Ahhh, Texas: It’s a state in the USA that’s known for having buffalos, hot weather, being the “Lone Star State”, popularizing BBQs and being the second largest state according to World Atlas. But it’s also known for another thing: The University of Texas at Austin commonly known as UT Austin. Yep, for a state that sure loves its cowboys, it’s got a university that many consider among the elite.
UT Austin is quite the university because the institute states on their website here that, "Students choose The University of Texas at Austin for many reasons, including the broad range of academic offerings, the exciting opportunities for research and scholarship, and a lively and diverse campus that sits at the heart of a vibrant city.” It’s also got the reputation for being one of the world’s high-ranked universities and has delighted students from Texas and other places to take on the challenge it brings for them.
So that makes you want to ask yourself: Can you be a part of this great university that has become spectacular since it opened its door in 1883? Yes, you can! The guide we have for you below will show you the ways on what you can do to gain admissions to UT Austin. Ready to get it on? Read on below and find out!
1. Know how UT Austin does their admission review
These days, elite universities are leaning toward the holistic review in which scores aren't the only factors on how a student can be accepted and admitted to their campus. So you'll need to understand that UT Austin is going with that approach with more explanation here. A thing to take note of here is by law in Texas, Texan applicants can be eligible for automatic admissions which means they won't have to go through the usual application process and gets a shortcut toward being admitted right away.
But it's a good idea to know that the admission has had its setbacks in the past years. It's even been investigated that Bill Powers, a previous president of UT Austin, influenced the decisions made in admitting well-connected students. In a post back in 2015, the investigation talked about here has shown that Powers has made some favours along with some officials and done other things to get the admissions flowing as he wanted it. In response to this, Powers said, "It is my observation that some similar process exists at virtually every selective university in America, and it does so because it serves the best interests of the institutions.” Since then, outrageous claims haven't been said regarding the admissions team. You can even try Googling about the current president of UT Austin, and you won't see anything that tops the one about Powers.
What you can take away from here is UT Austin doesn’t want to go the traditional way with reviewing students: They’re looking at all factors beyond the scores to determine who’s got the right fit to be part of the campus. But you also have to remember that because of the report that exposed a bit of Bill Powers’ way with admission, there may be other things at play that could affect your chances in gaining admission.
2. Take note of the factors that can give your application a boost for UT Austin
Though the holistic review isn't much to go by, other factors delight UT Austin when they see them in a student. It's not said outright, but if you're curious about them, here they are courtesy of CollegeVine:
When it comes to the academics, UT Austin takes these very seriously. They’re not only taking a look at the grades but also the SAT and ACT results, your class rank and your class schedule. For them, academics gives them an idea of how well you do in your school as a whole.
Because of the holistic review UT Austin does, they’ll also be checking in on the extracurriculars you’ve done. They’re not particular about the types you’ve done but more on how you did them. They’re eager to see the qualities you’ve gained in pursuing them.
UT Austin also wants to see your character. Are you the type that fits the bill for their campus? Do you have that it factor that’ll just make you feel right at home with them? It can be subjective, but if you’re able to give them something to be happy about, they may just go in your favour.
- Contribution to Community
UT Austin is proud of the way it promotes diversity and research throughout, so they’ll want to see a bit of how you can contribute to a community and therefore, their campus.
When you’ve got these factors in place, there’s no way they can deny you admission into their campus. Don’t worry; we’ll show you ways to get you up to speed in achieving these factors and showcasing them with your application later.
3. Have a more significant understanding of why Texans get the upper advantage than OOS (out of state) applicants
As you learned a while ago, automatic admission is given to eligible applicants who are Texan residents. You can learn more about that law here. In a way, knowing about this will give you a more significant understanding of why Texans get the upper advantage than OOS (out of state) applicants when it comes to applying at UT Austin. It's also been noticed in recent years that it's getting harder and harder for students that aren't part of Texas to apply which you'll learn more about later. Also, if you happen to be part of Texas, then this part doesn't need to worry you too much since you've got the law by your side. But if you're somewhere else or you're in another part of the world, you're going to have quite the competition to get into UT Austin.
4. Develop your spike
Now that you know how competitive it can be to apply in UT Austin, you're going to need something that will catch the university's attention. It's primarily going to be needed when you're applying from a different state. So how can you go about it? Develop your spike. What's that? As PrepScholar explains here, a spike, "is what sets you apart from all other applicants. It goes against the spirit of simply being well rounded. By nature of being unique, you don't fit in with all of the other well-rounded applicants; you do something that truly stands out in a meaningful way." If you need to look from a different perspective, try imagining that while other people will settle for the mediocre, you'll aim for the better.
