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Virginia Tech Admission Essay Sample on A Significant Experience

Virginia Tech Admission Essay Sample on A Significant Experience

Essay by Margaret Elizabeth Connell

At seven thirty, every morning, I race down the stairs, as fast as my drowsy body permits me, and take a detour through the kitchen on my way to the door. I pick up my filled to-go cup, with the same urgency and accuracy of a relay racer reaching for the baton. The purple isolated container has been graciously filled by my mom with piping hot coffee brewed by my father earlier that morning. I don’t dare try a drop of the scorching drink until I pull into the school parking lot. Once arriving at school, I finally sip on the black coffee, no cream, no sugar, armed and ready to face the long day.

My dad drinks coffee all hours of the day. When he’s home, there’s always a comforting, fresh pot in the kitchen that fills the whole house with a warm, cozy ambience. And my mom refuses to start the day without a warm latte. She concocts one every morning with different creamers and sugar. Ever since I was young, I had watched my parents drink coffee and I enviously dreamed about being old enough to enjoy a cup. My elder cousins grew older and began drinking coffee. In the mornings, they now could stand in the kitchen and lean nonchalantly against the counters, chatting with the adults. From my seat at the kitchen table I watched jealously and glanced pitifully to my glass of cold orange juice.

My family and I were in the airport early in the morning destined for Denver, Colorado, when my parents wanted a second cup of caffeine, so we went to the terminal’s Cup O’ Joe café. My brother, David, and I were always given hot chocolate as our default hot beverage, but that day in an effort to assert my age I asked for a cup of coffee. My parents, laughing in disbelief, scanned the menu and ordered me a cup half filled with coffee, but then leveled off with the familiar hot chocolate. The steamy liquid concoction eliminated my distaste for coffee! I could consume this new drink without trying to conceal my disgusted face from my parents. By my sophomore year I had become the champion, after weaning myself off the chocolate milk, I could digest a cup of hot black coffee with ease and grace. And I made sure my entire family was aware of my new talent by downing cups of coffee every morning.

I loved the new privileges I gained as a coffee consumer in my family. I could participate in conversations about politics or family gossip during breakfast as I casually leaned against the counter and gawked at truths that were revealed. I felt like an adult in my family; my opinions could be heard, my actions could be trusted, and my independence began to expand.

But David allowed me to see the true reason for my new independence—I was actually becoming an adult. I had trained myself for years to become immune to coffee’s bitter taste, but I didn’t need to. My brother tried coffee and didn’t like it, so he never drank it. And to my dismay, he was still earning the same increments of freedoms that I had once gained when I was his age. Coffee had nothing to do with it. I now only drink coffee when I want it. And I can stand in the kitchen and talk with the adults no matter what the temperature of my beverage is.

Margaret Elizabeth Connell attends Virginia Tech.

"I felt like an adult in my family"

Many students will relate to the following essay by Margaret Elizabeth Connell, who describes the familiar rite of passage of learning to drink coffee. Margaret’s flair for detail makes her a good storyteller, as in her opening description of grabbing her morning cup of coffee (but not drinking it until she arrives at school). Margaret draws in the reader for two full paragraphs before subtly sharing the main idea—that she wanted to drink coffee in order to feel grown up—almost as an aside. Margaret ultimately learns that she can be mature without the coffee, a final realization that has the reader nodding in agreement. "It took about three months to make my essay the way it is now," recalls Margaret. "I worked on it a lot during the summer before my senior year."

More Information

* SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

Requirements

Once you submit your application, don’t forget to check your email and set up your Guest Account. Completing this step will give you access to your Application Status Page, which will allow you to see if we have received everything we need from you to complete your application as well as see your admission decision when it is available.

Freshman Student Requirements

Academic Requirements for Freshmen

Each year, over 20,000 people apply to be among approximately 5,900 entering students. Before you can be considered for freshman admission, you must complete:

  • 18 units of high-school course work
  • 4 units of English
  • 3 units of math (includes algebra I, geometry, and algebra II)
  • 2 units of laboratory science (chosen from biology, chemistry or physics)
  • 2 units of social science (one must be history)
  • 3 additional academic units (foreign language is highly recommended)
  • 4 elective units

Some majors have other requirements, such as an additional year of advanced math or lab science. Most students who are selected for admission have completed more than the minimum requirements and have at least a B+ grade point average.

