In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the University of Georgia and discuss the application’s essay prompts. After reading this article, you will understand what these questions are really trying to get at when they ask you about “blackberry moments” and “creativity.” More importantly, you will have some ideas about how to write a compelling essay that will help you stand out from UGA’s other 24,000 applicants.
About the University of Georgia
So you have decided to apply to the UGA, where the only thing hotter than your ardor for the Georgia Bulldogs will be your animus toward the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets or the Georgia summer heat.
While the school is known for football, its campus boasts a wide array of pre-professional career tracks into any one of its specialized colleges, such as the Terry College of Business, the College of Veterinary Medicine, or the School of Social Work. Whichever field of study you end up choosing, you’ll get all the excitement that comes from going to a large research university with over 27,000 other undergraduates.
UGA admits about 5,500 new undergraduates every year, with about 550 of those students entering its honors program. Because the university is a large public institution, it gives more weight to test scores and GPA than smaller private institutions. In 2017, the SAT scores for the middle 50% of admitted students ranges between 1220 to 1360 and the average ACT score for the middle 50% of admitted students ranges from 28 to 32.
The Honors College is much more selective; for the one-in-ten students admitted to the Honors College, the average SAT score is 1490 and the average ACT score is 33. If you would like help getting your numbers up to this level, check out CollegeVine’s test prep program. That being said, a good essay can still help you stand out, and much of the advice we’ll offer below will apply to the admissions essays you might be writing for other colleges.
Read on for CollegeVine’s guide to tackling the UGA essays.
University of Georgia Application Essay Prompts
There are two different ways to apply to the University of Georgia. The first is using the Coalition Application, and the second is UGA’s own application. UGA says it has no preference, so if you are applying to other schools that use the Coalition Application, it probably makes sense to use that. However, no matter which application you use, you will need to write two essays.
For the first essay, applicants must respond to a question where they tell an “interesting or amusing story” about themselves. For the second essay, applicants must respond to one of four different prompts. One of these prompts (“describe an experience that demonstrates your character”) comes from the Coalition Application, so if you have already have a version of that essay written, you might just use that.
However, as I’ll discuss below, you may still need to do some careful editing in order to make your Coalition essay fit the school’s preferred word count. UGA’s admissions officers say that they want all of your essays to be between 200 and 300 words, which is slightly less than the 500-word essays that many other colleges require.
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 that you have not already shared in your application.
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.
- Creativity is found in many forms including artistic avenues, intellectual pursuits, social interactions, innovative solutions, et cetera. Tell us how you express your creativity.
- 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 one from the required 2018 freshman essay prompt.
"Oh no, what have I done?' explained my facial expression after an unbelievable event happened years ago. The scene took place in my backyard. One day my neighbors left the house and their two dogs, Peanut and Lucky to go to the store. They gave me permission to play with the dogs, but specifically told me to keep a close watch. I usually play with Lucky, the bigger one because he was more aware of his surrounding and did not bark as much, but this time I decided to take Peanut. While we were outside, a huge hawk came flying by but I didn't think much of it. I remember walking inside the house and returning to see the hawk flying away with Peanut in his claws. I didn't know what to do because I knew my neighbors would be home any minute. Shortly afterwards, I saw the hawk sitting in the tree but Peanut was nowhere in sight and that's when I really began to panic. I went next door with intentions to confess until I saw Peanut sitting on the porch. To this day I am the only one who knows that Peanut was almost eaten alive.
Javaris A., thank you for letting us share your essay with future UGA applicants.