It's a great achievement to get to a status where you feel like you're on top of the world, but reaching for it is going to zap the energy out of you. You may not even be able to do it and will give up halfway through your journey. But think about the great chefs of this world for a minute. You can assume that their talents are God-given and therefore, they don't need to work too hard. But what you may not be aware of is these chefs never started at the top level: They all began from the low level. They started from nothing and built up their way until they reached the top. It's not easy for them so you can imagine the trials, errors and practices they had to go through to have the reputation finally. If they can do it and become top chefs of the world, then you can develop your spike and give UT Austin what they want!
5. Choose an area of interest and plot out a plan for developing the spike
Once you're ready and feeling like you can do it, you're ready to get spike development going! But before you get aboard the excitement train, it's a good idea to pick your area of interest where you already have excellent skills and plot out a plan. For example, if your skills in playing the drums are so excellent that it gets some people looking awestruck, then make that your area of interest and plot out a schedule to further your skills. You can set a time to upgrade your drumming skills for three times a week. You can then choose resources that'll help you out, such as YouTube and tutoring. Once you've committed to your plan, you can see yourself getting the spike you've been seeking.
6. Maintain excellence in other areas of interest
While you're developing your spike, you can also maintain other areas of interest that'll sure make UT Austin happy to see you've done on your application. But don't go thinking you'll be well-rounded and add more to your plate: You need to prioritize a few of them and stick with them while leaving out the rest. For example, if you happen to have five areas of interest, but only two of them are giving you enormous growth, then stick with the latter and ignore the other three. You can then maintain a schedule that won't take too much of your time so that when you've got the spike, you're still kicking it well with the other prioritized areas of interest that make the bulk of who you are.
7. Take on AP courses and ace the exams with a smile
Need a little challenge to spark up the spirit in you? Take some AP courses and ace the exams with a smile. By having AP courses, you'll have a chance at knowing a bit of what the college workload is like, and once you've done the exams and passed them with flying colours, you'll have some college credits you can use when you're finally admitted. It'll also give UT Austin the impression you're a hard-working student who won’t settle for less.
8. Volunteer in your community
As you learned earlier, UT Austin appreciates applicants who can be of significant contribution to their community. Hence, if you're eager to get that factor up and running in you, be a volunteer in your community. Whether you're cleaning up your community's shops or organizing events, it'll not only give you a better way to interact with the people who are willing to help you out.
9. Organizing a team or club
Are you tired of always being the team member? Then be a team leader! You can go for it and organize a team or club where you can showcase your leadership skills. It'll boost your application nicely because UT Austin will see that you're the applicant who can lead a group and keep it organized without a flinch.
10. Get yourself a part-time job
Short on cash? Want to learn the ways of the employee without quitting school? You can try getting yourself a part-time job. It'll not only teach how employees do their thing and earn their living, but it'll also give you a chance to learn responsibility, integrity and humility. It'll also delight UT Austin when they see you've done a part-time job because they can see you're an applicant who's willing to learn things beyond the boundaries of the textbook while developing yourself with growth.
11. Pick your course
When you’re up and ready with the factors all under wraps, you can go ahead and pick your course. You can have a peek at the offers here with complete details on what the courses are all about along with additional requirements depending on the departments they fall under. It’s a good idea spending time here so you’ll have a chance to see which course is just right for you.
12. Gather the application requirements
Got your course picked! Great! Now it’s time to gather the application requirements. The details are all here, but you can view the essentials below:
- Completed Apply Texas or Coalition Application
- $75 application fee or waiver of a fee
- High school transcript
- SAT or ACT results (optional)
- Response to supplemental essays
- College transcripts (for any college credits earned during high school)
There are two things to take note with regards to the requirements you’ve just read now. The first one is the SAT and ACT results are currently optional. As detailed in a post here, due to the circumstances involving test cancellations and the COVID-19, UT Austin decided to temporarily make the SAT and ACT results optional for those who will apply for Fall 2021 class. It'll be brought back as mandatory in 2022, so you can rest a little easy for this one. The second thing is the letters of recommendations and a resume are optional, so you don’t need to worry about them.
13. Look at the SAT, ACT, and GPA scores that UT Austin wants to see
As you’ve learned, you won’t need to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of your application because it’s optional for the current cycle. But it’ll be back up and running for 2022, so you still need to feel like the optional change never even happened. Also, if you need to know the scores UT Austin wants from you, let College Simply give you the lowdown here:
As the data shows for you, your SAT score must be above 1360 and ACT score must be above 30. Compared to other elite universities, the scores you need to reach aren’t too high compared to most universities, but you still got to commit well if you’re to reach them. As for GPA, you need to be on or above 3.84 which can be quite a mammoth of a challenge to tackle on because getting that kind of GPA on your application will mean quite a lot of commitment.
