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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:

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. 

Be sincere

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. 

Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • 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. 

Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • 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.

Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • 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.