Georgia Tech Welcomes 2,688 Students in Early Action 1

Friday, Dec. 8, brought decision release for nearly 7,000 Early Action 1 applicants, with the Office of Undergraduate Admission personally delivering acceptance letters to students across the state.

On Friday evening, admission decisions were delivered to nearly 7,000 students who applied in Early Action 1, marking a 9% rise in applications from last year.

A total of 2,688 students were admitted, for an overall admit rate of 38%. These accepted students hail from 111 Georgia counties and 404 high schools across the state.

“Early Action 1 decision release caps off years of dedication to school and community by students in our applicant pool,” said Mary Tipton Woolley, senior associate director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission. “It takes an incredibly dedicated admission staff and months of training and holistic review to make decisions amongst such qualified applicants. I’m so glad some of our staff were able to celebrate with students in person today.”

Several students got their acceptance notification in the form of surprise personal deliveries.

At 15 high schools in Atlanta, Cartersville, Griffin, Athens, Hiawassee, and beyond, students were given their acceptance letters in person by members of the admission office and other Tech faculty and staff.

At Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia, six students received their acceptance letters from admission counselor Katie Mattli. Each student was surprised with the announcement while surrounded by family, school faculty, and staff.

Family members learned the news first, ahead of their student’s arrival. Keiko Ishibashi, mother of Sola Ishibashi, shed a few tears when she learned of Sola’s acceptance moments before Sola received the surprising news herself.

“She’s been stressing about this,” said Keiko.

Sola entered the room next, where she said she thought she was meeting to go over information for a class. Instead, she opened her admission letter and read the first couple of sentences that congratulated her on her admission to Georgia Tech.

“This is so much better than sitting in front of a computer screen,” she laughed.

Keiko and Sola Ishibashi stand against a plain wall. Sola holds a sign saying '#gt28'
Keiko (left) and Sola Ishibashi (right) pose for a photo following the hand delivery of Sola’s acceptance letter on Friday, December 8.

Announcements to other students went similarly, with faces of surprise from both students and families alike followed quickly by celebration. For Mattli, the magic of hand deliveries is unmatched.

“I’ve been doing this for quite a few years, and my favorite thing is getting to see the joy in that room,” said Mattli. “The college application process is stressful for students, and today we get to watch them look around the room and see everyone who helped them get to this moment and who have been in their corner — family, counselors, teachers. It’s just such a joyful time.”

The hand deliveries capped off what has been a banner year for travel for the admission office at Tech, which saw visits to 282 schools and connections with nearly 4,500 students.

A record high number of 11,000 degree-seeking Georgia students enrolled at Tech this fall, a 20% increase over the past five years. As enrollment from Georgia students grows, Tech remains committed to serving these students and the state.

“In recent years, the undergraduate admission office has focused on serving students in our home state,” said Woolley. “And that means ensuring students from all corners of the state have the opportunity for a Georgia Tech education.”

First-year applicants choose one of three admission plans: Early Action 1, Early Action 2, or Regular Decision, with Early Action 1 reserved for Georgia students. Early Action 2 decisions for non-Georgia students will be announced in January, and the Regular Decision announcement will occur in March.

Follow @gtadmission on social media to keep up to date on undergraduate admission at Georgia Tech or visit the Office of Undergraduate Admission website for more information.

Undergraduate Admission Reaches Thousands of Georgia Students With Fall Recruitment Efforts

The Office of Undergraduate Admission had a banner year for travel this fall, visiting with more than 4,000 students in the state of Georgia. As they wrap up their travel efforts, the admission team turns its focus to Early Action 1 application review to prepare for the upcoming decision release on Friday, Dec. 8.

A Georgia Tech admissions counselor smiles as she talks to a student.
A Georgia Tech admission counselor speaks with a student at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia.

Each fall semester, the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech hits the road to share information about Tech with high schoolers throughout the state of Georgia. This year, they visited 282 schools in 98 counties, connecting with 4,486 students in the state.  

As part of advancing its efforts related to expanding access to a Tech education in Georgia, this undertaking was the largest on-the-ground effort since the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As we’ve intensified our focus on recruiting students from across our state, I’m proud of the work our team did to visit 60 more counties than our last ‘normal’ travel season,” said Mary Tipton Woolley, senior associate director of Undergraduate Admission. “Expanding access starts in our home state, and I am excited about the groundwork being laid this fall to engage more Georgians.” 

The season began with the Peach State Tour, an annual joint recruitment effort by Georgia Tech, Augusta University, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia, to share information about their institutions with students, counselors, and parents. The tour began in late August and continued through mid-September. 

This year, the tour reached nearly 400 counselors and over 2,500 students during 22 virtual and in-person events. This year was the first since the pandemic that admission counselors expanded their travel commitments to encompass every region of the state, from the northern mountains to the southern plains. 

