What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Loading…
UCLA
Loading…
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write the University of Texas at Austin Essays 2022-2023

Get your essay reviewed by an expert

Early decision and early action deadlines are about a week away. You can still get a professional review of your college essays in time for early deadlines on CollegeVine.

Find an essay expert

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

Long Essay

 

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, including the possible effects of COVID-19. (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?

 

Architecture Applicants

 

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.

 

Nursing

 

Prompt 1: Discuss the factors that have influenced your desire to pursue a career in Nursing. (250-300 words)

 

Prompt 2: How have your academic and extracurricular activities prepared you to pursue a degree in Nursing? (250-300 words)

 

Social Work

 

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

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)

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.

 

Here are some examples:

 

  • 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. 

 

Here are some examples:

 

  • 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, including the possible effects of COVID-19. (250-300 words)

Here, the UT Austin admissions committee is asking about any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your academic performance. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many students across the world in various ways. 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. 

 

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.

 

Art/Art History

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.

 

Architecture

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:

 

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.

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.

 

Nursing

 

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.

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. 

 

You can add additional anecdotes about why you chose nursing that you might not have had space to include in your short answer prompt. For instance, you can go into detail on how you grew up listening to stories from a relative about their experiences as a nurse. Or, maybe you’re an immigrant, and meeting a nurse who spoke your language put you at ease during a visit to the doctor, and how you want to be a familiar face in medicine as well.

 

How have your academic and extracurricular activities prepared you to pursue a degree in Nursing?

Just like the previous nursing prompt, this space allows you to dive deeper into your reasoning for pursuing nursing and allows you to show off your work towards your goal.

 

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? 

 

Be specific, and dive into details on how your activities 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.

 

Social Work

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 prompts, 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.


Short Bio
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.