How to Write the Texas A&M University Essays 2020-2021

Texas A&M University is a large public research institution and one of the biggest attractions in the city of College Station. As the flagship university of the Texas A&M University system, the school is one of the business, agriculture, and engineering giants of the South.

 

With a total undergraduate population of over 50,000, Texas A&M’s size has created the famous Aggie Network, otherwise known as the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M. This organization of over 640,000 Texas A&M alumni opens up a host of post-grad job opportunities through an extensive network of alumni known for sporting the golden Aggie Ring.

 

Long-held traditions further strengthen Aggie Pride. In accordance with their saying: “If it happens twice, it’s tradition!” come customs like the Midnight Yell, a gathering held the midnight before each home game, and the 12th Man, in which all spectators are expected to stand throughout football games.

 

Its 68% acceptance rate makes the university selective, though Texas students whose GPAs are at the top 10% of their high school class receive automatic admission. The rest of the student body must show that they have what it takes to be an Aggie through writing fantastic supplemental essays. Want to know your chances at Texas A&M? Calculate them for free right now!

 

Want to learn what Texas A&M will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Texas A&M needs to know.

 

Texas A&M Supplemental Essay Prompts

 

All Applicants 

 

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (unspecified word count, so we recommend responding within 1.5 pages or between 500-750 words)

 

Applicants to the College of Engineering:

 

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? (no word count was specified, so we recommend aiming for ~500 words)

All Applicants 

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (unspecified word count, so we recommend responding within 1.5 pages or between 500-750 words)

Notice how you are encouraged to speak about an opportunity or a challenge. Many students believe that they must talk about a tragedy in order to grab the attention of admissions officers, but this isn’t true. An essay can easily be thoughtful, insightful, and an engaging read without utilizing this specific emotional appeal.

 

Still, stories about difficult circumstances are often memorable. They are most effective when focused primarily on the student’s journey of working through the challenge instead of the challenge itself. Check out Collegevine’s article if you would like more tips on writing about challenges.

 

You’re trying to stand out, so beware of overused tropes like the following:

 

  • Mental illness: It takes enormous strength to heal from and learn to manage a mental illness. Still, they may be tricky to write about. Read our article for more information on covering mental illness and disabilities within your application.
  • Getting a bad grade in a class but then working hard to raise it.
  • Sports stories such as winning/losing the “big game” or getting injured.
  • Death of a pet or family member.
  • Divorce.
  • Mission trip which made you realize how lucky and privileged you are.

 

Side note: Sometimes students face challenges that are outside of their control and which have negatively impacted their academic and/or extracurricular performance. If this has been your experience, and you don’t plan to explain them within this essay response, you may ask one of your recommenders to do so through their letter of recommendation.

 

Now, there’s no such thing as a “bad” or “good” essay topic; students have gotten into top schools with essays about Costco, pizza deliveries, and sparkling water. It often matters less so what you write about than how you write about it! 

 

These common essay topics are only doable when well-written, specific, and featuring a fresh take. The story of how fixing your Calculus grade taught you the value of hard work is not nearly as interesting as that of a student who is diagnosed with dyscalculia—a disability which creates a difficulty in understanding and working with math and numbers—and then opens up a dyscalculia awareness club with plans to become a special education teacher. The latter story would demonstrate the student’s ability to turn preconceived weaknesses into strengths, and admissions officers will quickly see that though he may initially struggle with long division, this student is nonetheless a creative problem-solver.

 

Please be aware that although it is possible to make a “common” topic interesting, it is easier to write about a situation that is unique to begin with. Also, don’t feel pressured to write about a challenge, especially if the situation has happened so recently that you haven’t fully finished processing or growing from it.

 

With all of this in mind, let’s get into brainstorming! Many people begin their ideation process through writing long lists or even talking into their phones in an untethered stream-of-consciousness. Do whatever it takes to get your creative juices flowing! 

 

As you reflect, you may consider these questions:

 

  • Which values and skills do you hold closest to your heart? Honesty? Hard work? Clear communication? Diversity? Environmental stewardship? Activism? Where did these priorities come from?
  • What are you most grateful for? What are you most proud of? What risks have you taken which have paid off?
  • What do you like to do? When and how did you get into it?
  • How would your family and friends say you have changed for the better over the years, and why?
  • Look back at your list of extracurricular activities. Which ones were challenging and/or special opportunities? When have you tried something new?

 

Practice self-compassion while considering topics, and know that none are too big or too small. You can write about anything from taking a summer math class (even though you’re more of an English person) to being a camp counselor to giving your first speech in front of a crowd.

 

 

Overall, the admissions officers are looking for growth. They want to see the circumstances you turned into opportunities for improvement. You may even reflect upon a situation that initially seemed like an unpleasant challenge but later revealed itself as a hidden opportunity. For example, you may have reluctantly let your friend drag you to a business club meeting before discovering a passion for economics and rising as a club leader.

