Program Pillars

We use our four program pillars of scholarship, leadership, progress and service as the criteria that guide our decisions about which candidates advance in the selection process. We look very closely at the Georgia Tech admission application, including essays and activity descriptions, to find the strongest students admitted to the Institute according to all four pillars.

No pillar is any more important than another. For example, a perfect test score is not viewed as better than outstanding leadership. On occasion, however, we do select students who are not as well-rounded, but are truly exceptional in one pillar. For example, someone who might have the potential to become a Nobel Laureate.


  • are creative, curious problem solvers who are able to think critically
  • show academic excellence through grades, GPA, course rigor, and SAT or ACT test scores
  • seek to learn about subjects outside their field


  • leave a clear footprint of impact and influence
  • are global citizens and exceptional communicators
  • take initiative and exhibit strong character
  • motivate others toward significant achievement
  • perform significant work in schools and communities by improving existing organizations or establishing new ones, whether holding an official title or not


  • act with passion, purpose, and energy, especially regarding technological and societal improvement
  • show consistent involvement in activities
  • demonstrate improvement from start to finish


  • share time and talent to make a positive difference through volunteering and public service
  • coach, tutor, or mentor others
  • perform nonprofit work or research
  • consider others in decision making