a better sense of who you are as a student, peer, and person.

Need some help writing your Common App essay? Get great tips from our Common App essay guide .  

How Many Essays does Virginia Tech Require?

You must answer four Virginia Tech essay questions when you complete your application. Each of the Virginia Tech essay questions requires a response of no more than 120 words. It is just as challenging to write a short essay as it is to write a long essay, so take time to brainstorm, outline, draft, and revise each of your four Virginia Tech supplemental essays. There should be a targeted message in each of your Virginia Tech essays. 

What are the Essays for Virginia Tech?

The Virginia Tech application essays for Virginia Tech are about four topics: service, resilience, leadership, and goals. Each of the Virginia Tech essay prompts is relatively broad. This gives you lots of freedom and flexibility to choose your topic and articulate the story you tell in each of your Virginia Tech supplemental essays. At 120 words each, your Virginia Tech essays must be clear and concise. 

How do I Write the Essays for Virginia Tech: Question 1

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)

Question #1 of the Virginia Tech supplemental essays is a bit of a twist on the classic community service essay. Since the school incorporates its motto into the prompt, you will also want to look at the school’s core values and mission statement. These will help you learn what should be reflected in your Virginia Tech application essays. 

“Community” is defined very broadly. Successful Virginia Tech essays can be written about families, teams, project groups, neighborhoods, religious groups, or any other group of people with whom you spend your time. The key to writing a strong Virginia Tech supplemental essay is to choose a community that is important to you. The best Virginia Tech supplemental essays show how you have been an active member of your community. Through your Virginia Tech supplemental essays establish clearly how you would be an active member of communities on campus.

Address each part

This prompt asks that you include a few specific details in your Virginia Tech supplemental essays: how long you have been involved, what you learned, and how you would share it at Virginia Tech. The best Virginia Tech essays will not only answer these but also discuss the “why.” Why do you choose to spend time impacting this community in particular? In your Virginia Tech supplemental essays, articulate how what you do has shaped who you are.

Importantly, this prompt is not asking you to describe the community in your Virginia Tech application essays. Rather, you should discuss your role in the community in-depth. How has your involvement transformed you? How have you transformed the community? Service is inherently about others, but your 120-word Virginia Tech supplemental essays should contain vivid stories that illustrate your qualities and character traits. 

Connecting your cause

What cause are you committed to? This is the essential question that effective Virginia Tech supplemental essays will answer. Then, you can connect your passions to opportunities at Virginia Tech. Perhaps, you could highlight an initiative or two that you would get involved in through VT Engage or in volunteer opportunities in Roanoke in your Virginia Tech supplemental essays.  In your Virginia Tech essays, make an authentic connection between what you do now and what activities and organizations you plan to be involved in at Virginia Tech. 

In this and all your responses to the Virginia Tech essay questions, avoid writing a monologue on the meaning of service in general or using cliche examples and phrases. Also, be sure to hone in on a specific and personal story in your Virginia Tech essays. This should not be a laundry list of your community service endeavors. 

Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Do you answer all parts of the Virginia Tech essay questions in your essay? 
  • Does your essay tell a compelling story?
  • Do you clearly establish your “why” in your essay?
  • Does the reader learn what is important to you through your Virginia Tech application essays?

How do I write the essays for Virginia Tech: Question 2

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)

This Virginia Tech application essay is almost identical to the common ‘overcoming challenges’ essay archetype, but with an emphasis on resilience. The best Virginia Tech application essays that answer this prompt will be authentic; the adversity that you overcame does not have to be traumatic or monumental. 

How you handled the challenge is more important than what the challenge was. So, don’t force a topic into your Virginia Tech supplemental essays. Your Virginia Tech essays will be better if you discuss a low-stakes challenge authentically than if you fabricate a high-stakes challenge that doesn’t have implications for your character, skills, or growth. 

Be specific and personal to make your Virginia Tech application essays stand out among the many other qualified applicants. Illustrate the traits and skills that you showed in your resilience. What motivates you? What enabled you to persevere? Your choice of topic is one way to stand out in your Virginia Tech essays, but so is your ability to write about your chosen topic. 

The best Virginia Tech application essays will incorporate elements of vulnerability and transparency. Before drafting your responses to this and each of the Virginia Tech essay prompts, take time to reflect on how your essay conveys your values. Also, remember that rarely do we overcome adversity alone. In your Virginia Tech essays, you can write about how you relied on others as part of being resilient.

Virginia Tech supplemental essays answering this prompt are only 120 words, so let’s talk about structure. In your Virginia Tech essays, take a few sentences to lay the foundation, elaborate descriptively on your story, and emphasize the “so what?” — why does it matter? 

The best way to maximize the 120 word limit in your responses to the Virginia Tech essay prompts is to show instead of tell. Use vivid descriptions instead of simple narration to make the reader feel like they are part of your story. How did you feel? What was your environment like? Who did you interact with? 

Avoid overused cliche examples such as losing a sports game or getting a bad grade unless you can make them extremely unique and personal. 

  • Do you show instead of tell your message in your Virginia Tech supplemental essays?
  • Is your choice of topic specific and personal?
  • Do you focus more on your resilience in handling the challenge than the challenge itself?
  • Did you thoroughly proofread your Virginia Tech essays for grammar and content?

How do I write the essays for Virginia Tech: Question 3

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)

When choosing your topic to write about for this Virginia Tech supplemental essay, you can discuss being a role model through one of several avenues: influencing others, leadership, resolving a dispute, or contributing to group goals. You have a lot of freedom when answering the Virginia Tech essay prompts! Think about a situation in which you took an active role in a group setting among peers, adults, or your family. In your Virginia Tech essays, highlight how your leadership demonstrates your problem-solving abilities and other character traits. 

When writing your Virginia Tech application essays, don’t worry if you don’t have an official leadership title such as president of a club or student council representative. Virginia Tech does not expect that every leader has a title. The impact you had in your role is significantly more important to discuss in your Virginia Tech supplemental essays than the title or size of the role you held. 

Different kinds of leadership

The leadership you discuss in your response to the Virginia Tech essay questions can be academic, professional, social, or otherwise. Regardless of the type of leadership you choose to discuss, the best Virginia Tech essays will reveal what role you play in group settings and how you build connections with those around you. 

