University Texas

The University of Texas, also known as UT Austin, was founded in 1883 and the University has since been among the country’s top public universities. UT is seen as the university providing Ivy League educational experience at the cost of a public school. It has eighteen colleges, schools and one academic unit. UT was ranked 56th among all universities globally and tied for 18th place among the public schools (U.S. News & World Report 2017). UT has had a total of 50,950 students; 39,619 Undergraduate and 11,331 Graduate and offers 119 undergraduate and 223 graduate degrees.

If you have graduated or will soon graduate from high school or receive a GED and you have not enrolled in another college or university after graduating, apply for admission to the University of Texas at Austin.

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Essay Topics

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.

Most students have an identity, an interest or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.

You’ve got a ticket in your hand—Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Personal interaction with objects, images and spaces can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics. For your intended area of study (architecture, art history, design, studio art, visual art studies/art education), describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking. What did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?

Considering nursing as your first-choice major, discuss how your current and future academic activities, extracurricular pursuits and life experiences will help you achieve your goals.

There may be personal information that you want considered as part of your admissions application. Write an essay describing that information. You might include exceptional hardships, challenges, or opportunities that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, personal responsibilities, exceptional achievements or talents, educational goals, or ways in which you might contribute to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment.

Discuss the reasons you chose social work as your first-choice major and how a social work degree from UT Austin will prepare you for the future.

All applicants must submit an essay responding to Topic A, along with a second essay addressing topic B, C, D, N, S or W.

Topic S, used to detail special circumstances you want considered as part of your admissions application, may be submitted as a second essay, or as a third essay if you are required to submit an essay in response to Topic D, N or W due to the major you selected. You may also submit it as a third essay at your discretion.


Topic D is required for those applying to Architecture.

Art and Art History

Topic D is required for those applying to Fine Arts’ Department of Art and Art History.


Topic N is required for those applying to Nursing for their first-choice major.

Social Work

Topic W is required for those applying to Social Work for their first-choice major.

Sample Essays - Topic A

Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.

I was very young when we settled in USA. My immediate family consisted of my mother, father and elder sister. This was basically the only family I knew. I had never met my further family either from my mother or fathers side. They were all settled in different parts of the world. They all loved travelling or so I had heard from the few stories my parents told me. When I was in elementary school, in grade 7, I came home one day and was surprised to learn that my uncle (fathers elder brother) was coming to stay with us for a few days. He had a son of about my age or a little older. Even more shocking was the fact that my parents were completely calm on the arrival of our guests. My sister and I were a complete wreck. We were nervous for we did not know how to meet an uncle we had never met before. And even more than my sister I was anxious. I will not go into the details of our first meeting with the long lost relatives or the last but I will however try and explain my whole experience. I had always believed that families could not be very different from each other. They had the same blood running in their veins and the same heritage. Families were supposed to be one entity. They were supposed to be the same or similar at least. I always thought that when I met my further family I would have different commonalities with them. At least that was what I thought until I actually met my uncle and cousin. They were so different from us. They had done things we would have never even thought of. From travelling to the northern lights to bungee jumping in the wild places of the earth, they had stories which could not be understood by common minds like ours. They were raw. They were not city people like us who had settled in USA and lived the average American life. This was one of many things that slowly changed my perspective of the word “family”. My family was different. No compared to other people maybe but we had differences among ourselves. All my initial thoughts and feelings had changed after having to live with my family. Sure we had the same blood flowing in our veins but was that the only similarity among us? Yes our history was one too but did that matter now that we were in the present? All these questions started coming to my mind and the more I thought of this the more I realized that the word “family” hold a different meaning for everyone. For me it was just a word used for strangers whom I had nothing in common with unlike what I had thought before.

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Sample Essays - Topic B

Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?

Life is not always fair. It can be a little harsh and a little mean. It can break your heart no matter your age. I learned this at a very young age of twelve. There was a park near my house and as a ritual all the kids in the neighborhood would gather there at 5 every evening to play together. I had been following this routine for over a year and my constant companion was Sara, my best friend. She lived four houses down the street but was home schooled so the only time I met her was when we were at the park. Our friendship had started out when I dropped her cone ice cream and she was furious at me. She yelled and stomped of and the next day I brought money especially to pay for the loss. Gradually we started playing hide and seek together with the other kids. She was my first best friend. I had had friends before that but none as closer as I was with Sara. She was my partner in crime, the person who made me laugh and the person with whom I could be myself. On our first year and eight month in the park Sara told me she was leaving. Her family was shifting to another state because her dad had gotten a new job. My initial reaction was just a mix of questions. I did not understand what was happening. How could she move? She was my best friend. She could not go anywhere. Why was this happening? That was the first evening that I did not know what to say to her. And perhaps my silence said it all. The next few days she did not come to the park and was helping her mom pack things. I was sad. There was no anger in my thoughts and no feelings of being lonely, but I just felt sad. On the day of her finally moving I went to her house. We just hugged and said our goodbyes. And just like that my tiny heart broke. I went home and cried. For a few weeks I did not leave my house except for going to school. I started becoming very introvert and pushed my friends away. I knew my parents were concerned but I did not care about anything or anyone. I was at a place where nothing made sense. Eventually however my mom came to me and talked to me. I just could not mope around forever. I had to fight the urge to be sad and think of all my friends who cared about me. Who were still here with me. This change in thought and the guidance of my mother made me stronger. I was back to myself soon enough. This conflict made me stronger as a person and made me realize that people will leave but I cannot give up on the ones who are with me. I’ve become a much more socializing person now. I definitely have changed for the better and in a way I thank God for making me realize that being sad should not be prolonged for long.

