Leadership Short Answer Example Essays

That's me, third from the left.

That's me, third from the left.

I wasn't what you would call a typical leader in high school. We were notorious high school sports hooligans.

If we had to write this prompt when I was applying to UT, I probably would have talked about covering our bodies in house paint and spray painting letters in support of our school's Men's Basketball Regional Semi-Finals in Waco. Our parents weren't too pleased.

UT wants you to discuss in 250-300 words your Leadership experiences and how you see yourself as a leader on campus.

>How do you show leadership in your life? How do you see yourself being a leader at UT Austin?

I provide tips and strategies in this previous post, and here I reproduce seven submissions students and I worked on. 

Leadership Short Answer: Working with the Visually Challenged

“You can do it. I will help you!” Those words cemented a special bond with Jeeva, a visually impaired young man. We accidentally collided one day in a crowded library. Overcome with guilt, I treated him to ice cream at a nearby kiosk. Jeeva was worried stiff about an upcoming diploma exam, so I offered to help. Our spontaneous encounter was the best part of my summer break!  I cherish those next ten days that we spent studying.    
Tutoring others is my favorite way to learn because it solidifies my knowledge while allowing me to see how others solve problems using different methods. I read aloud to him, summarized key ideas, and we discussed concepts. I realized that Jeeva listens much better than me. At times it seemed like he could anticipate and even read my thoughts just by the tone of my voice. He worked hard, and we both felt more confident about the material. Encouraged by his commitment, I recorded mp3 lessons that he could listen to and review. 
I felt a sense of purpose working with Jeeva. The joy in lending my eyes through reading, the challenge in describing objects and material things I took for granted, the satisfaction of transcribing his notes led me to a volunteering organization. I have since spent over 50 hours helping other visually-challenged children and young adults like Jeeva. I also encouraged and facilitated my cousins to volunteer their time helping the visually-challenged.  Jeeva is now a teaching assistant at a school. 
At UT-Austin, I wish to volunteer my time with the Texas Technology Access Program to design devices for the visually challenged. I believe I can create devices that can anticipate the challenges faced by people with disabilities and that can facilitate simple yet effective steps to prevent injuries.


There are two basic ways to approach this prompt - discussing one or a few experiences. This essay is an excellent example how focusing on one experience can provide more depth to your profile and add context to your resume.

Focusing on one topic allows you to tell a story and illustrate your leadership qualities rather than dividing your essay between two or three examples. Telling their story with Jeeva personalizes their essay in a way that many "service/volunteering" essays fail to do.

The prompt requires that you suggest how you see yourself as a leader on campus. They do an excellent job identifying a niche organization that directly relates to their previous experiences and career ambitions in electrical/computer engineering.

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Leadership Short Answer: Rocketry Group Projects

I have demonstrated leadership through my technical activities. My resume and extracurricular activities are well-rounded, but I focus on engineering-oriented activities. I enjoy solving technical challenges, and we always compete in groups. I often take the lead in helping direct the overall vision of our efforts. I enjoy coordinating group members to capitalize on everyone’s strengths and minimizing our overall weaknesses. My experience as a co-captain and captain for the TARC Rocketry Challenge Club suggests that I have a track record for accomplishing our goals. I also like taking complex topics and distilling down the most important parts to explain to new members crucial concepts in simple ways.
I have also completed three internships in different engineering fields. My experiences expose me to different professionals, and I take small lessons from each environment and employ them in my life. I see that engineering in the real world also depends on groups, so I recognize the importance of being an effective team plater. I also created an after-school engineering club for like-minded students to discuss current events and the latest technological developments. I see myself continuing my efforts when I enroll at UT. I want to contribute to classroom discussions and join relevant organizations so I can continue exploring my interests and connecting with interesting people. 


This essay takes the second approach, discussing more than one activity. They spend the first half of the essay sharing their favorite activity and organization. It directly relates to their first choice major, Aerospace Engineering.

The first half is a great combination of highlighting teamwork and problem solving abilities while suggesting that they have the interests and curiosities required to succeed in college.

The second paragraph references a few different leadership experiences including internships and founding their own organization. It's okay that they don't develop their ideas too thoroughly because it signals to their reviewer to pay close attention to their expanded resume where they elaborate on their commitments.

