Essays & Short Answers
- UT Austin Required Essay in the Common App, or
- Topic A in ApplyTexas
- Please keep your essay between 500–700 words (typically two to three paragraphs).
Summer/Fall 2024 and Spring 2024 Essay Topic
Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
Submitting Your Essay
You can submit your essays:
- In conjunction with your application.
- Using the Document Upload System in MyStatus.
*Students do not need to submit other Common App essays. We’ll only review what is required,
- Submit the required short answers to prompts in your admission application.
- Answers are limited to no more than 40 lines, or about 250–300 words per prompt, typically the length of one paragraph.
Summer/Fall 2024 Prompts
- Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?
- Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.
- The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.
Optional Short Answer
- Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance.
Spring 2024 Prompts
Submitting your short answers.
You can submit your short answers with either your Common App or Apply Texas application. Short answer responses must be completed in order to submit your application.
- (Spring 2024) Transfer applicants must submit two essays responding to Topic A and an additional topic below.
- (Summer 2024 and beyond) Transfer applicants must submit one essay responding to Topic A.
- Applicants to the School of Architecture and Studio Art, Art Education and Art History are required to upload Topic D in addition to Topic A (and an additional essay if applying for Spring 2024 admission).
Topic a (required).
The statement of purpose will provide an opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances that you feel could add value to your application. You may also want to explain unique aspects of your academic background or valued experiences you may have had that relate to your academic discipline. The statement of purpose is not meant to be a listing of accomplishments in high school/college or a record of your participation in school-related activities. Rather, this is your opportunity to address the admission committee directly and to let us know more about you as an individual, in a manner that your transcripts and the other application information cannot convey.
Topic D (School of Architecture majors and Studio Art, Art Education and Art History majors only)
Personal interaction with objects, images and spaces can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics. For your intended area of study (architecture, art history, studio art, visual art studies/art education), describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking. What did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?
Additional Essay Topics for Spring 2024 Applicants
Topic c .
There may be personal information that you want considered as part of your admissions application. Write an essay describing that information. You might include exceptional hardships, challenges or opportunities that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, personal responsibilities, exceptional achievements or talents, educational goals or ways in which you might contribute to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment.
Choose an issue of importance to you—it could be personal, school-related, local, political or international in scope—and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community or your generation.
Submitting Your Essay(s)
University of Texas at Austin 2023-24 Essay Prompt Guide
University of Texas at Austin 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations
The Requirements: 1 essay of 500-700 words; 3 essays of 250-300 words
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community , Why , Additional Info , Personal statement
All freshman applicants must submit a required essay, Topic A in ApplyTexas and the UT Austin Required Essay in the Coalition application. Please keep your essay between 500–700 words (typically two to three paragraphs).
Tell us your story. what unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today (500-700 words).
Whether you’re using the Coalition or ApplyTexas to apply to UT Austin, you’ll have many opportunities to document your greatest high school achievements. So for this essay, it’s important that you focus on telling a personal story (it’s right there in the prompt!) that doesn’t appear elsewhere on your application. What opportunities and challenges were specific to your high school experience? The goal isn’t to craft a list, so aim to focus on one central story that describes either an opportunity or a challenge. When brainstorming , on the other hand, we recommend writing the longest list you can think of: two columns or a Venn diagram documenting every hurtle or special chance you got throughout high school.
As you consider your “opportunities,” keep in mind that your reflection on the event or opportunity that shaped who you are today will be a source of great insight for admissions. Maybe being fluent in Tagalog opened up a unique opportunity for you to start an online exchange between your school and a school in the Philippines. Or were you invited to perform with your dance group at a community event? Did this experience launch you to seek out other performance opportunities, spurring your interest in entrepreneurship? As you sift through your “challenges” route, aim to showcase qualities like resilience, perseverance, or simply an ability to turn lemons into lemonade. Perhaps the long commutes on the bus between home, school, and your internship taught you about time management or inspired an interest in urban planning. The challenges you choose to write about can be serious (dealing with bullies or discovering a learning disability) or seemingly banal (a public speaking #fail). While the possibilities are almost endless, students should be careful not to choose challenges that may seem trite (getting a B on a big project or winning lottery tickets to Hamilton).
Regardless of the direction you choose to pursue, remember to make sure that admissions is learning something new about you through personal anecdotes and specific details.
All applicants must submit three required short answers responding to prompts in your admissions application. Answers are limited to no more than 40 lines, or about 250–300 words, typically the length of one paragraph.
Note special requirements: architecture, art and art history, nursing, and social work require additional short answer questions of their applicants. , required short answer 1: , why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major.
This prompt sounds simple enough: describe what you want to study and why you like it so much that you’re willing to dedicate four years of your life to it (at the very least). While you might be tempted to get technical or poetic in your response, your reader will expect you to connect your intended major to some prior experience and/or passion. In other words, tell a story. Lucky for you, we would have advised you to start with an anecdote anyway. The most memorable essays spring from concrete descriptions of your experiences. What excites you and why? When was the last time you got drawn down a Reddit rabbit hole – and what was the topic? While you don’t need to pinpoint the exact moment you became interested in ancient history or calculus, try to zero in on some inspiring experience. What was the best TED Talk you ever watched? The first time you spoke to your new friend in ASL? Your story should showcase your unique connection to your chosen course of study. And don’t forget to talk about UT Austin! By the end of your essay, your reader should not only know why you are passionate about your chosen major, but also what excites you about Austin’s program. In admissions, we call that your fit!
Oh and a quick shoutout to all the undecideds out there: don’t worry! If you can’t decide, then tell a story that demonstrates your wide range of interests or natural curiosity. Focus on the opportunities UT Austin offers across departments and how you plan to explore once you arrive on campus. It’s normal to want to try new things at the start of college!
Required Short Answer 2:
Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at ut..
In short, this is an essay about diversity and the aspects of your life and experience that distinguish you from your peers. For some applicants, the answer might be obvious: you might have been the only one at your school with a certain background, belief system, or inherited skill set. But whether this prompt seems like it was made for you or just a total head-scratcher, we encourage you to dig a little deeper than your first thought. What about your history, experiences, perspectives, or talents might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer? And how can the experience, perspective, or talent you choose enrich the learning environment at UT Austin?
Maybe you grew up in a military family that moved around a lot, and you want to write about how this experience has shaped your ability to make new connections super quickly. Perhaps you’ll teach your floor-mates about what makes for a great ice breaker. Maybe you were raised on a farm and developed a strong work ethic at a young age as you helped your parents tend to the fields. Perhaps you will be a natural leader in group projects and take initiative in the many clubs you’d like to join. Be sure to connect your personal story to a future vision of yourself at UT Austin. The most important thing to remember for this prompt is that your experience, perspective, or talent is dynamic and specific to you and who you are, and no one else.
Required Short Answer 3:
The core purpose of the university of texas at austin is, “to transform lives for the benefit of society.” please share how you believe your experience at ut-austin will prepare you to “change the world” after you graduate..
UT Austin seeks to invite movers and shakers to campus, students who dream of a better tomorrow and have a plan to make it happen. Admissions wants to know what change you would like to effect in the world. Maybe you want to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and global warming. How do you plan to contribute and how will your time at UT Austin set you up for carbon neutral success? Perhaps you would like to see more reparations in place for marginalized and historically deprived communities in the United States. Will UT Austin’s Race, Indigeneity, and Migration major help prepare you for a career in public service?
However you decide to answer this prompt, be sure to show admissions that you care about the wellbeing of others. And make sure they know you want to be part of positive change and will make UT Austin proud long after graduation.
Optional Short Answer 4:
Please share background on events or special circumstances that may have impacted your high school academic performance..
T his essay is perfect for students who have encountered outstanding challenges, and need an opportunity to explain them. In fact, we recommend saving those details for an Additional Info essay, so that you can use the rest of your application to highlight other parts of your amazing personality. So, if something has happened that affected your academic performance, this is a great opportunity to explain the circumstances. Did a COVID-19 infection during your junior year cause your participation in clubs and activities to take a hit? Did a family emergency cause an overall drop in your GPA? A drop in grades or a gap in your resume does not define you. Remember to make this essay not about the things you couldn’t control, but the actions you took to improve the situation. You don’t want to come off as a victim of circumstance, but as a resilient person who can take steps to positively affect their situation.
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How to Write the University of Texas-Austin (UT) Supplemental Essays: Examples + Guide 2023/2024
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What are the university of texas austin supplemental essay prompts.
- How to write each supplemental essay prompt for UT Austin
- Prompt #1: Topic A
- UT Expanded Resume tips, sample, + template
Proud home of the Longhorns (and Professor Matthew McConaughey), UT Austin takes to heart its constitutional mandate to be “a university of first class,” a mission that laid the foundation for its standing as a “ Public Ivy . ” UT is known for carving its own path, from sculpting a sprawling home out of the Texas wilderness, to building some of the world’s fastest computers, to fighting for universities’ rights to use affirmative action to diversity their campuses.
So it should come as little surprise that this standard bearer offers its own college application system , but you can also apply through the Common App (and the requirements are the same, no matter which platform you use). And to show how serious school officials are about getting to know each of their applicants, the main application requires four essays, plus an option to write a fifth, and an optional (but highly recommended) extended resume. What are those prompts? Glad you asked ...
Topic A: Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (500-700 words)
Required Short Answer 1: Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (maximum 40 lines, or approximately 250-300 words, typically the length of one paragraph)
Required Short Answer 2: Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT. (maximum 40 lines, or approximately 250-300 words)
Required Short Answer 3: The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, "To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society." Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate. (maximum 40 lines, or approximately 250-300 words)
(Optional) Short Answer 4: Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. (maximum 40 lines, or approximately 250-300 words)
Optional (but highly recommended) Expanded Resume
You may choose to submit an expanded résumé offering additional information about all of your achievements, activities, leadership positions, and student employment.
“That’s a lot of essays,” you say? It is.
And get this: If you’re applying to specific programs/majors or even the Honors College, you’ve got even more essays to tackle. (But we aren’t covering all those here.)
Before you go to write, you may want to spend some time learning more about what UT Austin values, so you can explore how your values line up and reflect those shared values in your essays. If so, you’ll find an extensive, by-the-numbers look at its offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information, on its Common Data Set . For deep insights into how this public research university envisions its role and how it wants to grow and evolve, read its strategic plan .
Alright. Let’s get to the fun stuff.
How Do I Write Outstanding Essays for the UT Austin Application?
How to write ut austin required essay/topic a prompt:.
This essay gives you the best chance to share with UT something about who you are beyond the grades and test scores. When you hear people talking about their personal statement or college essay, this is the essay they’re referring to.
If you’re applying to other colleges using the Common Application (or applying to other schools via the Coalition Application), you may already be writing this longer essay.
If so, here’s some advice:
Write your Topic A essay for UT so that it answers the same question you’re answering for the Common App (which sets a max limit of 650 words) and/or Coalition Application (which suggests but doesn’t strictly limit your essay to 500-650 words). UT asks that you keep your Topic A essay between 500-700 words , but for ease of doubling, probably stick close to 650 max, spending only the number of words necessary to tell your story in a concise, complete, and compelling manner.
Why answer the same question for all three? All the prompts for these application systems are so broad and open-ended that you can pretty much write about any topic (well, almost any) and you’ll be good. But more importantly, by focusing on writing one main essay for various application portals (head here for more on Common App vs Coalition ), you can spend more time drafting and revising it so that it’s really, really great. #efficiency
“But what if I’m not applying to other schools using the Coalition Application or Common App?
Then write your deepest story.
What do we mean by that?
There’s so much to say about writing your personal statement that we’ve actually created an entire step-by-step video course . Oh, and it’s pay-what-you-can. :) Or if you want the short version, check out this free one-hour guide . It covers the three core parts of writing a great college essay: brainstorming your topic, structuring your essay, and revising it to make sure it’s doing its job. Or head here for a bunch of personal statement examples .
How to Write UT Austin Short Answer Essay #1
Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (40 lines, or about 250-300 words)
This is a “Why major?” essay . Many colleges require it, and it generally means that they’re curious to hear about how you’ve prepared for your intended major. But for UT, it’s particularly important. Why?
Demonstrating that you (and your interests and extracurricular involvement) are a clear fit for your first-choice major are super important for UT. As in, more so than at most other schools. This essay is a great chance to demonstrate that fit.
You can read our full guide here . Or, here’s the short version:
Step #1: Imagine a mini-movie of the moments that led you to your interest in a specific subject or your intended major and create a simple, bullet-point outline.
Elementary school: Getting my first dinosaur toy and reading dinosaur books
Middle school: Visiting museums, seeing water under a microscope
High school: Doing online research, getting internship where we analyzed brainwaves and dissected a stingray
Step #2: Put your moments (aka the “scenes” of your mini-movie) in chronological order, as it’ll help you see how your interests developed. It also makes it easier to write transitions. Since you’ve got about 250-300 words for this essay, you can probably include one “scene” per every short paragraph or two.
Step #3: Decide if you want to include a specific thesis that explicitly states your central argument—in this case, what you want to study and why. You can put this thesis at the beginning, middle, or end of your essay.