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Sample Essays - Topic C

Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extracurricular activities might help you achieve your goals.

Since I was a little kid, I was always confused when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Other kids had answers like doctor and teacher and painter but I never was interested in these things. For me these things held no fascination. I wanted to do something that amazed me. Overtime with the increase in knowledge I came to know about a thing called an “architect”. This word immediately grabbed my attention and I searched on it further. Soon I came to know that an architect was a person who built houses and buildings and all the infrastructures that I could see around me. The beautiful museums and the gorgeous restaurants were all built by this person. That was when I knew that I wanted to be an architect. This has been my goal. The first thing that I did that took me closer to my goal was joining the National Society for future architects. It was a specially designed program for youngsters like me who wanted to pursue this as a profession. But much more than that it was a society which aimed to providing houses and places to live for people who could afford to build or buy them. We had classes thrice every week where we were taught to use the tools and were made to learn about the different materials etc needed to build a house. With this we were also taught to use all the resources we had in the most efficient way so as to save as much as we could. This experience was one that made me love architecture even more and gave an insight into what I should expect. I also managed to be a part of the sports society and was a tennis player. Tennis has made me more disciplined and active, both the things that an architect should have. These are the qualities that separate the good architects from the bad ones. It’s not the ideas or the designs. It is the compassion mixed with the right amount of respect and discipline. One has to have a routine and a proper time for everything. Tennis made me a better time manager and the game demands one to be vigilant. I have become more active since I started playing. In the future I plan on continuing playing tennis so I don’t become lazy and with that I also want to join a much bigger architecture society that allows me to work internationally as well. In my academics, taking classes that will make me a better architect and broaden my vision are on the top of my list. Architecture is just not one subject. It is a mixture of arts and science and math ad basically a gist of everything. I want to excel in all these subjects to become the best.

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Sample Essays - Topic D

Personal interaction with objects, images and spaces can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics. For your intended area of study (architecture, art history, design, studio art, visual art studies/art education), describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking. What did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?

As soon as I realized that it was architecture that I wanted to pursue, I set to visit the various and unusual buildings around me. This was not very easy for me as I lived in a place where everything was designed in a similar manner. There was nothing which stood ut. Everything was made so that people live an easy life. Nothing was very interesting. I travelled around with my camera in search for things that would catch my eye. Day in and day out I would take my car around town but nothing was very amazing. I did take a lot of pictures of everything that I saw and every night I would come home to examine them. I did my work with them but was not fully satisfied with it. I wanted more. I wanted to go into depth but these buildings did not give me the depth that I needed. One day, I was out again in my car with my camera ready. This time I was going to go out of town. I was just about to cross the main area where all the shops were located when a lady stopped me in front of the library. I had seen her around. When I asked her why she had stopped me she told me she had been working in the library for the past twenty years. She also asked me why I went around town taking pictures of buildings. She had noticed my interest in architecture. I explained to her intent. It was then that she told me to come inside the library. I did not want to because I had a long day planned but not to seem rude I followed her in. She took me to the top storey and showed me a hidden compartment in the wall. I was amazed. It was so well hidden. One by one she took me to each rack and pointed out things in the walls which indicated that the library building was once a house of some Lord. This was actually a historical building. This was what I was looking for. I took pictures of each and everything. It was then that I realized that architecture was not just the face of a building. I had always thought of it as something which can only be seen from the outside. Something that made a building look beautiful from the outside. But architecture was so much more than this. I walked around with the librarian all day. She showed me all the wonders of the buildings and explained to me their significance. From that day onwards I changed to just examining building from outside to actually going in and checking them from the inside. I bought books which taught me the workings of the different areas in a building. I have a much broader idea of architecture now and hopefully in the future would go deeper into the study then just the front lines. There is more to this field than what our eye sees.

