Application Tips

Applying to Georgia State University has never been easier, and this page was designed to walk you through two of the optional elements of our application: the essay and letter of recommendation.

You do not have to submit your letter of recommendation at the same time you submit your application. You may submit your application and essay* first, then your letter of recommendation once it is complete.

*If you’re applying through the non-freshman application, you can attach an optional essay (in Word or PDF format) in email to [email protected]. Be sure to include your PantherID.

Topics and Tips for the Optional Essay

This essay is a window into who you are, your passions, and your potential for being a good match. It is a way of getting to know you without actually meeting you. The essay is how you stand out — or how you fall flat.

It’s not easy to write about yourself – this is likely something you haven’t done in the past. Don’t overthink it; just write what you feel most comfortable with.

Here are the essay topics from which to write a 250-650 word essay:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you face a challenge, setback or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.


Please Do…

  • Spend a few hours brainstorming about what you would like to include in your essay.
  • Try to make your essay as unique and memorable as possible. Think about yourself in relation to the rest of the world and to understand how you relate, and particularly, what’s special about you.
  • Write your essay in a document editor to revise and edit. Once you have the final draft, you can cut and paste it into your online application.
  • Have someone else proofread your essay to avoid making common grammatical errors. Have at least three individuals other than family members review your essay and make suggestions for improvement.
  • Last but not least, take a few minutes to read your essay out loud.

Please Don’t…

  • Submit a last minute draft. Even the best writers make the simplest mistakes.
  • Use clichés. Clichés say to the Admissions review committee that you did not put much thought into your essay.
  • Write your own question. If a topic required does not apply to you, select one that does.
  • Wait until the last minute to complete your essays. Get started early!
  • Write what you think we want to read – write what you want to say!
  • Blow off the essay! We wouldn’t ask you to write it if we didn’t find it to be an important way to get to know you and what you have to bring to Georgia State.

Optional Letter of Recommendation

To simplify the optional letter of recommendation process, Georgia State has created a form for your recommender to complete and submit to the Admissions office. You can download the form here: Standard Letter of Recommendation (Fillable)

Who Can Complete Your Letter of Recommendation

  1. High School Counselor
  2. High School Teacher
  3. High School Coach

Who Cannot Complete Your Letter of Recommendation

  1. Friends
  2. Family Members**
  3. Employers (Current or Previous)
  4. Pets (Real or Stuffed)

**Homeschool students may use a parent.

How Your Recommender Should Submit the Letter of Recommendation

You may give the form to your recommender to complete the form and print it out, or you may print it out and provide your recommender with a hard copy. Once completed and signed, the form should be mailed to:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
P.O. Box 4009
Atlanta, GA 30302-4009