I don’t have to tell you that colleges are not on the hunt to accept just anybody who applies. The admission process alone makes that very clear.
Whether you enjoy writing or would rather spend a day at the DMV, the essays are still a requirement.
It’s important to realize that they are what will separate you from the crowd. After all, there are tens of thousands of applicants with your exact GPA and SAT. But no one else will have your story.
So how do you go about raising eyebrows and cracking smiles from your audience?
Take a deep dive into these supplemental essay prompts Texas A&M and UT applications need to know. Don’t just review them. Instead, work on your outlines. The better you prepare now, the stronger your application will be.
Supplemental Essay Prompts Texas A&M Applicants Need To Know
Keep in mind that Texas A&M is now requiring these first three short answers.
1. Most Impactful Person
It’s important to focus only on the impact this person has had on you. This means the reader should know more about you than this most-admired person.
First, quickly identify the person’s characteristic, quality, or event that impacted you. Then, spend the rest of the time delving into the impact it has had.
Did a coach or teacher help you understand the value of self-control? What did you learn from watching a family member juggle two jobs? Or maybe someone in your life was the antithesis of good values. And maybe they taught you how not to be.
Then, expand on how the impact has directly affected you and will continue to affect you.
However, if you do decide to write about the negative experience:
- This isn’t the proper place to fully vent to your thoughts and emotions.
- End it on a good note. How is your experience with this negative person leading you to a healthy place?
- Write with ownership and remove any notion that they have power over you. Instead of, “They made me angry,” write, “I became an angry person.”
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2. Defining Life Event
This response is similar to your response to the first question, in that you’ll want to focus on the “how” and “why” more than the “what.”
It’s important to come up with a relatively recent, specific event. It won’t do to write about a lifestyle. So please refrain from starting with “I’ve always been interested in robots,” or “When I was nine, I went to a camp and it changed my life”.
Your answer could discuss a coming-of-age situation or a major jump in maturity. Or maybe it was the moment you realized, “Oh my gosh, this is my passion. I want this to be my job forever!”
“Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values. Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you and for the Texas A&M campus community. Please share any personal experiences that have shaped your views.”
Don’t get lost in the jargon here. True diversity of thought is crucial to critical thinking and progress. Furthermore, true inclusion possesses real benefits to the whole. But your responses will be wholly your own.
Remember there is more to diversity and inclusion than race and culture. You’ll have to expand your thinking and get outside the very loud, yet small box of our present time.
Consider writing about a time when your values or understanding were challenged. How has that been a benefit to you? Did it strengthen your values and understanding? Have your values since been reshaped? Did it shatter them altogether?
4. College Of Engineering Specific Prompt
If you’re applying to the Texas A&M College of Engineering, then you should also prepare to respond to this prompt:
“Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? It is important to spend time addressing this question as it will be considered as part of the engineering review process. If you have chosen an engineering major for both your first and second choice majors, you will see the same question twice and may provide the same response to both questions.”
Supplemental Essay Prompts UT Applicants Need To Know
UT has also changed their supplemental essay prompts this year.
1. Explain Your Major
“Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”
Your answer to this question should reflect that UT is heavily career and major-oriented. Be sure to relate back to the major you’ve chosen, but don’t simply refer to it. Tell them why this major is a good fit for you. Simply saying, “I really liked chemistry in high school” or “robotics is cool” won’t cut the mustard, unfortunately.
There’s a two-pronged approach here:
- Take the opportunity to dive deep into the things in your major that are riveting.
- Why UT is the university to accomplish your goals through your major. You can take biochemistry at Rice or Baylor, so explain why it must happen at UT.
If you’re having trouble preparing for the essay and short answer portion of your application, then reach out to Bright Futures. With our essay workshops and one-on-one consulting, we can help you knock it out of the park.
“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.”
Here’s another two-parter. They not only want to know your experiences. They also want to know how those experiences will positively impact others.
Before you start, understand there are different types of leadership. Not everyone is a football captain or class president.
Did you work backstage during theatre productions? Do you care for your grandmother or a younger sibling? Are you working a job alongside your schooling? Have you been volunteering outside of school?
Taking on responsibilities is inherently a form of leadership. In the verbiage of my father: “Them’s leadership skills.”
Now, here comes the crucible: describe the impact of this experience.
How have your experiences made you fit for leadership? Has raising up younger siblings given you empathy or shown you how to manage your time and prioritize others’ needs? Has working backstage shown you the rewards of humility?
This is another chance to make your experience truly unique by giving your answers depth and weight.
3. How You Will Change The World By Attending UT
“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 is a “tell me what you like about me” type question. Why their school and not another?
Moreover, the school’s culture is the main focus of this question. Keep in mind the attitude around campus, the emphasis on this or that, the air of excellence that everybody breathes on campus, or the prestige of the faculty. They want to know if the school’s culture will make you a better you.
It would be a good idea to search the school’s website and social media accounts. Look into what kinds of things they’re up to, or things that they’ve done that caught your attention. Have they put on clinics recently? Or did they publicize a big project?
Remember that identifying reasons why this school is the right fit is just as important as why your major is the right fit.
4. Your COVID Experience
“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.”
While you make this answer your own, do so in a way that follows the same logic as your other three questions. There has to be a point and an end goal. Tie it into why you and UT are a perfect match.
If COVID made your life a living hell, say so! Now’s your chance! Show the impact adversity had on your academics. If your grades sagged because some event shattered your world, let them know it. You can address things that may have impacted your school performance, your home life, or your relationships with friends.
This is the place for unique factors that have made life particularly difficult or have forged you into who you are.
However, it’s still important to end on a positive note. Discuss the challenges, but try to also explain how you addressed these challenges, or how you plan to in the future.
Bright Futures For All Your College Admissions Preparation
Preparing for the college admissions process may seem daunting. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Bright Futures helps students and their families unlock potential so they can reach for the stars. Learn more about the Birkman, our process, and how we can help you thrive. Reach out today for a complimentary consultation to get started.