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How to Write UT Austin’s Essays

Updated for 2023-2024

UT Austin requires students to answer three short answer questions about their academic interests, personal experiences and ambitions in 250-300 words. The school also gives students the option to share a fourth essay detailing an event or facet of their background that impacted their academic performance. Lastly, while UT Austin does not review the Common App Personal Essay in their admissions process, students can submit their essay for the "UT-Austin Essay."

Prompt 1:

Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? Please limit your response to 250-300 words.



This essay prompt is asking why you are interested in studying your first-choice major at UT Austin. The admissions officers want to know where your passion stems from. Provide some background details about how your interest in this field came about. Then, look back at your activities list and include experiences that demonstrate your interest and dedication to honing skills necessary for your major of choice.

Do not forget to actually include the name of the specific UT Austin major! Next, include specifics about that major at UT Austin- what specific resources and opportunities would you pursue should you be admitted? Include details like specific classes, hands-on learning opportunities, renowned professors and/or their research. Lastly, write about how majoring at UT Austin will help you successfully achieve your career goals.

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. Please limit your response to 250-300 words.



This prompt asks about all types of experiences, some of which might not have found their way onto your activities list, so go beyond and pull from those unique involvements and aspects of your life where you have demonstrated leadership. As always, show, don’t tell, how you display leadership through these experiences. You can show this by writing about the new school club you started, that school project you lead, or your responsibilities as an older sibling or as captain of your soccer team. Include how you hope to bring these leadership experiences with you to UT Austin and make an impact on their campus. UT Austin considers itself a bold, ambitious leader, so if applicable, include details that show that type of leadership. Also, don’t forget to answer the full question, and include details about how you will make an impact both in and out of the classroom – how will you impact the UT Austin community? As one of the most diverse campuses in the nation, UT Austin values diversity, inclusion, equity, and helping all people. In writing about your impact outside the classroom, we encourage you to focus on how your leadership experiences can help you embody these values as a member of the UT Austin community.

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. Please limit your response to 250-300 words.*



The admissions officers are looking for applicants who are genuinely committed to UT Austin’s core values – learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity and responsibility. Be sure to include some of these values when discussing your experience at UT Austin. Be specific about the resources and opportunities at UT Austin that will help prepare you to make a difference post-graduation.

Optional Short Answer (250-350 words):

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 is a good opportunity to demonstrate any context or environment-specific challenges you have faced and have had to overcome. These could include: socioeconomic status, family responsibilities or unique circumstances, cultural background, race and ethnicity, language spoken in your home, or a transition that proved difficult to adjust to. Additionally, you can use this space as an opportunity to explain a time you failed academically, and demonstrate how you worked to overcome this setback.

UT Austin Essay (Required):

Note: This is the only long essay UT-Austin requires. We do not require any of the Common App Personal Essays. Common App Personal Essays will not be used in our holistic review process.

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

Please keep your essay between 500–700 words (typically two to three paragraphs).*



This prompt is answered in either the CommonApp or the ApplyTexas application. As UT Austin does not require you to submit a Common App Personal Essay, feel free to use that essay to answer this prompt!