The secret to this one of the Virginia Tech essay prompts is that it’s about collaboration more than leadership. After all, what is a leader without people to lead and other leaders to work with? The stories you select to write about for your Virginia Tech application essays should reveal how your leadership is cooperative in nature; you’re not in it alone!

Though you will inevitably write about other people in your Virginia Tech essay prompts, make sure that you are focusing on your own redeeming qualities and traits. 

  • Do you discuss leadership in a collaborative way in your Virginia Tech supplemental essays?
  • Do your Virginia Tech admissions essays reveal redeeming qualities about your character?
  • Does your choice of topic enable you to highlight your leadership style?
  • Do you fully answer all parts of the Virginia Tech essay prompt?

How do I write the essays for Virginia Tech: Question 4

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)

In your Virginia Tech supplemental essays for this prompt, you can write about many types of goals. You are not limited to just academic goals! Perhaps you have career goals, personal goals, or others. Interestingly, this prompt asks you for a goal that you are currently working toward achieving. Therefore, in your Virginia Tech essays, you must be able to articulate the steps that you are taking — not ones you plan to take or already took.

Another consideration when choosing which goal to write about for your Virginia Tech supplemental essays is the message that the goal and your progress send about what type of person, peer, and student you are. How does what you strive for show who you are?

Don’t forget the “why”

The Virginia Tech essay prompts you with guiding questions: What is your motivation? What is your timeline? Who do you seek help from? But, the most important question is implied: Why? In your Virginia Tech essays, fully answer each of these questions while demonstrating your commitment to learning and growing. 

You should not feel pressure to talk strictly about your academic and career goals in any of your Virginia Tech essays. However, of these Virginia Tech essay questions, that discussion likely fits in this one the most seamlessly. Nevertheless, you should not choose to write about your future plans if they are not clearly articulated or you are applying relatively undecided. With more than 150 majors and 130 minors to choose from, one likely aligns with your interests and goals. Investigate which clubs , classes , and research opportunities could fit your goals.

Whether you choose to write about an academic, personal, social, or another goal in your Virginia Tech essay questions, tell a compelling story about your motivations and aspirations. Help the admissions committee learn more about who you are in a way that your other Virginia Tech essays have not yet revealed.

  • In your Virginia Tech essays, do you clearly articulate your goal?
  • Is your goal one that you are currently pursuing?
  • Do you clearly and concisely answer all parts of the question in 120 words or less?

Additional tips for Virginia Tech essays

In each of your responses to the Virginia Tech essay questions, strive to be honest and sincere while demonstrating growth and reflection. You only have 120 words to use in your response to each of the Virginia Tech essay prompts, so carefully consider the purpose of each word and sentence. Ultimately, aim for your Virginia Tech essays to be meaningful and memorable.

In combination with your Common App or Coalition App personal statement, your Virginia Tech essay prompts will round out the full package of your application. Consider how you can reveal another side of yourself in each of your essays responding to the Virginia Tech essay prompts. If you are applying to the Honors College, that admissions committee will also review your Virginia Tech supplemental essays. 

Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays — Final Thoughts

Before submitting your application, re-read your application and think about how the Virginia Tech admissions team will perceive each aspect of it. Make sure that your Virginia Tech supplement essays say something about you that the reader doesn’t learn in other parts of your application. 

The Virginia Tech essay prompts are only slightly altered from last year’s version, so it is clear that the school values the responses you write in each of your Virginia Tech supplemental essays. Clearly and concisely show the admissions readers who you are through your Virginia Tech essays. Highlight what will make you a star college student. Good luck!

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This 2021-2022 essay guide on Virginia Tech was written by Caroline Marapese , Notre Dame ‘20. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources on Virginia Tech, click here . Want help crafting your Virginia Tech supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

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2023-2024 Academic Catalog

2023-2024 course catalog.

Welcome to Virginia Tech! We are excited that you are here planning your time as a Hokie.

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Introduction to honors education at Virginia Tech. Disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity. Qualitative and quantitative research methods. "Wicked problems," systems thinking, and collaborative discovery. Problem analysis and iterative thinking. Ethical dimensions of trans-sector activity.

Orientation for Presidential Global Scholars (PGS) participants. Introduction to theories of culture and cross-cultural competence. Survey of Swiss culture, history, and politics. Introduction to PGS faculty and research interests. Development of individual research questions; transdisciplinary research on critical issues in U.S. contexts. Critical travel and safety information.

Introduction to critical practices in undergraduate quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including generating focused research questions, finding scholarly literature, organizing data, conducting ethical research, collaborative research practices, and identifying venues to present research findings.

Reading based sections in which small groups of students practice discussion, debate, and argumentation grounded in a topic or genre of reading of their groups choosing. Honors standing. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to six credits.

Discovery, analysis, creation, and evaluation of written, spoken, and visual presentation of ideas in cross-cultural contexts. Special attention to the relationship of rhetoric to effective participation in academic, professional, and public/civic problem-solving. Course cannot be repeated for credit.

Application of quantitative/computational thinking in cross-cultural civic/public contexts. Use of quantitative/computational thinking to frame a question and devise a solution related to a civic/public issue. Drawing valid quantitative inferences about civic/public and cross-cultural issues characterized by inherent uncertainty. Evaluating conclusions or decisions about civic/public issues based on quantitative data. Ethical considerations of quantitative/computational thinking in cross-cultural civic/public issues. Course cannot be repeated for credit.

Study of a specific branch of the natural sciences, especially as it intersects with public/civic controversies and problem-solving. Cross-cultural perspectives on the nature, purposes, and processes of scientific inquiry and knowledge. Course cannot be repeated for credit.

Study and practice in the process, meaning, and value of creative design and the fine and performing arts. Examination of historical context and methods of representation in artifacts and performances. Visual literacy and design thinking as means of exploring, engaging with, and representing cross-cultural experiences and perspectives. Functions of design thinking in everyday life. Course cannot be repeated for credit.

Study of the behavior and actions of individuals, groups, and institutions within larger social, economic, political, and geographic contexts, especially in cross-cultural settings. Special attention to social beliefs and actions as they influence public/civic controversies and problem- solving. Examination of the influence of value and beliefs on human behavior and social relationships. Course cannot be repeated for credit.

Analysis and interpretation of texts and other artifacts to understand ideas, values, and identities in cross-cultural contexts. Special attention to the functions of narrative and rhetoric in public/civic controversies and problem- solving. Situating local/regional texts and artifacts in global frameworks. Course cannot be repeated for credit.

