Texas A&M: Campus Visit Observations

By Rajkamal Rao  

The Water Tank at Texas A&M. Image credit: Rao Advisors LLC.

On June 24, 2019, we visited Texas A&M (TAMU) in College Station, TX, for a campus visit and presentation program. Our verdict? If you're interested in Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Sciences, or Business, this should be on your shortlist.

All You Need To Know About Texas A&M

The best way to visit Texas A&M is to register in advance. The visitor center is easy to find and parking at the University Center Garage is $2/hour.

Texas A&M is in small College Station, easily approachable on State Highway 6 which connects Houston to Waco. The neighborhood has the look and feel of a college town: for miles on all sides, the university is the region's largest employer. TAMU is one of the largest land-grant institutions in the country, and huge in size, at over 5,400 acres, and in the size of its student-body, at nearly 65,000 students. Texas A&M is also a big school for sending cadets to the U.S. Armed Forces. In fact, other than the major military academies operated by the U.S. Government, no college sends as many ROTC officers to the U.S. Navy, Air Force, the Marines, and the Army.

An extremely proud institution, everything on the Texas A&M campus has a tradition, dating back to the early 1900's. "Howdy!" is the popular welcome. Aggie is how a TAMU graduate is known as. For many years Aggies have followed a Code of Honor : “Aggies do not lie, cheat, or steal, nor do they tolerate those who do.” The Aggie network is world-famous for a public institution, helping other Aggies not only in school, but throughout careers and life.

The campus is so large that free buses operate on a 7-15 minute cycle. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC.

Kyle Field, the famous stadium which hosts Aggie Football. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC

Memorial Student Center is unbelievably large. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC
Well-manicured lawns separate large department buildings. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC.
Freshman dorm room, Lechner Hall. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC
Freshman dorm room, Lechner Hall. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC
Freshman dorm room, Lechner Hall. Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC

Here are key observations from our participation in various official information sessions.
  1. TAMU operates ten colleges within its large campus, such as the College of Engineering, or the College of Business. 

  2. TAMU offers bright students a chance to take Honors courses, or even, be designated into an Honors program. Open to students in all majors, the University Honors Program provides the resources of a major research university with course, community and extracurricular opportunities.

  3. TAMU selects 800-1,200 students in each incoming Freshmen class and places them into University, College or Department programs. Admission to some Honors Programs as an incoming Freshman requires a separate application. 

  4. The student-teacher ratio is 20:1, relatively low for a large public school.  Honors classes have even smaller ratios.

  5. Payscale.com ranks TAMU as #1 in Texas for Return on College Investment in terms of getting jobs after graduation.

  6. There are three ways to get into TAMU. The Top 10% rule fills 51% of all incoming Freshmen seats. The Academic Admit rule (minimum of 1360 on the SAT or an ACT Composite of 30 and a Top 25% rank in a Texas high school) fills 16% of all Freshmen seats and was officially retired as an automatic admit pathway beginning the class of 2021. The remaining seats are filled through a holistic evaluation (grades, test scores, essays, extracurriculars) of the application.

  7. The application window is open from July 1 - Dec 1. Honors applications are available on Aug 1. The College of Engineering has an Early Action deadline of Oct 15. All students are required to submit a diversity essay. “Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values (loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service). Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you personally and for the Texas A&M campus community. (250-300 words).”

  8. Freshmen students do not have to live on campus although TAMU operates the nation's largest housing infrastructure for students. Dorm rooms are comfortable and are offered at different price points ($2,000 - $5,000 per semester).

Our takeaway

Texas A&M is an excellent public university option for Texas residents. Most students typically opt for UT Austin but for some programs such as Engineering, Sciences, and Business, Texas A&M is an attractive alternative. The Aggie network, the lifestyle of a small college town, and proximity to the big Texas cities (Houston, Dallas, and Austin) for commutes to visit family, and for internship/job opportunities all make TAMU a smart choice.

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