Here’s an example essay that does a great job:
My interest in Gender and Sexuality Studies was sparked in my eighth grade Civics class when we studied topics pertaining to sexual equality. I went into the class knowing I believed women had a right to make choices for their own bodies and that view remained the same, but I discovered the complexity of abortion debates. I challenged myself by thinking about the disparity between actual and potential personhood and the moral rights of unconscious lives. If pregnancy had the same consequences for men as it does women, how might the debate be different? Would this debate even exist? A year later, I shadowed an OB/GYN at a nearby hospital. On my first shift, I watched an incarcerated woman receive a postpartum exam after giving birth in her cell toilet with just Advil, and the issues discussed in Civics suddenly became urgent and real. My school projects have often focused on reproductive rights. I’ve spent numerous hours delving into summaries of Supreme Court cases on abortion and contraception, and am even known as the “Tampon Fairy” at school because I frequently restock the school bathrooms with tampons and condoms. I’m interested in exploring how Gender and Sexuality Studies connect to Public Health and Reproductive Biology, as well as Public Policy and Law. The interdisciplinary nature of this major will allow me to investigate many other areas of study and create a more nuanced understanding of how this particular field interacts with our world and society. (246 words) — — —
Tips + Analysis:
Write an outline to organize your essay before you write. We actually advise this for most essays, especially those 200 words and longer. Even if you’re not used to writing outlines, you’ll find that doing this ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and—bonus—save you some time. What do we mean by an outline? A simple bulleted list would do. For example, here’s this student’s outline:
Why Gender and Sexuality Studies:
Eighth grade Civics class conversations
Shadowing OB/GYN at a nearby hospital and seeing woman receive postpartum exam
Being the school “tampon fairy” (restocking school bathrooms with tampons and condoms)
School projects on reproductive rights
Thesis: Name my major and briefly say why
Pose some thought-provoking questions. Don’t shy away from raising compelling questions in your essay, like those posed by the author in the second paragraph. Demonstrating you know how to ask insightful and critical questions is just as (if not more) important than having all the answers.
Don’t know what you’ll be majoring in? Don’t sweat it. You may be asking: But what if I don’t know what my intended major is? Don’t worry. Even if you’re unsure of your exact major or career path, go with what interests you at the moment. You might research and select 1-2 areas of interest and describe how you became interested in each. If possible, connect them and discuss your interests using an interdisciplinary lens. When it comes time to apply, you’ll still want to select a major on your application, but when writing this essay, the subjects you’re interested in are likely within a single college anyways. It’s often tough to transfer between colleges, say from the College of Liberal Arts to McComb’s School of Business, but it’s typically easier to transfer within a given college, say, if switching from the psychology to the sociology program. If you’re choosing “undeclared” on your application, which you can do for several colleges at UT, that’s okay! Describing several areas of interest is still a good idea for this essay. It demonstrates your curiosity as well as your ability to make connections across disciplines.
To see an example of an interdisciplinary essay, check out the example below. (And below that is another great example for this prompt.)
Example 2: Why Literary Arts or Modern Culture and Media?
My whole life, storytelling has shaped me. When I lived in London, my parents would read me The Lion King every night until I’d memorized the whole book. In elementary school, I would curl up in my bed, warm lamplight making my room golden, listening to my dad bring to life classics like Wilderness Champion and Tom Sawyer . Later, I found audio storytelling, laughing hysterically at Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me on the car ride to school and connecting to a radio network of humanity through This American Life . It wasn’t long before I got hooked on visual narratives, mesmerized by the cinematic intensity of Whiplash and the whimsical world of Moonrise Kingdom , alternate realities I could explore as if they were my own. By high school, I was creating my own array of stories through satirical school newspaper articles, analysis of mise-en-scene in film class, podcasting, and my own locally-broadcasted radio series. A concentration in the Literary Arts or Modern Culture and Media is the next step in my life of storytelling. The dynamic world of connection and vulnerability a well-told story can create is what continues to fascinate me. At Brown, I would explore how engaging narratives have been told in the past and can be innovated in the future through new digital platforms. Whether researching radio’s historical impact on public opinion during World War II or the Vietnam War, developing screenplays, producing my own documentary or learning from Writers-In-Residence, I hope to pioneer networks of connection. (250 words) — — —
Example 3: Why Neuroscience?
Imagine all the stars in the universe. The brain has a thousand times the number of synapses, making neurological errors a near certainty. I learned this fact firsthand as a 14 year-old, when I suffered from sleepless nights because of an uncomfortable, indescribable feeling in my leg. It took months of appointments and tests to be told it was a condition called cortical dysplasia. Even after the diagnosis, there is no cure. I am lucky. My condition does not severely affect my quality of life. However, I know this is not the case for everyone. After this experience, I took AP Biology and attended a neuroscience program, which reinforced the subject as my future calling. One of the most impactful lectures discussed the plight of healthcare in developing nations. Newborns with extreme neurological deficits are common, but finding treatments is not. Without prenatal care, this is becoming a growing epidemic, leaving millions of children helpless. With a degree in neuroscience, I will gain a strong understanding of neural tube development and neuronal migration in infants. I will then become a neurologist, specializing in pediatric care. I hope to work for humanitarian organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders, in Africa, where HIV and polio are rampant, as are numerous other diseases. Imagine the stars once more. From across the world, I will look at the same stars in the future, as I help children secure the ability to not only look at the stars, but do much more. (247 words) — — —
How to Write UT Austin Short Answer Essay #2
Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT. (250-300 words)
If you’re applying to UT, you’ve likely already made an impact on your school, family, and community. Now it’s time to think beyond the four corners of your resume and consider how you’ll use your past to shape your future. If you think this feels a little bit like a “Why us?” essay, you’re not far off (and we applaud your critical analysis). But instead of incorporating details on how UT is going to change you , you’ll focus here on how you’d create lasting change at UT .
While this prompt isn’t new, the wording has been tweaked slightly, adding “your involvement in leadership activities” to the mix.
The student in the example below was writing to the old prompt, but he still did a great job of connecting his past experiences with opportunities at UT.
Some of my more interesting perspectives were formed in the backseat of my mom’s maroon Ford Explorer, where I’d unload the many questions inside my head, ranging from how toll roads worked to why we said the Pledge in school. Today, my drive to learn new things has found an even more engaging outlet: arguing. I’ve spent many hours with friends in coffee shops, arguing over myriad topics. With each conversation, I walked away with new insights. During a debate over the Green New Deal, for example, I learned the effects of government action on the employment rate. I’m excited about the prospect of bringing my love of the argument to UT through the Lincoln-Douglas debate program and growing my skills under the guidance of skilled mentors like SunHee Simon. As a Longhorn, I’d execute on the ideals I advocate for, perhaps by creating a voter engagement campaign targeting underrepresented communities in Austin with the help of organizations like Texas Rising and Generation UN. When I lost my fingertip in a tubing accident, I dealt with my loss by researching my amputation. The more I learned, the more comfortable I began to feel, and I was able to make educated decisions about things like my prosthetic and nail removal. At UT Austin, I hope to exercise my newfound love of research in undergrad projects like How Campaigns Affect Voters, documenting the public’s changing views of political candidates throughout an election cycle in order to better understand the impact of news coverage on an election. Although I’ve outgrown the Explorer, I’ve become an explorer of sorts in my own right, and I can’t wait to continue asking new questions and speaking out against injustice with my fellow Longhorns, whether it’s in the Perry-Castañeda Library, the South Mall, or Duren Hall’s courtyard. (300 words) — — —
Spotlight your values. By showing how and where you’ll choose to make an impact on UT, you’re showing admission officers what’s important to you. (Not sure what those values are? Spend 5 minutes exploring and naming your top values by completing the Values Exercise .) While this student may be talking about the activities he’d join or the places on campus he can’t wait to explore, the details show what’s really important to him, like debate, community, social justice, and research.
Use the montage approach to write about multiple experiences. Consider using this prompt as an opportunity to expand on experiences you haven’t been able to highlight (or that don’t come through enough) elsewhere in your application. A mini-montage may be a strong, effective way to do just that. What’s a montage? It’s an approach we liken to a beaded bracelet, with your experiences/perspectives/talents serving as the beads + a thematic thread that connects them all together. For this student, “arguing” served as his thematic thread, while debate, voter engagement, and research were the beads he wanted to accent in this essay.
If you’d like to try a similar approach, follow these steps:
Make a list of 7-10 ways you’d contribute to UT based on activities/clubs/experiences you’ve been a part of. Why so many? So you can choose the ones you want to focus on the most.
Consider connecting each contribution to a particular value (i.e., creativity, collaboration, social justice). Here’s that Values Exercise again. You can use it to generate some ideas or to connect with your 7-10 contributions.
Try to weave in parts of yourself that you haven’t yet talked about elsewhere on your UT application. Maybe you haven’t written about your volunteering experience yet, or your love of ventriloquism. Here’s your chance.
Consider writing about your experiences (the beads) as vignettes (maybe one vignette per paragraph), and string them together with a theme they all have in common (maybe they all tie into your love of art/culture or they’re your favorite hobbies).
Find unusual connections. Ford Explorer, amputation, and UT. It may seem like a Jeopardy! question (“Alex, what are three seemingly unrelated topics?”), but they work well. The Ford Explorer was the student’s driving (pun likely intended) force for pursuing debate, while his amputation was the springboard for a newfound love of research. The examples are attention-getters, but they also clearly connect with his interests.
Do your research, but be honest. Make legitimate connections between your experiences and how you’ll use them to UT’s benefit. Executed poorly, it can seem like name-dropping (and UT admission officers can spot insincerity a Texas mile away). But with each mention—SunHee Simon, Texas Rising and Generation UN, How Campaigns Affect Voters—this student shows not just that he’s familiar with UT opportunities, but how each can enrich his experience on the Austin campus.
Paint a clear picture of your future. Help admission officers envision how you’d make an impact on campus using specific examples, like this: “At UT Austin, I hope to exercise my newfound love of research in undergrad projects like How Campaigns Affect Voters, documenting the public’s changing views of political candidates throughout an election cycle in order to better understand the impact of news coverage on an election.” Boom. In one sentence, the student lays down the written version of a breadcrumb trail, making clear how his past research experiences could inform how he could make a future difference on campus.
How to Write UT Austin Short Answer Essay #3
The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, "To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society." Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate. (250-300 words)
While the last prompt asks you to consider the impact you’ll make during your time at UT, this prompt fast-forwards you, Manifest -style, four years into the future. How will the post-UT you take what you’ve learned in college and use it to make a splash in the real world?
UT clearly doesn’t want just students on its campus—admission officials want critical thinkers and changemakers. Do you want to lead the charge for proactive, not reactive, pediatric health care approaches? Then your response might outline how the courses you take, the research you do, and the company you keep will help you initiate new cafeteria standards in elementary and secondary schools to reduce childhood obesity.
This essay, written for a similar prompt, could work well with just a few tweaks (which we’ll explain below).
Over the past 14 years, I’ve eaten 2,800 servings of peanut butter (PB), equal to 67.3% of my bodyweight. PB reflects who I am. JUSTIN’s is the consistently gentle and cobbled PB. Providing a sweet but natural taste, Justin’s taught me to do the same in my interactions with others. Through participation in programs like UTeach Outreach and Alternative Breaks, I will become a better community member while growing into a leader and forming friendships. JUBILIU is the imperfectly yet naturally perfect pebbled sesame PB. Non-homogenized in texture, it requires a big stir, but its natural taste is sustaining like its 600-year-old history. On one of my first days in China, my host mom and I ventured to Chinese Walmart, Wumart. Standing in the condiment aisle, she chose Jif for me, but I asked if there was a Chinese version. During my junior year immersion in China, I strove to be stirred around in the Chinese culture, adding to the depth of my own flavor, so I could purposely expand my worldview. Through UT’s Chinese Student Association, I look forward to immersing myself in and supporting the culture that taught me to purposely exert effort in my actions, seeking depth to lead a more sustaining life. SUNBUTTER is the unpredictably necessary non-PB PB. SunButter taught me to embrace what is hard, understanding it will enrich my life journey, or better yet, someone else’s. Pursuing my passion for finance and broadening my understanding of the world, I’m excited to join the Global Macro Team. Crafted by other PB brands, I’m a continually evolving PB brand. I’m Ella. My PB brand is nowhere near shelf-ready; I’ve more experiences to be had, Longhorns to interact with, and 14,600+ servings of PB left to savor. (294 words) — — —
Tips + Analysis
Consider building off your responses to Essay #2. To answer the previous prompt, you thought about what’s important to you based on what you’ve been involved with. Now, consider what needs you’ve filled and what values you’ve gained from that involvement. How is that steering (Longhorn pun intended) what you’ll continue to do and how you’ll choose to get involved in the future?
It’s OK to not write about your career. You don’t have to change the world through your 9-to-5. (Although if you are pursuing a field of study or career that could effect positive change on the world around you, this is a great place to discuss it.) Plenty of people satisfy their desire to do social good outside their job. So maybe it’s your extracurriculars, not your major, that’s helping you be the change you want to see. And that’s great! This student did a nice job of showing how her past experiences will help her contribute at UT—with the UTeach Outreach and Alternative Breaks, the Chinese Student Association, and the Global Macro Team. But had she been writing to this version of the prompt, she might have imagined how those experiences would help her change the world as a UT alum. So, likewise, make sure you take the longer view and focus on post-graduation activities.
Show you care about others. UT wants to make sure you’re the kind of person who’ll do good long after it’s something that looks good on a resume. How will you care for others with your UT education and your unique combination of skills and be the kind of Texas Exes the school is proud to call its own? Again, had this student been addressing today’s prompt, she might have gone into more detail on how she’s going to use finance and an expanded worldview post-UT.
Be specific, but not generic. Many of us would love to cure cancer and other diseases, or leave the world a little better than we found it by expanding sustainable energy sources. Clear, lofty goals for sure, but they’re probably not going to help you stand out as a changemaker. So how can you frame your potential contributions in a way no one else can? By sharing what drew you to UT and how that’s going to help you achieve your end goals. Again, this student may have served this prompt better by being more clear about how her UT experience would help her be the change.
How to Write the UT Austin Short Answer Essay #4:
(Optional): Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. (maximum 40 lines, or approximately 250-300 words)
Here, you can focus on anything that “impacted your high school academic performance,” including any COVID-19 impacts. Though if you’re applying via the Common App, you’ll also have a box there you can use to address COVID, which we discuss how to use here . And because this section functions similarly to the Additional Info section, you can check out our full guide to the Additional Information section here .
Check out an example of what that looks like.