Sean Kilgore, senior admission counselor and a Northwest Georgia native, spent much of the early fall in that region, connecting with hundreds of students. One of his most impactful experiences was in Lafayette, Georgia, where he spoke to over 50 high schoolers about Tech and applying to college in general. 

“Going back to areas that I grew up in, I’ve been able to utilize this knowledge to understand what students are able to bring to the Georgia Tech community,” he said. “I was so excited to visit schools in the area where I grew up and even more thrilled to see such a large turnout at LaFayette High School, where Georgia Tech has not visited in many years.” 

Moving forward, the office continues to explore new ways to help students across the state see Georgia Tech as an option for college, including this fall hosting specialized drive-in visits for students and staff from Greene County, Coffee County, Forest Park, and Arabia Mountain High Schools. 

“Boots on the ground has always been one of the most important parts of recruitment,” said Woolley. “Building relationships with counselors and school officials, meeting students in their home environment, staying and eating in a community — all these things help us understand the challenges and opportunities faced throughout our state.” 

Now the office turns to completing a holistic review of the record number of applications received for Early Action 1. This year, more than 7,000 applications were received for this decision round, which focuses only on Georgia applicants. This represents an increase of more than nine percent from last year.  Decisions will be released for Early Action 1 on Friday, Dec. 8, but first-year applications will continue to be received through the Regular Decision deadline of Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. 

For more information about the undergraduate admission process at Tech, visit the Office of Undergraduate Admission website

Circling Back on a Promise

Because of an opportunity to earn a debt-free degree through the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Program, Heather Johnston has been able to pursue her passions and give back to her community.

Heather Johnston poses with her father in front of the Reck.
Heather Johnston (right) with her father on her graduation day in 2017. Heather Johnston was able to attend Georgia Tech on a full scholarship through the Tech Promise Program.

Georgia Tech alumna Heather Johnston, who graduated in 2017, attended Tech as a recipient of the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Program, a scholarship that makes it possible for qualifying low-income, in-state students to earn a degree at Tech debt-free. Now, she’s building a nonprofit based in North Georgia to continue a cycle of kindness.

“People have helped me every step of the way, and now I want to help people,” said Johnston, reflecting on her path from Tech to building her nonprofit, Blueprint Bridge, Inc., an organization dedicated to assisting individuals reintegrate into society after incarceration. “And the cycle just keeps going. That’s how the world gets better.”

Journey to Tech

For this native of Blue Ridge, Georgia, college wasn’t always on the horizon. Despite performing well in high school and enjoying academics, Johnston didn’t feel that she had the resources, or need, to go to college.

“I just didn’t know much about college at the time,” she said. “I didn’t know many people who went, and I didn’t know what you could really do with a college degree.”

But she still ended up applying to Tech on her high school’s Apply to College Day, and weeks later, she had an acceptance letter and the offer of a Tech Promise scholarship. Dealing with an abusive relationship at the time, the opportunity to get out of her hometown to attend college without accumulating debt was a game changer.

When she arrived at Tech, she found herself in the office of Jerry McTier, a financial aid advisor, for a mandatory meeting about her scholarship and managing her finances for the years ahead. As an 18-year-old who grew up in rural Georgia with limited means, financial management — and navigating the college landscape as a first-generation student — proved daunting. But with McTier’s help, Johnston was able to more comfortably navigate her years at Tech.

“The information gap is pretty big,” said Johnston. “If you haven’t had someone close to you go to college before, you don’t even know what you don’t know until someone tells you.”

Continuing the Cycle of Giving Back

After graduating with her degree in public policy, Johnston worked for Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority but found herself wanting to do more to give back. After reflecting on her skills and passions, Johnston decided to apply to law school at Georgia State University.

Law school gave Johnston the know-how and inspiration that led her to turn her focus to the creation of Blueprint Bridge. As Johnston builds the nonprofit, she hopes the organization will be a resource hub for individuals who have been affected by the criminal justice system as they reintegrate into society.

“There’s a lot of little things we can do to be helpful,” said Johnston. “Tips on how to eat, how to call your probation officer, or where to get dental care. For a lot of people, these are the kinds of things that can be difficult to navigate.”

Johnston’s goal is for the organization to be something anyone can contribute resources to, and she hopes it will expand over time. Ultimately, she’s happy to have the opportunity to return some of the kindness she received to her home region.

“Growing up in a small town and then coming to college on scholarship really ingrained the community mindset,” said Johnston. “So, I always imagined I would put effort back into my community. I am thankful for what I’ve been given, and it makes such a big difference.”

Learn more about other Tech Promise scholars here and get information on how to give to the Tech Promise scholarship fund here.

