How to Apply to the University of Texas at Austin

How UT makes their admissions decisions can be complicated. Applying to the university doesn't have to be. 

This guide is a collection of blog posts, Youtube videos, and resources for improving your essays and strengthening your resume to help you become a Longhorn.

There is no substitute for expert counseling. We specialize in helping students craft outstanding essays and resumes. Our clients far outperform the typical UT-Austin applicant.

Interested in working together? Complete this questionnaire for a free consultation.

The Apply Texas Online Application

UT uses the Apply Texas application. All public and most private Texas universities use the same application and essay topics, so you don't have to worry about making multiple applications.

UT requires a $75 fee for domestic applicants and $90 for international students. If you qualify for a fee waiver on the SAT or ACT, you can apply to UT for free.

You can begin your application on July 1 prior to your senior year. You cannot submit it until August 1. All applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on December 1.

Video: 11 Tips to Maximize your UT-Austin Admissions Chances

I do not advise submitting your application on the first day. There are no bonus points for speedy submissions. Rushed submissions often contain errors. Instead, consider submitting in late September so the initial rush of strong application passes while having the chance to hear back early.

Video: What does UT Look for?

Although UT does not have a priority deadline, but about 1,200 successful applicants each month starting in November are notified. All honors programs except for Engineering, however, have a priority or recommended deadline of October 15.

Roughly 90% of all applicants find out their decision in mid-to-late February. No student, except some early applicants to Business Honors are denied early.

Video: All About Honors Programs

Interested in exploring the Apply Texas application? Use this helpful tool. 

Check out these blog posts for more information on the application process.

Your High School Transcripts

When applying to UT, it is a good idea to register for their mailing list and receive your UTEID. You should include your EID on all official communication with the university.

There are two main ways to submit your transcript: uploading it after you submit Apply Texas using UT's Document Upload System or mailing it directly to campus. Uploading your transcript is faster, easier, and less prone to error.

Video: Receiving your Admissions Decision

UT will only look at your class rank. They don't consider your GPA, weighted or unweighted. They do not give points for taking or passing AP exams or receiving an IB diploma. They do not consider whether you are on the recommended or distinguished plan.

What if my school does not provide a rank? UT will assign one internally using an algorithm that considers your current class and past profiles.

Video: Do your Rank and Test Scores Matter?

There is a small, one time bonus if you take one course that exceeds the state recommended courses for graduation (a fifth year of math or a third year of foreign language, for example.) Most students receive this bonus.

If you earned any dual credit, you need to send your college transcripts. 

You can read more about how UT evaluates your Academic Index using your rank and test scores.

Complete this questionnaire for a free consultation.

Your official ACT or SAT scores

All test scores must be submitted electronically through the testing agency. UT will take the single testing date that most improves your admissions chances. They do not superscore. Many universities take the highest sections from different dates, but not UT. There is no disadvantage to sending as many scores as you would like, so you should send them all.

Video: Should I take SAT II Subject Tests?

UT doesn't consider SAT II subject tests although some honors programs may take them into consideration.

International applicants should submit proof of English competency through the TOEFL (550 or higher) or the IELTS (band 6.5 or higher).

Video: International Applicant Tips

Your class rank and the subscores of your best standardized exam are used to compute your "Academic Index." The Academic Index constitutes one half of the admissions formula.

You can also see how to calculate your Academic Index using these formulas from 2014 on page 33.

Your First Choice Major

Your first choice major is very important. UT does not admit applicants to the university. Rather, decisions are made based on the college/school that you select first. UT seeks applicants that are a good fit for desired program, and you should craft your application demonstrating fit.

UT will compare applicants for the College of Liberal Arts against those who select it as their first choice. It doesn't matter whether you choose Government, French, or Economics, for example.

Video: Are Some Majors More Competitive than Others?

The exceptions are the Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts, and some majors in the College of Natural Sciences like Neuroscience and Computer Science.

For these programs, students are compared based on their first choice major: Petroleum Engineering and BFA in Studio Art applicants, for example, are compared against others seeking that major. Prospective engineering students should choose different engineering disciplines for their first and second choices.

Video: Does my Second Choice Major Matter?

For almost every other program, your second choice doesn't matter. The second choice major used to be important. Now, it is used primarily in the honors process. Students applying to Liberal Arts Honors or Plan II should select Liberal Arts as their second choice if they desire a first choice major outside of Liberal Arts.