Health Issue My fingertip was amputated in a tubing accident during the summer after junior year, which resulted in me having to relearn how to type and take extra time on tests and note-taking. However, I was able to adjust by mastering the hunt-and-peck typing method with my left hand and learning how to manipulate objects with only 9 and ⅔ fingers. Dropping AP French IV I became overwhelmed with my amount of advanced classes and coursework, including 3 hours a night from AP French homework. I made the choice to drop AP French in order to balance my coursework in my other classes and my mental health. I learned to respect and honor my limits as well as how to stand up for myself when I am feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. 2020 Spring Quarter Grades Before my school switched to pass/fail as a result of online learning, we completed our 3rd quarter grading period, which is not included on my transcript. I received the following grades: AP Physics 1: 91 AP Statistics: 99 Peer Coaching: 100 AP-GT English III: 93 Pre-AP Precalculus: 96 AP US History: 93 (154 words) — — —
Consider using bullets and section titles for easier scanning. The UT admission team already has a bunch of essays to read (and you’ve got plenty to write). Make it easier on them, and you, but bulleting out the main point you want to convey and organizing them under section titles (like Health Issues and Dropping AP French IV). A great/convenient benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to use full sentences, to save space (especially since, topping off at 300 words, UT’s version is less than half the 650 words the Common App accepts).
Explain any red flags. Do you have gaps in your transcript? Poorer grades you want to explain? This is the place to do it. And it will help give UT admission counselors context as they review your application. A couple words of caution, though: a) try to put a positive spin even on something negative, like a bad grade, perhaps by sharing what you learned from the experience, as this will show maturity and perspective (and will help you avoid sounding like you’re whining), and b) don’t overly explain why, say, you got an A- instead of an A. It may make you seem like a perfectionist obsessed with grades, and that’s not a great look.
Use this space for achievements that wouldn’t fit anywhere else in your application. Like how this student shared the high grades he got before his classes went to pass/fail in the online learning environment during the pandemic. Since those scores are no longer being reported, UT wouldn’t know this otherwise, and it’s a pretty cool thing to share.
You may choose to submit an expanded résumé offering additional information about all of your achievements, activities, leadership positions, and student employment. Your résumé should include all your achievements, not just those that didn’t fit on the ApplyTexas or Common Application. That said, if you’re able to list everything on your admissions application, there’s no need to submit a separate résumé.
Here’s what UT Austin says on its site:
“Your résumé should include all your achievements, not just those that didn’t fit on the ApplyTexas or Common App application . That said, if you’re able to list everything on your admissions application, there’s no need to submit a separate résumé. If you submit a résumé, you should include: - Details about what each activity involved rather than a general description - The number of hours per week and weeks per year you spent on each activity”
This expanded resume connects back to what we talked about earlier (in the section on short essay #1 regarding UT Austin’s focus on fit: Because the school places such emphasis on how you fit with your first-choice major, the expanded resume offers another great chance to show the admission team why you belong at their school, and how you fit in the program you want. This is particularly important for impacted majors, such as engineering, but we recommend submitting an expanded resume regardless of your major, and use it to further highlight why you and UT are a great match.
Head here for UT Expanded Resume Tips , including a sample resume/template.
Want advice on dozens of other supplemental essays? Click here
Special thanks to Julia for contributing to this post.
Julia published her first “book” on the elusive Pika in elementary school and has been writing fervently ever since. She’s thrilled to unite her quirky love of grammar and master’s in psychology to help students tell their most meaningful stories. Her favorite punctuation mark is the apostrophe because, in the words of Imagine Dragons, it’s “a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see.”
Top values: Collaboration | Family | Productivity
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How to Write the UT Austin Essays 2023-2024
The University of Texas, Austin is a large public research university with an enrollment of over 51,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. UT Austin is the flagship institution of the University of Texas system, and is the home to some of the best engineering, architecture, and business programs in the nation.
Since UT Austin is a selective school, writing strong essays is essential for making your application stand out. UT Austin’s application involves one long essay and four short essay questions (one of which is optional), with additional writing requirements for students applying to these programs: Art/Art History, Architecture, Nursing, and Social Work.
Read this UT Austin essay example to inspire your own writing.
UT Austin Essay Prompts
Tell us your story. what unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today (500-700 words), short answer.
Prompt 1 : Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (250-300 words)
Prompt 2 : Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT. (250-300 words)
Prompt 3 : The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate. (250-300 words)
Prompt 4 (Optional): Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. If your response to this question is similar to one of the Common App Personal Essays, feel free to simply copy and paste the important parts of your essay here. (250-300 words)
Art/Art History Applicants
Prompt 1 : In 500 words or less, please tell us about a time when an artwork, artist or art teacher impacted your life. How did this inspire you to pursue an education in the arts?
Prompt 1 : Inherent in the design disciplines the capacity to impact the world around us. What does the opportunity to develop such capacity mean to you and you approach to your college education? Please limit your response to 250-300 words.
Prompt 2 : Please provide and upload three images total that demonstrate your creativity. The three images may all be of one option type, or varied amongst the two following options:
Option 1 – Either an original photograph or photographs from a camera, smart phone/mobile device, OR
Option 2 – images of an original art or design project that you have produced and authored yourself., for all, describe how the three images are representative of how you see creativity as a way to describe, reflect on, or change the world. please limit your response to 50-75 words..
Discuss the factors that have influenced your motivation and deep desire to pursue a career in Nursing. Please include any activities and/or life experiences that are related. (250-300 words).
Discuss the reasons you chose Social Work as your first—choice major and how a Social Work degree from UT will prepare you for the future. (450-500 words)
Long Essay—All Applicants
This is Topic A of the ApplyTexas Essays . The long essay is the space to tell your story and let the admissions office know something about you that does not appear on your high school resume or transcript. The long word limit gives you time to develop and reflect on an important experience. It’s not enough to just tell a story of an opportunity or challenge; you need to dive into what aspects of your experience influenced you to be the person you are currently.
This prompt is very open-ended, so it is important to take time before you start writing to think about what subject matter you want to talk about. Make sure all elements in your essay tie together and don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. Focus on only a few, or even just one, experiences within your essay, and dive into good detail on how your experience has shaped you as a person.
The prompt asks you to describe “unique opportunities or challenges” that you have experienced. While brainstorming ideas for your essay, don’t get too caught up in thinking that you must find something that is an obvious opportunity or challenge; think about hobbies, extracurriculars, or personal experiences that have influenced you to this day.
Here are some examples:
- A chance job opportunity that allowed you to push yourself — Maybe you grew up in a rural area and you spent part of your time in high school tending to cows and goats. You’d wake up early before school to tend to the animals, and through that you learned to be reliable and developed a passion for caring for animals. Or maybe an acquaintance runs a small business and you were given the opportunity to run their social media to promote the business. This opportunity taught you the difficulties of running a small business, and also helped you find a creative outlet through advertising design. Either of those examples, or more unique job opportunities that you may have stumbled upon in high school, requires time and dedication, and teaches responsibility.
- Creative hobbies — You like to design and sew clothing for yourself. While designing your prom dress, you came across an intricate bodice design that you wanted to emulate. Figuring out how the pattern came together was like solving a complex puzzle, and because of all of the challenges you have come across while attempting to translate a 2D idea into real life, you have become better at visualizing how different things around you come together, and it’s a skill you’ve carried through all parts of your life. It’s helped you visualize difficult math concepts, or organize your desk and closet space to optimize your productivity.
Short Answers—All Applicants
For your UT Austin application, you are required to respond to the first three prompts. There is also an additional prompt to let the committee know about any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your high school performance.
Short Answer 1—All Applicants
Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major (250-300 words).
Ah, the common “Why This Major” college application essay. This essay is important to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are passionate about the area of study you are interested in. Whatever major is your first choice, you need to take time to reflect and think about what drew you to pursue this field of study.
As detailed in CollegeVine’s article about writing the “Why This Major” essay, a couple key topics to cover are how you developed this interest, and your goals in studying this major.
Show how you’ve looked into research or career opportunities that appeal to you, and the steps you have taken to pursue your interest, whether it be through hobbies, jobs, research opportunities, readings, etc. Do you have personal reasons for choosing this major? Detail those reasons, and explain how either a personal experience, inspirational character, or more have impacted your life and decision to study your major.
- Biology — You have been a passionate bird-watcher for most of your life. Your father would take you around to various parks and teach you how to identify various bird calls, differentiate between males and females within a species, and more. This has developed into an interest in the evolutionary and migratory behavior of birds, and you wish to pursue biology as the stepping stone to further graduate studies specializing in birds.
- Radio-Television-Film — Growing up, you’ve always had a fascination with movies and have become a huge movie buff. You’ve been especially interested in how the creative team creates and rig up the physical special effects and props. In your spare time, you and your friends make your own home films, and you are often the one who researches and creates any special effects and props with your available budget and resources. Though your home productions are not the most well-refined, you have had fun, and you want to pursue Film to get a better understanding of how to professionally create crazy shots and break into the film industry.
- Linguistics — Your family moved around a lot throughout your childhood, and in every new town or city you lived in, you were fascinated by the different slang and accents of the people around you. You’ve lived everywhere — Louisiana, Vancouver, Long Island, South Dakota, Southern California, and more, and you want to further understand how these regional quirks developed and how they affect the culture of an area today.
Short Answer 2—All Applicants
Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at ut. (250-300 words).
This is the classic Diversity Essay , which allows colleges to get to know you better and how you’ll impact their campus community.
Reflect on the things that make you truly unique. If you choose to go down the talent route, keep in mind that “talent” is a broad term that can apply to anything. It’s not just about whether or not you can juggle; perhaps your talent is your ability to lead vocal warmups before the school musical – you can write about how you’ve learned to build a sense of community using your talent.
And speaking on leadership, leadership isn’t just becoming an officer in a school organization or a captain of an athletic team. Leadership can also be demonstrated by taking charge and caring for your siblings while your parents are busy, organizing your friend group’s yearly Secret Santa, or coaching your neighborhood swim team. Even if something you did isn’t explicitly a “leadership role,” you can demonstrate guidance and management skills in other ways.
Avoid just listing off all leadership positions you have held. This information is most likely already elsewhere in your application, and doesn’t give the admissions committee a more in-depth view of why you are passionate about the areas you have shown leadership in and what you did to better the group/environment/area around you. Pick 1-3 related experiences, and tie together how you took initiative to shape things around you. The admissions committee wants to make sure they are accepting students with initiative and determination to impact their environment.
- Family Responsibility — Your parents had to work late hours a lot to earn enough for your family when you were younger. Though you and your siblings have always been responsible, you’ve noticed that it’s been difficult for your younger brother with special needs when your parents were away in the evenings, so you took the time to create different activities for him. You had your brother explore various hobbies that were accessible to you, such as drawing or tree climbing around your neighborhood, to keep him busy, mentally stimulated, and help your parents. This has taught you a lot of responsibility and you would love to continue to work with children who have special needs through some of UT Austin’s organizations like the Student Council for Exceptional Children.
- Friend Group Activities — You have a small group of friends who enjoy spending time with each other, but are terrible at planning larger, more ambitious activities. You decided that you were sick of just doing the same old thing, hanging out in the park or a parent’s basement. You started organizing day trips to the city nearby, Secret Santa gift exchanges, a day kayaking trip, and more to help you and your friends explore different activities. You coordinated everyone’s schedule and made sure to accommodate all your friends’ likes and dislikes, and have become the unofficial “leader” of your friend group. You now hope to take these experiences and work as an orientation advisor to help incoming freshmen find their group as well.
- School/Extracurricular Events – You stepped up to the plate this year to plan the school’s Homecoming dance, and you wanted to make sure your senior dance could be as fun, inclusive, and well-planned as possible. As such, you organized a committee, delegated responsibilities, and implemented strategies to increase attendance, emphasize safety, and organize different activities that appealed to the wider school community. You gained event planning experience and hope to bring that same passion to UT Austin and assist UT Austin’s Events + Entertainment organization with bringing student-focused events to campus.
The common thread between these three examples is that they all write about a personal experience that eventually ties to how you’ll bring your gained knowledge to UT Austin. You won’t just want to name drop organizations that you hope to join at UT Austin, rather you’ll want to explain why—particularly with a personal connection.
Short Answer 3—All Applicants
The core purpose of the university of texas at austin is, “to transform lives for the benefit of society.” please share how you believe your experience at ut-austin will prepare you to “change the world” after you graduate. (250-300 words).
UT Austin wants its students to work for the betterment of the world. This prompt requires students to reflect on their personal goals and think about their impact on society. Your response should explain how UT Austin will help you reach those goals using the “Why This College?” essay format.
First, consider the field of study you want to pursue and what sort of impact you want to make. Maybe you want to go into public health to improve the health outcomes of underrepresented communities. Or perhaps you want to study English and Environmental Science to become an environmental lawyer.
Keep in mind that its impact doesn’t have to be directly related to community service or altruism. For example, computer science majors can change the world by making processes more efficient. Economics majors can become financial advisors and improve the lives of others.
If you’re not sure how your work can impact others, see if you can find alumni stories on the website of your department. Here’s the Public Health one , for example. These real-life stories can give you some inspiration on your wide range of options after graduation.
Your goals can be both big and small, but they need to be personal. The “what” doesn’t matter if you don’t write about the “why.”
Finally, be sure to mention specific UT Austin resources that will help you change the world. Using the public health example, that student may mention how UT Austin offers a student internship program that allows students to conduct their own semester-long research projects and how that will prepare them to conduct independent public health research on minority health outcomes in the future.
It’s also important to mention relevant extracurriculars. Continuing that example, the public health student may want to join Texas Public Health, an on-campus organization, to volunteer in the Austin community and get hands-on experience in public health initiatives.
Short Answer 4—All Applicants (optional)
Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. if your response to this question is similar to one of the common app personal essays, feel free to simply copy and paste the important parts of your essay here. (250-300 words).
This essay is optional and provides you the opportunity to explain extenuating circumstances that have affected your education during high school. This is not necessarily a space where you would include a creative essay about your passion for math or make a political statement. Rather this is room for you to let the UT Austin admissions committee know about any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your academic performance.
Although in the near-past, the COVID-19 pandemic has and is still affecting many students across the world in various ways. This could be a situation that you may want to explain to the admissions committees.