Intermediate study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including identifying funding opportunities for research, collaborating across disciplines, designing introductory research protocols, managing research projects, and using posters to present research findings.

Foundational study of applications of computational thinking in technology innovation for societal impact. Key components of computing and their interrelation. Uses of computational thinking to frame questions and devise solutions. Implementation of simple computational processes and tools. Construction of computational models to analyze and draw inferences about complex and uncertain phenomena. Evaluation of knowledge based on quantitative data. Impacts of computing and information technology on society. Ethical dimensions of computing for technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 5 times with different content for a maximum of 6 credits.

Advanced study of applications of computational thinking in technology innovation for societal impact. Uses of computational thinking to frame questions and devise solutions. Application of computational processes and tools. Application and evaluation of computational models to analyze and draw inferences about dynamic and uncertain phenomena. Impacts of computing and information technology on society. Ethical dimensions of computing for technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 2 times with different content for a maximum of 3 credits.

Study of applications of computer and systems engineering in technology innovation for societal impact. Application of computer and systems engineering processes and tools to analyze complex or large-scale phenomena. Application and evaluation of computer and systems engineering approaches to analyze and draw inferences about the feasibility and effectiveness of technological innovations. Impacts of computer and systems engineering on society and the environment. Ethical dimensions of computer and systems engineering for technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 2 times with different content for a maximum of 3 credits.

Threshold concepts in social sciences related to collaborative, transdisciplinary technology innovation for societal impact. Study of key ideas about the behavior of individuals, groups, and institutions related to technology innovation within larger social, economic, political, and geographic contexts. Use of key concepts in the social sciences to examine the ethical dimensions of technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 5 times with different content for a maximum of 6 credits.

Application of threshold concepts in the fine arts to collaborative, transdisciplinary technology innovation for societal impact. Study of key ideas for non-specialists about the formal elements, process, meaning, and value of the fine arts in technology innovation. Use of key concepts in the fine arts to examine the ethical dimensions of technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 2 times with different content for a maximum of 3 credits.

Threshold concepts in the humanities related to collaborative, transdisciplinary technology innovation for societal impact. Study of key ideas and values related to technology innovation in various spatial, cultural, and temporal contexts. Use of key concepts in the humanities such as historical/cultural context and the nature of the good to examine the ethics of technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 5 times with different content for a maximum of 6 credits.

Introduction to transdisciplinary, collaborative design processes to address real-world problems in technology innovation provided by clients from business, government, and nonprofit organizations. 2855: Collaborative problem-setting. Evaluative criteria for technology innovation: feasibility (can it be made?), viability (is it financially sensible?), desirability (do people want it?), and sustainability (can it work long-term?). Introduction to design thinking. Ethical dimensions of collaborative technology innovation for societal impact. 2856: Collaborative problem-solving. Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods. Optimization and integration. Design thinking and component prototyping. Ethical dimensions of collaborative technology innovation for societal impact. Design Lab/Studio.

A two-part course. Part one: three hours a week working directly with community partners. Part two: a one-hour class to reflect on the service experience and discuss readings and other course materials that place the experiential learning into a theoretical context. Open to all Honors students. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to six credits.

Exploration of transdisciplinary issues and questions. Analysis of complex topics from multiple points of view. Collaborative discussion and critique. Ethical decision-making across disciplines. Application of knowledge and processes from other disciplines. Variable course content. May be repeated one (1) time with different content for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

Advanced study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including transdisciplinary project management, refining research protocols based on feasibility of data collection, maintaining research ethics and integrity, planning for data collection, and planning for dissemination of research findings.

Continuing advanced study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including working with multiple types of data, collecting, cleaning and managing data, reporting of primary and secondary data, evaluating the work of others, and communicating conclusions to general audiences.

Intermediate study of transdisciplinary, collaborative design processes to address real-world problems in technology innovation provided by clients from business, government, and nonprofit organizations. 3855: Systems thinking and systems definition; identification and analysis of stakeholders; skills discovery and transdisciplinary team building; rapid prototyping. 3856: Collaborative innovation; customer discovery; evidence-based decision-making; iterative design; troubleshooting. Design Lab/Studio.

Honors Section.

Small, seminar-style course of one or a few students. Students explore a specific topic that is new to them with a faculty member who provides individual attention and is an expert in that established field. Open to all Honors students. Junior Honors standing. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to six credits.

For Honors students facilitating Honors courses that encourage and require student facilitation or mentorship responsibilities. Student Teaching Assistants and their sections are overseen by honors faculty or staff. Student Teaching Assistants meet weekly with a member of the honors staff in a class designed to prepare them for the facilitation experience and to monitor their progress. Open to all Honors students, subject to Program approval. Sophomore Honors standing required. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to eight credits. P/F only.

Discovery and definition of critical, real-world problems. Transdisciplinary collaboration, design thinking, and experimentation. Reflective evaluation of individual and collective problem-solving efforts. Communication of solutions to diverse stakeholders. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to 12 credits.

Transdisciplinary collaboration. Identifying and defining public/civic issues. Framing and strategizing transdisciplinary solutions to public/civic problems. Reflecting on transdisciplinary processes. Identifying and reflecting on issues of ethics and equity in public/civic problem solving. May be repeated one time with different content for a maximum of two credit hours.

Transdisciplinary and trans-sector collaboration in technology innovation. Identifying, defining, and setting problems in technology innovation. Applying evaluative criteria for technology innovation — feasibility, viability, desirability, sustainability. Using design thinking to analyze and reflect on creative processes. Identifying, articulating, and reflecting on the ethical dimensions of collaborative technology innovation. Design Lab/Studio (2H, 2L, 3C)

Advanced study of transdisciplinary, collaborative design processes to address real-world problems in technology innovation provided by clients from business, government, and nonprofit organizations. 4855: Systems building; project leadership and management, including resource allocation and scheduling; team management; value propositions; project pitches. 4856: User experience; user testing; systems assessment, including feasibility, viability, desirability, sustainability, optimization, and integration; systems reflection and documentation. Design Lab/Studio.

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virginia tech honors college essay

Virginia Tech

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Virginia Tech’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Ut prosim profile short response 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?

Ut Prosim Profile Short Response 2

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?

Ut Prosim Profile Short Response 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?

Ut Prosim Profile Short Response 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?

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

2022-23 Virginia Tech Essay Prompts and Tips

July 21, 2022

virginia tech honors college essay

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.

