Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, The Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology — Georgia Tech for short — has consistently ranked as one of the best engineering schools in the world. It is classified by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a university with very high research activity.
Georgia Tech’s strong research reputation is built on the back of eminent faculty, top researchers and high-profile Fortune 500 corporate partners. Georgia Tech’s Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Gail Potts, Director of Graduate Admissions talked to braingainmag.com about how the school has a strong commitment to enrolling international students.
The value of an engineering degree is a middle-class article of faith for South Asians. Over the course of a working life, can engineering graduates who come to your school expect to recoup the cost of their education? In other words, how do you measure the return on investment?
(Rick Clark) Georgia Tech is commonly cited in national and international publications for our tremendous return on investment. Consistently ranked in the top 10 for public universities, and among the top 5 for engineering programs, our alumni are well positioned for a lucrative, meaningful and highly pragmatic career.
“We look for a well-rounded applicant and approach graduate applications in a holistic fashion.”
Our graduates have a long history of making top salaries in their fields and are highly sought after by employers around the world. Georgia Tech offers a world renowned academic co-op program where students alternate between semesters of full-time employment and on-campus study. This allows students to earn money before they graduate while making connections and gaining practical work experience.
Does Georgia Tech have a strong desire and commitment to enrolling international students?
(Rick Clark) With more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Georgia Tech welcomes students from well over 100 different countries to campus each year. This year approximately 10% of incoming undergraduates will be from abroad.
(Gail Potts) Approximately 41% of the incoming graduate students will be from foreign countries.
If a visa is denied would your school defer admission and hold the student’s spot until the visa is obtained?
(Rick Clark) Georgia Tech's Office of Undergraduate Admission does not defer offers of admission for any accepted applicant. Therefore, if a student were unable to obtain a visa in time to attend the term they were accepted for, they would be required to re-apply for the next available term if they intended to enroll at Tech.
Do South Asian students typically show more interest for the bachelors program or the graduate -- Masters and Ph.D -- programs?
(Gail Potts) Graduate. However, the number of applications and matriculates from South Asia has increased dramatically on the undergraduate side in recent years.
Does Georgia Tech have any financial aid for international students enrolled in the bachelors and graduate programs?
(Rick Clark) – At the undergraduate level, like many public universities, Georgia Tech does not provide financial aid or scholarships to students who are on an international visa. (See www.finaid.gatech.edu/international)
What does an international student have to do to get admission into your undergraduate program? Does Georgia Tech look at SATscores, or rely on the ACT results?
“With a spirit of entrepreneurism, innovation, and commitment to improving the human condition, Tech also attracts world-renowned faculty and researchers, as well as Fortune 500 corporate partners.”
(Rick Clark) Georgia Tech uses a holistic process for reviewing applicants for admission. The key factors for admission include: GPA/rigor of curriculum, standardized test scores, extra-curricular involvement, personal statement/the essay.
In regard to standardized testing, we accept either SAT or ACT test scores (with no preference to one over the other). Only your highest section scores in Critical Reading, Math, and writing (for SAT), and English, Math, and Combined English/Writing (for ACT) will be considered as part of the final admissions decision.
Engineering is an exacting discipline so what do you all look for in a candidate to the graduate program?
A: (Gail Potts) We look for a well-rounded applicant and approach graduate applications in a holistic fashion. Factors included in this review are undergraduate GPA, GRE test scores, TOEFL scores, letters of recommendation, additional credentials such as work history, scientific writing samples, specific course history in regard to the discipline or area of concentration being sought, degrees received and/or courses attended at the post-bachelor level, etc. There is no “one” single factor that makes the determination – it is a combination of all of the above.
How much importance does Georgia Tech give to GRE scores?
(Gail Potts) This will vary from program to program. It is only one factor in the overall evaluation of the applicant, but can swing the pendulum if we are reviewing a borderline candidate. It also can be a catalyst for initiation of a personal contact/conversation.
Does Georgia Tech offer all candidates who are applying to the Masters and PhD programs an interview? How does it work? Does the admission dean set up a telephone interview with an international student or ask someone from the alumni living in the applicant’s country to interview a candidate in person?
“Georgia Tech offers a world renowned academic co-op program where students alternate between semesters of full-time employment and on-campus study. This allows students to earn money before they graduate while making connections and gaining practical work experience.”
(Gail Potts) In general, personal interviews are not required. Some programs may do this at an open house or recruiting weekend program, but in general it is at the discretion of the admitting unit. This practice is found more in the professional programs such as Architecture, Prosthetics & Orthotics, MBA – those that may require some form of licensure post-graduation. It would not be unusual for a graduate coordinator or dean in an academic department to contact an international (or US) applicant and speak with them directly by phone about their application – particularly as it relates to various research interests or points needing clarification.
However, this would not be done routinely and generally for the purpose of gaining more information or for discussing whether or not a person’s interests would match some ongoing or potential research being conducted/ considered by the department. Again, this would support the idea that Georgia Tech looks for a well-rounded graduate student population.
To what do you attribute Georgia Tech's consistent ranking among the top 10 to 15 American engineering schools?
(Rick Clark) Georgia Tech has a tradition of producing high-achieving students on both the undergraduate and graduate level. With a spirit of entrepreneurism, innovation, and commitment to improving the human condition, Tech also attracts world-renowned faculty and researchers, as well as Fortune 500 corporate partners. Highly regarded programs such as the Co-op/Internship, Study Abroad/International Plan and Undergraduate Research serve to solidify Tech as a key player in the landscape of higher education.