Other non-COVID-related experiences may have also impacted you. If there is a circumstance, such as a loss of job, sickness of a close relative, mental health, or more that has affected your school performance, let UT Austin know here so the admissions committee may take it into consideration while reading your application.
If any of these extenuating circumstances are written in your Common App personal statement, more likely from prompt 1 or prompt 2 , then you can include an excerpt here.
However, do not use this space as a way to excuse poor performances. Be direct, and let the circumstances speak for themselves. Also keep in mind that many students were disrupted by COVID-19 in similar ways, so you should only write about circumstances that went beyond those common experiences.
There’s no need to take up the full allotted space or even really write a whole essay; just use as much space as needed to explain your situation.
Major-Specific Short Answer Questions
Certain majors at UT Austin require submitting 1-2 additional short responses. These prompts are brief and dive deeper into showing your passion for your intended area of study.
In 500 words or less, please tell us about a meaningful way in which an artwork, or artist, has changed your life. how has this prompted your ambitions for a life in the arts.
For the art/art history major at UT Austin, the admissions committee wants to see a commitment to the arts in your everyday life. Dive deep and think about what artists inspired you, or what specific art pieces you find yourself going back to.
Think across various mediums of art. Painters, sculptors, cinematographers, poets, or more can serve as inspiration to you. Maybe a piece of art inspired you to create your own art and got you interested in different painting techniques across different cultures, inspired you to change habits within your life, or start a band. Whatever inspired you, make sure to relate how your inspiration directly impacted you. Don’t get caught up in just describing your favorite artist or work; tie it into your own life experiences and goals.
Inherent in the design disciplines the capacity to impact the world around us. what does the opportunity to develop such capacity mean to you and your approach to your college education please limit your response to 250-300 words..
The admissions committee is hoping to get a sense of your goals and reasons for applying to the Architecture program at UT Austin.
While impacting the world sounds like a weighty topic, UT Austin isn’t looking for you to embellish. The admissions committee wants to hear how you would apply an education in architecture to help the world in any capacity, and that goes for anything from your local community to the globe.
First define your reasons for pursuing architecture. This is important since the prompt asks what the capacity to impact the world means to you , so you need to reflect on how you’ll impact the world and why you want to do it in that way.
Do you want to design houses in low-income neighborhoods since you grew up in low-income housing that wasn’t efficient or livable? Or do you want to design apartments with sustainability in mind since you’re from Hawaii and have seen how construction can disrupt the environment?
When possible, mention specific UT Austin resources that will help you achieve your goals, as the prompt asks how your goals shape your approach to your college education. For the student who wants to create sustainable architecture, they may mention courses like Modern History of Sustainable Architecture or wanting to be in one of the fastest-growing cities in the US (Austin), offering many opportunities for hands-on experience in sustainable development.
Please provide and upload three images total that demonstrate your creativity. The three images may all be of one option type, or varied amongst the two following options:
This is a short prompt! The admissions committee wants to see through your eyes and get an idea of your vision of the world. Be concise in your statement, and make sure your photos have a common thread, even if it’s not initially obvious. For example, you could submit photos of the skyline at important locations or times to you, or you could submit photos of various objects that inspire you. This is a very open-ended prompt, and you can spin it to really show the admissions committee your unique outlook on life and the environment around you.
This is also a chance to showcase your creativity and artistic skill. While the program doesn’t require you to submit a portfolio, submitting some of your artwork would give you more of an opportunity to stand out, particularly because UT Austin allows you to mix and match the format of your submissions.
Another way to make your response more cohesive and concise is to submit work with an overarching theme, whether that’s various pictures of your neighborhood at sunset, or artwork you made in response to a specific topic. Tying the three submissions together with a bow will give the admissions committee a stronger sense of how you think about the big picture.
While neither of these prompts have a defined word limit, make sure to answer the question thoroughly while also keeping it brief — remember, the admissions committee is reading many applications and you want to keep them engaged! We recommend no more than 500 words.
Discuss the factors that have influenced your desire to pursue a career in Nursing. Please include any activities and/or life experiences that are related (250-300 words)
This question allows you to discuss why you chose Nursing as your first choice program. Although you have already answered why you want to pursue your first choice major in the short answers section of the application, this extra space really allows you to dive deeper into why you decided to pursue nursing as a career and allows you to show off your work towards your goal. You can add additional anecdotes about why you chose nursing that you might not have had space to include in your short answer prompt.
Before beginning this essay, write down the qualities you feel a good nurse would have. Are they compassionate, culturally aware, patient, knowledgeable, etc.?
Then, write down the activities you did that correspond with those qualities. Did you volunteer for your local Red Cross, or organize a fundraiser for your local care facilities? Did you work in a nursing home, or at a daycare to gain experience working with people with varying needs? What academic classes did you take in high school to prepare yourself for a college nursing program?
Maybe instead, your motivations to pursue a career in nursing are more related to your own life experiences. Is someone close to you in that occupation? Have you previously worked in a healthcare-related role? Or have you had your own medical issue where a nurse meaningfully changed your perspective on medicine?
Be specific, and dive into details on how your activities or life experiences relate to developing an interest in nursing and a nursing career. Chances are, you have already listed your activities out in another section of your application. Using anecdotes about specific instances or events is crucial in offering new information that will keep admissions officers engaged, and teach them about your passion for nursing.
Discuss the reasons you chose Social Work as your first-choice major and how a Social Work degree from UT will prepare you for the future.
Similar to the nursing prompt, the UT Austin admissions committee is looking for additional information that may not have fit into previous essay answers. How do you want to give back to your community by doing social work? What specific area of social work do you want to work in? Do you want to work with mental health, child protection, human rights, or other aspects of social work? For example, if you grew up in the foster care system and you want to help children who grew up in a similar situation to you, elaborate on that.
The second part of this question asks you how specifically an UT Austin degree can help you with your future goals and career. Make sure to show that you have researched the program itself. Name specific research institutes you may want to work in, such as the Addiction Research Institute, and elaborate what issues you want to study. Relate these to the work you want to do in your future.
If you’re unsure of the specific specialization of social work you want to do, narrow it down to 2-3 interests, and talk about how you can explore various subjects through courses or clubs at UT Austin. Show the admissions committee that you have done your research on the school and truly believe that it is the best place for you to achieve your goals. For instance, someone interested in working with seniors might want to join the research team for the project Telehealth treatments for depression with low-income homebound seniors .
Where to Get Your University of Texas at Austin Essays Edited
Do you want feedback on your UT Austin essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school.
Related CollegeVine Blog Posts
UT Austin Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Advice
July 13, 2023
The University of Texas at Austin is one of the top public universities in the United States. UT Austin is in the same league as the most popular UC campuses, UVA, UNC–Chapel Hill, and Georgia Tech. Further, UT Austin’s ultra-elite business, engineering, and computer science programs attract brilliant teen minds from all over the world. It’s no wonder that close to 60,000 students applied for a chance to join the Longhorn Class of 2026. This enthusiasm has caused the annual acceptance rate to drop to the low-30s. Thanks to a state policy that guarantees admission to Texas high schoolers who finish in the top 6% of their class, close to 90% of UT Austin’s 40,000+ undergraduate students placed in the top decile of their high school cohort. Additionally, the mean SAT for entering freshmen is approximately 1330. That brings us to the immense importance of the UT Austin supplemental essay prompts.
(Want to learn more about How to Get Into UT Austin? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into UT Austin: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)
Through its one longer essay and four short answer offerings, the UT Austin supplemental section still affords applicants an opportunity to showcase what makes them uniquely qualified for admission. Below are the University of Texas at Austin’s supplemental prompts for the 2022-23 admissions cycle along with advice on how to address each one.
UT Austin Supplemental Essays: 2022-23
1) Essay (500-700 words): Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
It’s hard to conjure up a more open-ended prompt than this invitation to “tell your story”. Feel free to take this in whatever direction produces the most compelling and personal essay you can compose. What do you want the admissions office to know that they couldn’t possibly glean from anywhere else in your application? Don’t be afraid to share your struggles just as freely as your triumphs. An emotionally honest essay that showcases your unique personality is the desired product here.
One additional tip from an essay writing efficiency standpoint…If you are applying to a number of schools through the Common and/or Coalition App, it is advisable to write one single 650-word(ish) essay that will also address this UT essay prompt (or vice versa).
UT Austin: Short Answer Prompts 2022-23
Short answer #1 (250-300 words): why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major.
Share your authentic story of why you are interested in a particular discipline. For example, what books have you read on the subject? What documentaries have you watched? Which podcasts have you listened to? What subtopics most intrigue you? Did a teacher excite you about a topic or was it a parent or outside mentor? Do you know where you want to take this knowledge post-bachelor’s degree? Do you aim to one day go on to pursue a graduate/professional degree or is there an occupation you are shooting for right out of undergrad? Include as much detail as possible.
You can structure the narrative of this essay as a soup-to-nuts chronicling of your entire journey toward your discipline of interest or you could share one or two vignettes that illustrate your burgeoning passion for engineering, history, French, computer science, business, psychology, etc.
UT Austin Essay Prompts (Continued)
Short Answer #2 (250-300 words): Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.
Take the admissions office at their word here. The committee wants to hear any example of leadership, not just from those who were on the student council or founded a club. If you have been a leader in your own family, among your group of friends, or in a cyber community, you can share that experience. Focus on whatever leadership example you are actually most proud of.
If you decide to focus less on leadership and more on experience, perspectives, or talents, those are completely legitimate and 100% equal avenues to take. Describe how one or two talents or previous experiences will manifest themselves in the classroom. Additionally, speak to how your talents will impact the larger UT Austin community. For example, you placed in a regional or state debate competition in high school and plan on getting involved with UT Austin’s top-notch speech and debate teams.
Short Answer #3 (250-300 words): The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.
This somewhat grandiose question does not require an equally grandiose answer. You can talk about the impact you’d like to have on your local community or within your academic/career niche. Don’t feel pressure to single-handedly solve the world’s most pressing problems–just illustrate how you’ll be part of the solution.
The best answers to this question usually involve linking a past contribution to a well-researched future contribution at UT Austin. For example, you participated in THON in high school and helped raise money for pediatric cancer patients. Once at UT Austin, you plan to bring those same organizing and fundraising skills to Texas THON.
Short Answer #4 (250-300 words): Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance.
This section functions similarly to the Additional Information section of the Common App . Feel free to use this space if you encountered any hardships that impacted your academic performance. This could be anything from dealing with a divorce to challenges faced from a learning disability.
In sum, don’t feel pressure to use all 300 available words if your challenges have been minimal. If, despite any challenges faced, you earned all A’s, aced the SATs, and were able to participate in extracurricular activities, then you likely won’t have more than a line or two to write for this response.
How important are the essays at UT Austin?
In essence, UT Austin’s admission staff “uses an individualized, holistic review process to consider each completed freshman application. Applications from students who qualify for automatic admission are reviewed to determine admission to specific colleges, schools, and majors. Applications from students who are not eligible for automatic admission are reviewed to determine admissibility and to make decisions about admission to specific colleges, schools, and majors.”
The following items are considered during the holistic review:
- Strength of academic background
- Test scores
- Record of achievements, honors, and awards
- Special accomplishments, work, and service both in and out of school
- Special circumstances that put the applicant’s academic achievements into context, including his or her socioeconomic status, experience in a single-parent home, family responsibilities, experience overcoming adversity, cultural background, race and ethnicity, the language spoken in the applicant’s home, and other information in the applicant’s file
- Recommendations (although not required)
- Competitiveness of the major to which the student applies
UT Austin Essay Prompts – Want Personalized Assistance?
To conclude, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your UT Austin supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.
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Here are the latest examples of Apply Texas Essay A Tell Us Your Story with commentary.
I provide seven examples of Apply Texas Essay A for UT-Austin: “Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? “
UT-Austin announces the new Apply Texas Essay A Freshman prompt. Consider these tips when writing “Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?”
I share tips and eight examples to answer the new freshman short answer question: “The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, "To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society." Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.”
Check out these non-CS and McCombs first-choice major essay examples: “Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”
UT wants to know why you’re choosing your first-choice major. Consider these tips to put your best foot forward.
Check out these tips and advice for the new essay prompts to Moody Communications Honors, The Canfield Business Honors Program, Turing Scholars, Liberal Arts Honors, Plan II Honors, and Natural Science Honors like Dean Scholars.
Check out these UT Computer Science Major short answer and Turing essay examples.
I provide eight former client UT-Austin Major Short Answer examples with commentary of prospective McCombs School of Business applicants.
Leadership Examples for the Fall 2022 Short Answer prompt: “Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.”
What is ChatGPT? Will it disrupt college admissions and education in general? How will it influence college essay submissions?
UT-Austin and Texas A&M join the Common Application starting for Fall 2023 applicants. Each still requires the Tell Us Your Story prompt and the same supplements from 2022.
Diversity examples for “Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.”
Fall 2023 applicants have the option to respond to “Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance, including the possible effects of COVID-19.”
Tips for writing your Rice Common Application supplements about your academic area, what appeals to you at Rice, and what perspectives you bring to Rice’s community and Residential College System.
YES!!!! Apply Texas and Coalition don’t have firm word limits. You can write almost as much as you wish.
TAMU Short answers: Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you and for the Texas A&M campus community.
These examples may help you answer UT’s diversity prompt discussing your experiences, perspectives, and talents and how you will enrich the UT learning environment.
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022
Not sure how to approach the UT Austin essay prompts? With tips from a Harvard graduate, CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the UT Austin essay requirements will give you the tools to write UT Austin essays sure to stand out in admissions.
If you need help responding to the UT Austin essay prompts, click here to create your free CollegeAdvisor.com account or schedule a free advising consultation with an Admissions Expert by calling (844) 343-6272.
UT Austin Essay Guide Quick Facts:
- UT Austin has an acceptance rate of 32% — U.S. News ranks UT Austin as a most selective school.
- We recommend answering all of the UT Austin essay prompts authentically and thoroughly in order to maximize your admissions odds.