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Virginia Tech 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 15

You Have: 

The Requirements:  4 short essays of 120 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s):   Community ,  Additional Info

Each of the Ut Prosim Profile questions are required with a limit of 120 words in length per answer. Once you submit your application, your responses to the questions are final and cannot be updated.

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.

Chances are, you’ve done some community service at some point in your life, and this prompt asks you to reflect on that experience. The prompt is clear about what it wants you to cover and lays out a basic list of questions that we’d expect you to answer regardless: from details about your involvement to the lessons you’ve taken with you. You only have 120 words, so you will have to cut straight to the chase. In some ways, this is a glorified resume entry, but you can bring it to life by devoting more of your word count to concrete, personal details than a verbatim recitation of the organization’s mission and vision (or worse, a bloated list of clichés related to the value of service). Why do you care so deeply about a particular cause or community? What change do you hope to see in the world? Remember that, fundamentally, community service is not about personal glory or achievement. Did you volunteer at a hospital over the summer? Describe how this affected your beliefs about what doctors owe their patients or why bedside manner is as important as medical knowledge. Have you been fundraising for girls’ education in developing countries? Reflect on what drew you to this cause and how you knew your efforts had paid off. Finally, address about how you’d like to continue your service on Virginia Tech’s campus.

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?

The Virginia Tech admissions committee wants to hear about a time when you were (or someone you know was) silent or silenced while adverse opinions were being discussed. Admissions knows that engaging with others in meaningful conversations about important issues is both intimidating and integral to progress, and we’re not always able to get the words out. If you could do it over again, what would you change? What did you take away from this experience? Maybe your relatives were discussing gun control during Thanksgiving last year, and you watched as your cousin was dismissed for having an adverse option. Do you wish you would have added your two cents and offered your solidarity? Maybe you learned that one of your friends was a passive supporter of an organization that you vehemently disagree with. After mulling it over, did you broach the subject? What was the outcome of your conversation? In order to impress admissions, you just need to show that you’re capable of reflection and bravery when it comes to engaging with those who have different opinions than you. College will present you with a plethora of opportunities to meet and interact with people who are very different from you, so show VT that you’re game to listen, learn, call in, and grow.

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?

At a glance, this might seem like a question about leadership, but secretly, it’s about collaboration. Which role do you choose in group situations and how do you connect to others? The greatest challenge may be choosing the right story. Any time you worked or engaged with others is fair game, so don’t restrict yourself merely to your science fair project or the baseball team. This is also a great opportunity to write about a professional experience (your first time working as a hostess!) or even community service (organizing the county coat drive!). Since the word limit is relatively tight, you’ll want to zero in on a specific moment or challenge. And remember that this question is about collaboration; it’s not just about how you paved the way or saved the day, but about how you interacted with and supported a larger group. How did your contribution affect your team’s ultimate success (or failure)? In the end, you should be driving at a lesson that you will be able to carry with you into the future. In other words: an experience that will have a positive impact on your collaborative work at Virginia Tech.

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?

So many questions! We all have goals we hope to achieve in the future, whether that’s learning how to decorate a cake, running for public office, or leading an expedition to space! Describe a goal that you have set for yourself and then let admissions in on how you plan to make that dream a reality. Your response will demonstrate your grit, tenacity, and determination. No goal is too small, so long as you’re showing admissions that you can follow through and challenge yourself. After all, you’ll be setting new goals and accomplishing them as you earn your degree!

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virginia tech honors college essay

How to Write the Virginia Tech Application Essays 2017-2018

virginia tech honors college essay

Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hi! Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, is a public university located in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech serves around 31,000 students , making it the third largest university in the state.

Because Virginia Tech uses its own application — rather than the Common Application or the Coalition Application — the 1-3 supplements stand alone as each applicant’s writing sample(s). Virginia Tech evaluates the same essays whether an applicant chooses to apply to the Engineering School or the College of Humanities and Sciences.

For the 2017-2018 admissions cycle, Virginia Tech has provided seven essay prompts, from which applicants are free to choose one, two, or three prompts to answer. Each prompt has a word count limit of 250 words .

With an acceptance rate of 73%, Virginia Tech admissions are somewhat competitive, meaning that stellar supplemental essays have the potential to push an otherwise below-average applicant over the top. Here is how CollegeVine suggests you tackle each prompt.

What are the top five reasons you want to be a Hokie?

This prompt is an excellent opportunity to convey interest in attending Virginia Tech and to show that you have thought seriously about how you might take full advantage of your Virginia Tech experience.

To answer the prompt, first you should visualize how you might spend your four years at Tech — what classes, extracurriculars, and social aspects would you be most excited to explore? These three categories can serve as the basis for drafting your five reasons. Your essay should strike a balance between what you’ll pursue inside the classroom, what you’ll spend your time doing outside the classroom, and what aspect(s) of the Tech community appeal to you most.

For example, a well-rounded essay could include (1) two specific reasons related to academics (such as a class you would like to take and research opportunity you would like to pursue); (2) two activities you can either start or continue pursuing at Tech (such as intramural soccer and Hiking Club, for example); and (3) an aspect of dorm culture that interests you (such as the living-learning labs in some dorms).

Aside from this academic-extracurricular balance, the most important tactic for writing an essay for Prompt 1 is specificity. Cite specific examples within your reasons — writing “I’m eager to pursue PSCI 3034: The CIA In Today’s World ” is much more effective in showing interest and commitment than writing “I’m eager to pursue classes in my major, Political Science.” Look for clubs or extracurricular opportunities that appeal to you at Tech and call them out by name, showing your dedication to Tech’s academic and community offerings.

If there is something you think would be beneficial for the Admissions Committee to know as we review your academic history, please take this opportunity to explain.

Prompt 2 provides an opportunity for applicants whose academic careers have been affected by adverse or unanticipated circumstances to explain precisely how the situation(s) was/were detrimental to their academic performances . Moving during the school year, suffering a prolonged illness, being in an accident that required extended time off of school, or caring for an elderly relative or younger sibling are just a few examples of circumstances that could impact your academic performance.

The Virginia Tech Admissions Committees want the whole picture as they review your application, so if you feel that something in your academic history requires additional explanation, take this opportunity to engage in a candid dialogue about how the situation affected you as a student.

