Essays and "fit for major" at UT

An Ancient Greek facade in downtown Skopje, Macedonia

An Ancient Greek facade in downtown Skopje, Macedonia

I've been to some strange places around the world, but no capital city quite captures the surreal like Skopje, Macedonia.

Macedonia and Greece have been embroiled in border disputes for over a century. Greece denies its right to even exist!

Even though it is one of the least economically developed countries in Europe, they have spent a ton of taxpayer money building dozens of extravagant statues and plastic-looking pre-Christian architecture. Much of it is vandalized with spraypaint. Classical music booms from speakers loud enough you would think they're broadcasting all the way to Greece. To say they have an inferiority complex is an understatement. I feel bad for regular Macedonians.

Some things just don't quite fit with their surroundings. Modern Skopje's many nationalist statues attempting to revive a distant past would make many consider, "Surely, there is a better way to go about this."

Any applicant to a more or most selective university should incorporate a discussion of "fit" into their admissions portfolio. Some universities like Michigan and Tulane dedicate an entire prompt inviting you to talk about why you've chosen their university and what you bring to the table.

Make sure your application fits into your choice of major and that you illustrate a compelling narrative as to why you are deserving of a space in your desired program at UT-Austin.

Don't be Macedonia and randomly build statues without rhyme or reason. Utilize essays as a strategic tool in your "let me in" arsenal. You are only given so many words - 1950 if you choose to submit three essays. Don't waste them!

In at least one of your essays, you should discuss why you think you want to study your chosen major and what that may mean for you moving forward. You should highlight concrete examples or experiences that instruct your choice. Even if you don't know what you want to do (most people), you should still frame it as a thing or two you have proven interest in that may instruct a future choice.

If you have experience programming or interned at a start-up and you are applying for computer science or business, talk about it! 

A major component of UT's reviews process looks for demonstrated evidence of fitting into their choice of major. Few applicants take advantage of this opportunity to appeal to a core criteria in not just UT's, but any selective review process.

Kevin MartinEssays