14. Up your GPA to the max
The GPA you can see above is a high standard, and getting there will require a chunk amount of effort if you're to get it. Don't worry; we've got some tips for you to remember when you're ready to commit and have the GPA that'll make your application feel more awesome. Here they are:
- Be participative in class
When it comes to raising your GPA, it’s a good idea to participate in your class which is to say you need to show your presence a little more than usual. From answering a teacher’s questions to giving out examples most of your classmates can’t do, it’s all about letting the school know you’re not the quiet type and that you have an eagerness to make the most out of your classroom time.
- Plot out a study schedule
Since you’ll be on a mission to raise your GPA, you’re going to need to a plot out a study schedule. It’s a way to get your knowledge on the things you’re learning in your subjects up to memory so that when you’re back in the classroom, you’ll remember everything. It’ll also give you the lowdown on the homework and other tasks that are required from you. For example, you can plot out time to study after school or during a break. You can even settle time to study after breakfast for a few minutes.
- Hang out with classmates who have high GPA
Know anyone who’s been getting the As in your class? Hang out with them and learn their ways. It’ll give you an insight into what they do and how they can maintain their stature. It’ll also help you see things from a perspective you never thought existed.
- Make the library your second home
Most students regard the library like it’s some boredom-filled area with nothing but books. But to the few who enjoy them, it’s a home with knowledge all recorded on paper. That’s why it pays to make the library your second home. We’re not saying you should get a tent and sleep there, but it’s more about making it a place where you can enrich your experience and intellect in significant ways. Also, it’s quiet and calm, so why not make the most of the noise-free environment to get more knowledge on your math problems?
- Eliminate all distractions
If you’re going to get your GPA up to the max, you’ll need to make the conscious effort of eliminating all distractions. Yep, you’ll have to make sure your phone or other devices aren’t nearby to tempt you. You need undivided attention when it comes to studying, so make sure they’re all gone. It’ll be of great aid when you’ve got a study schedule so that you can stay committed and disciplined.
15. Score significantly on the ACT and SATs (optional, but recommended to take)
Again, the ACT and SAT scores are optional for the current cycle, so you're free to skip this step, but if you want to be better safe than sorry, you'll need to take the tests and get the scores Claremont McKenna wants to see. If you're a bit intimidated on how to go about it, here are things to remember:
- Practice the tests
When you’re aiming to do something, you don’t get it right away. You practice until you get it perfect. The same can be said for the tests, so you have to get it on and practice them until you can perfect them. Don’t expect that same questions you practice will appear on the real test, but be vigilant in recognizing the question types and the way they’re answered to get you up to speed.
- Get prepped up with the apps
Are you feeling all good with your practices? Now you're ready to apply what you've learned and prep up even more with the app versions. It's where you'll see the question types updated from previous years. It'll give you a better view of what you need to do. It'll also be an excellent way to see whether or not you're comfortable with what you'll be doing.
- Join a tutoring class
You can rev up your skills with the tests by joining a tutoring class. You’ll not only learn more stuff that can help you with the tests but you’ll also gain insight from the experts who tackled the tests and how they did their part in getting the scores they were able to achieve.
- Read the official guides
As you’re slowly learning more from your tutors and practices, it’s a good idea to get the official guides as well. After all, they were made by the people who make much of the SAT and ACT every year. Plus, the word “official” already says it all.
- Get enough rest before test day
It’s noble that you’ll be prepping up your way to achieving high scores on the SAT and ACTs but make sure you have enough rest before the actual day because if you’re super-exhausted, you’ll not be able to commit to what you set yourself to do in the first place. Plus, you might answer the questions wrong and find yourself in a bind. That’s why when you’ve done all the practices and tutoring you need to do, chill out and rest. You’ll thank yourself for it when you wake up on test day and see that you can do them without a flinch.
16. Have a look at the acceptance rates of UT Austin
Unlike the acceptance rates you’ll see in most elite universities, the acceptance rates at UT Austin are a big contrast to them because they’re quite high. If you’re curious, here are the numbers gathered altogether:
The acceptance rate from 2010 was as high as 47%. It stayed that way for a while until it lowered to 40% in 2013. From there, the rate went in a spiral motion until it stayed at 39% in 2019. It's projected that this year, it'll be rising to 44.2%.