The essay you’ll write for this prompt will necessarily be personal, so there’s no “right” way to write it effectively. As you brainstorm, think of specific circumstances in which your academic career was affected by the topic of the essay. Don’t say “recovering from the accident made it harder for me to do my homework, which is why I did poorly my sophomore year.”

Instead, say, “Even after returning home from the hospital, waking up in the middle of the night to change my bandages often left me unable to focus effectively in my early classes.” Instead of “It took so much time to feed and get my little sister to bed that I just didn’t have time for my homework,” try, “Some nights, an unexpected stomach bug left me preoccupied caring for my little sister until late in the night; my chemistry reading was left untouched as I administered pink medicine and took her temperature at 30-minute intervals.”

As you write this essay, make sure that you’re honest and candid about how a situation or experience impacted your ability to perform academically, and keep in mind that the goal is to provide context for the evaluators of your academic credentials.

Our motto is Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). How is service to others important in your life?

Service is an integral part of Virginia Tech’s community, so this is a great essay choice if you prioritize serving others in any way and on any scale. You may wish to talk about your servant leadership in a school or community club, a service capstone project you organized to benefit those in need, or simply how you incorporate the ideal of service to others in your day-to-day actions.

Whatever you choose to write about, make sure that you hit not only the specific consequences of your service but also the reasons why your service is important to you personally . It’s not enough to say, “I love to serve others because it gives me a chance to help my community, and it makes me feel fulfilled.” Instead, try something like this: “Video chatting with the overseas beneficiaries of my used bike drive and hearing about how Sofia was able to spend two more hours each day with her son because of her new work transportation inspired me to continue my work with Bikes for the World.”

It may be appropriate for you to touch on how you plan to continue a prolonged service activity in college. For example, if you tutor elementary students in math each week as a volunteer service, you may want to cite your plans to join or create a similarly-oriented service club at Virginia Tech. Showing that you’ve taken the time to research service opportunities at Tech will help to show your commitment to service and its importance to your identity.

We believe strongly in the Virginia Tech Principles of Community and the value of human diversity affirmed therein. Share a perspective or experience related to your culture, age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status that might explain how you will enrich the climate of mutual respect and understanding here.

By this question, Tech strives to help potential students see that the admissions office and the university as a whole understand these aspects of identity to be complex and individualized facets of character rather than descriptors that can be answered for by simple yes/no check boxes. If you believe that there is an aspect of your identity that warrants special consideration of how you’ll fit into and benefit the Tech community , then this question is for you.

It’s easy to get carried away while discussing an aspect of your identity, so the important tip to remember while writing this essay is to stick to the prompt as much as possible. You want to write about your identity through the lens of Tech’s commitment to “mutual respect and understanding.”

This means you’ll want to discuss how your perspective can help others learn something about their community and the world. For example, your religion might give you a unique perspective on Eastern literature that would enhance your English class discussions. Alternatively, you might be committed to changing the narrative about disabilities on campus because of your physical or mental disability.

One of the most important factors that admissions readers consider is how each applicant will contribute to the school community. This essay is a direct opportunity for you to explain in a personal fashion how you would be able to contribute to Virginia Tech. So be sure to keep your essay focused on how you will use your identity to enrich your community at Tech both inside and outside the classroom.

virginia tech honors college essay

Virginia Tech is one of six senior military institutions in the country. How will this setting contribute to your college experience?

This prompt is specifically tailored to students hoping to participate in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets . This is an immersive, residential program that provides a military training experience that’s comparable to the college experience at a U.S. military institution. Participants include all ROTC participants as well as some students who participate in the Corps of Cadets but not an ROTC program.

Most students choosing to pursue the Corps of Cadets have distinct personal reasons for their commitment. This is the time to convey those personal reasons – your convictions, career goals, and other motivators for your pursuing the program. Additionally, you’ll want to touch on what about the program appeals to you. This could include the residential aspect, the opportunity for leadership responsibilities, or the tight-knit community feel of the program, among many other possible motivators.

While the Corps of Cadets will likely serve as a track to your future career goals, it’s important that (if you choose to make this point in your essay) this not overshadow your answering the prompt – how will the CoC contribute to your college experience? Think about what you want to get out of your college experience, do your research on the CoC and all that it entails, and then speak candidly about why you would benefit from the program and what you would bring to it.

For example, if you participated in JROTC in high school, this would be a good time to describe a situation during training in which you exhibited honor, courage, leadership or another foundational value of the program — whether establishing a tradition to welcome new members, finding a way to motivate your peers during training, or enabling community by facilitating bonding outside of training. Then you’ll be able to tie your potential contributions into what you’re hoping to get out of the program.

You could write about how having a strong bond with a team of committed peers would help you stay on track in and out of the classroom. You might be eager to engage in the leadership training and education offered by the program. Explain your reasons for wanting to be a part of the Corps of Cadets community, keeping in mind the residential, immersive nature of the program in shaping your college experience.

Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Writing a narrative, anecdotal account of an important experience can be an effective method for showing the admissions committee who you are as a person and what kind of Hokie you would be on campus. It’s an open-ended prompt — the story can be about something good or bad, seemingly insignificant or monumental, a failure or a triumph, as long as you can convey why and how the experience made you who you are today.

The most common mistake applicants will make on this essay is falling into the trap of “telling” rather than “showing.” Don’t just say what happened, set the scene and appeal to the senses of the reader . You want to give the reader a deeper understanding of the situation by making them feel a personal connection to the scene — this will help them understand better its impact on you.

For an essay about navigating your parents’ divorce, you’d want to avoid general “telling” statements like, “I had to calm down my little sister, who was upset about having to split time between our parents’ new houses.” Instead, you could “show,” saying, “As the blue-grey facade of my mom’s house faded out the car window, I distracted my sister with a game of tic-tac-toe. By the time we approached dad’s apartment, her tears had dried and she happily pressed her face against the glass to get a glimpse of dad.”

Remember that the focus of the essay is on how the experience changed your character. It may be helpful to use parallel examples from before and after the experience. For example, you could recount the ease with which you wrote, ate, and ran before an accident, and then detail the struggle of relearning these previously taken-for-granted abilities afterward.

If you choose to write about an experience that demonstrated your character rather than shaping it, choose one of your defining character traits and think of a situation or experience that was emblematic of that value.

For example, if you’re hardworking, you may want to write about a project that you gave your all and poured your heart into. No matter what topic you choose, “showing” by appealing to the senses rather than “telling” objectively will help you to write an effective narrative supplement.

Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

If you have a topic that you’re eager to write about but it doesn’t fit any of the above prompts, you might consider creating your own prompt and writing the essay under Prompt 7. It could be your favorite essay from school or an essay you wrote for another school’s supplement or the Common Application or Coalition Application.

Regardless, make sure that you’re sticking to the rule of “showing” rather than “telling” and writing about something that resonates with you personally. Essays are an opportunity to show passion, character, and personality, so let your voice shine through.

Ideally, you should pick a topic that ties in with your admissions theme and that tells the readers something about you that hasn’t been explained in your previous essays. Other than that — anything goes! Have fun and write about something you love to write about.

Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

virginia tech honors college essay

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virginia tech honors college essay

New Honors College partnership to bring smart robotics technology to student coursework

  • Erin Deitzel

26 Mar 2024

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Five students cluster sit at a table and work on a project that utilizes smart robotics technology.

A partnership between the Virginia Tech Honors College and Piaggio Fast Forward will bring smart robotics technology to honors students tasked with envisioning solutions for real-world problems caused by climate change.

Students will explore climate change scenarios in collaboration with Piaggio Fast Forward on the Blacksburg campus beginning in the spring.

In No Blue, No Green, an honors studio course led by Enric Ruiz-Geli , professor of practice and an architect, students will choose a scenario centered around the impact of climate change that will serve as a basis for their projects. From there, students will engage, research, design, and challenge Piaggio Fast Forward with new solutions and applications for its technology as incorporated in their chosen projects.

"We utilized [the robots] as a way of thinking about how new technology can be introduced in a positive way, and that it's very important to recognize new technology and utilize it while still preserving the well-being of the planet that we live on,” said industrial design major Adler Dills.

The course will enable students to propose conceptual solutions, scenarios, and speculations for real global warming sites, explored through a transdisciplinary and project-based methodology. Performance, video, policy, models, drawings, literature, music, engineering, and scientific formulas can all be used to explore these scenarios, allowing students from any discipline to engage in the collaboration that will serve as the backbone for their climate change solutions.

Emily LiaBraaten, another student in the course, said: “No Blue, No Green is an outlet for me to push past the boundaries of my very structured policy curriculum. ... I was forced into a more ambiguous and creative, yet exploratory space.”

Enric Ruiz-Geli (at center) sits with students and holds a 3-D model of the gitaplus robot.

How the gitaplus and gitamini robots provided by Piaggio Fast Forward will be used in the course is up to the students. To Ruiz-Geli, they are a “platform,” mobile stages that engender constant questions to which students learn to develop answers. This hands-on work will push the boundaries of what's possible with smart mobility tech.

"The Honors College is a place where students can be immersed in industry, and we are aligning ourselves with leading industry to ask: What is autonomy? For humankind, what does this mean? We're going to have other agents or entities around us, and these entities are going to make decisions, record data, and so on - and these are the best conditions for a partnership with CEO Greg Lynn at Piaggio Fast Forward,” said Ruiz-Geli.

Piaggio Fast Forward is a Boston-based company founded in 2015 and funded by the Piaggio Group, the Italian manufacturer and creator of the iconic Vespa scooter. The company’s vision is to bring intuitive, efficient, and sustainable robotics solutions into the entire human-built environment while supporting the local mobility needs of businesses, communities, and individuals.

Dave Guerin

540-231-0871

  • Climate Change
  • College of Architecture, Arts, and Design
  • Honors College
  • Industry Partnerships

Related Content

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Merit Scholarships

Honors discovery grants.

The purpose of an Honors Discovery Grant is to promote and support students’ professional development and experiential learning activities. The grants were created to encourage students to seek out internship activities, study abroad, conference participation, and work site visits.

Discovery Grant Eligibility

Discovery grants can be used to pay for students’:

  • Living expenses during a summer unpaid internship;
  • Program fees and/or living expenses for a VT faculty-led summer or winter study abroad experience;
  • Registration fees, transportation, hotel costs, food, and incidentals when attending academic or professional conferences;
  • Transportation, hotel costs, food, and incidentals when participating in a formal visit to an industry, non-profit, or governmental work site.

Eligibility

Only current Honors College students who have either received HLD Plan approval (students who entered Honors in Spring 2023 or earlier) or have completed UH 1404 with a passing grade (students who enter Honors in Fall 2023 or later) are eligible to receive this grant. Students may apply for funding only once per academic year. Students participating in VT faculty-led study abroad or actively pursuing the Honors minor with at least twelve (12) Honors minor credits completed may receive up to $6,000 in total grant funding. Students pursuing summer unpaid internships, academic or professional conferences, or a formal visit to an industry, non-profit, or governmental work site may receive up to $3,000 in total grant funding. Preference will be given to students with financial need. Eligible experiences must occur while the student is still completing their undergraduate Honors education.

An Honors Discovery Grant may not be used to support the following:

  • purchasing hardware, software, or lab equipment
  • paying tuition at another institution
  • participation in a training, workshop, or seminar offered by a for-profit company
  • participation in the Honors College Presidential Global Scholars Program

Round One applications for 2023-2024 academic year experiences close at 11:59pm Eastern time on April 1, 2023. The application is available here.

For more information, contact [email protected] .

ODYSSEY FELLOWSHIPS

The Odyssey Fellowships are four significant scholarships for current sophomores (second year) in the Virginia Tech Honors College. Students design an experience to help them better understand the world and their place in it.

Learn more about the application process . Students interested in an Odyssey Fellowship should contact Christina McIntyre ( [email protected] ) for a virtual appointment to discuss their interests and ideas.

The Class of 1954 Scholarship

The Class of 1954 Fellowship provides outstanding Honors students with unusual opportunities extending beyond the classroom during their last two years of undergraduate study. The winner, named a Class of 1954 Fellow, receives funding to be used toward his or her travel experience and university tuition.

An excellent, well-rounded education necessitates that students define experiences that complement and elevate their understanding of undergraduate learning. Candidates must seek beyond a simple addition to their disciplinary studies. They are encouraged to reflect on their passions and intellectual interests and then define an experience that embodies these curiosities. The experience must offer them the opportunity to expand a world view, refine a philosophy of life, engage their curiosity, and/or investigate and join a significant intellectual conversation.

