David Graves      May 30th, 2019 in Blog

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants. Based on our review of the essays from last year, we are keeping the essay prompts the same as last year. We require one short essay that all applicants must complete, and four additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to one of these. These two essays should be between 200-300 words and remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 1, but we thought that some people would want to know the essay prompts earlier than that date. Based on the essays we read last year, we do have one suggestion – Please remember your audience. For some reason, we had a large number of essays about bodily functions this year, and while these might be good stories for late night gatherings with friends, they might not be the best admission essays.

Here are the five essay questions, with Essay 1 being required and Essays 2-5 being four options from which the applicant selects one.  
  • (Required) The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

Essays 2-5, Choose one of the following four:
  • UGA’s 2017 Commencement speaker Ernie Johnson (Class of ’79) told a story from his youth about what he refers to as blackberry moments. He has described these as “the sweet moments that are right there to be had but we’re just too focused on what we’re doing …, and we see things that are right there within our reach and we neglect them. Blackberry moments can be anything that makes somebody else’s day, that makes your day, that are just sweet moments that you always remember.” Tell us about one of your “blackberry moments” from the past five years.
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What is the best part? What advice would you give to a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a problem, possibly related to your area of study, which you would like to solve. Explain its importance to you and what actions you would take to solve this issue.
I have also included a sample essay from this past application cycle to give you an example of what we consider a strong essay, and it is from “interesting or amusing story” prompt.
January appeared bittersweet. Exhilaration filled my body with new year jitters and reminders that half a school year remained. Sadness marinated as winter break ended, and 3AM bedtimes became nonexistent. I walked through my home in fuzzy socks, hoping school would delay itself one more week! My Christmas presents no longer had much of my time, and I struggled finding the coziest jacket for ice-cold temperatures. As Christmas time floated away, I began to cherish the moments.

The night of January 2nd, I was wide awake as if Santa would arrive. I shared stories on FaceTime with my friend and smothered myself in warm blankets. The night grew old, and I dozed off into a cozy slumber. Around 8:30 AM, I was awakened by my 21-year-old brother. Confused and half-awake, cranky was an understatement, because my 3 AM bedtime never fibbed. He informed me that someone was outside to meet me!

Immediately, I stumbled from my bed to get dressed. I raced down the stairs to meet someone special to my heart. I slung the door open and embraced the gorgeous sight. A neat blanket lay on the grass, as if for a picnic. Words were not spoken, but soft whispers tickled my ears. I heard the echo of a pale, booming voice. On January 3rd, he swaddled me, and cold air trickled down my spine. Chill bumps ran vigorously around my body, and shrieks escaped my lips as he tickled my face. We danced on the ground like there was no tomorrow. South Georgia had been invited to a party hosted by the snow!

Although sixteen, I felt six years old on January 3rd. I threw majestic snowballs, named my snowman, and created beautiful snow angels. Snow had not met Baxley, Georgia in eight years. I was more than elated to attend the meeting! I embraced the moment that I knew could possibly never happen again. Abnormal but beautiful, many memories were made. Jackets were warm enough, and winter break concluded beautifully. I am not so sure that the beginning of January will be bittersweet ever again.  – Jahnae N., Baxley, GA.

Good luck with your essays, and Go Dawgs!

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