Leadership Short Answer: HOSA and Public Speaking

I remember hesitating outside the health science classroom before my first HOSA meeting freshman year. I felt unsure if my time and efforts would be worth committing myself to such a large club. I took a breath and entered. 
Before my freshman year, public speaking terrified me. Confronting my fears rather than avoiding them, I registered for HOSA’s “Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking” competition. I felt foolish competing in an event that showcases my weakest skills. Months before the first round of competition, I began drafting my speech. I practiced for weeks, refining my text, recording my voice, and presenting to the bathroom mirror. 
I timidly arrived at the competition, and some senior competitors exacerbated my already stretched nerves by picking on me. When my turn came, I executed my speech exactly as I had dozens of times alone. I felt comfortable with my performance; finishing without embarrassing myself was good enough for me. I listened passively to the award ceremony, and felt shocked when they announced “Second place, Ram Visha!” 
I ambled up to the stage, my heart trying to escape from my chest, in a mixed state of wonder and pride in my accomplishment. Aside from my newfound interest in public speaking, I have learned that if you put yourself out there and give your best efforts, trusting in the process will help you grow. 
To me, leadership means the courage to overcome your fears, learn from failure, and inspire others to do the same. Serving as an Officer for my school’s HOSA Chapter, National Honor Society Chapter, and Band, I do everything I can to ensure the success of the organization I lead and its members. I will continue these positive habits as I transition to a leader on UT’s campus.


This is another effective example how focusing on your most memorable activity or experience allow you to illustrate a story that indirectly demonstrates your leadership qualities. Anytime you can share a story rather than simply telling your reviewer how you're a leader is preferable.

They use their Leadership short answer as an opportunity to show how they overcame adversity and converted a weakness into a strength. Discussing HOSA also relates to their first choice major of Biology with a pre-med interest.

They round their essay out well identifying specific opportunities on UT's campus that appeals to them.

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Leadership Short Answer: Family, Community, Founder

I am the oldest of three siblings, and I strive to set a positive example for my younger brother and sister. Early in my mother’s battle with Leukemia, I did chores without asking, and they began emulating my behavior. We tried our best to relieve some of the stress in our family. I am proud of starting a local “Lick Leukemia” walk in support of my mother and another family friend who both have leukemia. It is a community effort, and we project to raise $10,000 this year.
At school, I founded our Investment Club. I have grown this into our school’s most popular student ran and funded the organization. I also co-founded our school’s Model U.N., which was the only first-year group at the state competition to win an award. My classmates elected me as Treasurer of our student body where I am responsible for keeping monetary records and handling funds. 
On the field, I won the starting quarterback job during my sophomore year after having not played since fifth grade. I led our team to the second round of the playoffs, our first trip in five years. 
I will continue serving as a leader in college. You only get one shot at college, and I want to have meaningful experiences helping others. I am excited to work alongside like-minded, driven, service-oriented Longhorns. I want to join the Texas Blazers service organization and Capital Community. I hope to start a business-specific organization. During my visit to Austin, I attended a service at First English Lutheran Church and met a UT student involved with University Campus Ministry. I look forward to reconnecting with him and learning ways to continue my ministry work.


This essay is a great example how you can discuss more than one activity or experience. Instead of simply stating that their mother fought cancer, they take it a step further how they advocated and raised money to help other families. It's also a good example how you can be a leader at home or in your family and not just in formal extracurricular activities.

They eventually gained admission to McCombs Business, so highlighting their founding of an Investment Club relates to their first choice major. Reviewers look for Leadership experience and students who are well-rounded, so touching on a few other Leadership roles is an effective way to make this argument.

Sharing a visit to campus is a great way to answer Why UT is a great fit for you. They paint a full portrait of how they see themselves as a leader on campus and no doubt their reviewer had a favorable impression after reading this and their other essays.

Leadership Short Answer: Winless JV Lacrosse Season

Zero wins and twelve losses. Our coach referred to our Junior Varsity lacrosse team as “quite possibly the most unathletic group he’s ever coached.”  As team captain, classmates questioned, and teammates held me accountable for our historically-poor performance. We were mostly sophomores and juniors, and I agree with our coach’s bleak assessment. We didn’t have the size, strength, speed, or experience to compete. I could have answered people’s condescension with negativity, but I instead responded with the opposite. I told them about everything that went right.
We went into every game believing that we could win, and with each successive, sometimes last-second loss, our confidence collapsed, and our morale dropped. Rather than letting each loss carry over to next week’s practice, I took the initiative to challenge my teammates and encourage them to keep working hard. Surprisingly, we didn’t argue much, and I can confidently say that we walked into every game with a winning mentality. It can be easy to become negative, but I think my optimism helped our team come close in many games. In some ways, we outperformed expectations even if that didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
I pride myself on keeping my head held high no matter how tough the situation. It’s easy to be a leader on winning teams. It’s much more difficult to lead perennial losers. I lead through kindness, motivation, and conscientiousness.  At UT Austin, I plan to lead a student organization that focuses on fortifying the morale of struggling students. Mental health issues are a big concern on college campuses. I want to be an advocate for struggling students to help alleviate these anxieties and pressures. I trust that my ability to lift people up from pessimistic positions will be a crucial measure of my years at UT.