Continuing a Promise

Because of an opportunity to earn a debt-free degree through the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Program, Andrés Robles Sotomayor is able to pursue his longtime passion and learn how he can channel that passion to give back to his country.

Andrés Robles Sotomayor poses with Buzz.
Andrés Robles Sotomayor with Buzz.

When Andrés Robles Sotomayor left his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to come to Hinesville, Georgia, he brought with him the determination to become an engineer. As he evaluated his college options and arrived at aerospace engineering for his career choice, Georgia Tech quickly became a top contender.

“It was one of the few universities that had an aerospace engineering program, and it was very prestigious and close to my interests,” said Robles Sotomayor. “Though, that wasn’t the only reason it was my top choice — it was also in-state, so I could stay closer to my mother.”

Receiving a Promise

Robles Sotomayor applied for admission and was accepted. However, as the son of a single mother working hard to make ends meet, he wasn’t sure what covering the cost of college would look like.

“I got in, and then my mom asked how we were going to pay for it,” he said. “And I told her ‘Well, that’s a good question. I don’t know, but I guess I’ll figure it out.’”

The solution Robles Sotomayor considered was joining the military to serve his country and support his career aspirations. The opportunity to receive pilot training drew him to consider joining the Air Force, but he knew it would mean dedicating a decade away from his mother, which Robles Sotomayor acknowledged would have been difficult.

But then he received the notification that he’d been selected for the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Program, a scholarship that makes it possible for qualifying low-income, in-state students to earn a degree at Tech debtfree. The offer came as a huge relief, especially to Robles Sotomayor’s mother, who was hesitant to see her son join the military.

“My mom went berserk,” recalled Robles Sotomayor on telling his mother about the scholarship offer.

Robles Sotomayor still plans to serve his country, but he’s happy for the opportunity to pursue his education first. Ultimately, he hopes to work in the defense industry in aerodynamics or as a flight test pilot.

Time at Tech

Since coming to Tech, Robles Sotomayor has affirmed his interest in all things aerospace engineering: He is involved with Design Build Fly, a competitive aircraft design team, as well as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). He’s also expanded his interests to include hobbies like photography, a pursuit he fell into accidentally when SHPE needed a photographer last year. Now he’s the lead photographer for the group.

Robles Sotomayor was able to go to the National Convention for the Society of Hispanic Engineers through his work with SHPE, and secured a summer internship with Northrop Grumman, a defense and technology company. He spent the summer on-site in West Virginia, where he served as a technical intern for their Missile and Rocket Propulsion Division.

He plans to return to the convention this year, funded by Tech Promise. Now that he has manufacturing experience from Northrop Grumman, he’s excited to find an opportunity that moves him closer to his goal of aerodynamics.

Robles Sotomayor is thankful for the advantages Tech Promise has provided for him, especially when it comes to having the chance to focus solely on his education and enjoy just being a student at Tech.

“Tech Promise is a program that has helped me, and a lot of other lower-income students, have the opportunity to be here,” said Robles Sotomayor. “Students in this program have worked incredibly hard to get here, and they’ve earned a spot at a prestigious institution like Georgia Tech — without the worry of how to pay for it.”

Learn more about other Tech Promise scholars here. Get more information on how to give to the Tech Promise scholarship fund here.

Revisiting a Promise Fulfilled

Sarah Banks Hogg, a 2013 graduate from Georgia Tech, reflects on the value of a debt-free college experience, a privilege she enjoyed because of the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Program.

Sarah Banks Hogg poses on graduation day in front of the Campanile with her back to the camera and her hands in the air.
Sarah Banks Hogg on her graduation day in 2013.

Sarah Banks Hogg vividly remembers opening the letter alerting her that she had been accepted to the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Program, a scholarship that makes it possible for qualifying low-income, in-state students to earn a debt-free Tech degree. She and her mother stood in the kitchen of their Habersham County home, as Hogg read the letter indicating that the family’s expected financial contribution to Hogg’s college education was zero.

“I had to ask my mom if it was real, if I was understanding it correctly,” she recalled. “I thought maybe it was a mistake, or it was only for a year.”

It soon became apparent that it was not a mistake, and Hogg’s time at Tech would be completely funded by the scholarship. This news came as a windfall to Hogg, whose family’s financial situation had changed drastically following the loss of her father to a battle with cancer when Hogg was 11 years old.

A Future Unclear

When Hogg first set her sights on college, she knew the expense would be a challenge. Regardless, she applied to Georgia Tech and was excited about the prospect of continuing her education. But the elation that came upon acceptance to Tech was quickly followed by the dread of having to discuss the financial implications of a college education.

“I didn’t want to have that conversation with my mom yet,” she said. “I just wanted to be excited before thinking about how we were going to pay for it.”

Luckily, after Hogg and her mother completed her Free Application for Federal Student Aid — commonly known as the FAFSA — she got that fortunate letter in the mail.