 

Ideally, your story will be unique and offer a fresh perspective. Be specific about the challenge or opportunity you were presented with, and think about how it changed you for the better. 

 

Remember, they are literally asking for you to “tell [them] your story,” so consider using a narrative format, especially if storytelling is a talent of yours. 

 

Here’s a general outline: 

 

  • If you choose to go with a traditional storytelling format, we recommend beginning with a vivid anecdote featuring rich imagery to draw the reader in or an unexpected premise which makes one have to read on in order to fully understand. 

 

  • From there, you may dive into who you were at the time, how you felt and how you acted, before moving towards your turning point—the challenge or opportunity—from which you decided to grow. 

 

  • Explain how, exactly, the turning point influenced you. Ask yourself: How did it make you feel? Excited and ready for more, or initially anxious? How did it impact you? Perhaps you learned something new about yourself, or maybe now you’re kinder, more confident, or a harder worker. 

 

  • To mix it up a bit, you could even play with sequencing, perhaps starting with a moment of success before reflecting on all of the growth you had to complete to get to that point.

 

Finally, you are human, so you don’t have to portray yourself as perfect in the end. You are using this essay to talk about what may be one of your greatest strengths or sources of pride, but make sure to stay balanced with a humble tone.

Applicants to the College of Engineering:

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? (no word count was specified, so we recommend aiming for ~500 words)

This prompt is your opportunity to show Texas A&M you are a good fit for both the university and its programs. You are asked to cover a lot of ground here, so it is important to be specific throughout your essay. Use precise wording and double-check that each word, phrase, and detail has a place in your piece.

 

Let’s start by breaking down the academic and career goal components of this prompt. If you don’t have a clear plan for your future, don’t worry; most high schoolers don’t! Also, you aren’t tied down to whichever path you decide to write about, so feel free to get specific.

 

If it helps, think of the research you will perform for this prompt as an exercise in thinking about your future. Follow your natural curiosity while reading about the academics within the College of Engineering and the careers graduated Aggies often pursue. Hone in on the programs and opportunities which appeal to you most, many of which are featured on Texas A&M’s website.

 

Academic goals aren’t limited to getting good grades in school. These accomplishments may take many forms, including the following:

 

  • Research opportunities! These are readily available to undergraduates, especially through the competitive Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Texas A&M offers potential research goals through independent research-based courses, employment, summer programs, special honors and awards, and more. Check out current research programs and see which professors and projects you resonate with most. 
  • Graduating with a specific major(s)/minor(s)
  • Continuing to a graduate school or program
  • Receiving specific academic honors or scholarships 
  • Entering the Honors Program, which will create special opportunities that are in line with your academic and personal priorities.

 

A solid engineering degree such as the one you will receive at Texas A&M will likely open up to a fascinating and challenging career within any of a multitude of given specialties. The engineering umbrella is broad, but you have to pick one to focus on for this prompt when describing your career interests. What’s your dream engineering job, or your target field? What type of engineering most interests you and why?

 

When discussing your aspirations both within your career and academic world, directly connect them to opportunities offered by Texas A&M to demonstrate that you’re a strong fit. Don’t just say that you would like to perform research; say that as a prospective aerospace engineering major and computer science minor, you hope to join Professor Jacques Richard in his aero-propulsion studies under the Aero-U program. Due to circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some opportunities may be delayed, canceled, or altered, so be aware of this and look deeply into each option.

 

Now that we’ve covered which goals you would like to pursue, let’s get into explaining why these goals matter to you. Instead of focusing on relatively superficial aspects of your aspirations, like prestige and pay, think about what makes it interesting, worthwhile, or personally fulfilling. This may be linked to your description of the “whats or whos” which have influenced you to pursue these goals. 

 

Finding a “who” to write about is relatively straightforward, as many of us can point to the people in our lives who have pushed us in the right direction. Think back on your family members, friends, mentors, and teachers who believed in your ability to succeed academically or in the general world of engineering. This could be anyone, but most importantly, this person somehow pushed you to work harder or simply led by example.

 

For example, having a mechanic as a father may have sparked your fascination with deconstructing and reconstructing mechanical systems for maximum efficiency, leading you to a path in manufacturing and mechanical engineering. 

 

The “What,” our second potential motivator, is much more open-ended. Yours may be an event, background, special interest, closely-held value, childhood fascination turned adult aspiration, or even an innate personality trait. 

 

For example, your childhood fascinations with puzzles and remote-controlled robots, followed by your later software position with your high school’s Robotics Team, may all be indicative of your inclination towards problem-solving, which influenced your decision to major in Computer Science.

 

As you’re tying all the aforementioned aspects of your response together, make sure to maintain cohesive links between all of them. Your academic and career goals should be aligned with your professed personal qualities as well as the influences you claim the people and things in your life have had on you. Through writing clearly and concisely, you’ll paint a compelling portrait of your character as someone with direction, drive, and a future as a fantastic asset to Texas A&M’s vibrant community. 

 

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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.