This is one of my favorite short answer submissions from any that I worked with. It's kind of an opposite-leadership response. It's easy to say you're a leader in a state championship band or a nationally competitive robotics team. It's another thing entirely to maintain a positive attitude, continue going to practice, and giving your best effort when you're on a team clearly lacking talent.

They take a nuanced perspective to winning, losing, and competition. Implicitly, they demonstrate characteristics like maturity, patience, and resilience. I particularly like their Why UT statement connecting their own struggles with wanting to volunteer with UT Mental Health Services.

It's an outstanding example how, at first glance, an experience that may have few redeeming qualities for admissions reviewers can be reframed into a very powerful statement about your personality and ability to handle setbacks. 

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Leadership: Sports and DECA

I am most proud of my athletic leadership. Unlike research, communication, and the social sciences, sports don’t come as naturally. I played on Anderson’s junior varsity football team, and I took to heart the coach’s emphasis on leading by example. Our football team wasn’t very good and, with morale low, I made it a point to take the lead on sprints and drills. I wasn’t always the most athletic, but I was one of the coach’s favorites because I tried my hardest. I had to compensate against other naturally talented and experienced players. 
My fondest memory from high school was when I recovered a fumble during our spring game. The whole defense came off the sideline and started celebrating like I had won the game! Despite my fleeting moment of glory, I realized football isn’t for me. I played golf during my sophomore and junior year. I always stayed after practice to hit by myself no matter how many blisters had broken open. Soon, my teammates looked to me for advice often alongside my lighthearted teasing.
At Anderson, I competed in DECA business finance events. I was elected officer but couldn’t serve since we moved to Singapore, but as a member, I created study guides and tip sheets to help chapter members prepare for competitions. Currently, I am an officer in my international school’s Business Club. I teach members about investing while organizing guest speakers and business projects in collaboration with school faculty. 
At UT Austin, I want to join the Computational Finance club and the Undergraduate Investment Team, where I can learn more about quantitative analysis and apply my financial theory knowledge to manage portfolios. I can continue my service past high school by joining UT’s Alpha Phi Omega chapter and give back to Austin.


What's interesting about this submission is what this student chose not to share. Their resume was outstanding and undoubtedly one of the strongest in the applicant pool even for Business Honors where they eventually gained admission. At first, I was unsure about their choice to discuss sports, but after working through a few drafts, I saw their point of view and reasoning for discussing football.

Playing JV football and recovering a fumble in the spring game was probably at the bottom of their resume and would otherwise be unremarkable. They committed their other essays to a few more prominent activities. By focusing on their area of most improvement - athletics - they provide a different dimension to their application than if they had discussed their more obvious leadership activities.

They balance out their prompt citing a few examples to demonstrate their interests and competencies in Business and illustrate effectively how they see themselves as a leader in UT's Finance community.

Leadership: Hosting a Film Festival

During Spring 2017, I was chosen to be the Director of the Second-Annual Pegasus Film Festival.  Over a hundred DFW-area high school students entered their short films in a jury-judged competition.  The top twenty-two films were screened at the Studio Movie Grill in Richardson to an audience of over 300 industry professionals, friends, and family.  A Q&A with the filmmakers concluded the evening.
My film teacher recognized my ability to visualize the desired outcome, plan a timeline, and complete a large project in a timely fashion.  She trusted that I could complete a large task with many moving parts and execute the event smoothly. Given the complexity and magnitude of the festival, I had to engage, encourage, and communicate with my team, the student filmmakers, the community, sponsors, our venue, and industry professionals to make our vision a reality.  
Booker T is a community of artists, creative revolutionaries really, but artists tend to get bogged down in the details and fail to finish projects. People who can complete projects are a precious commodity. Managing artists can be like herding cats, temperamental, scratching cats. I hosted many meetings with festival volunteers to build our vision and coordinate roles and responsibilities. I strived to communicate effectively with my peers. Everyone has their own ideas and opinions on the best way to do things.  With some advice from my friends and trusted faculty, I incorporated their suggestions to create an agreeable style. Conceding changes and allowing volunteers to “make it their own” really improved morale and performance.  
I learned that leadership is a fluid exercise, always changing, and accommodating others to elicit their best ideas and efforts. I intend to continue my efforts in artistic and technology organizations at UT-Austin and the annual South by SouthWest exposition.


I like this essay because it focus on a specific event that showcases their leadership abilities. It's rich in detail showing their specific roles, responsibilities, and challenges for hosting a successful film festival. They do an effective job of quantifying how many people attended, how many films they screened, and how many people they coordinated to host the event.

Their essay focuses less on how they see themselves as a leader at UT, but by telling their story, they implicitly answer the question. It's preferable to provide specific, concrete examples to support their points rather than simply asserting that they're an effective communicator or team player.

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Kevin MartinEssays