What Does it Take to Get Into UT Austin?

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The University of Texas at Austin accepts 38.5% of applicants. What does it take to get in?


Situated in the bustling capital of Texas, UT Austin is based in one of the fastest-growing American cities, with all that a metropolitan area has to offer: a growing population, flourishing businesses, start-ups, and excellent dining and entertainment.


But beyond being in a trendy city, UT Austin is one of the best schools in the nation. The U.S. News and World Report lists it as one of the top 15 public universities, and it’s in the top 13 for overall scientific research according to Nature Index. With so much going for it, UT Austin is a popular choice for high-achievers.


However, with an acceptance rate of 38.5%, the University of Texas at Austin does not make getting in easy, even for highly qualified students. Keep reading to learn the tips that have helped CollegeVine’s students get into this vibrant Texas school.


Applying to the University of Texas at Austin: A Quick Review


Apply to UT Austin using ApplyTexas or the Coalition Application. We recommend using the Coalition App because more schools use it, making it easier to apply to schools outside of Texas. That said, it’s important that you use the application system that you feel most comfortable with. Check out our guides to make an informed decision about which application to use.


Students may apply by the November 1 Priority Deadline or the December 1 Regular Deadline. If you wish to start in the spring semester, the deadline is October 1. Applying by the priority deadline is similar to many Early Action deadlines at other schools; if you’re unsure about whether you should apply early, check out our post Early Action vs. Early Decision vs. Restricted Early Action.


To apply, be sure to send in all of the following:

  • A general university application via ApplyTexas or the Coalition App
  • Supplemental essay and short answer responses
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • High school transcripts (and college transcripts, if applicable)
  • $75 application fee or fee waiver
  • Optional supplements: resume, letter of recommendation


For homeschooled students: You’ll need to supply a detailed transcript signed by an adult school official to prove that you are academically prepared for college.


For international students: You need to provide proof that you have completed schooling equivalent to U.S. high schools, have any school documents translated into English if necessary, and include official examination scores. If English is your second language, you will also need to provide TOEFL or IELTS scores.


University of Texas at Austin Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


Getting into UT Austin takes hard work—last year only 38.5% of applicants were admitted. UT Austin received 50,576 applications last year and admitted 19,482 students. Of those, 8,960 students actually enrolled.


If you aspire to attend a school like UT Austin, it’s critical to surround yourself with people who have been through the process before. CollegeVine offers mentorship for underclassmen and applications counseling for seniors to help you set yourself apart from the crowd. Even if you don’t choose to work one-on-one with one of CollegeVine’s trained near-peer mentors, connecting with someone who has successfully gained admission to a school like UT Austin can make the difference between rejection and acceptance.


So, how does one get into the University of Texas-Austin?


UT Austin uses a holistic review process, meaning that the admissions officers are interested in you as a person, not just your grades or your essay. Use your application to reflect your strengths in these areas.


Academics. At UT Austin, they will consider your class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, and the overall rigor of your class schedule. Choose challenging courses and do well in them, and take your standardized tests seriously. To give you an idea of what they’re looking for, the middle 50% of the incoming freshman class scored 1170-1410 on the SAT and 27-33 on the ACT. Many of the admitted students were also valedictorians or salutatorians.


Extracurriculars. The admissions officers at UT Austin don’t care what kinds of activities you did as much as they care that you pursued them with passion and excellence. This could mean taking a leadership position at your school, starting a new organization or initiative, or being recognized for your talents through awards and recognition. If you use the Coalition App, it also includes a section for you to list your home and family responsibilities, so you can still demonstrate your passion through unconventional extracurriculars.


Character. UT Austin wants to know who you are, and one of the best ways to do that is through your essay and short answer responses. Take your time to craft responses that work together, and that demonstrate your motivation or drive. Consider working with a trusted teacher or counselor to get feedback on your essay, or work with a third-party like CollegeVine.


Contribution to Community. Show the admissions officers how you will bring a vibrant energy or perspective to their school. UT Austin prides itself on its research and for prioritizing diversity, so show how your strengths and experiences will enrich the student body, and how you’ll engage with the campus and the surrounding community. You can highlight how you’ve contributed to communities in the past through service or leadership.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Every application is different, but over the years we’ve seen these strategies give our clients applications that are three times more likely to gain favorable admissions results.


Tell your story. The University of Texas at Austin is looking for bright, motivated students who will make the most of their education, and they pride themselves on bringing a diverse group of students together. Whatever you don’t include in your application, they won’t know about, so make sure you highlight your strengths, your values, and your passion throughout your application.


Work with a counselor. Creating a strong application takes a lot of work and creativity, but it’s much easier to do if you work with someone who has helped students get into their dream school before. Whether you work with a company like CollegeVine, find an alumni in your area, or work with your high school counselor, getting expert guidance is the best way to make sure that your application is polished and will stand out.


Include a letter of recommendation. Although it’s optional, a letter of recommendation can give the admissions officers additional perspective on who you are. If you decide to do this, be sure to pick a recommender who knows you well and can write a compelling letter for you. Talk to them about why you’ve chosen them as a recommender or how you want them to complement your application.


Enhance the themes of your completed application. A seasoned admissions officer will review your entire application in about nine minutes, or less. If you want them to remember something positive about you, then you’ll need to mention it throughout your application, not just once. You want to make sure that you all the components of your application fit together and tell a cohesive story.


Try this strategy—finish your application at least a week early and leave it alone for a few days. When you return to it, read the whole application in nine minutes. What stood out to you? What wasn’t clear or could be improved on? Then make those improvements.


What If You Get Rejected?


The University of Texas at Austin receives applications from more qualified students than it can accept. While it may be discouraging to receive a rejection at the end of the process, know that bright, motivated, resourceful students will find success, or create it, anywhere they go.


UT Austin does have an admissions appeals process, but we advise against pursuing this option. Reversed decisions are rare, and you will need to provide new, significant information that wasn’t included in your original application, such as awards or extenuating circumstances.


You may want to start your college education elsewhere and then transfer. While it is an option, transferring is competitive. About 28% of transfer applicants are admitted, so your chances of getting in are better as a freshman applicant than as a transfer.


You can reapply after taking a gap year, but this path is riskier than simply committing to another school and requesting to take a gap year there. By far, we think that the best thing to do is to take your talents and passions to another equally great school. For advice on adjusting to a different college path, check out our post Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


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Gianna Cifredo

Short Bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.

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