Does the University of Texas at Austin have essays?
Yes. All applicants to UT Austin must complete several UT essay prompts. You can access the UT Austin essay prompts through ApplyTexas or the Coalition App . You can also review the full list of application requirements—including the UT essay prompts—on the UT Austin website .
Keep in mind that UT Austin does not use the Common App . All UT Austin application materials must be submitted through ApplyTexas or through the Coalition App. This includes your responses to the UT Austin essay prompts.
How many essays does the University of Texas at Austin require?
All fall 2021 applicants must complete five UT Austin essay prompts—one long-form essay of 500-700 words and four short answer questions of 250-300 words each.
Since UT Austin does not accept the Common Application, there’s no need to worry about the Common App personal statement. The Coalition App also has a personal statement—UT Austin applicants are not required to complete this, however.
So what does this mean? In the absence of a Common App/Coalition App personal statement, you’ll want to think about your long-form UT Austin supplemental essay the same way you’d think about your Common App essay . In other words, your first UT Austin supplemental essay should give the admissions team a unique window into who you are and what matters to you.
We’ll discuss how to use the UT Austin essay requirements to your advantage throughout this guide.
How important are the University of Texas at Austin essays?
The UT Austin essay prompts are incredibly important in the admissions process. While UT considers a variety of factors when reviewing applications, your UT essays allow your readers to understand who you are beyond your grades and test scores. Think of the UT Austin essay requirements as a tool to help the admissions team understand who you are in your own words.
Strong UT Austin essays can make or break your applications. This means it’s important to draft, proofread, and edit your UT essays as much as possible before you press submit. Don’t underestimate the UT Austin essay prompts!
How do I write a University of Texas at Austin essay?
The UT Austin essay prompts are intended to help the admissions team learn more about you. At their core, your UT Austin supplemental essays should help UT admissions understand who you are.
To make your UT essays stand out, you’ll want to be as authentic as possible. Use the UT essay prompts to tell your story and help the admissions team understand why they should admit you.
Now, let’s discuss the UT Austin essay requirements!
UT Austin Essay Prompts: Long-form Essay (Required)
Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (500-700 words)
The long-form UT essay prompt is entirely open-ended—and that’s the point! Let’s break down this first UT Austin supplemental essay.
The first of the UT essay prompts asks you to discuss “unique opportunities or challenges” that you’ve experienced throughout high school. With 700 words, this UT essay gives you plenty of space to tell a detailed story about how your identity has developed. Maybe you’ve struggled with dyslexia while pursuing an interest in poetry; maybe you’ve had to support yourself and your family by working a job throughout high school. Whatever topic you choose for the first of the UT Austin essay prompts, make sure it has “shaped who you are today.”
If you’re struggling to find a topic for this UT Austin essay, start with a timed brainstorming session. Set a timer for ten minutes. Then, write down every significant experience from high school that comes to mind. These experiences can be related to academic coursework, extracurricular activities, or personal experiences. Don’t hold yourself back—a strong topic for this UT Austin supplemental essay could come from anywhere.
Choosing an experience
Once you have this list, look for any experiences that have particularly defined who you are and how you operate in the world. Think about this list in the context of your overall application. What story can you tell in your UT essay that would complement the other aspects of your application, including your academic interests and extracurricular activities? For example, has a health challenge led to a desire to pursue a career in medicine? Or, did you have the opportunity to attend a famous art installation and it led to you pursuing art-centric extracurriculars during high school?
If you’re stuck between ideas, try a few timed freewrites for this first of the UT essay prompts. If you can’t stop writing about a certain topic, chances are that it would make a good UT Austin essay! Additionally, while this prompt does allow you to discuss multiple experiences, you’ll have the most luck if you stick to one topic.
Drafting your essay
Once you’ve chosen a topic, it’s time to start drafting. Since you have up to 700 words in this UT Austin essay, you have plenty of space to tell your story in detail. Like your Common App Personal Statement, you might choose to begin your first UT essay with an engaging anecdote to help draw your reader in. Then, explain your chosen experience or challenge. Discuss how this experience made you who you are, using as many specific details as possible. Finally, end your UT Austin supplemental essay with a glance into the future as you consider how this experience will inform your growth in college.
While you’ll want to provide enough context to help your reader understand your topic, you should spend most of your first UT essay talking about how this experience has informed your identity and worldview. What lessons did you take from this experience? In what ways did it shift your perspective? How have you grown as a result of this experience? How will this experience continue to influence you?
Telling your story
Keep in mind that this UT Austin essay prompts you to “tell your story.” This means that, fundamentally, your first UT Austin essay should be about you. While this might seem obvious, it can be easy to lose sight of this requirement. For instance, if you choose to describe a volunteering project, you might accidentally spend most of your essay describing the people you helped rather than your own experience. Similarly, if you write about an extracurricular club, you might spend more time detailing how that club runs rather than explaining your connection to it.
Remember, your reader should come away from your UT Austin supplemental essay with a solid sense of who you are and how you relate to the world around you. If your essay fulfills these two requirements, you’re on the right track. This same advice applies to many of the UT essay prompts!
UT Austin Essay Draft Key Questions:
- Does your response to the first of the UT essay prompts describe one experience or challenge that has made you who you are?
- Do you engage your reader with specific anecdotes and vivid language?
- Do you avoid clichés or topics that might not be appropriate for a college essay?
- Is your essay about you?
- Does your essay teach your reader something new about you that isn’t obvious from the rest of your application?
How do you answer the UT Austin short answers?
As you may have noticed from the UT Austin essay requirements, all students applying in fall 2021 must respond to four short-answer UT Austin essay prompts. While each response is limited to 250-300 words, you should still spend time brainstorming and drafting your short answer UT essays.
In this section, we’ll break down each of the short-answer UT Austin essay prompts. Let’s get started!
Short Answer UT Austin Essay Prompts: Question 1 (Required)
Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (250-300 words)
The first of the short-answer UT Austin essay prompts asks you to explain your academic interests in more detail. On your UT Austin application, you will identify your intended major; while this intended major is non-binding, you should still think carefully about which major you choose. The major you describe will influence how your readers approach your application, providing greater context for your academic achievements and overall candidate profile. For more advice on choosing a major for your college applications, check out our article .
Make sure the major you choose to discuss genuinely intrigues you. Don’t say you want to study applied math just to seem intelligent. Remember, the best answers to the UT essay prompts will be the most genuine! If you’re undecided, that’s okay—just choose a major that aligns with your interests. The UT Austin essay requirements aren’t intended to force you to choose a field of study before you’re ready—they’re just meant to help you discuss your academic interests in more detail.
Keep it concise
With only 250-300 words in this UT Austin essay, you shouldn’t waste your time on elaborate anecdotes. While you can (and should!) include strong details to help your responses to the UT essay prompts stand out, you should spend most of your UT essay directly discussing your chosen major. Break down why it matters to you and how you hope to engage with it at UT Austin.
Cut to the chase with a description of what you want to study and why it appeals to you. Be as specific and personal as possible. Avoid general statements like “I just want to study geology because it interests me”; instead, talk about why it interests you. Maybe you visited the Grand Canyon as a kid and have been fascinated by rock formations ever since. Whatever you discuss, be sure to tie it back to your identity.
- Do you identify a major that genuinely interests you?
- Does your chosen major support your application narrative ?
- Do you cite the specific reasons why this major appeals to you?
- Does your UT essay illustrate your intellect?
Short Answer UT Austin Essay Prompts: Question 2 (Required)
Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT. (250-300 words)
The second of the short answer UT Austin essay prompts addresses your relationship to your community. Through this UT Austin supplemental essay, the admissions team hopes to understand how you will make an impact on their campus.
Overall, the UT Austin essay requirements should help you show the admissions team how your experiences will inform who you will be at UT. This essay is no exception. This UT essay prompt asks you to address how your “experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities” will help you positively influence the UT community. Note that UT asks you to provide specific details about how your background impacts your role as a community member. That is, they want you to state, in precise terms, how your experiences will help you contribute to UT.
You might start this UT Austin supplemental essay with a brainstorming session. Make two lists: one that describes formative experiences, perspectives, talents, and leadership roles, and one that describes your key values and character traits. Once you have these lists, look at how they overlap. For instance, maybe you stated on your values list that you care about showing compassion to others and noted on your experience list that you spend every weekend taking care of your younger brother. Intersections like this will form a strong foundation for your UT essay.
You only have 250-300 words, so once again, you should be relatively brief. Don’t tell longwinded stories; instead, focus on specific experiences you’ve had and how they’ll help you impact your future community at UT. Once you’ve written your first draft, be sure to revise. Every word of your UT essay should make a difference!
- Do you describe particular experiences, perspectives, talents, or leadership roles you’ve had?
- Does your UT essay clarify the specific ways you’ll impact the UT community?
- Does your essay complement the other elements of your application?
Short Answer UT Austin Essay Prompts: Question 3 (Required)
The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate. (250-300 words)
In looking at the UT Austin essay requirements, you might have noticed that there’s no conventional “Why UT” essay. However, while it may not seem like it, this is essentially a “Why UT” essay. If you’ve spent time on the UT website, you’ve probably noticed their tagline: “What starts here changes the world.” So, how will you change the world with the skills you develop at UT?
This UT Austin supplemental essay asks for two things. First, it asks you to paint a picture of what your time at UT might look like. Then, it asks you to describe how your experiences will help you change the world after you leave UT.
For inspiration, check out the UT website or their YouTube channel . You might also look through UT’s list of student organizations for a bit more inspiration. Think about the kind of person you would be at UT. What would you study? Which clubs would you join? How would you spend your time? Be as specific as possible—your UT Austin supplemental essay should show that you’ve done your research.
Then, transition to your postgraduate plans. How would the UT experience you envision help you impact the broader world? What skills would UT give you that would help you in your chosen career, both in the practical and the personal sense?
- Does your UT essay specify why UT—and only UT—will help you meet your future goals?
- Do you state specific reasons why UT will prepare you for your future career?
- Does your UT Austin supplemental essay describe how UT will help you positively influence the world after you graduate?
Short Answer UT Austin Essay Prompts: Question 4 (Required)
Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance, including the possible effects of COVID-19. (250-300 words)
According to the UT Austin website, this UT Austin supplemental essay question is required for all students applying in fall 2021, though it will become optional for students who submit their applications in the spring. Double-check your Coalition App or ApplyTexas requirements before drafting your response. Still, it’s in your best interest to think about how you might respond to the last of the UT Austin essay prompts.
Is there any context that your readers should understand in order to best evaluate your application? For example, maybe you had a bad bout with COVID just before taking the SAT, or had to care for a sick family member during exam season. You might even use this space to talk about how virtual learning impacted your education over the last year and a half.
While many students will use this space to discuss the impact of COVID-19, that’s not the only way you can approach this UT Austin essay prompt. This UT essay question gives you the space to discuss any other “events or special circumstances” that have complicated your high school experience. Additionally, while you should proofread your work carefully, you can approach this UT essay with less artistry than the rest of the UT Austin essay requirements. Above all, make sure that your essay communicates how your education was disrupted so that UT admissions can evaluate your application fairly.
- Do you describe how your education was disrupted, either by COVID-19 or by other factors?
- Does your UT Austin essay provide specific details?
- Is your essay free from any grammatical or spelling errors?
UT Austin Essay Requirements: Final Thoughts
While the UT Austin essay requirements might seem overwhelming, don’t be discouraged. If you start your UT Austin essays early and give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm and draft, you should be in great shape. Don’t be intimidated by the UT Austin essay requirements—instead, use them to your advantage. Good luck!
This 2021-2022 essay guide on UT Austin was written by Abbie Sage, Harvard ‘21. Want more help responding to the UT essay prompts? Click here to create your free CollegeAdvisor.com account or schedule a free advising assessment with an Admissions Expert by calling (844) 343-6272.
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Writing A Compelling UT Austin Required Long Essay (Topic A Essay) for Your Application to The University of Texas at Austin
Together with the short answer essays, the UT Austin Required Essay (Topic A Essay) is a student's primary vehicle for communicating the aspects of their personality, perspectives, and relationships that a resume alone can't convey. It's their chance to give the admissions committee a sense of who they are and how they see the world.
Here's the prompt:
Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
This essay should be between 550-650 words, or about two to three paragraphs. The essay prompt asks you to share your personal story and reflect on the unique opportunities or challenges you've faced during high school that have influenced the person you are today.
Students are used to writing academic papers, where their teachers provide clear prompts, a list of expectations, and even a rubric that lays out exactly what they need to do to earn full credit. Personal essays are a different beast. This prompt is particularly open-ended. That means the expectations can seem frustratingly amorphous, and no one can tell a student with 100% accuracy what they need to do to succeed. That freedom of thought, though, is representative of what college will be like for a student, so it's a great chance to embrace that new mindset.
The UT Austin Required Essay is crucial to the holistic review process utilized by the university's admissions team. The admissions team at UT Austin takes a comprehensive approach when reviewing an applicant's profile. They consider various factors that highlight an applicant's potential for success, such as academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal experiences. The required essay provides applicants with the opportunity to express themselves and demonstrate their unique qualities, which cannot be reflected in their test scores or transcripts alone. This essay allows admissions officers to assess an applicant's writing and critical thinking abilities, gaining valuable insight into their capabilities as a student.
Here, we'll offer some conceptual advice on how to approach the brainstorming and drafting process for Essay A. The goal is to spark ideas and help demystify the process of writing a personal essay.
BREAKING DOWN THE PROMPT
To start, it can be helpful for a student to rewrite the prompt in their own words to be sure they're really clear on what it's asking. We've "translated" the prompt here to give you an idea of what we mean. Here's our take on what Essay A is really asking.
Tell us a story. It might be a big, important story about an event or experience that completely changed the course of your life. But it might also be a small story: a memory or experience that has a special meaning to you, even if it doesn't seem important from the outside. We hope you'll choose an interesting story, but ultimately, the story is just a window into your world. We don't get to spend years in your company, becoming friends with you or getting to know you in your everyday life. But when we look through the lens of your story, we'll get a glimpse of who you are beyond this application. We'll begin to form an understanding of what you care about and how you make sense of the world. You get to choose where in your life or history you want to open that window for us—and then you get to tell us why that's the spot you've chosen.
