Uta Essay Requirements

IMPORTANT: The UT has NEW prompts for 2017-18, so much of the information in this post is now outdated. 

Here’s the link to the update-to-date information on UT prompts:New Essay Requirements for UT.

Former Admissions Counselor
at University of Texas-Austin
Shares Insider Advice


Are you planning on applying to any of the 14 University of Texas institutions, including the most popular in Austin, Texas?

(Or Texas A&M, and even some private Texas colleges, such as SMU, TCU, Baylor and Trinity College.)

I’m excited to share some tips from a former college admissions officer at UT-Austin with you. His name is Kevin Martin, founder of TexAdmissions, and he focused these tips on the one of the 3 required essays he believes is by far the most important, based on his experience.

Kevin Martin of TexAdmissions

The University of Texas essay is called Topic C, and the prompts asks:

“Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extra-curricular activities might help you achieve your goals.”

Here is what Kevin has to say about writing your college application essay for this prompt for the University of Texas essays:

Top 10 Tips for Writing University of Texas Essays


It’s all about Essay C – For universities like UT-Austin, which requires essay C, this is where you should spend the most effort. Here, they are looking to see if you are a good “fit” for your intended area of study. This means that you should focus on why they should invest in offering you a space in their program.


Only your first choice matters – When applying to UT, you are given options for a first and a second choice major.

This is an illusion; they only consider your first choice. One hundred percent of your essay should reflect on your past experiences and skills that show how you would contribute in the classroom and the overall university community.


Treat your essays like an argument – Provide proof! The biggest problem I saw when I reviewed files for UT were vague or cliché statements.

Instead of, “A strong foundation in math is important for success in engineering,” transform this statement into a “me-focused” sentence: “Because of my internship at Texas Instruments and my strong performance in calculus, I am well suited for studies in electrical engineering.”


Each sentence should tie back to the idea of “fit” – With each sentence in your essay, ask yourself: “Does this sentence contribute to my argument that I deserve a space in their program?

Does this sentence help continue the thought from the ones before and set up my argument in later sentences?

Is this sentence absolutely necessary?

If not, can I take it out and not hurt my argument?”


This is your chance to interview – UT and other Apply Texas universities do not conduct interviews as part of their admissions process. Instead, this is your only opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee.

You want the reviewer to walk away thinking, “This is a pretty neat student. We want them here!”



How many essays should I write? – UT has a somewhat confusing system where they require two essays.

You must submit the Essay Topic C, and then your choice among Essays Topic A on diversity, Essay Topic B on overcoming an obstacle, or a special circumstances essay.

Sometimes students write all four thinking it will help them.

Don’t do this!

Unless you have a very compelling reason, only submit Essay C and your choice of one of the remaining three.


Should my second essay also focus on fit? – If you can relate your second essay to why you are a good fit for your major, then I would go for it.

I worked with a student who selected electrical engineering.

His essay C was a strong piece arguing why he had the skills and experience to contribute, but his essay B told an entertaining and insightful story of how him and his friend accidentally broke some computers they were repairing and managed to fix them just in time.


What if I am undecided? – That’s okay! Most students are undecided, even those who swear they know they are going to medical school before they enroll in freshman biology.

You can still demonstrate curiosity and passion by reflecting on one or two things that capture your interest and creative energies.


How am I evaluated? – In short, you are scored on a scale of 1-6 – whether to recommend you for admission or not.

Most students receive a 3 or a 4 with only the most exceptional students scoring a 6.

The admissions reviewer looks at everything you have submitted (resume, essays, recommendation letters, coursework, etc.). If the reviewer is on the fence about giving you a 4 or a 5, you want your essay to argue decisively that you are a good fit and an interesting person.

Essays, more so than recommendation letters, are often what tips the scale where the admissions reviewer can reward you with a higher score and improve your admissions chances.



Relax! – There comes a point where your essays are “done.”

Over-editing can cause a lot of unneeded stress and be counterproductive for the quality of your essays.

Once you submit your application, it is best just to forget about it until you receive your decision in the spring.