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Sample Essays - Topic N

When I first told my friends that I wanted to be a nurse almost all of them said or rather warned me about how hard nursing school is and that I am just too soft of a person to handle such pressure; quite frankly at this point in my life, I am. I am a soft hearted person, easily disturbed by gore and probably vomit at the smell of feces but I don’t think that is why they want me to reconsider. I think the reason is that they care for me and think that I am not fully aware of what it means to enroll in a nursing program. However, they are wrong about that. I know what it means to be in a nursing school, I know what it takes to get through and come out as a nurse at the end of it all. I know about the sleepless nights I will have, studying and digging into books for hours and hours nonstop just to look at the clock and go; “I can’t believe it’s already morning.” I know the strong stomach it takes to be a nurse, to deal with things that people would puke just talking about them; to be under so much pressure that you want just to give up, take the next bus home and just never look back. I know it all, and still I want it, I want it all the good the bad, and even beyond that, I want to deal with things that make me vomit just at the first site of them so I can learn how to have composure when I am need the most. I want to learn to bear intense pressure because my whole career will be facing such situation that most individuals pray that they never have to. I want to learn it all; adapt and evolve because I know that I will be responsible, I will be responsible for lives, and not just the patients but the lives of their families and loved ones as well. How I deal with the situation will decide whether they continue to live with their beloved kin. And even though it is imminent that I will lose some of my patients; that I cannot save everybody, but that does not mean that I won't try to make that numbers as little as I possibly can.

No one is born great at anything; we learn along the way. And I know that your institution has all the right tools that I need to become what I aspire. And so I have chosen your nursing program. So I can be all that I can be, and just help as many people as I can. I have the drive and mindset for the program let’s see if you can see it too.

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Sample Essays - Topic S

There may be personal information that you want considered as part of your admissions application. Write an essay describing that information. You might include exceptional hardships, challenges, or opportunities that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, personal responsibilities, exceptional achievements or talents, educational goals, or ways in which you might contribute to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment.

-I lost my father when I was in freshman year in high school. He had been hit by a drunk driver. I do not tell people about this incident in a detailed manner because there was nothing detailed about it. One morning he was there and the next, he wasn’t. One morning I had a father and the next I didn’t. I was so lost. All through the year I felt miserable. My grades started falling and my overall school life which had been brilliant starting slipping from my hands. This was when my friends made a small support group. They wanted to help me but I was pushing them away. They did not give up. All the people in my freshmen class who had lost a parent or both the parents started meeting up every Friday evening. Every time a new house was selected to be the place where everyone would gather. It was group for all the people who wanted to say things they had never said to anybody. The aim was to give the people a platform where they could deal with the loss they had buried deep within them. Initially I rejected the idea completely. I was angry at my friends. But eventually I stared attending the meetings. Week by week I went and sat and talked. We all shared our stories. The good memories the bad ones and eventually the ones which we had not talked about with anyone before. Gradually things started getting better for me. I realized that the more I pushed people away the more harm I was doing to myself. Within six months I was back to my old self. I was stronger now. I missed my dad every day but I knew I could not give up. We never stopped the support group meetings. And in the future too I plan to start a support group where people can come and talk about their feelings. I know many people might think that we have support groups but the idea here is to have a support group for students facing problems. This will just be for the students who are brilliant but lost. This will create a diverse learning environment which does not only consists of education but also builds other important qualities such as self-confidence, trust etc. These things are also very important and all in all they lead towards a healthier mind which benefits and assist all the educational purposes of an institution.

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Sample Essays - Topic W

When someone abuses drugs or alcohol, it does not just affect the person doing so but rather it hurts the people that care about him/her. As a kid, we are taught in schools, and we saw it on TV that drugs are bad. But the simple word "Bad" does not even begin to describe the destruction that these drugs bring to an individual's life. Unless you have been there, you cannot understand what it means.

As an adolescent growing up in a rough neighborhood, I was bound to come across a friend or kin that would give drugs a try and end up flushing their whole lives down the drain. But I could have never thought that the one that would lose to the temptation would be my mom. Not having my dad around my mother was the only person we had to whom we looked to for food, shelter, and love. Not to say that she was a bad mother to us when my siblings and I were little, but the thighs that happened just were not in her control. She couldn't just make it all go away; the debt and lack of resource we had and all that took her to drugs because she always felt guilty for not being able to provide things for us.

It was hard for her to get off that train and it almost tore our family apart. Having gone through that, I cannot let anyone go down that road. I cannot let some other kid lose respect for one of their loved ones as I almost did. I want to help people get out of that illusion of false peace and back into reality, the reality that their family and friends still love them; they all still need them. Therefore, I am choosing social work as my major as I know that I am going to need much more than a simple desire to help, I need proper training to handle the situations and help others cope. I have some experience with health care as I have studied health and social care at high school, and I did learn a lot that I did not know before, and I know that there is still a lot I need before I am ready. Because of my classes, I got to meet with students with disabilities and we were tasked to motivate them, point out the good things they had going for them. And just saying that or writing that down on a piece of paper is easy but actually going up to these brave kids was nerve-racking. That was the time I learned that it could be a struggle, a challenge just to get up in the morning and go to the bathroom, something we tend to do day after day and never think; what if one day we cannot do it anymore? Then what? However, those kids were a lot stronger than me. They laughed, played games with us, and made paintings together. Being my first experience doing some form emotional consulting; it felt right like this was something I wanted to do again but better the next time. With that said I took up a couple counseling program, helped around soup kitchens; so I have more than a few hours of field work done. With the social work program at UT Austin, I can take my ambitions to the next level. I will have all the resources and expertise that I'll need to face more complicated circumstances that I cannot at the moment.

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