With that in mind, the Essay A prompt can be broken down into two primary parts.
- Part 1: The narrative component ("Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career...")
- Part 2: The reflection component ("...that have shaped who you are today?")
Let's take a look at each of these sections separately.
THE NARRATIVE COMPONENT: "TELL US YOUR STORY"
Why do we call this the "narrative" section instead of the "story" section? They're similar terms, but narrative suggests development, change, and growth. In other words, a narrative isn't just one thing happening after another, or a bunch of disconnected events happening simultaneously. In a personal essay like this one, the narrative arc traces some aspect of a student's development as a person.
Which story should you tell?
Although this story might be rooted in a student's earliest experiences, the primary focus of the narrative should be on the past three or four years. For most teenagers, high school is a period of rapid personal and interpersonal growth. During that time, a student has probably begun to form their own individual ideas and beliefs, explore new interests, and take on more responsibility at school and at home. They've also gained experience navigating new social and emotional challenges, and they may have started developing a stronger sense of what they have to contribute to the communities they belong to.
In short: Their narrative should explore some aspect of their personal growth, regardless of what area they choose to focus on.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
We've noticed that the "opportunities or challenges" language from the prompt can sometimes confuse students or prematurely narrow their thinking in the brainstorming phase.
The first common stumbling block is students feeling like they need to choose an experience that's either clearly an "opportunity" or clearly a "challenge." In reality, most experiences contain elements of both. For instance, taking on a major leadership role might be an opportunity to create change within the community, but it would also be challenging to balance schoolwork with the responsibilities of the new position. Pursuing an independent study gives the student an opportunity to delve deeply into a topic that fascinates them, but it challenges them to improve their time management skills and to learn how to solve problems without as much formal guidance as they're used to.
Bottom line: Be sure you do not worry too much about labeling an experience as a challenge or an opportunity. Instead, they should focus on moments that have produced some type of change in their life or thinking. Change, whether they experience it as positive or negative, opens up the possibility for growth, which will be important for the second part of the essay.
The second common stumbling block can be a little trickier because it's rooted in a misconception about what the personal essay should do. When students hear the stock phrase "opportunities or challenges," they assume the admissions committee must want to hear about either their most impressive achievement or their most harrowing defeat. In brainstorming examples from their lives, students tend to focus almost exclusively on extremes (the highest highs, the lowest lows), which are usually things they've already listed on their resume as well.
These don't necessarily make for bad essay topics—in the hands of a thoughtful, introspective writer, virtually any subject can make for a compelling and personally revelatory piece. But both have certain risks.
- Focusing too narrowly on extreme highs and achievements (including activities, honors, and so on) can result in essays that read more like long-form resumes than visceral, compelling stories. Too much of an external focus makes the essay flat, giving the reader little sense of the writer's inner life.
- By contrast, when students write about extreme lows, including a traumatic event or loss, they can sometimes get too caught up in exploring painful thoughts and feelings. They also may not yet be ready to reflect on the experience. The experience begins to define the writer, instead of the writer defining the experience and placing it within the broader context of their personality and life.
It's okay to pick a topic that seems less extreme. Often, it's the subtler experiences that are more defining.
HOW SHOULD YOU TELL THE STORY?
Imagine you're listening to someone you've just met tell you a story about a recent experience. Part of your attention is probably focused on the content of the story itself: You might be picturing the scene in your imagination, for instance, or making connections between the story and your own experiences.
But as you listen, you're also forming an impression of the storyteller themselves. Whether you consciously realize it or not, your brain is busy gathering data about who this person is, where they come from, and what it feels like to spend time in their company. As the person continues speaking, offering new details, your brain continues to flesh out those initial impressions, adjusting or revising your mental image of the storyteller. By the time you leave the person's company, you might not remember all the details of their story, but you will probably walk away with a distinct impression of what that person is like.
You form these impressions based not only on the content of the story, but also on the way the person chooses to tell the story. The expressions someone uses, the descriptive details they decide to include, their reliance on humor or a more serious, intellectual tone—all these are choices a storyteller makes that communicate information to their listener.
For example, if someone walked up to you at an event and began to deliver a formal, scripted address, avoiding the first person and using lots of technical jargon, you might think they were a little cold, a little aloof, or even intentionally intimidating. Of course, that judgment might be wildly off-base, but since you part ways with them immediately after the story's end, all you have to go on is your initial perception.
The words you use to tell the story are just as important as the story itself. Most importantly, the essay should sound like them.
BRAINSTORMING AND FREEWRITING IDEAS
As a student decides on a story and begins formulating how they'll communicate it, be sure they imagine themselves as both the storyteller and the listener. The first part is simple—that's them. But putting themselves in the shoes of the listener will help them figure out how they might make the most authentic impression on the admissions committee.
Here are some questions they can ask themselves:
- If you were listening to someone tell you this story, what aspects of their personality would stand out most to you?
- What would you walk away knowing about this person?
- What would you leave not knowing or still wondering about them?
- Would you find this person interesting to talk to? Would you want to spend more time getting to know them? Why or why not?
- What details about their personality or their experiences stick out in your mind?
- Is it easy to create a vivid mental picture of this person's world? If they chose to tell a story set in a specific place, or if they described a specific experience that affected them, can you envision yourself in that scene?
- After the storyteller walks away, how would you describe them to someone else? What aspects of their personality or story would you relate to a friend?
This exercise will be difficult at first. It takes practice to get outside of your own perspective and try to see yourself from someone else's point of view. It can be helpful for your student to talk through their ideas with a friend or family member, someone who can remind them of the parts of themselves that they take for granted or have trouble seeing. And if those people have heard this story before, or remember it happening themselves, they can also help remind your student of details they might have forgotten.
It can also be intimidating or stressful to think about how others perceive us. A student might struggle to come up with a story not because they can't think of examples, but because they're worried that the story they've chosen won't seem "good enough" or impressive enough to the admissions committee. And regardless of how a student reacts to this kind of concern—covering up vulnerabilities, self-deprecation, acting over-confident—it can make it difficult for them to be themselves.
So as they test out their stories and think through the questions above, they should try to imagine their listener as someone who's eager to get to know them, rather than someone who can't wait to start judging them. Changing their perception of their audience can change the student's entire experience of writing a personal essay. They'll be able to think in more curious, exploratory ways, and they'll be more open to taking creative risks or trying something that feels a little outside of their comfort zone.
Another strategy for generating ideas is to look at physical reminders of the past.
- Reflect on personal relics. Have your student read through an old journal or flip through the family photo album. They might browse through their social media accounts or look at their friends' photos and posts from a particular time. (Reminder: Social media isn't always an accurate representation of what actually happened or how people felt about it, so your student should take that all with a grain of salt.)
- Recreate past experiences. Your student might put on an album they used to listen to obsessively, thinking about where they listened to it and why it resonated with them. Or they can page through a book they read and couldn't stop thinking about.
- Revisit meaningful places. They can even revisit physical places that they used to spend time in: an old dance studio, the fro-yo place their teammates always went after practice, the restaurant they worked at the summer after sophomore year. These kinds of strategies can be useful for unlocking sense memories, and they'll also help generate more vivid descriptions of the places and people in your student's story.
THE REFLECTION COMPONENT: UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES AND HOW THEY SHAPED WHO YOU ARE
Different people's narratives may overlap—for instance, multiple people might write about an experience connected to their sports team—but the reflection on that narrative is always unique to the student. The narrative tells us what happened; the reflection tells us why living those experiences mattered to the student--not to the person next to them and not to a generic student, but to your student personally.
The reflection aspect of the essay helps the reader understand how the student has grown and changed over time. It's where a student will look back at the narrative and think seriously about how they have changed because of it. The admissions committee is asking students to substantiate the impression of themselves that they're trying to convey in their story, by giving examples of how the qualities they're emphasizing have played out in their life.
Even though reflection involves looking back, it isn't about getting stuck in the past or waxing nostalgic about the good ol' days. Instead, it's an activity you engage in to prepare for the future, especially in periods of transition. Reflection can help a student begin to discern patterns in their lives and interests, or threads that connect seemingly disparate areas of their life. They might realize that even in different settings, they naturally gravitate toward certain roles or certain ways of solving problems. These insights can help them understand what their professional strengths might be as they prepare to pursue internships and eventually choose a career.
Reflection isn't necessarily something we know how to do naturally. It's a muscle we gradually strengthen, through processes like freewriting, asking ourselves questions, and discussing our experiences with others.
Here are some questions a student can ask themselves during the reflection process:
- How have you grown emotionally, intellectually, and/or interpersonally through your experiences?
- How have your experiences challenged you, pushed you to develop new skills, or shaped your core convictions?
- What do you understand about yourself or about the people you work with now that you didn't five years ago?
- What have you have come to understand through your experiences that other people your age might not know or understand?
Engaging in reflective thinking can transform a flat description of "here's what I did" into a compelling, richly layered exploration of the thoughts, feelings, and convictions that shaped a student's engagement.
REFLECTING ON INTERNAL EXPERIENCES
As a student explores different ways of substantiating or fleshing out that impression of themselves, they should remember to include both external and internal experiences.
Let's say, for example, that a student is a compassionate, caring person who has always believed in using their talents to strengthen their community. In their essay, they would want to include some details or examples that would help demonstrate how this quality manifests in their life. It's easy to talk about how they completed 150 hours of community service every year at a local homeless shelter—and they've no doubt already listed that on their resume. But their essay can—and should—explore aspects of those experiences that aren't communicated by the resume, if they are truly meaningful for a student.
There's likely more to the story—an internal journey that a student hasn't yet communicated. Perhaps they were raised in a family that prided itself on toughness and self-sufficiency. As a child, they often heard adults in their life urge others to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" or pass harsh judgment on people who were out of work and unable to support their families. When a student first started volunteering, they sometimes found themselves echoing these beliefs in their thoughts, especially during challenging or frustrating moments.
But then they began to pay attention to those thoughts and reflect on moments where they arose. As they observed the social workers and other adults who worked at the shelter, they sought to learn from the way they talked about the communities they worked with. During a student's volunteer shifts, they began spending time talking with the people who came to the shelter, forming relationships with them and seeking to better understand their lives. In their free time, they watched documentaries about homelessness and checked out books from the local library. Eventually, as their convictions became stronger and their sense of purpose clearer, they began to have conversations with their family about the work they were doing, even inviting family members to start volunteering with them once a week.
This learning process may still be ongoing, but they're proud of the change they've seen in their own thoughts and behaviors. They feel like they've finally begun to develop a more nuanced understanding of an issue they care about, as well as a more empathetic perspective toward the people they work with. And within their own family, they are making a quiet but intentional effort to expand their worldview and advocate for those communities.
Bottom line: Unless we articulate our internal experiences, others may never know how important they have been to our personal growth. The admissions committee won't know what a student was thinking about and learning unless they explicitly say it.
Plus, these inner experiences are driven by intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation. In other words, they aren't motivated by a desire to earn external recognition in awards, good grades, or praise from others; rather, they emerge out of quieter, more inwardly focused desires, including the desire to deepen their understanding of something they care about, or their desire to more closely align their beliefs and actions with the type of person they want to be.
In general, internal experiences tend to be more emotionally "sticky" than external experiences. They may elicit conflicted or ambivalent feelings, especially if the student is grappling with ideas that fundamentally challenge something about their worldview or sense of self. And while external experiences may have clear endpoints, internal experiences tend to unfold on different timelines. The core questions these experiences generate are not usually ones a student can answer definitively, or just once. Instead, they become guiding preoccupations—ideas they'll spend their whole lives wrestling with and exploring. And that's exactly what the admissions committee wants to hear about.
5-POINT SCORECARD TO MAKE SURE YOUR ESSAY STANDS OUT FROM THE STACK
Students are used to writing academic papers, where their teachers provide clear prompts, a list of expectations, and even a rubric that lays out exactly what they need to do to earn full credit. Personal essays are a different beast. This Essay A prompt is particularly open-ended. That means the expectations can seem frustratingly amorphous, and no one can tell your student with 100% accuracy what they need to do to succeed. That freedom of thought, though, is representative of what college will be like for your student, so it's a great chance to embrace that new mindset.
But once a student completes their draft, how can they be sure their essay will stand out from the stack? We’ve developed a 5-point scorecard to help students assess their drafts of UT Austin Required Essay (Topic A Essay). Here it is.
When scoring their essay, students should keep an eye on the following aspects:
- The student is the main character. If you spend most of the essay talking about your grandfather or the complicated details involved in coding your app, you may be missing the opportunity to share important information about yourself. To earn a 5, your essay must reveal how your grandfather impacted you or why you chose to code the app and how the experience influenced you.
- Values and unique characteristics. In an effective essay, the reader gains insight into a few of your most important qualities and values. Examples include resilience, kindness, creativity, persistence, empathy, curiosity, courage, etc. Does your essay give a focused, in-depth look into a few specific characteristics with examples that showcase them in an engaging, readable way? If so, give yourself a 5.
- The essay focuses on recent experiences rather than (or in addition to) childhood experiences. From a resume standpoint, colleges are interested in what you’ve done in high school. They want to know the person who will be coming to their campus, not the child you used to be. While it’s fine to link something that happened in your childhood to more recent experiences, it’s important to spend the majority of your essay on those recent experiences. If your essay does that, give yourself a 5 here.
- The essay demonstrates learning, growth, or movement. The most interesting movies and books show character change and development, right? The same is true for an effective personal essay. To earn a 5 in this category, make sure your essay includes self-reflection about what you learned from an experience, how you have grown in some way, and even how you have applied what you’ve learned in a new situation.
- The essay moves into the future. How will the positive qualities and values you’ve highlighted in your essay help you in college or your future career? A 5 in this area means that you've spent a small part of the essay, typically near the end, reflecting on how what you have written about will allow you to contribute or succeed as a student, person, or employee in the future.