Freshman Holistic Review

Admissions directors use a holistic approach throughout the application review process. Many factors are considered to include:

  • Rigor of academic program
  • Grades in academic courses
  • Standardized test scores
  • Ethnicity
  • First-generation
  • Leadership and service
  • Legacy
  • Major requested
  • Participation in Virginia Tech pipeline programs
  • Personal statements
  • Disciplinary record
  • Residency
  • Veteran status
  • Service/UT Prosim
  • Employment
  • Research experience

Some majors, such as engineering and architecture, have other requirements for advanced math and/or lab science. For more information, check specific major and college requirements. Most students who are selected for admission have completed more than the minimum requirements and have at least a B+ grade point average.

ACT/SAT Requirements

Virginia Tech will accept scores from the ACT, the old SAT and the redesigned SAT. Because the redesigned SAT is a different test than the old SAT, a numerical score on one test will not be equivalent to the same numerical score on the other. CollegeBoard has provided concordance tables which can be found here.

Fall 2017 Freshman Snapshot

SAT* scores ranged from 810 to 1600

ACT scores ranged from 17 to 36

(SAT scores reflect critical reading and math section scores only)

Please note: These are not minimum requirements for admission to Virginia Tech.

For more information about the incoming class of 2021 (Fall 2017), please see the complete Freshman Snapshot.

What about the essay?

The redesigned SAT makes the essay portion optional, and we will not require it of our applicants. We will store the result, though, and may use it in research that helps us understand the possible future value of those scores in freshman advising and course placement. Meanwhile, the College Board makes it easy to see which institutions do require or recommend the essay portion on their website.

Home Schoolers and Others in Non-Accredited Programs

In order to be competitive for admission to Virginia Tech, students from other than accredited schools (including home-schooled students whose programs are not accredited) must provide the following documentation for review by the admissions committee:

  • Application for admission
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts
  • Grades (level of performance)
  • SAT and/or ACT test scores

Virginia Tech attracts highly competitive students nationwide and from over 100 countries. An increasing number of these students have unique educational backgrounds that require additional evaluation. The university administration recognizes that students from other than accredited schools may not study in the traditional classroom environment and that they are unable to provide the traditional documentation needed to evaluate their academic performance. Virginia Tech believes that providing this population the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in their college preparatory curriculum through the above-listed documentation will be beneficial to both the student and the university.

Please be sure to include with your application package transcripts of any college course work you may have completed.

Transfer Student Requirements

Transfer Academic Requirements

The most important factors considered for admission are:

  • Completion or progress toward completing prerequisites, particularly Freshman English, math, and science for the intended major. Prerequisite requirements can be found on the Transfer Guide or in the Programs of Study section.
  • Overall GPA in college course work with B’s or better in Freshman English, math, and science for intended major.
  • Although the committee considers applicants with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), most competitive applicants will present a GPA of a 3.0 or better. (In majors where applications exceed available space, the competitive GPA may be even higher.)
  • Transfer applications are no longer accepted for majors in Architecture or Industrial Design.
  • Transfer applicants who have successfully completed an associate’s degree at a Virginia community college or completed the equivalent of Virginia Tech’s core curriculum will receive preference in the admission process.
  • Be in good standing at all colleges and universities attended.

Transfer Credentials

In order for your application file to be complete, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions must receive the following:

  • A completed application for admission.
  • A $60 application fee; check or money order payable to Treasurer, Virginia Tech ($70 for international applications).
  • Transcripts from every college or university attended. If you are currently enrolled, you should enclose an official transcript from your current institution after completion of at least one semester, plus official transcripts from every previous college in sealed envelopes. If you are not currently enrolled, please note that fact on the application form under “College Info” and enclose an official transcript from every previous college in sealed envelopes.
  • Applicants should have completed at least one full semester of college work prior to submitting an application for admission.
  • A list of current courses, if currently enrolled.
  • An official copy of your final high school transcript.

Foreign Language Requirement

By the time they graduate from the university, students must meet a language study requirement.

