Essays For University Of Texas Applications

IMPORTANT: The UT has NEW prompts for 2017-18, so much of the information in this post is now outdated. 

Here’s the link to the update-to-date information on UT prompts:New Essay Requirements for UT.

Former Admissions Counselor
at University of Texas-Austin
Shares Insider Advice

 

Are you planning on applying to any of the 14 University of Texas institutions, including the most popular in Austin, Texas?

(Or Texas A&M, and even some private Texas colleges, such as SMU, TCU, Baylor and Trinity College.)

I’m excited to share some tips from a former college admissions officer at UT-Austin with you. His name is Kevin Martin, founder of TexAdmissions, and he focused these tips on the one of the 3 required essays he believes is by far the most important, based on his experience.

Kevin Martin of TexAdmissions

The University of Texas essay is called Topic C, and the prompts asks:

“Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extra-curricular activities might help you achieve your goals.”

Here is what Kevin has to say about writing your college application essay for this prompt for the University of Texas essays:

Top 10 Tips for Writing University of Texas Essays

1.

It’s all about Essay C – For universities like UT-Austin, which requires essay C, this is where you should spend the most effort. Here, they are looking to see if you are a good “fit” for your intended area of study. This means that you should focus on why they should invest in offering you a space in their program.

2.

Only your first choice matters – When applying to UT, you are given options for a first and a second choice major.

This is an illusion; they only consider your first choice. One hundred percent of your essay should reflect on your past experiences and skills that show how you would contribute in the classroom and the overall university community.

3.

Treat your essays like an argument – Provide proof! The biggest problem I saw when I reviewed files for UT were vague or cliché statements.

Instead of, “A strong foundation in math is important for success in engineering,” transform this statement into a “me-focused” sentence: “Because of my internship at Texas Instruments and my strong performance in calculus, I am well suited for studies in electrical engineering.”

4.

Each sentence should tie back to the idea of “fit” – With each sentence in your essay, ask yourself: “Does this sentence contribute to my argument that I deserve a space in their program?

Does this sentence help continue the thought from the ones before and set up my argument in later sentences?

Is this sentence absolutely necessary?

If not, can I take it out and not hurt my argument?”

5.

This is your chance to interview – UT and other Apply Texas universities do not conduct interviews as part of their admissions process. Instead, this is your only opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee.

You want the reviewer to walk away thinking, “This is a pretty neat student. We want them here!”

 

6.

How many essays should I write? – UT has a somewhat confusing system where they require two essays.

You must submit the Essay Topic C, and then your choice among Essays Topic A on diversity, Essay Topic B on overcoming an obstacle, or a special circumstances essay.

Sometimes students write all four thinking it will help them.

Don’t do this!

Unless you have a very compelling reason, only submit Essay C and your choice of one of the remaining three.

7.

Should my second essay also focus on fit? – If you can relate your second essay to why you are a good fit for your major, then I would go for it.

I worked with a student who selected electrical engineering.

His essay C was a strong piece arguing why he had the skills and experience to contribute, but his essay B told an entertaining and insightful story of how him and his friend accidentally broke some computers they were repairing and managed to fix them just in time.

8.

What if I am undecided? – That’s okay! Most students are undecided, even those who swear they know they are going to medical school before they enroll in freshman biology.

You can still demonstrate curiosity and passion by reflecting on one or two things that capture your interest and creative energies.

9.

How am I evaluated? – In short, you are scored on a scale of 1-6 – whether to recommend you for admission or not.

Most students receive a 3 or a 4 with only the most exceptional students scoring a 6.

The admissions reviewer looks at everything you have submitted (resume, essays, recommendation letters, coursework, etc.). If the reviewer is on the fence about giving you a 4 or a 5, you want your essay to argue decisively that you are a good fit and an interesting person.

Essays, more so than recommendation letters, are often what tips the scale where the admissions reviewer can reward you with a higher score and improve your admissions chances.

 

10.

Relax! – There comes a point where your essays are “done.”

Over-editing can cause a lot of unneeded stress and be counterproductive for the quality of your essays.

Once you submit your application, it is best just to forget about it until you receive your decision in the spring.

Excessive refreshing of your My Status page never does any good. ; )

*****

Here’s a video that Kevin put together
with more great insider advice and tips
on writing essays for the University of Texas:

 

 

 

Check Out These Related Posts!

Some Tips to Consider:

 

Here is a tip directly from UT Austin:

 

“Leadership can be demonstrated by positions you hold as an officer in a club or organization, but other types of leadership are important too. Leaders can emerge in various situations at any given time, including outside of the school experience. Please share a brief description of the type of leadership qualities you possess, from school and non-school related experiences, including demonstrations of leadership in your job, your community, or within your family responsibilities, and then share how you hope to demonstrate leadership as a member of our campus community.”

 

The most effective way to respond to this prompt is to split it into two parts. Part 1 should concern your experience with leadership or cultivating a leadership skill. Part 2 should directly respond to Part 1 by analyzing how the identified skill will apply directly to a campus group or community at UT Austin.

 

For example, you could begin by describing your experience volunteering or tutoring at a local elementary school. Instead of simply saying you were “a leader” to the younger kids, focus on describing the types of qualities you learned and how. If the kids often struggled with paying attention or staying on task, you could explain how you learned to temper expectations, be patient, and interact with a cool head. When the kids recognized how patient and composed you were, they adopted the same demeanor when solving problems and improved drastically. You could even go in-depth about particular moments or instances in which you learned a certain skill or developed a leadership quality. Further, you can also discuss what leadership means to you, potentially touching on the types of qualities you value in a leader.

 

Following your anecdote, you can specifically show how your leadership qualities will be used at UT Austin. For example, if you are interested in leading outreach projects in local Austin communities or even other countries, you can explain how the quality of “patience” will come in handy when convincing organizations to let you work with them. If you do a mission trip in another country, patience is often crucial for forming relationships and overcoming social or linguistic barriers, as well. The point of this example is to show how clearly you must organize the response and how the specific quality you discuss in your personal anecdote must also motivate your application to UT Austin.

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