Some Strategies for Apply Texas Essay B: Identity, interest, talent

 Standing in front of partially-constructed Cooling Tower #5 abandoned overnight after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986

Standing in front of partially-constructed Cooling Tower #5 abandoned overnight after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986

Like a lot of you, I have a few things that interest me. Travel is especially important in my life, but it is only one aspect of my identity. I love watching college football, speaking Spanish, and trying new coffee shops. In my spare time, I read French literature, German philosophy, and whatever pops up at book exchanges. I keep a journal and I write essays unrelated to travel or education. When I am home, I barbell weight train. I am a SCUBA Divemaster, but I prefer freediving - where you dive deep on one breath.

I've had a lot of years to develop my identity, talents, and interests, and they're still a work in progress, but it is very possible a thing or two you are doing now will carry on throughout your life. When confronted with this broadly-worded prompt, what thing do you choose?

Don't meltdown over this topic. Choose what you want!

I have worked through a number of effective responses already with clients: band, programming competitions, singing ancestral songs, volunteering, making flower arrangements, founding a non-profit, and ballet just to name a few. 

Your response doesn't necessarily have to relate to why you fit into your major. As I mention elsewhere, a discussion about why you are choosing what you want to study and in particular at UT should be a key component of at least one of your essays. If you already address your future academic and professional goals in another response, consider using Essay B to highlight a totally different dimension of your application.

Have you not found a place to discuss your talent for bookbinding, interest in obscure independent films, or identity as a first-generation immigrant? Essay B could be a great space to introduce something that YOU want to write about. Don't worry so much about what admissions wants to hear. Instead, focus on something you may be passionate about, or an aspect of yourself you may bring up when introducing yourself to a new friend.

There are times when colleges do want to hear certain things like why you are choosing your major. In other instances? They just want to learn more about you. Illustrate something cool about yourself. I have yet to find a student who doesn't have at least one thing they find interesting.

Kevin MartinEssays