Topic: Students are often told what classes they should take. If you had the opportunity to create a class, what would it be and why? (150 words)
A wizard, an archer and a barbarian are arguing about whether entering the dungeon, studying nearby tracks or investigating townspeople would help them defeat the goblin master. A navigator is helping his partners to seek and assemble the lost parts of the airplane to escape the deadly desert. A fighter is predicting a ninja's dodge to accurately strike her to the last drop of health. Such scenes are all found in Board Game 101, where you will be immersed in the world of board games. As one of the first Vietnamese board game designers, I will guide you through an annually fulfilled team project: generating and sharing ideas with your teammates to unite an optimal game, critically thinking how to improve the gameplay and theme, testing with other designers, and patiently perfecting the game based on their feedbacks. Is there any other activity that can give you such huge advantages? (150 words)
Here is my Georgia Tech supplement essay. If you have any feedback, I really appreciate it. :)
I feel that you are not exactly understanding the prompt at hand. Though the prompt states to both describe a class you would like to create and why you would like to create it, the bulk of your response needs to focus on the "why" and not the "what". On that note, I do not really see anything unique about your class, especially in relation to some of the classes that GT offers over design (such as LMC4813: Experimental Design, where students will have access to the Interactive Products Laboratory to design, create, and execute interactive games).
Although your class does not necessarily have to have a unique concept, you really need to explain the benefits to the class as uniquely as possible. Why should GT create this class over another game design class? Your reasoning of
generating and sharing ideas with your teammates to unite an optimal game, critically thinking how to improve the gameplay and theme, testing with other designers, and patiently perfecting the game based on their feedbacks.
is very shallow and not fleshed out when this needs to be the bulk of your word limit. Also, I do not recommend including the rhetorical question, as 1) I feel it does not serve your essay very well and 2) you should limit rhetorical questions unless writing about something more personal/stream of conscious-like
To summarize, I think you really need to cut back on some of your descriptive elements, hit straight to the point that you want to create Board Games 101 (or anything else if you come up with another idea), and then really dive into why you want to make the class and what the class could offer.
Hope this helps!
Wow, thanks a lot for your feedback! I thought that Georgia Tech doesn't have any course involving board games so that makes Board Games 101 unique. About the "what", do you think that is it necessary to describe about the overall course or focus on benefits of the course (what this course offers to the students). Also, does the class I create have to relate to some classes that GT offer over design? And is "a class" mentioned in the prompt have to be at Georgia Tech or it can be anywhere else?
Anyway, let me summarize my "what" and "why" of this class. First, since I live in Vietnam (where board games are very unpopular and ignorant...) because sometimes they think that board games are only for kids, board games are hard to play just because it is new, board games are gambling,... so I really want to spread out board games to Vietnamese, starting from my friends and my school. Also, I observe that there are a lot of people holding and staring at their own smartphone during a friends meetup at many cafeteria, so I want to promote board games to everyone to improve real-life interaction and limit the disadvantages of smartphone. About the "what", since I've experienced designing and publishing board games once, so I want to guide the members to have the same experience because I learned a lot of life-changing things about that process (e.g. regardless of a person's expertise, if nine casual people like your game but one expert dislike, just publish it because the expert doesn't pay more to play your game; criticism is sometimes beneficial but you need to learn to be resilient to those criticism; the world is not simple, as creating the product is not easy since you need to match your product with people's criteria,...) so I want them to grant the same benefits.
Finally, what do you mean "cut back and hit straight to the point"? You mean cutting all of the parts that I write about the scenes of the game? This response is very helpful, and I'm still waiting for another! :)
I don't believe GT has any course specifically related to board games, but they have many courses related to game design and creating games, whether that be through a digital or analog platform. In that essence, you need to think about what it is about your class that would stand out from these other design classes. Think of this prompt essentially as a pitch to GT to actually create the class - why would GT be interested in offering a class about board games?
While board games may be unpopular in Vietnam, I'm afraid that doesn't really relate strongly to a reason to creating a class at GT where the class would be offered to a diverse crowd of students not solely from Vietnam. Instead, your reasoning of wanting to promote board games to improve real-life interactions would be a better selling point.
It's true that you can gain a lot of valuable experience in designing a board game, but that is true in designing practically any type of project. These benefits are not unique to designing a board game, which is one of the biggest points I am trying to get across. Your class in itself should be unique (as in, not already offered at GT), but the lessons and learning done in the class also should try to come across as offering a unique perspective to prospective students. Why would other students be interested in your class, what kind of students would you be interested in teaching if you were the professor, what is the core idea of your class - these are some of the perspectives you should think from when writing your response.
When I said cut back, yes, I do mean to reduce the amount of description about the scenes of the game. It would be fine to include a sentence or even two describing a fantasy-like element to a board-game (though remember not all board games involve this kind of fantasy element, you need to consider that the scope of board games and that they involve many more genres than just fantasy, ranging from sci-fi to historical, and that board games also include strategy games from classics such as Chess to more modern games such as Catan). When over half of your prompt is simply describing a scene of a board game, not even of multiple board games, but seemingly of just one, your prompt comes across as very shallow and wasteful of your already small word limit.
Basically, I think you need to focus your response on the student body and why they would want to take the class. I don't think that board games are essentially so foreign of a concept that you need to give a long description of the class, but instead talk about what student might do in the class, what they should hope to get out of taking the class, and the benefits of the class.
Thanks a lot for your useful feedback! I'm rethinking about the real values that this class offers. So I come up with an idea of children being not interacted much with their parents so they don't have outstanding social and cognitive ability (really, parents are very important in a child's character), and I've also finished the second draft of the essay, and many of my friends give positive comments about my essay. They say that it shows clearly the long-term vision of the class as it provides opportunities to improve American education and allows members to experience designing and entrepreneurship process, and I think that will make a challenging and unique environment for them. Here is it:
Nowadays, children are limited by their cognitive ability and social interaction as their parents invest more time in the workplace. In Board Games 101, you will be informed through several casual board games and have a team assignment of teaching these games for children in primary and secondary schools. For Monopoly, they will learn to be a successful businessman in the future. For Werewolf, they will learn how to protect their Wolf teammates and prove that they are innocent. For Chess, they will improve their strategic thinking significantly. Also, you will gain more insights about general design and entrepreneurship process through an annual team project of designing and publishing a board game. After improving your team's game through playtesting meetings and achieving the game industry's requirements, your team will spread that game through many cafeteria or schools to make profits, and you are graded through its prosperity. (147 words)
If there is any grammar, format or content mistakes, feel free to tell me so that I can perfect my essay for the deadly application deadline (October 15...). Again, I really appreciate your feedback! :)