Fellows: 2019 Karson Lyon 2018 Hannah Ridings 2017 James Owens 2016 Maria Jernigan 2015 Bobby Hollingsworth 2014 Natalie St. John 2013 Cole Smith 2012 Cassidy Grubbs 2011 Craig Wainner 2010 Liz Stokley 2009 Rosemary Filippell 2008 Jessie Gemmer 2007 David W. Grant 2006 Bradley T. Shapiro 2005 Kristen Brugh 2004 Mycroft Smith 2003 Leah M. Lozier 2002 Ashley White (British Marshall / USA Today) 2001 Autumn M. Lockwood 2000 J. Reid Highley 1999 Sarah S. Airey 1998 Mary Sproull 1997 Stacey D. Smith 1996 Rachel Hash

The Class of 1956 Ut Prosim

The Class of 1956 Ut Prosim Fellowship provides outstanding Honors students with unusual opportunities extending far beyond the classroom and campus during their last two years of undergraduate study. The winner, named a Class of 1956 Fellow, receives funding to be used toward his or her travel experience and university tuition.

An excellent, well-rounded education necessitates that students define experiences that complement and elevate their understanding of undergraduate learning. The Class of 1956 Ut Prosim Fellowship seeks to identify students with outstanding ability and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which we live, through volunteerism or service.

Fellows: 2019 Stephanie Flear 2018 Rachel Kanefsky 2017 Tanha Patel 2016 Gargie Nagarkar 2015 Cynthia Guerin 2014 Christine Tin 2013 Chloe Benner 2012 Meredith Swartwout 2011 Grace Mulholland 2010 Kat Miles 2009 John Hoffman

Wayne and Claire Horton Scholarship

Wayne and Claire Horton established this fellowship to provide assistance to outstanding honors students in the College of Engineering. Wayne Horton was a graduate of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, and Claire Horton was an anthropology professor who taught at Marshall University. They lived in Huntington, West Virginia.

The purpose of the fellowship is twofold: first, to provide an outstanding Honors Engineering student with the resources to design and complete a major educational experience that gives focus and direction to his or her undergraduate efforts, and second, to ensure that the Horton Fellow obtains significant experience in the humanities and social sciences in addition to his or her degree in Engineering. Applicants must be in the College of Engineering but must also have significant experience in the humanities and social sciences and demonstrate significant engagement in a foreign language and the performing arts. Upon graduating, the Horton Fellow will possess broad knowledge of world affairs and contemporary social and political issues, all of which is intended to inform and enhance his or her work in the field of engineering.

While Honors students in all areas of engineering are encouraged to apply, special attention will be given to students who are interested in fields of engineering that confront issues of energy and alternative energy sources. The Horton Fellow will receive funding for an experience that:

  • Requires international travel
  • Demonstrates awareness and knowledge of cultural and social differences
  • Attempts a project of meaning to both the student and the host country
  • Develops a program to internationalize the engineering education of the student

Once awarded, Horton Fellows must complete three courses introducing the idea of the social sciences, including STS 2054: Engineering Cultures and two tutorials focusing on Social Science to be determined in consultation with Honors, and must also earn a degree in the College of Engineering.

Fellows: 2019 Delaney Snead 2018 Maureen Sawyer 2017 Vincent DiNardo 2016 Richard Tan 2015 Alex Gagliano 2014 Adrian Santiago Tate 2013 Casie Venable 2012 Caroline Richards 2011 Ben Roble  2010 Darius Emrani 2009 Cody Dunn 2008 Tory P. Smith 2007 John P. Helveston 2006 Brian C. McDonald 2005 Elizabeth J. Traut 2004 David E. Gagnon 2002 Richard Bis, Cindy Schreiber, Michael Willemann

Patricia C. Perna Scholarship

The Patricia C. Perna Fellowship was created by the Perna family in honor and memory of the family’s matriarch, Patricia C. Perna, who passed away in 2006 following an extended battle with cancer.

The Perna Fellowship allows students interested in medical occupations or management to design an experience to explore and research quality of life issues associated with healthcare treatment and equipment. Priority will be given to experiences involving the care of patients and families affected by cancer, terminal illness, or injury. Through participation in the fellowship, students will develop opportunities to acquire hands-on field experience that can inform solutions to specific challenges associated with medical processes, equipment, facilities, or care. Funding will support the proposed learning experience.

Fellows: 2019   Thomas Mecherikunnel 2018   Andrew Vipperman 2017   Andrea Kuliasha 2016   Erin Hamric 2015   Adrianna Wilson 2014   Michael Muldoon, Brianna Swartwout 2013   Jessica Li 2012   Stephanie Wiltman 2011   James Robison 2010   David Fulbrook

FRANK N. COWAN SCHOLARSHIP

This scholarship was established in memory of Frank N. Cowan, a Virginia Tech alumnus dedicated to service and the empowerment of others. This scholarship seeks to recognize students who demonstrate leadership and other qualities that were characteristic of Mr. Cowan and encourage these students to support Virginia Tech throughout their careers.

Frank N. Cowan Scholarship

Eligible students shall be, upon receipt of the scholarship, Honors College students who are pursuing a major within the Pamplin College of Business. Recipients will have a demonstrated history of academic accomplishment, involvement in the community, mentoring others, affection for Virginia Tech, a competitive spirit, and leadership potential.  The application opens January 15 and closes February 15 each year.

The application is available online through VT Scholarship Central .

LESLIE SHERMAN SCHOLARSHIP

This scholarship is in memory and in honor of Leslie Sherman, a History and International Studies major who died during the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

Leslie Sherman Scholarship

The Leslie Geraldine Sherman Memorial Scholarship is awarded to support travel abroad experiences. To be eligible, a student must be an undergraduate majoring in History or International Studies. Winners are selected based on high academic achievement with a preference for Honors College students.

The application is open from October 15 to November 30. Announcement of the winner(s) will be made by the last day of classes in the fall semester. The winner(s) will receive funding for spring or summer study abroad experiences planned for the academic year in which they have applied for funding.

THE SKELTON HONORS SCHOLARSHIP

The Skelton Honors Scholarship supports international travel experiences of Honors College students in their last two years of undergraduate study.

Skelton Honors Scholarship

The international travel experience must appear on the Virginia Tech transcript. Eligible students must be able to demonstrate involvement in leadership activities, have a 3.7 or better cumulative GPA, and must have completed at least six hours of foreign language classes at the university level.

Application Process and Selection The application is open from October 15 to November 30. Announcement of the winner(s) will be made by the last day of classes in the fall semester. The winner(s) will receive funding for spring or summer study abroad experiences planned for the same academic year.