Excessive refreshing of your My Status page never does any good. ; )


Here’s a video that Kevin put together
with more great insider advice and tips
on writing essays for the University of Texas:




Check Out These Related Posts!

Your future starts here. Follow these steps to complete your application for admission as a graduate student. You may apply as a graduate student if you have earned or will have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, or its foreign equivalent, before starting graduate study. UTA offers master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificate programs.


Admission to graduate programs at UTA is competitive. Each academic department sets its own admission requirements and makes independent admission decisions. Visit your academic department's website for program specific admission requirements.

Academic DepartmentS UNIVERSITY CATALOG Admission for UTA Undergrads


You will need to apply using the ApplyTexas online application. These instructions are for domestic students only (see instructions for International Students).

  • Create your profile on the ApplyTexas website to get a username and password.
  • Select "Create a New Graduate School Admissions Application."
  • Select "The University of Texas at Arlington" as the target university and "Graduate, U.S." as the application type.
  • Complete Part I of the application.
  • Pay the application fee on the ApplyTexas website.
  • Submit your application.

Apply Texas


The graduate application fee is $40, unless you have foreign coursework. If you have foreign coursework, the fee is $90. You can pay the fee with a credit card on the ApplyTexas application. If you do not pay the application fee through ApplyTexas, there are two payment options.

Credit Card (preferred method)

Pay online through the UTA website with Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover.


Check or Money Order

If you are unable to pay by credit card, you can mail a personal check or money order. Please include a cover letter with your check that includes the following information:

  • Your full name, exactly as it appears on your application
  • Your email address
  • Your Maverick student ID number
  • The program/semester to which you are applying

Mailing Address


You need to submit official transcripts from each college or university you attended to the Office of Admissions electronically or by mail directly from each college or university you attended.


You may hand-deliver transcripts in person in a sealed envelope and they will be reviewed by Admissions to determine if they are official.

UTA Transcripts

Currently enrolled or former UTA students do not need to request their UTA transcript.

US Transcripts

Submit official transcripts from U.S. institutions from all colleges or universities where you have taken coursework. Official transcripts may be issued electronically or by paper directly to the Admissions Office by the Registrar of the sending institution. Paper transcripts bear the official University seal and signature of the Registrar. Scanned and emailed copies are not official.

If your college or university does not support sending documents electronically, please have the sending institution submit paper copies by mail.

Please note that all application materials, including transcripts, become property of The University of Texas at Arlington upon receipt and cannot be returned.


Foreign Transcripts

Submit official foreign transcripts, or marksheets and diplomas, that bear the original university seal and original signature of the Registrar or responsible head of the institution on every page. Transcripts or marksheets that do not include degree award information must be accompanied by an officially attested copy of the degree certificate.

Documents not issued in English must be accompanied by an exact word-for-word original English translation bearing the original university or translation agency attestation.

You can submit official foreign transcripts, marksheets, and diploma/degree award using of one of the following electronic services:

MAILING ADDRESSElectronic - CHESICC (China) Electronic - True Copy (India)

If your college or university does not support sending documents electronically, please have the sending institution submit paper copies by mail.

Please note that all application materials, including transcripts, become property of The University of Texas at Arlington upon receipt and cannot be returned.



Test scores may be required by your academic department. Official test score reports should be sent directly from the testing agency.

UTA's ETS institutional code is 6013.


Additional documents required for admission are determined by each academic department. Review the program or certificate requirements in the University Catalog for more information about these documents, including letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, resumes, portfolios, and more.


priority application DATES

Below you will find the priority application admission dates for domestic students. To be considered for admission to UTA, we must receive your online application, all required documents and the application fee by the following application priority dates. However, many graduate programs have earlier admission deadlines; be sure to check with your academic department for these program-specific deadlines.

Spring Semester: November 1
Summer Semester: April 1
Fall Semester: July 1


You will be sent an application receipt email 5-10 business days after you submit your application. This email contains your NetID and instructions to activate your MyMav account. You can check your application status in MyMav at any time.


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