David Graves      May 22nd, 2024 in Blog

For First Year students applying to UGA for Fall 2025, we will keep the same longer personal essay (250-650 words) as before, using the essay prompts from the Common App. The shorter UGA specific essay (200-300 words suggested) topic will also remain the same as last year, with the following essay prompt:

The transition from middle to high school is a key time for students as they reach new levels of both academic and personal discovery. Please share a book (novel, non-fiction, etc.) that had a serious impact on you during this time. Please focus more on why this book made an impact on you and less on the plot/theme of the book itself (we are not looking for a book report).”

  • FYI – We are not restricting you to the exact years of 8th-9th grades, but rather the general timeframe of the middle to high school transition, which can extend somewhat further than one year on each end. Feel free to use your discretion in your choice of the timeline focused on the shift to your high school years.

As always, we also share an essay from an enrolling First-Year student that we believe shows great writing skills:

As a middle-schooler on the brink of entering high school, I was like lost cattle entering a vast social and academic wilderness. In the center, a winding, sun-soaked desert path stretched far into the horizon, beckoning my gaze with its promise of adventure and discovery. Enter The Alchemist and its magnificent idea of the “Personal Legend”– a life goal so lofty that it made locating my locker on the first day of high school appear easy. Forget about the difficulty of making new hobbies or friends; the content from this novel sure played an essential role in determining my ideology related to pursuing my future.

The protagonist enthusiastically praised the significance of believing in one’s dreams, which led my younger self down the correct path. Generating profits after extensive hours of work through my business, navigating changes in learning after COVID-19, and confronting adversity due to my darker skin color all presented difficult periods where persistence and faith were important in progress. Although self-belief was a crucial aspect of pushing through difficult times, it also motivated me to be more confident. Taking risks, from soloing in my 8th-grade jazz band to giving my crush a cringeworthy love letter, changed my belief in embracing adversity.

Furthermore, the book’s emphasis on interacting with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems mirrors my journey into the real world. Whether developing a dancing board at a Purdue summer camp or a calculus Halloween graph, collaboration enforces the ability to work with others who may share different ideas. Diverse backgrounds boosted my understanding, tolerance, and empathy while increasing my engineering career readiness. Not only was The Alchemist a great book, but it enforced critical systems that I use until this day to succeed in life. The Alchemist played an essential role in instilling new concepts I needed as an adolescent. “And when you want something, all the universe conspires you to achieve it.” Thank you, Paulo Coelho.  – Josh W, Collins Hill HS.

  • This essay gives us insight into the student’s feelings and thoughts, and he shares his ideas through descriptive word choice. This is an excellent essay, but please know that we are not expecting this level of writing from the applicant pool overall. This essay example is meant to show our applicant pool how to express themselves through examples, personal growth and emotion. When we are reviewing essays, we are looking more at the student’s voice coming through and less on technical writing skills.

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