The application is available through VT Scholarship Central .

THE PAUL AND LYNNE KNOX STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIP

The Paul and Lynne Knox Study Abroad Scholarship supports Honors College students who plan to study abroad.

Knox Scholarship

The study abroad program must appear on the Virginia Tech transcript. Preference is given to students who have demonstrated financial need and who are attending a program of study at the Steger Center for International Scholarship. The application is open from October 15 to November 30 each year.

DR. CLAIRE F. AND E. WAYNE HORTON ’50 ENGINEERING SCHOLARSHIP

This scholarship, presented to the Honors College by Claire and Wayne Horton, recognizes exceptional engineering majors in the Honors College who also show demonstrated coursework in the arts (such as music, writing, performance/theatre, fine arts, sculpture).

Dr. Claire F. and E. Wayne Horton ’50 Engineering Scholarship

The application process opens annually during the fall semester. Eligible Honors College students will be contacted through the Honors College newsletter and personal communication along with guidelines for the application process.

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    All Virginia Tech Honors College students work toward the completion of the Honors Laureate Diploma (HLD), which is the academic certification earned by completing Honors academic requirements. By completing the HLD, you will have engaged in a variety of unique and transformational learning opportunities that emphasize collaborative discovery ...

  2. How to Write the Virginia Tech Essays 2023-2024

    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. Since Virginia ...

  3. 4 Tips for Writing Stellar Virginia Tech Essays

    Virginia Tech requires that every applicant answer four short answer questions. These short answer questions are just that—short! Each has a word limit of 120 words. Let's take a look at the 2022-2023 essay questions: #1: Virginia Tech's motto is "Ut Prosim" which means 'That I May Serve'.

  4. 4 Strong Virginia Tech Essay Examples by Accepted Students

    This writer does a great job of explicitly addressing each question in this prompt. Just like the prompt from Essay Example 1, Virginia Tech is asking you to pack a lot into just 120 words, but this writer manages to use those words efficiently enough to answer everything that is being asked.

  5. Stamps Scholars

    Virginia Tech has partnered with the Stamps Scholars Program to award multi-year scholarships that help driven and talented student leaders achieve their education and life goals. Stamps Scholars pursue their educational interests while developing their leadership skills with merit-based financial aid, including enrichment funds, that can be ...

  6. Honors College

    Satisfy Honors completion requirements. Students should make consistent progress toward the completion of at least 24 honors credits and achieve a final cumulative GPA of 3.4 or better. The Honors Laureate Diploma (HLD) appears on the Virginia Tech diploma as a special designation and is not a separate document.

  7. Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays

    CollegeAdvisor.com 's guide to the Virginia Tech application essays will show you exactly how to write engaging Virginia Tech essays and maximize your chances of admission. If you need help crafting your Virginia Tech supplemental essays, create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

  8. Getting started on Virginia Tech essays: examples?

    Hey! Working on the Virginia Tech essays is an excellent step in showing your interest and fit for the school. The Ut Prosim part is important as it reflects the school's motto, 'That I May Serve,' so it's good to focus on that. CollegeVine can help you find everything you're looking for. Here are four strong essay examples by real accepted students, along with feedback on what works and what ...

  9. How to Write the Virginia Tech Application Essays 2020-2021

    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.

  10. University Honors Program (UH)

    UH 1404- Principles of Collaborative Discovery(3 credits) Introduction to honors education at Virginia Tech. Disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity. Qualitative and quantitative research methods. "Wicked problems," systems thinking, and collaborative discovery. Problem analysis and iterative thinking.

  11. Virginia Tech Supplemental Essays 2023-24

    He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). Virginia tech supplemental essays for 2023-24 are explored. We offer tips for delivering a winning essay that improve your odds of admission.

  12. Virginia Tech's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

    120 Words. 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 ...

  13. 2022-23 Virginia Tech Essay Prompts and Tips

    He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). "Innovative and invaluable…use this book as your college lifeline.". The Virginia Tech supplemental essays are part of its Ut Prosim Profile. We look at each 2022-23 prompt and offer advice.

  14. Question about the Honors College Application for Currently ...

    Essay questions: 1.) Please demonstrate that you have researched the Honors College by detailing how you would apply some of the ways to earn Honors credit to your own academic goals. 2.) In your own judgment, what is your most significant accomplishment since you have been a student at Virginia Tech?

  15. How to Write the Virginia Tech "Ut Prosim" Essay

    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.

  16. Frequently Asked Questions

    The Virginia Tech Honors College is a one-of-a-kind educational experience, where collaboration and experiential learning combine to drive discovery and innovation. Honors students gain access to industry, nonprofit, government, and university partners to address real-world problems. Our emphasis on transdisciplinary learning is guided by a ...

  17. Virginia Tech Honors College to welcome its largest ever class of

    The foundation has supported Virginia Tech Honors College students since 2014, but last year increased its level of support to provide full-ride scholarships to as many as 10 incoming students, twice as many as were eligible in previous years. Virginia Tech is one of nearly 40 Stamps Scholars partner schools across the United States.

  18. 2023-24 Virginia Tech Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    Virginia Tech 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide. The Requirements: 4 short essays of 120 words. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Community , Additional Info. Each of the Ut Prosim Profile questions are required with a limit of 120 words in length per answer. Once you submit your application, your responses to the questions are final and ...

  19. How to Write the Virginia Tech Application Essays 2017-2018

    Virginia Tech evaluates the same essays whether an applicant chooses to apply to the Engineering School or the College of Humanities and Sciences. For the 2017-2018 admissions cycle, Virginia Tech has provided seven essay prompts, from which applicants are free to choose one, two, or three prompts to answer. Each prompt has a word count limit ...

  20. New Honors College partnership to bring smart robotics technology to

    The partnership with Piaggio Fast Forward will suport students tasked with envisioning solutions to problems caused by climate change through the No Blue, No Green honors studio course. New Honors College partnership to bring smart robotics technology to student coursework | Virginia Tech News | Virginia Tech

  21. Merit Scholarships

    Only current Honors College students who have either received HLD Plan approval (students who entered Honors in Spring 2023 or earlier) or have completed UH 1404 with a passing grade (students who enter Honors in Fall 2023 or later) are eligible to receive this grant. ... Wayne Horton was a graduate of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering ...