UT Austin changes supplemental essay requirements for Fall 2023

By Rajkamal Rao  

Image Credit: Rao Advisors LLC.

The University of Texas has decided to accept the Common App, but the required platform essay will still be the ApplyTex Topic A prompt. If you're planning to apply to UT Austin using the Common App, please read our update on Facebook.

The University of Texas has also changed its supplemental essay requirements for the Fall 2023 and Spring 2023 cycles. Only three essays are now required, reminiscent of the Fall 2021 cycle.

The first three essays remain unchanged from Fall 2022. 

The last essay (pandemic) is now optional.

The word length for each is unchanged at 250-300 words.

  1. Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?

    This is unchanged from Fall 2021.

  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.

    This prompt now combines the "Experience" essay from Fall 2021 (Please share how you believe your experiences, perspectives, and/or talents have shaped your ability to contribute to and enrich the learning environment at UT Austin, both in and out of the classroom) with the "Leadership" essay (Leadership can be demonstrated in many ways. Please share how you have demonstrated leadership in either your school, job, community, and/or within your family responsibilities). The verb "Describe" now replaces the verb "Share."

  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?

    This brilliant prompt, new for Fall 2022 and later, directly stresses and promotes UT's vaunted slogan and brand, "What starts here changes the world." It is inspired by the Statement of Purpose prompt commonly used by graduate schools.

    For  the ultimate example, high school students can look to the contributions of UT's Jason McLellan, an associate professor of molecular bio-sciences and his team of researchers, Daniel Wrapp and Nianshuang Wang, who literally changed the world in 2020. Together, they co-designed the stabilized spike protein at the heart of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

    So, how do you answer this prompt?

    • Pick up from your response to UT #1 above

    • How do you see yourself in the world? What specific problem do you want to solve? What burning public health/social/scientific/artistic issue bothers you?

    • Once you have identified the problem, if you had a magic wand, what would you do to solve it?

    • What resources at UT would help you to meet your goal? Academics, networking, peer brilliance, interdisciplinary nature of education, internship opportunities, clubs, volunteer opportunities, access to venture capital, chance to go to grad school, Austin being a vibrant center, etc?

    To see an example of the practical application of this prompt, here is a real story where a group of students exploited Texas Global, UT's study abroad program, to create a startup that won first place in a sustainability competition that could help ranchers in sub-Saharan Africa better manage their land. 


  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.

    We encourage students to take advantage of this prompt only if you have met with real adversity, such as a loss of job of a parent, impact to family income, perhaps, loss of life. The reasons are not limited to Covid-19, although, the prompt reflects UT's belief that despite the aggressive pace of vaccinations in many countries, the effects of Covid are real and continue to plague students worldwide.

    You should not use this essay as one more attempt to market yourself. Sorry, the stress that you encountered because Covid-19 made you stay home and miss extracurricular activities doesn't count. The whole world went through such disruptions, so colleges are tired of hearing those stories over and over again.

    For the full list of official prompts, visit UT's Freshman Admissions website.

    For a primer on how to write essays and how we can help, click here. To learn how we help high school seniors navigate the college admissions process, click here

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