Video: First-Generation Applicants and Legacy Students. What's important?

Automatically admitted Texas residents who do not receive their first choice major will be given a list of other majors to choose.

UT makes their decisions based on an applicants Academic and Personal Achievement indices and those scores against other applicants seeking entry for the same major.

You can read more about the admissions review process and how reviewers calculate the Personal Achievement Index.

Apply Texas Essay A

All students are required to write a 650 word response: "What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person."

Interested in improving your essays? Having trouble getting started? Check out these posts.

Applicants to Social Work, Nursing, and Art and Art History will need to submit an additional response discussing their choice of major.

Video: Tips on Starting your Essays

Enjoying these tips? Pick up your copy of "Your Ticket to the Forty Acres: The Unofficial Guide to UT Undergraduate Admissions."

Three Short Answer Questions

UT has recently changed their requirements to include three 250-300 word answers.

Short Answer 1: Career goals

"If you could have any career, what would it be? Why? Describe any activities you are involved in, life experiences you’ve had, or even classes you’ve taken that have helped you identify this professional path."

Instead of students having to cram in their future academic and professional plans, UT now allows them to answer the prompt directly. Here, you should address why you are applying to UT and your first choice major.

Short Answer 2: Academics

"Do you believe your academic record (transcript information and test scores) provide an accurate representation of you as a student? Why or why not?"

This question gives students a great opportunity to demonstrate their fit for major. If you have a particularly strong subject, consider talking about it here. If there is a class or semester you are less than satisfied with, use this as your chance to discuss a special circumstance or something going on. Regardless, applicants should use this prompt to highlight strengths or how they have overcome adversity.

Short Answer 3: Leadership

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

Demonstrating leadership has always been a core component of UT's review process. Now, students can discuss taking a leading role in an activity, sports team, in your community, or in your family. Here could be a wonderful opportunity to highlight a particular interest or activity that is important to you.

The Expanded Resume

Need help improving your resume? Having trouble putting your experiences onto paper? Check out these posts for resume tips and strategy.

UT requires all applicants to submit their extracurricular information when completing Apply Texas. Apply Texas doesn't give you much space to elaborate on your activities and accomplishments. UT strongly recommend that you submit a paper copy of your resume.

You can view sample templates here.

Your resume can be as long as you desire. A college resume is not a one-page professional resume. Anything that you feel could be included should be. Content matters more than style. As long as your resume is readable, the format is probably okay.

Reviewers are looking for a depth of commitment over a longer period of time. Students are rewarded more for dedicating themselves to two or three activities deeply rather than loose commitments to six or seven.

Video: Building your Best Resume

Think of the resume as including anything that happens outside of the classroom. Your expanded resume can be an opportunity to highlight unconventional activities or those that cannot be measured by the number of hours per week and weeks per year.

Your essays and expanded resume constitute most of your Personal Achievement Index score.

Optional Recommendation Letters

Video: How do Recommendation Letters Work?

UT allows you to submit recommendation letters, but they are not required. They are unconcerned with who submits them. Content counts. The strongest letters add new information to your admissions portfolio.

I discuss in this post why most recommendation letters don't help an applicant. I provide a few tips on how to collaborate with your letter writer to help your admissions chances.

Interested in transferring? 

About 8,000 applicants each year seek transfer from one college or university to UT-Austin. UT admits about 40% of it's prospective transfer students. The average GPA is a 3.45-3.6. Students must have a 3.0 minimum to be considered. UT will not replace grades, and all credits earned count towards your overall GPA. Dual credit earned during high school goes towards your transfer GPA.

You can find out what credits will transfer through the Automated Transfer Equivalency System.

As of Fall 2018, UT has lowered their number of required hours that must be completed or in progress by the deadline from 30 to 24. Applicants must submit Apply Texas, $75 fee, two essays, an expanded resume, and transcripts from every college where credits were attempted or completed.

The deadline for Fall applicants is March 1. Spring applicants must apply by October 1 and are limited in which majors they can choose.

I provide a lot of helpful transfer tips in these blog posts and my five part video series on maximizing your transfer admissions chances.

You should consider these five questions as you approach your transfer application.

Complete this questionnaire for a free consultation.


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