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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 UT Austin Supplemental Essay Prompts

The University of Texas at Austin requires all applicants to submit a set of UT Austin supplemental essays. These essays are a great way to utilize creative writing to make yourself memorable and unique. Take this chance to tell your story and run with it. In this article, we will be breaking down each prompt to make each one easier to understand. Let’s go!

See also: How to write a great supplemental essay

Before you begin

  • Multiple writing samples are required, including a supplemental essay and then four short answers (one of the four is optional).
  • UT Austin offers students the opportunity to submit additional materials to strengthen their applications, such as letters of recommendation or an expanded resume

The UT Austin supplemental essay prompt

“Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?” 

The traditional essay prompt is generally between 500 and 700 words. Compared to other supplemental essays, this is not all that long. In addition, this is an essay all about you. UT Austin wants to hear about your story and what makes you special. This is an easy topic to write about your personal experiences versus an essay that asks you to connect it back to the university. 

With that being said, you don’t have to connect it back to the university, but… it  is always a good idea to do so. This way, the people reading it are able to see what you have to offer the University of Texas, and what you bring to the table as a student. 

So, what makes you unique? If you are planning on talking about challenges for this question, we recommend thinking twice about writing about the Pandemic. This is because although you may have a unique experience, the pandemic was a challenge that everyone had to live through. Pick a challenge that is unique to you, one that makes you you. In addition to that, in the optional short answer, you have the opportunity to talk about the challenges that you were presented with during the Pandemic. 

Short answers

As mentioned above, you’ll need to write three short answer questions (and have the option to write one additional one). These can be quick and easy, but extremely influential to the college admissions process. Each response should be between 250 and 300 words.

Short answer #1

“Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”

This is a simple question, and easy to answer in less than 300 words. Maybe you have always known what you wanted to study in college, or maybe you are still figuring it out– whatever the case may be, just be open, honest, and concise when you speak about this topic. 

Short answer #2

“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.”

In this short answer, they are offered  the opportunity to talk about the things you are passionate about. Take this and run with it! This is one of the things that makes students stand out among the crowd– what they are passionate about and why. The trick here is connecting it back to how it currently benefits you as a student, and how it will continue to benefit you as a student. 

An example of this could be a student organization that taught you about accountability. From being in a leadership position in this organization, you learned accountability, which helped you to be a better student because you were more apt to be on time with assignments, get ahead on your schoolwork, and to hold yourself accountable. Learning these things early on helped you to build healthy learning habits that you will carry with you into college. 

Short answer #3

“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 arguably one of the more important short answers that UT – Austin asks you to write. They want to know that you hold similar values to their founders and the existing student body, and that you will be a good fit for their university holistically, not just academically. 

There are so many different directions that you could take this question. First, think about what you want to do with your degree after college. Then ask yourself, “What can I do at UT Austin that will not only transform my life, but how can what I learn from that experience that will help me be able to transform others’ lives as well”? This is a loaded question, and a lot more than you might be able to answer right now. Just try to be idealistic and think of your future. 

Optional short answer

“Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance. If your response to this question is similar to one of the Common App Personal Essays, feel free to simply copy and paste the important parts of your essay here. Please limit your response to 250-300 words.”

This one is quick, easy, and a short answer that everyone should answer if their situation warrants. This is your opportunity to let UT Austin know about your struggles and help them understand your story a bit better. 

Closing thoughts for students

It is completely understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed after reading through all of these prompts. The only thing that you can do is try your best and be honest about who you are–in other words, stay true to yourself. The college admissions professionals at the University of Texas – Austin simply want to get to know you as a person, and that is why they are asking you so many questions! Remember, the prompts are not meant to make you feel overwhelmed or scared by any means. 

Additional resources

At Scholarships360, we understand that the college admissions process is a long and strenuous process. We want to make things easier for you, so we’ve curated a pretty extensive list of tips and tricks to help you out. Learn how to write an essay about yourself and perfect writing both 250 or 500 word essays. We can help you figure out how many colleges to apply to, and after, how to make your college application shine. We wish you luck, and remind you to apply for all the scholarships you are eligible for! 

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