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University of Texas at Austin 2024-25 Essay Prompt Guide

University of Texas at Austin 2024-25 Application Essay Question Explanations 

The Requirements: 1 essay of 500-650 words; 2 short essays of 150 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Activity, Additional Info, Personal statement

Long Essay

Please keep your essay between 500–650 words (typically two to three paragraphs).

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

UT Austin used to ask applicants to tell a story about opportunities or challenges that shaped who they are today, but this year, admissions is opening the essay up to be about anything you like. This is a great place to recycle your Common App essay, regardless of which prompt you decided to respond to. If, on the other hand, you haven’t drafted a Common App essay, you may still find inspiration in the seven prompts. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for admissions to get to know the person behind the application data better, so you’ll want to tell a story that offers insight into who you are and who you hope to become.

Short Answers

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.

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!

Think of all the activities — both in and outside of school — that you have been involved with during high school. Which one are you most proud of and why? (Guidance for students: This can include an extracurricular activity, a club/organization, volunteer activity, work or a family responsibility.)

Next up is a fun twist on the classic Activity Essay, which asks you to expand on an extracurricular endeavor that you are most proud of. Although we usually urge students to write about items that haven’t appeared elsewhere on their application, the Activity Essay is an exception. The trick here is to be authentic. The activity you want to write about will likely catapult to the front of your mind rather quickly, but if it doesn’t, take a moment to review your activities list (or start making one if you haven’t already) and reflect on each of those experiences. 

Maybe you want to write about your experience in the Debate Club, how you started with a fear of public speaking and, over the course of a few years, developed a knack for not only capturing the attention of a crowd, but thinking on your feet, as well! Or, perhaps you want to write about the Saturday mornings you spent volunteering in your neighborhood and the pride you take in serving your community. (Just make sure to avoid common Volunteering Essay pitfalls!) 

Whatever activity you choose to write about, be sure to infuse your story with specific, personal details so that no one else could have written it.

Optional Short Answer

Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. (40 lines, or about 250-300 words)

This 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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School Stats:

State: Texas
Acceptance Rate: 31%
Undergrad Population: 42,444
Out-of-State Tuition: $48,712
In-State Tuition: $13,576
Supplemental Essay Prompt Guides:
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