I've been a volunteer for the last 4 years now, and let me tell you competition is crazy fierce. Last year there were over 2000 applications for 400 spots. A lot of spots are filled by vets, and a lot are filled by people recommended by vets. So it is super hard to get in. Now I don't know exactly how they judge the essays, but I can say what I know from reading other essays of people who have gotten in. You made the essay more about the industry than yourself, talk about WHY you NEED to go to GDC, WHAT you expect to get out of it. Add some humor, show your personality. Make it less formal. Good luck next year!
"I would love to fix the world if someone would just give me the source code"
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