Georgia Tech asks students to a single essay prompt, on which major they want to study. In the past, they have asked other questions as well, but currently only ask for a single 300 word response.
Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech? (50-300 words)
Throughout my life, I have worked with many different artistic mediums. But touching brush to canvas, capturing the perfect moment in the aperture of a camera, and tinkering with my poem’s rhyme scheme all pale in comparison to the ability to express myself – freely, naturally, completely – offered by computer programming. One might think that the rigid framework of coding language, its procedures and rules, would preclude spontaneity. But the beautiful paradox of computer science is revealed as the coder imposes constraints and limitations in order to open doors and possibilities for creative expression.
In a “platformer” game (think Mario), I have to set some initial limitations on the “physics” of the game to determine the character’s movement, its interactions with the environment and monsters, etc. Once I have these basic limitations in place, that’s when the creativity kicks in. When running the game, I see that the player lacks the ability to jump over certain obstacles, so I introduce a new “double-jump” mechanic so that the player can progress. A cohesive and convincing video game product is slowly woven together by creating new mechanics in response to the obstacles that a given rule-set presents to the creator.
The omnipresence of computer programming in so many different fields of study and areas of life proves that video game design is more than just an idle pastime. Programming is not just about making video games; it has a philosophical import that extends into other seemingly unlikely areas of research. Whether it be constructing algorithms in a “lit lab” to detect patterns characteristic of 18th-century Gothic novels, or developing Neuralink technology to give movement to the physically disabled, my dream is to be at the forefront of the exciting extension of the power of coding into previously unconnected domains of life.
This is a very straightforward question; Georgia Tech wants to know why exactly you’re interested in the subject you are. As the school is very focused on practical subjects, and is known for being quite difficult, they want to judge student’s passion and commitment to a subject when they are admitting them. They only want to admit students with the drive and dedication to truly thrive when studying difficult subjects.
In the example above, the author talks about computer programming through the lens of creativity and creative expression. They discuss programming in an almost abstract way, discussing their adventures coding a platformer game without going into specifics of times or places or achievements. Instead, the focus of the essay is on how programming allows the author to express themselves, and how it allows them an artistic license.
In the final paragraph, the author goes further, discussing the overwhelming presence of and potential for computer science in the world. The author is clearly passionate about computer science, and has clear goals for its use. While your own goals do not need to be so grand, Georgia Tech does want to see students are eager to better the world, and effect change through what they learn at the school. Showing that your passion extends to the application of what you learn is a good way to demonstrate how much you care to the school.
If you do discuss your long term motivations for applying what you learn, lofty language about changing the world and discovering new things is good if it is authentic. Even if your goal is to get a good career, you should focus on the joy of discovery or how you want to help better the world more. While there is nothing wrong with wanting a good career, this essay is not the place to emphasize that.