For most majors, the minimum requirement may be met in high school by completing 2 units of a single foreign or classical language (3 units for those students who will graduate from certain majors within Virginia Tech’s College of Science and College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences). The requirement also may be met after admission by one of the following:

  • Earning 6 semester hours of college-level foreign or classical language credit. Such credits are in addition to that number normally required for graduation

in a student’s program of study.

  • Receiving credit by examination for a foreign or classical language.
  • International Student Requirements

    Academic Requirements for International Freshmen

    Before you can be considered for freshman admission, you must complete:

    • 3 units of math (includes algebra I, geometry, and algebra II)
    • 2 units of laboratory science (chosen from biology, chemistry or physics)
    • additional academic units (foreign language is highly recommended)

    Some majors have other requirements, such as an additional year of advanced math or lab science. Most students who are selected for admission have completed more than the minimum requirements and have at least a B+ grade point average.

    International Education Systems and Curriculums

    English Language Requirements

    Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English by taking ONE of following tests.

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Services of Princeton, New Jersey. For more information, application forms, or to obtain information about the regional center administering the TOEFL for your country, visit their web site at www.toefl.org.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS), jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. For more information, application forms, or to obtain information about the regional center administering the IELTS for your country, visit their web site at www.ielts.org.
    • The PTE is the Pearson Tests of English, which measures your English ability by testing your level of English through tasks which reflect real-life settings. Visit their website at www.pearsonpte.com.

    We recommend the TOEFL or IELTS be taken by January 15. Late test scores MUST be received by February 1.

    TOEFL/IELTS/PTE

    International students whose native language is not English must document proficiency in the English language by submitting either an IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.

    • Students taking the IELTS must obtain a score of at least 6.5, with no subscore below 6.5 to be considered for admission to Virginia Tech.
    • Students taking the PTE must obtain a score of at least 53.
    • Depending on the type of TOEFL used, Virginia Tech expects students to have scores of:
      • Internet-based test: at least 80, with no section sub-score less than 16
      • Computer-based test: at least 233
      • Paper-based test: at least 550

    If a student does not have the required TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score, but meets other admission requirements, the student is encouraged to enroll in Virginia Tech’s Language and Culture Institute (VTLCI) program until he/she reaches the required score. Once the score is achieved, the student is offered admission as a regular degree-seeking student.

    To have your IELTS/TOEFL/PTE score automatically sent to Virginia Tech, please specify Virginia Tech’s CEEB code (5859) on the test form. We recommend the English language proficiency tests be taken by January 15 and scores must be received on or before February 1.

    SAT Optional

    Virginia Tech does not require the SAT for international applicants. If you would like to send the SAT Reasoning Test (including critical reading and math) or ACT test scores, scores should be forwarded to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (CEEB code 5859; ACT code 4420).

    International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit

    Virginia Tech awards college credit ONLY for the German Abitur, A Levels, International Baccalaureate, and AP courses. To receive credit, an official copy of the exam result and a syllabus of the course(s) must be sent to: Office of the University Registrar, 250 Student Services Building, Blacksburg, VA 24061 USA. More information can be found at the Office of the University Registrar.

    Interviews (optional)

    Students at Virginia Tech are expected to have the language skills necessary for successful participation in our community. In light of such, we recommend that international applicants participate in an interview conducted by InitialView as part of their application. InitialView will conduct and record an interview with you and provide it and a writing sample directly to us for our review. InitialView does not rate or grade the interview/writing sample. Evaluation is done by our admission office.

    You may learn more about InitialView at www.initialview.com. Please arrange to have your interview completed as early as possible. The deadline for completing the interview is February 1, 2018.

    We strongly encourage Chinese applicants to participate in an interview with our partner organization in China. Please contact InitialView to schedule your evaluation.

    International Education Systems and Curriculums

    English Language Requirements

    Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English by taking ONE of following tests.

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Services of Princeton, New Jersey. For more information, application forms, or to obtain information about the regional center administering the TOEFL for your country, visit their web site at www.toefl.org.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS), jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. For more information, application forms, or to obtain information about the regional center administering the IELTS for your country, visit their web site at www.ielts.org.
    • The PTE is the Pearson Tests of English, which measures your English ability by testing your level of English through tasks which reflect real-life settings. Visit their website at www.pearsonpte.com.

    We recommend the TOEFL or IELTS be taken by January 15. Late test scores MUST be received by March 1.