If a student scores below a 5 in any of these areas, they should consider revising the essay to improve their score. We don't expect students will get a perfect score here—again, the goal is 20 or above as a total—but the higher they can get, the more likely it is that they have an engaging essay that will stand out for essay readers.
The UT Austin Required Essay is an important component of the holistic review process used by the university's admissions team. It provides applicants with the opportunity to share their personal stories and highlight unique experiences that have shaped their character and values. The essay also helps admissions officers gain insight into an applicant's writing ability and critical thinking skills. By considering the essay alongside other application materials, such as transcripts, test scores (if submitted), and the expanded resume, UT Austin can make informed decisions about which students will thrive in their academic community and contribute positively to campus life.
Note: These services and programs are in no way related to the University of Texas. The University does not endorse the program or College MatchPoint’s services.
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How to write the ut austin supplemental essays + examples.
Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University
Writing the UT Austin essays requires introspection, creativity, and time! To learn how to ace this application component, read on!
If you’re planning on applying to the University of Texas and are making your way down your application checklist, you may hit a roadblock when it comes to the supplemental essays .
These essays often prove to be the most demanding aspect of college applications, as they call for transforming your thoughts into captivating words and leaving a lasting impression on the admissions committee. But fear not! This guide has got you covered! In it, we’ll break down each of the UT Austin essays.
UT Austin Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023-2024
Before we delve into how to write the UT Austin supplemental essays , let’s go over the prompts. You’ll be required to answer one essay prompt and a few short answers.
The required essay prompt should be around 500-700 words , typically two the three paragraphs. However, your responses to the short answer prompts should be no more than 40 lines or 250-300 words .
Required Essay Prompt #1
“Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?”
Short Answer Prompt #2
“ Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”
Short Answer Prompt #3
“ Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.”
Short Answer Prompt #4
“ The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is ‘To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.’ Please share how you believe your experience at UT Austin will prepare you to ‘Change the World’ after you graduate.”
Optional Short Answer Prompt #5
Students may also answer the following short answer if it applies to them:
“Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance.”
How to Write Each Essay Prompt for UT Austin
Now, we’ll delve into how to answer each of UT Austin’s prompts to ensure your responses are original, insightful, and interesting! We’ll go through specific UT Austin essay requirements and also provide successful essay examples to begin your creative process.
How to Write UT Austin Required Essay #1 + Analysis and Tips
Analysis of UT Austin’s required essay prompt : This prompt, by asking you to “tell your story,” calls for some personal reflection on your life so far. UT Austin wants to get to know you as a well-rounded person beyond your application materials. They want to know the things that have shaped and formed you in your life.
The various opportunities and challenges you’ve experienced say a lot about who you are. By asking you to tell these anecdotes, the admissions committee wants to see you display humility, self-awareness, gratitude, and a desire to learn and grow. Think deeply about significant moments in your life and how they have made you different.
To write a strong essay for UT Austin, consider following these tips:
Tip #1: Dig into Your High School Memories
Time for a little throwback session! Sit down with a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever else floats your boat, and start digging up all those unique experiences you had during high school. For most of you, you’re likely in your senior year, so this shouldn’t be too hard!
Remember those times when life threw something special at you or maybe even knocked you off your feet? Jot all of these memories down so you can go through them and pick the most meaningful ones to talk about.
Tip #2: Find the Common Thread
Now that you've got a bunch of high school memories in front of you, see if there's a common theme or a big idea that ties them together. It could be a passion, a challenge you faced head-on, or a turning point that changed the game for you.
Tip #3: Be Descriptive!
Get creative with your writing! Paint a picture with your words. Make your essay engaging and fun to read. You want those admissions officers to be hooked from the start to the finish.
Tip #4: Get Real and Vulnerable
No need to put on a show here to worry about what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Be yourself!
Share your stories and feelings with authenticity. The admissions committee wants to see the genuine you, not some perfectly polished version. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, share your feelings and emotions, and demonstrate your growth.
Tip #5: Talk About Unique Opportunities
Share those opportunities that set you apart from the crowd. Maybe it was an internship, a special extracurricular , a passion project , or a chance to travel.
Show them how these experiences opened up new doors and helped you grow.
Tip #6: Face the Challenges, No Holding Back
Life's not always rainbows and sunshine. The admissions committee wants to hear about your struggles and your ability to overcome them. So, discuss those tough moments that you thought you’d never get through, how you pushed on, and what you learned along the way.
Show the committee how all these experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly—shaped the awesome person you are today.
Tip #7: End On a High Note
End your essay with a forward-looking approach. You’ve spent most of your essay reminiscing about high school and the lessons you learned from it. Now think about what’s next!
Offer the admissions committee some insight into your academic and career aspirations. Talk about how you plan on fulfilling these goals at UT Austin and what you plan on contributing to this school!
How to Write UT Austin Short Answer #2 + Analysis and Tips
Short answer #1 analysis : The first short answer is relatively straightforward. There’s a reason you chose your intended major, and now’s your time to demonstrate your passion and explain why your selected program interests you!
UT Austin is dedicated to making a real difference in the world, so it’s essential you take your essay beyond the realms of your immediate college career. Think about what you’ll do with your education and how you’ll impact those around you!
Keep these tips in mind to ensure you nail this short answer:
- Showcase your passion and genuine interest : Avoid essay topics that you think the committee wants to hear. Instead, ensure your sincere passion for the major you've selected is evident throughout your essay. Explain why it excites you and what specific aspects of the subject matter resonate with you.
- Connect to your background : Reflect on any relevant events, challenges, or opportunities that influenced your decision. Share one or two brief anecdotes or stories that demonstrate how your experiences have shaped your aspirations and academic path. This will make your essay personal and engaging.
- Highlight your skills and alignment with UT Austin : Explain how your skills, strengths, and natural abilities align with the chosen major. Describe specific talents or aptitudes that you possess and how they complement the demands of your academic program and profession.
- Emphasise UT Austin's program and opportunities : Demonstrate your knowledge and interest in UT Austin's program. Research its offerings, faculty members, research opportunities, and distinctive features related to your chosen major. Explain how these aspects appeal to you and align with your goals.
- Discuss your future aspirations : Share your long-term aspirations and how pursuing this major will enable you to make a positive impact in your chosen field and beyond. Discuss how you envision using the knowledge and skills gained from this program to contribute to society or address real-world challenges.
How to Write UT Austin Short Answer #3 + Analysis and Tips
Short answer #2 analysis : With this prompt, UT Austin wants to see drive and commitment to make a difference in the university community as well as proof that you’ve made a difference in other spaces as well.
This question should demonstrate self-awareness, passion, and motivation. UT Austin wants to know how your past experiences have brought you to where you are, and they also want to know more about your future aspirations.
By demonstrating your potential to have a positive impact both in and out of the classroom, you can present yourself as a well-rounded candidate that will make great contributions to the UT community!
Implement these tips into your second short answer response:
- Highlight your key qualities and experiences : Provide an overview of the experiences, perspectives, talents, and leadership activities that define you as an individual but avoid listing them without adding context and depth. Explain how they contribute to your overall character and worldview.
- Emphasize leadership skills and potential : Discuss your involvement in leadership activities. Illustrate how you have taken initiative, influenced others, or demonstrated a commitment to creating positive change. All of these traits are highly valued by UT Austin!
- Talk about your future : Demonstrate how your specific attributes and experiences will allow you to make a positive impact both in and out of the classroom at UT Austin. Explain how your perspectives and background have shaped your understanding of different issues and will enrich class discussions.
- Connect back to UT Austin : Show that you have done your research on UT Austin's values, culture, and community. Explain how your experiences, perspectives, and talents align with the university's mission and how you plan to contribute to the campus environment.
- Be genuine and specific : Throughout your essay, be authentic and avoid any vagueness. Share specific anecdotes and examples to illustrate your points, and be descriptive! Show, don't tell, and immerse your readers into your experiences so they connect to them better.
How to Write UT Austin Short Answer #4 + Analysis and Tips
Short answer #3 analysis : This short answer is one of the more challenging UT Austin essays. It requires students to look ahead past their college career and think critically about how they plan on bettering the world.
While the previous questions are focused on your passions in a more general sense, this prompt asks you to think about your aspirations at UT Austin specifically. How does your desire to attend UT Austin connect to your dreams and goals?
Here are some tips on how to approach this question:
Tip #1: Be Realistic
The admissions committee isn’t looking for any sappy or exaggerated goals. They aren’t expecting you to cure cancer or find life on Mars.
Think about what realistic impact you want to have on the world. Whether it be changing the lives of your patients as a healthcare worker, helping address social issues, or simply being a strong advocate for the environment, any effort to better the lives of others counts!
Tip #2: Be Specific
Don’t make vague statements about your passion to change the world, healthcare, poverty, or any other broad topic. Be specific and clearly state your long-term aspirations and the specific ways you envision changing the world after graduation.
Think about who exactly you want to help, what issue you aim to address, and the tools you’ll use to do so.
Tip #3: Connect UT Austin's Offerings to Your Goals
Showcase your understanding of UT Austin's unique offerings and how they align with your ambitions. Discuss specific academic programs, research opportunities, clubs, or organizations that UT Austin offers and explain how they will support your personal and professional growth towards your goal of changing the world.
Tip #4: Discuss Your Commitment to Impact
Emphasize your dedication and commitment to creating a positive impact. Demonstrate that you are not just interested in pursuing your career for personal gain, but that you genuinely care about making a difference in the lives of others and improving society.
Tip #5: Be Ambitious
Be ambitious in your goals, but also be realistic about the steps you'll take to achieve them. Demonstrate that you have a clear plan for how your experience at UT Austin will serve as a stepping stone to creating a lasting impact on a broader scale. Demonstrate you have direction and know what it’ll take to reach your goals.
Tip #6: Wrap Up with Confidence and Gratitude
Conclude your essay with a strong and confident statement that reinforces your commitment to changing the world and your gratitude for the opportunity to do so at UT Austin. Leave a lasting impression on the reader that highlights your passion and determination.
How to Write UT Austin Optional Essay #6
Answering the optional essay is simple; stick to the facts and be honest. There is no need to be overly descriptive or create a compelling narrative out of your circumstances.
This essay should only help the admissions committee learn more about the extent of your circumstances, how they prevented you from achieving your best, and how you attempted to overcome them. As such, you’ll want this essay to be relatively short. It should not exceed one to two paragraphs.
Examples of UT Austin Supplemental Essays That Worked
It can be really helpful to look at examples of successful essays for inspiration. Below, you’ll find essay examples from accepted UT Austin applicants! We’ll look at each example closely to examine what worked about it.
Sample Essay #1
Your UT Austin essays need to be concise, captivating, and creative to effectively answer this prompt:
Take a look at this example essay:
“‘Gone but never forgotten’---the solemn inscription on the plaque dedicated to my best friend, displayed prominently in our high school. A phrase intended to offer comfort, but one that will always ring hollow for me. The reality remains stark; gone is still gone. No matter how many times I replay his infectious smile or reminisce about our sunlit summers spent surfing until sundown, he remains forever confined to the realm of memories.
Losing my best friend to cancer was a heart-wrenching blow that shattered my world. We had shared dreams, laughter, and endless plans for our future. His untimely departure left an emptiness in my heart and a void in my life that seemed impossible to fill. Grief consumed me, and the once vibrant light of my high school years dimmed significantly. Coping with the loss of such a young, budding life was a challenge unlike any other, and it tested my emotional strength to its limits.
But, In the face of this overwhelming and seemingly unending pain, I found solace in the support of my family and friends. Their unwavering presence and understanding helped me navigate through the darkest times. I realized that I was not alone in my grief and that reaching out for support was not a sign of weakness but an act of bravery. This experience taught me the power of empathy and the significance of connection, shaping my understanding of the value of relationships in life.
While the loss of my best friend left a permanent scar, it also sparked an awakening within me. I became acutely aware of the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. As I struggled to regain my sense of purpose, I sought solace in volunteer work at a local cancer support center. Being able to offer comfort and empathy to patients and their families on their own journeys was a cathartic experience that helped me heal and provided me with a newfound sense of direction.
Amidst the challenges, high school also offered unique opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. I found inspiration in the arts, particularly through music and painting. These creative outlets became my refuge, allowing me to express emotions that words could not convey. Art became a powerful medium through which I could heal and explore my own emotions, and it ignited a passion that continues to fuel my aspirations.
As I delved deeper into my artistic pursuits, I discovered my ability to inspire others through storytelling. I started sharing my experiences through writing and public speaking, aiming to bring hope and awareness to those facing similar struggles. This newfound purpose motivated me to excel academically and to embrace every opportunity for growth that high school offered.
With newfound resilience, I became an active member of various clubs and organizations that focused on cancer awareness and support. I initiated fundraisers and awareness campaigns, determined to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this dreadful disease. In doing so, I found strength in unity, as we came together as a community to support a common cause.
Through the highs and lows of high school, I have evolved into a compassionate, determined, and empathetic individual. The loss of my best friend has taught me that life is fragile and unpredictable, urging me to make the most of every opportunity and to embrace challenges with unwavering resolve.
As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of my journey at UT Austin, I am filled with a sense of purpose and determination. I aspire to study medicine, combining my love for the arts with my passion for healthcare to bring comfort and healing to those in need. The experiences of my high school years have shaped me into a resilient individual who values empathy, compassion, and the power of connection. I am confident that my journey through grief and self-discovery will not only enable me to excel academically but will also empower me to change lives and make a lasting impact both in and out of the classroom. So, while my best friend may be gone forever, his legacy will live on; through me, the sunsets I now surf through alone, the patients I will heal, and the grieving families I will support when all they have left to hold are intangible memories.”
Why It Works
This essay stands out because of its deeply personal exploration of the writer's journey from grief to resilience, fueled by a passion for cancer awareness and healing.
