For many, Georgia Tech is synonymous with engineering. Without a doubt, Tech’s engineering program is ROBUST, but during my recent visit to campus I was reminded of the many other outstanding academic programs offered through its six colleges. Besides STEM focused majors, students can major or double major in business, the liberal arts and design as well. Standout majors in architecture and industrial design get high marks. And receiving multiple accolades is the relatively new music technology program. Before adding new programs, faculty and administrators ask, “Does the world need it? Can we do it best?”
President “Bud” Petersen told us that the common thread between all disciplines is examining an academic focus through a technological lens. In other words, students here are taught to question the status quo and examine how the norm can be modified and improved for the future through technology.
Students are encouraged and often required to put theory into practice through experiential learning opportunities in downtown Atlanta, across the US and, in many cases, worldwide. Fifty-two-percent of all students work or study abroad, and the majority of students hold at least one internship while studying at Tech.
The student body is diverse on this Atlanta campus. Among the 13,000 undergraduate students, 43 states and 69 countries are represented. The gender gap is closing in with 59-percent males and 41-percent females. Politically, students are engaged and generally make their concerns known in a peaceful manor. While we were on campus, there was a gathering of students and faculty showing their concern for the controversial travel ban that was implemented just a few days before our arrival.
Our tour guide was an engineering major from Marietta, Georgia and told us that there are many ways to get involved on and off campus. She is a recruitment mentor for Women in STEM, studied abroad at Oxford University in the UK, and is a member of a sorority. About 25-percent of all students join Greek life and it does not drive the social scene.
Attending Yellow Jackets home football games is part of the Tech culture. But, if you’re not in the stands on game day, you can keep track of Tech’s dominance on the field by listening for the loud whistle blow from Tech Tower. Each whistle signifies a touchdown scored by Tech. After the game it’s become a tradition for Yellow Jackets’ fans to grab a bite to eat at the Varsity, a greasy fast food joint serving burgers, milkshakes and fries. If you can’t find it on campus, there’s plenty to do in downtown Atlanta. Campus shuttles and city buses can get you there.
Admissions told us that GPA and test scores are just a gateway into a more holistic approach. The most competitive candidates have nearly perfect GPAs with an average of 11 AP courses, and have nearly equal math and verbal standardized test scores with an average ACT score or 33 and SAT score of 1467. Deep committed engagement in and out of the classroom with strong leadership experiences is key in the review process.
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