“The letter said the expected family contribution was zero, so my family wouldn’t have to pay for anything,” said Hogg. “And seeing that brought a sigh of relief.”

After she realized the offer was real, and that she would be receiving a Tech education without incurring any debt, Hogg was ecstatic. Finally, her dream was becoming a reality.

To Tech and Beyond

When she arrived at Tech, Hogg quickly immersed herself in the culture of Georgia Tech. She joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, among numerous other clubs, and worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Hogg was a proud Tech Promise ambassador during her time working in Admission, and she enjoyed telling prospective students about her experience and what they could expect from a Tech education.

All the while, Tech Promise was fully funding her time at Tech – including her semester abroad at Oxford.

Now that it’s approaching a decade since she graduated in 2013, she advises prospective students, especially those who receive the offer of Tech Promise, to embrace the power of a Georgia Tech degree.

“It’s like a switch flipped in people when I was interviewing for different jobs,” said Hogg. “People know that a Tech degree means that you have an excellent work ethic and that the learning curve between school and a full-time job for a Tech student is small.”

Hogg now works for CapTech Consulting, a technology consulting firm. As part of her work, she gets to come to Georgia Tech for recruitment fairs. For her, interacting with Tech students and showing them what awaits them after graduation is the perfect way to support her alma mater.

As she gets older, understanding the full impact of a debt-free degree has only made her more appreciative.

“I think about what it must have meant for my mom especially,” said Hogg. “She’s a single mom trying to make ends meet, and I think about what her child having the opportunity to go to college debt free would have felt like. It must have been a weight off her chest.”

Learn more about other Tech Promise scholars here, and more about Hogg’s story when she was a student at Tech. Get more information on how to give to the Tech Promise scholarship fund here.

Applications Open for Campus Tour Guides

Georgia Tech is now accepting applications for campus tour guides for Spring 2024. Georgia Tech tour campus tour guides are current students who provide prospective students and their families with an informative and engaging visit around campus. Applications for tours guides will close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 23, 2023.

A tour guide speaks to a group of visitors on the Georgia Tech campus.

Being a campus tour guide allows students to develop or refine their communication skills, as well as meet other enthusiastic students. Thirty slots are available for the spring term.

For prospective students, a campus visit helps them get a feel for whether the Institute is a good fit for them.

“In-person campus tours provide students the opportunity to connect with current students and faculty and learn more about Georgia Tech and all the opportunities here for them,” said Tera McDonald, assistant director for Campus Visits in Undergraduate Admission.

Apply to be a tour guide here.

To register for a campus tour, schedule online.

Changes to 2024 FAFSA Mean Applying Early is More Important Now than Ever

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid — commonly known as FAFSA — has undergone significant changes and will be released in December 2023, two months later than in years past. To maximize their opportunity to secure need-based aid, students should start their financial aid process as soon as possible by completing the GT Application for Scholarships and Financial Aid, which is available now.

The new 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is normally released in October each year, will be released in December 2023 to accommodate the changes made to the application in accordance with the FAFSA Simplification Act. In order to maximize opportunities for financial aid, students should plan ahead by completing the Georgia Tech Application for Scholarships and Financial Aid (GT App). The GT App launched October 1 and only takes a few minutes to complete.

“Even though the FAFSA is delayed, it can be extremely helpful for both students and the financial aid office to fill out the GT App now,” explained Jennifer Mullins, associate director of special projects in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. “That information helps us identify which students need what kinds of aid, which helps us get the appropriate forms and information to those who need it.”

By filling out the GT App, students will be able to access follow-up forms to be considered for institutional scholarships and other types of aid. They’ll also get reminders of any upcoming deadlines for the aid they want to apply to receive.

The priority deadline to apply for financial aid at Georgia Tech remains January 31. Students are advised to complete their FAFSA as soon as the new form is released to accommodate the shortened timeline.

“Even though the FAFSA will be delayed this year, we still need to get everyone’s aid packages out in the appropriate time frame,” said Mullins. “In order for everyone to be informed of their financial options, it is key that students prepare for the changes and get a head start.”

The sooner Georgia Tech receives a student’s financial information, the sooner they can prepare for the financial needs of the student body.

Though the FAFSA changes may bring an additional layer of complexity this year, Mullins noted that it is important to keep in mind the ultimate goal of the FAFSA Simplification Act:  simplifying the financial aid application process for students and their families.

“Students and parents can hopefully expect to have an easier time navigating the FAFSA this year than before,” said Mullins. “Especially if they get all their materials together ahead of time and fill out the GT App early.”

Announcements and resources to understand the changes being made to the FAFSA can be found here. Review the steps for current students to apply for financial aid for the 2024-25 cycle here, and for incoming students here. Contact the financial aid office with any questions.