    TOEFL/IELTS/PTE

    International students whose native language is not English must document proficiency in the English language by submitting either an IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.

    • Students taking the IELTS must obtain a score of at least 6.5, with no subscore below 6.5 to be considered for admission to Virginia Tech.
    • Students taking the PTE must obtain a score of at least 53.
    • Depending on the type of TOEFL used, Virginia Tech expects students to have scores of:
      • Internet-based test: at least 80, with no section sub-score less than 16
      • Computer-based test: at least 233
      • Paper-based test: at least 550

    If a student does not have the required TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score, but meets other admission requirements, the student is encouraged to enroll in Virginia Tech’s Language and Culture Institute (VTLCI) program until he/she reaches the required score. Once the score is achieved, the student is offered admission as a regular degree-seeking student.

    To have your IELTS/TOEFL/PTE score automatically sent to Virginia Tech, please specify Virginia Tech’s CEEB code (5859) on the test form. We recommend the English language proficiency tests be taken by January 15 and scores must be received on or before March 1.

    TOEFL Waiver: Students that have completed 6 credit hours of transferrable English will receive a TOEFL waiver. Classes must be equivalent to our Freshmen English courses: ENGL 1105 & ENG 1106. Transfer equivalencies can be found here: http://www.tranguide.registrar.vt.edu/

    Interviews (optional)

    Students at Virginia Tech are expected to have the language skills necessary for successful participation in our community. In light of such, we recommend that international applicants participate in an interview conducted by InitialView as part of their application. InitialView will conduct and record an interview with you and provide it and a writing sample directly to us for our review. InitialView does not rate or grade the interview/writing sample. Evaluation is done by our admission office.

    You may learn more about InitialView at www.initialview.com. Please arrange to have your interview completed as early as possible. The deadline for completing the interview is February 15, 2018.

    We strongly encourage Chinese applicants to participate in an interview with our partner organization in China. Please contact InitialView to schedule your evaluation.

    Non-Degree Student Requirements

    A student who enrolls at Virginia Tech under the non-degree program must meet minimum requirements set by the university. All students must be in good standing at their current school and have at least a recalculated 2.0 GPA to be considered for non-degree student status. Transcripts are required. Individuals who are not currently enrolled must be in good standing at their previous institutions(s) and may be required to submit transcripts. Other restrictions placed on non-degree applicants are as follows:

    • A prospective non-degree applicant who has been denied admission as a regular-status applicant (freshman or transfer) will not be eligible for reconsideration for non-degree admission.
    • All non-degree students register for classes on a space-available basis only. Until the deadline for adding classes, a non-degree student may be forced to drop a class if the number of degree-seeking students exceeds the number of available spaces in a particular class.
    • A non-degree student will be allowed to attempt up to a maximum of 40 semester hours as a non-degree student, not to exceed 11 hours in any one term during the academic year or 5 hours in any summer session.
    • A non-degree student is required to maintain an overall QCA of at least 2.0.
    • Do not apply for admission as a non-degree seeking student if you need to take lab science courses. Lab science courses are only available for degree seeking students.
    • Current high school students will only be allowed to enroll as non-degree students with approval from their high school administration and for coursework not available at a local community college.

    Senior Citizens

    The Senior Citizens Higher Education Act passed by the General Assembly in 1974 provides the opportunity for Virginia citizens 60 years of age or over to audit or take courses for credit at state supported institutions of higher learning in Virginia without paying tuition and required fees. Senior citizens who had a taxable income not exceeding $23,850 for federal income tax purposes for the year preceding the time of enrollment may take courses for credit without paying fees. A senior citizen, regardless of income, may take a non-credit course without paying fees providing the number of courses does not exceed three per term. Senior citizens who wish to take classes at Virginia Tech should submit the Request for Waiver of Fees and paper copy of the Non-Degree Application to the Office of Undergraduate Admission along with an application for Virginia residency status.

    © 2018 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Office of Undergraduate Admissions Virginia Tech

    925 Prices Fork Road Blacksburg, VA 24061

    Phone: (540) 231-6267

    Fax: (540) 231-3242

    Virginia Tech CEEB Code: 5859

    Financial Aid Title IV Code: 003754

    Internal Mailing Code: 0202

    The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is a division of Enrollment Management, Office of the Provost

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