The unique fusion of art, medicine, and storytelling highlights the writer's distinct personality, aspirations, and well-roundedness. Their commitment to community engagement, coupled with a clear academic focus on medicine, also aligns well with the university's values.
Short Answer #1 Example
Below, you’ll find an example essay answering the following prompt:
“Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”
Here’s another example essay to draw inspiration from:
“In 'The Alchemist,' Paulo Coelho writes, 'And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.' This profound sentiment resonates deeply with my decision to pursue an English major at UT Austin. For me, the study of English is a transformative journey of self-discovery and a pursuit of understanding the interconnectedness of humanity through the written word.
Like Santiago, the protagonist in 'The Alchemist,' I believe that our desires and dreams can shape our destinies. In the enchanting world of literature, I find myself constantly drawn to the power of storytelling, where words become vessels for ideas, emotions, and shared experiences.
Choosing UT Austin as the home for my academic pursuits was an easy decision. The English program's reputation for fostering intellectual curiosity and nurturing creativity aligns perfectly with my academic goals. The diverse range of courses, from classic literature to contemporary poetry, promises to provide a comprehensive understanding of literary traditions, nurturing my ability to critically analyze and interpret texts.
Beyond the curriculum, I am excited about the vibrant literary community at UT Austin. Engaging with like-minded peers in literary clubs, workshops, and events will undoubtedly enrich my perspective and encourage meaningful discussions on the intricacies of literature. Moreover, I envision utilizing my passion for writing to contribute to UT Austin's literary publications and participate in creative writing workshops. Embracing opportunities to share my voice, whether through poetry or prose, is essential to my growth as a writer and communicator.
Ultimately, my decision to pursue an English major at UT Austin is driven by a deep-rooted passion for storytelling, a desire to understand the complexities of human existence, and a conviction that words possess the power to change lives.”
Why Essay #1 Worked
This essay begins with an interesting quote that intrigues the reader from the very first line. Then they artfully connect this quote to their personal and academic aspirations, which reflects a thoughtful consideration of the applicant's choice of major and resonates with the transformative power of education.
The alignment of their academic interests with UT Austin's English program also showcases a well-researched understanding of the university's offerings.
Short Answer #2 Example
You’ll need to do some serious brainstorming and reflecting to write an essay that answers this prompt well:
“Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.”
You can use the following UT Austin essay to guide you in your brainstorming process:
“My journey leading up to UT has been shaped by a tapestry of experiences: my responsibilities at home, my passion for basketball, and my commitment to community service. Balancing two part-time jobs throughout high school to ease the financial burdens at home has instilled in me a strong work ethic and a determination to excel both academically and personally.
As a devoted basketball enthusiast, the court has become my sanctuary, teaching me invaluable lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and leadership. The discipline and dedication required in sports have translated into my academic pursuits, where I strive for excellence with the same fervor I bring to the game.
My commitment to community service is deeply rooted in my family's legacy of veterans, who have instilled in me the importance of giving back. Volunteering at local animal shelters, soup kitchens, and hospitals and organizing charity events has allowed me to witness the transformative power of service firsthand. As such, I am driven by a desire to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others, both in and out of the classroom.
At UT, these experiences and perspectives will serve as my compass for engagement and leadership. As a student-athlete, I intend to contribute my skills to the campus basketball team, fostering a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship. On the academic front, my diverse background will enrich classroom discussions, bringing unique perspectives to the table.
Outside the classroom, I aspire to collaborate with service-oriented organizations, amplifying their impact on the community. Moreover, my leadership experience, gained from organizing charity events and coordinating community initiatives, will be instrumental in rallying fellow students to join forces for common causes. I am eager to embrace the enriching opportunities that UT has to offer, using my talents to foster a nurturing environment where empathy, determination, and teamwork thrive.”
Why Essay #2 Worked
The essay effectively highlights how all of this student’s experiences have shaped their character, instilling qualities like a strong work ethic, determination, teamwork, and leadership.
Their commitment to community service reflects a genuine desire to give back, and their intention to bring this commitment to UT's campus showcases their dedication to making a positive difference in the university community.
Short Answer #3 Example
For UT Austin’s third short answer essay, it’s important to include meaningful details. However, remember to be concise when answering the following prompt:
“The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, ‘To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.’ Please share how you believe your experience at UT Austin will prepare you to ‘Change the World’ after you graduate.”
Below is a sample essay to help you craft your own detailed and concise response:
“Aspiring to become a nurse, I am driven by a profound sense of compassion and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on people's lives. The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin resonates deeply with my aspirations, and I believe my experience at UT Austin will empower me to change the world through the profession of nursing.
UT Austin's esteemed nursing program will provide me with a comprehensive and cutting-edge education, equipping me with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver high-quality care to diverse populations. The renowned faculty and state-of-the-art facilities will cultivate my clinical expertise, enabling me to make a tangible difference in patients' lives.
Through hands-on experiences and clinical rotations, UT Austin will offer me invaluable opportunities to work with real patients and understand their unique needs and challenges. These experiences will shape me into a compassionate and empathetic caregiver, dedicated to advocating for the well-being of each individual.
Additionally, UT Austin's commitment to community engagement and service aligns perfectly with my vision of making a difference in society. Participating in health outreach programs and volunteering at local clinics will provide me with a broader perspective on healthcare disparities and strengthen my commitment to serving underserved communities. The diverse and inclusive environment at UT Austin will enhance my cultural competence and foster my ability to provide patient-centered care to individuals from different backgrounds.
My experience at UT Austin as a nursing student will be transformative, preparing me to be a compassionate and skilled healthcare professional. Rooted in the university's core purpose of transforming lives for the benefit of society, I am confident that I will graduate as a competent nurse ready to embrace the challenges of the healthcare field and positively impact the lives of those I serve.”
Why Essay #3 Works
The student grounds their aspiration to become a nurse in a genuine compassion for others and a desire to create a positive impact, which resonates well with the university's core purpose.
The essay also effectively outlines how UT Austin's nursing program is a perfect fit for the applicant, highlighting the comprehensive education, renowned faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities that will prepare them to deliver high-quality care.
These points present a strong case for how UT Austin’s program will empower this student and how she will contribute to the university’s community.
Optional Essay Example
Remember, you only need to respond to this prompt if it applies to you:
For your reference, here’s a sample essay explaining the circumstances that prevented a student from achieving the GPA they intended to:
“During my high school years, I encountered a unique set of circumstances that significantly impacted my academic performance. After my single mother was unexpectedly fired from her job and faced challenges finding another, our family's financial stability became uncertain. In order to support my mother and contribute to household expenses, I took on multiple part-time jobs, which demanded a substantial portion of my time and energy. As I juggled work commitments alongside my academic responsibilities, I found it increasingly challenging to maintain the GPA I had envisioned, a 3.8. While my determination to succeed academically remained steadfast, the added responsibilities and time constraints hindered my ability to dedicate as much time to my studies as I desired.
Despite these challenges, I persevered, ensuring that I gave my best effort in every aspect of my life. Balancing work and studies taught me invaluable time management and prioritization skills, but it also meant sacrificing some extracurricular opportunities that could have enriched my high school experience further. While my academic performance may not have reflected the 3.8 GPA I initially aimed for, I am proud of the resilience I demonstrated in the face of adversity. The experiences I gained from shouldering responsibilities beyond academics have shaped me into a diligent and empathetic individual. I believe these life lessons will undoubtedly serve me well as I embrace new challenges and opportunities in the future.”
Why This Optional Essay Works
This answer sticks to the facts and clearly articulates the circumstances the student faced, how they tried to improve their situation, and what they learned from it. The student keeps a positive tone throughout and does not place blame or try to evoke pity from the admissions committee!
Get More Sample Essays Here!
Looking at sample essays can work wonders for your own inspiration and motivation. If you want to check out more college application essays written by admitted students, take a look at our college essay database down below!
FAQs: UT Austin Essays
Below, you’ll find the answers to any remaining questions about the UT Austin essays!
1. How Many Essays Does UT Austin Require?
UT Austin requires all of its applicants to answer one long essay and three short essays. There is an additional optional essay for students that faced circumstances that negatively affected their high school experience.
2. Does UT Look At the Common App Essay?
Yes, the Common App essay will be considered in the admissions committee’s evaluations.
3. Does UT Look At Coalition Essays?
No, UT Austin only uses the Common Application or the Apply Texas application .
4. How Long Does UT Austin Supplemental Essay Need to Be?
The UT Austin required essay should be between 500-700 words. However, the short answer essays only need to be 250-300 words.
5. How Important Are Essays for the University of Texas at Austin?
According to UT Austin’s most recent common data set , the application essays are taken into consideration. This means that you’ll have make sure your essays are stellar so that your application stands out!
Overall, your UT Austin essays are not just about showcasing your achievements, but also about how your unique journey has shaped you into the person you are today. Embrace the challenges you've faced and the lessons you've learned along the way.
Be confident in your abilities and potential. Show them how you can make a positive impact both inside and outside the classroom at UT Austin. UT Austin is looking for a diverse array of individuals, so let your personality and potential shine brightly in your essays!
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- Apply Texas College Essay Prompts for Class of 2023
January 17, 2022 By Jolyn Brand
The Apply Texas application is a common application form for most Texas public universities. It allows students to input their information for several different colleges at once. ApplyTexas college essay prompts for class of 2022 are:
- Essay A: Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
- Essay B: Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.
- Essay C: You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?
Each school requires a different combination of these three college essays-some require all three, some just one or two, or others make certain ones recommended or optional. Some schools even use these essays for both admissions decisions AND scholarships so it’s important to put time and effort into each one!
UT Short Answer Question Requirements
As part of ApplyTexas, all freshman applicants will also respond to short-answer questions .
Fall 2022 Prompts-Required Short Answers (250-300 words each):
1. Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?
2. Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.
3. The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.
4. Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance, including the possible effects of COVID-19.
Texas A&M University- 3 Short Answer Questions for all applicants
- Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values (loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service). Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you personally and for the Texas A&M campus community. (250-300 words)
- Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why.
- Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.
Texas A&M University- Short answer question for Engineering majors (Priority deadline- October 15)
Engineering Essay : Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals?
The Apply Texas application has moved to https://goapplytexas.org/
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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 UT Austin Supplemental Essay Prompts
The University of Texas at Austin requires all applicants to submit a set of UT Austin supplemental essays. These essays are a great way to utilize creative writing to make yourself memorable and unique. Take this chance to tell your story and run with it. In this article, we will be breaking down each prompt to make each one easier to understand. Let’s go!
See also: How to write a great supplemental essay
Before you begin
- Multiple writing samples are required, including a supplemental essay and then four short answers (one of the four is optional).
- UT Austin offers students the opportunity to submit additional materials to strengthen their applications, such as letters of recommendation or an expanded resume
The UT Austin supplemental essay prompt
“Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?”
The traditional essay prompt is generally between 500 and 700 words. Compared to other supplemental essays, this is not all that long. In addition, this is an essay all about you. UT Austin wants to hear about your story and what makes you special. This is an easy topic to write about your personal experiences versus an essay that asks you to connect it back to the university.
With that being said, you don’t have to connect it back to the university, but… it is always a good idea to do so. This way, the people reading it are able to see what you have to offer the University of Texas, and what you bring to the table as a student.
So, what makes you unique? If you are planning on talking about challenges for this question, we recommend thinking twice about writing about the Pandemic. This is because although you may have a unique experience, the pandemic was a challenge that everyone had to live through. Pick a challenge that is unique to you, one that makes you you . In addition to that, in the optional short answer, you have the opportunity to talk about the challenges that you were presented with during the Pandemic.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to write three short answer questions (and have the option to write one additional one). These can be quick and easy, but extremely influential to the college admissions process. Each response should be between 250 and 300 words.
Short answer #1
“Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”
This is a simple question, and easy to answer in less than 300 words. Maybe you have always known what you wanted to study in college, or maybe you are still figuring it out– whatever the case may be, just be open, honest, and concise when you speak about this topic.
Short answer #2
“Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.”
In this short answer, they are offered the opportunity to talk about the things you are passionate about. Take this and run with it! This is one of the things that makes students stand out among the crowd– what they are passionate about and why. The trick here is connecting it back to how it currently benefits you as a student, and how it will continue to benefit you as a student.
An example of this could be a student organization that taught you about accountability. From being in a leadership position in this organization, you learned accountability, which helped you to be a better student because you were more apt to be on time with assignments, get ahead on your schoolwork, and to hold yourself accountable. Learning these things early on helped you to build healthy learning habits that you will carry with you into college.
Short answer #3
“The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.”
This is arguably one of the more important short answers that UT – Austin asks you to write. They want to know that you hold similar values to their founders and the existing student body, and that you will be a good fit for their university holistically, not just academically.
There are so many different directions that you could take this question. First, think about what you want to do with your degree after college. Then ask yourself, “What can I do at UT Austin that will not only transform my life, but how can what I learn from that experience that will help me be able to transform others’ lives as well”? This is a loaded question, and a lot more than you might be able to answer right now. Just try to be idealistic and think of your future.
Optional short answer
“Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. If your response to this question is similar to one of the Common App Personal Essays, feel free to simply copy and paste the important parts of your essay here. Please limit your response to 250-300 words.”
This one is quick, easy, and a short answer that everyone should answer if their situation warrants. This is your opportunity to let UT Austin know about your struggles and help them understand your story a bit better.
Closing thoughts for students
It is completely understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed after reading through all of these prompts. The only thing that you can do is try your best and be honest about who you are–in other words, stay true to yourself. The college admissions professionals at the University of Texas – Austin simply want to get to know you as a person, and that is why they are asking you so many questions! Remember, the prompts are not meant to make you feel overwhelmed or scared by any means.
At Scholarships360, we understand that the college admissions process is a long and strenuous process. We want to make things easier for you, so we’ve curated a pretty extensive list of tips and tricks to help you out. Learn how to write an essay about yourself and perfect writing both 250 or 500 word essays. We can help you figure out how many colleges to apply to , and after, how to make your college application shine . We wish you luck, and remind you to apply for all the scholarships you are eligible for!
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