But the majority of those who are accepted come from Texas while the minority come from other states so while you can see that the acceptance rates are quite higher than most elite universities, you need to remember there's a definite advantage if you're a Texan. It's come to the point that many are thinking it's getting more difficult for the OOS applicants to apply as the years go by. So if you're in Texas and you live there, you can take these numbers to your advantage. But if you're out of state, you're going to need a lot of willpower to get yourself going.
17. Rev up your application
When you’ve picked up the rest of the requirements, you’re now ready to create your application and profile. But you have to level it up and make sure it’s already boosted and revved up for Carnegie Mellon. Stumped on how to do this? Here are the things you can apply:
- Answer the essays spectacularly
As part of their requirements, you'll need to submit your responses to the essay questions that will be part of the application. When it comes to answering, it's a good idea to take note of the questions themselves and knowing what you can say within the word requirements stated. It's where you can take all the things that make you who you are and convey them with your answers. You can also get some great tips on how best to answer them from CollegeVine here.
- Submit the optional letters of recommendation and resume
Though they're optional, it's a significant boost to submit the letters of recommendation and resume. Why? For the letters of recommendation, it'll give UT Austin the impression that you're quite a great student at your school and it'll give you the lasting appeal to them. As for the resume, it's where you can showcase all the extracurriculars you've done along with the prioritized areas of interest you've done. You can even give them a chance to see how your spike factors into your character.
- Stay strong on what you’ll put on your application even if you’re out of state
For a Texan, applying for UT Austin won't be too hard when you've done all that you can to get the automatic admission, but for an out of state applicant, it'll be a long road to take. But it's still a great idea to stay strong and stick with what you'll put on your application because it's a way to show UT Austin that even if you weren't born in Texas, you could still prove you what it takes to be a part of their campus.
- Chat up with the experts
When you’re still creating your application, go ahead and chat with the experts. It’ll give you great insights, ideas you never thought you could do and other things that’ll help you make your application even better than ever.
- Take a tour of UT Austin
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic going worldwide, the in-person campus tours have been postponed until further notice. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a look at UT Austin anymore: You can still do it via the virtual world! UT Austin offers virtual sessions for those who want to see UT Austin from the comfort of their home. It'll rev up your application because UT Austin will remember you when you're ready to apply. It'll also let them see you're the eager applicant who wants to see their campus in all its glory.
18. Submit everything, cross your fingers and hope for the best
Once you've got it all under wraps, make that submission, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. It's not a guarantee you'll get right in, and you can already see the acceptance rate is quite low that you got to hope. So it's all in the matter of patience.
After waiting for a time, you finally get the results you’ve awaited from UT Austin. What do they answer? Rejection! In the end, UT Austin doesn’t see you fit for the campus. Does it mean all hope is lost? No, not yet because there are still other options to pursue, which are not the usual type. It’s no guarantee you'll get in, but you've already tried applying, so trying them out won’t be too much of a hassle. Here they are:
Alternative Option A: Go for another college and transfer to UT Austin later
You can try applying for a different college and transferring to UT Austin later. The requirements for transferring are here with full details laid out for you. But don't get too excited on it because the transfer acceptance rate is 23.91% according to Campus Reel. Sure, it might be high for you than other transfer acceptance rates from other elite universities but take note that there's a good chance the majority are Texans while the rest are from other states which means your chances are meagre to even getting in. But if you can build up your application and profile while you're in the other college in a way that was different from before, UT Austin will likely give you a second look.
Alternative Option B: Go for an admissions appeal
Another option to try is going for an admissions appeal. You can get the details about how to go for it here, but this option is riskier and may not even guarantee an appeal for you at all. Why? UT Austin states that "An applicant for admission should submit an appeal only if there is new, significant and/or compelling information that was not previously provided at the point of application; a disagreement with an applicant's admissions decision, alone, is not a valid reason for submitting an appeal.” It means to say that you have found a point that UT Austin can agree would be a boost to your appeal. If you need to see it another way, it's like rolling the dice at the casino and hoping for the lucky 7. Yep, chances are super-duper slim, so unless you can prove UT Austin missed something significant on your application, you're going to have a tough time with this one.
UT Austin pretty much shows: It’s a university that stands by its pride and embraces where it is. From its research to diversity, UT Austin has attracted many applicants from Texas and other places to become part of the campus that lived up to its values and principles. Yes, it'll be a challenge to get in, especially when you're not a Texan yourself. Still, if you're able to prove to the university, you've got the factors they've been looking for along with high-flying scores, then you've got yourself an entrance into one of the best universities of the world.