Happy transfer season!
To support my followers, I’m releasing articles on how to get admitted into some of the most popular schools. I’m specifically covering their unique cultures and what you can do to stand out against your competition. Use this information to help you curate the perfect, school-specific application.
Today’s school: the University of Texas at Austin
UT-Austin admits only 23.9% of transfer applicants (down from 38.5% of freshman applicants), which means it’s competitive. I’ve compiled the important transfer-specific information from the Common Data Set 2018-2019:
Grade-Point Average (Overall Transfer) • 3.75
Gender • Women: 56% • Men: 44%
Ethnicity • White: 42% • Hispanic: 28% • Asian: 16% • Black: 4% • Foreign: 5% • Multiracial: 3% • American Indian: Less than 1% • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0% • Unknown: 1%
Residency • Texas residents: 95% • Out-of-state students: 3% • International students: 2% How do you apply to UT Austin, and how do you maximize your chances of admission?
Before starting your application, make sure you meet all of the requirements, which you can find in full here: Applying for Admissions Checklist UT-Austin requires a minimum of 24 transferable college credits with a minimum GPA of a 3.0/4.33 . Some majors - such as business, economics, engineering, and computer science - have prerequisite course requirements, so make sure you check out the Prerequisites page to ensure you have completed or will complete the necessary courses before enrollment.
As I mentioned, UT-Austin is a competitive school. If you don’t have a strong GPA (mostly As) you have a low chance of being accepted - even if you have strong “soft” application materials. For this reason, hiring a college consultant can be a great idea to help you maximize your chances of admission. It’s also in your best interest to begin your application early. The more time you invest on your materials, the more likely you are to submit strong, well-developed applications. This is obvious, but one of the biggest (completely avoidable!) mistakes I see students make is waiting until the last minute then submitting rushed, less-than-stellar applications.
The University of Texas at Austin reviews each application holistically. For this reason, they expect a lot from their applicants - two essays, a resume, transcripts, English language proficiency tests, and optional letters of recommendation.
Half of your application assessment will come from GPA and course rigor. The other half will be judged on a scale of 1-6. Admissions officers (AOs) want to see that you are capable of succeeding at UT Austin, have a clear idea of your future goals and how you will achieve them, and will be a good fit on their campus. This means that, beyond meeting the academic requirements, your goal as an applicant is to demonstrate strong “fit” for UT Austin and your top major.
💗💗💗 TIP - Make sure that your application materials work together as a collective whole to tell a single story. In other words, you want each of your application materials to tell a little bit more of the story of YOU - your materials should not repeat but compliment each other.
The essays are the best way to demonstrate fit. You are required to answer Essay A and then choose one of the following three prompts as your second essay. Let’s look at each one separately.
Essay A - Statement of purpose
The statement of purpose will provide an opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances that you feel could add value to your application. You may also want to explain unique aspects of your academic background or valued experiences you may have had that relate to your academic discipline. The statement of purpose is not meant to be a listing of accomplishments in high school or a record of your participation in school-related activities. Rather, this is your opportunity to address the admission committee directly and to let us know more about you as an individual, in a manner that your transcripts and the other application information cannot convey.
This essay asks the applicant to address 5 things: 1. Extenuating circumstances 2. Previous academic development/accomplishments 3. Current studies 4. Future academic and career goals 5. How the University of Texas at Austin will help in achieving these goals While there are different ways to address the transfer personal statement (including simply following the order of the 5 points listed above), I happen to have a favorite method. In fact, it’s the one I walk all of my transfer clients through. Why do I love it? Because it shows that you are not only a capable student, but you are committed to your education and have a plan for your future. Showing this in your essay is imperative because admissions committees are often concerned that transfer applicants are “wishy-washy”, meaning they lack determination. The very act of transferring shows a level of uncertainty, so you must use your essay as an opportunity to display maturity and assurance.
Here is the outline I use:
Paragraph 1- Hook the reader by telling a short story that demonstrates a key characteristic or personal value you possess (bonus points for using a personal value that’s important in your field of study). Paragraph 2 - Explain why you are at your current school / why you chose your major. Paragraph 3 - Explain why you want to leave your current school. How is your current school failing to meet your educational needs or goals? Paragraph 4 - Show how you made the best of your time at your current school. What classes/experiences have you pursued that have prepared you for your next step academically. Paragraph 5 - Why University X Paragraph 6 - Close off and, if possible, link back to your introduction To include school fit into this essay, it is imperative that you thoroughly research the school as well as Austin, Texas. Admissions officers want to know - with specificity - why you are perfect for UT Austin and UT Austin is perfect for you. Use this technique to identify the distinct ways you and the university line up: How to write an excellent "Why Choose xx University" application essay You should also discuss the ways in which UT Austin and its resources are unique from other universities.
Essay B - Extenuating circumstances
There may be personal information that you want to be 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.
If you have encountered exceptional challenges in your academic or personal life, this is your opportunity to explain them. Only answer this prompt if you need to address circumstances outside of your control and are able to remain positive. Otherwise, skip it.
Exceptional challenges affecting your academic life might include personal illness, a learning disability, or needing to help a family member. Getting poor grades because your teacher didn’t like you is not. The key to successfully responding to this prompt is to keep the negative circumstances brief and instead focus on the steps you took to mitigate or overcome them. Show that you approach trying situations with positivity and resilience.
Essay C - Intended area of study
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, 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 affected 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?
This prompt is looking for you to describe what you want to study, how something you learned, observed or experienced led to that desire, and what you have done to prepare you to reach your goals. Adcomms want to see that you have the passion to succeed in your intended major.
Start this essay with an anecdote - a short, descriptive story - that connects to your major. Your story doesn’t have to identify the time you realized you were interested in your major but can instead be a time you felt inspired. In other words, show excitement. Then move on to explain how your courses and experiences have prepared you for further study in your discipline. Don’t simply rehash your resume but give concrete examples demonstrating your knowledge and unique skills with regards to your chosen field.
Essay D - Issue of importance
Choose an issue of importance to you--it could be personal, school-related, political or international in scope--and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community, or your generation.
You can address almost any topic for this prompt. The goal is not to find an issue that adcomms “want to see” but to show that you can write about something you care about. There are two ways to successfully address this prompt: 1. Use it as an opportunity to expound upon your resume. Through the lens of your topic, highlight your experiences, unique skills, values, and/or personal characteristics. 2. Connect your topic to your intended major. Use it as your motivation to enter your field of study.
💗💗💗 TIP - Research UT Austin’s mission statement and goals. This will give you insight into what admissions officers are looking for as they review applications. Think about the things you have accomplished or experienced that align with the school’s stated mission, and infuse those experiences or personal characteristics into your essays.
From my experience as a study abroad consultant, the University of Texas at Austin favors students who demonstrate: • Passion and enthusiasm • Leadership • Contribution to community
Passion, enthusiasm, and leadership can fit anywhere in the application, so have fun infusing them into the story of you! Don’t get caught up on the type of passion or leadership you show. In other words, whether you’re passionate about something academic like Math Olympiad or something quirky like kite building, it doesn’t matter - adcomms simply want to see that you are genuinely enthusiastic about something. The same goes for leadership: It doesn’t matter if you are the president of your debate club or you teach children how to knit - adcomms simply want to see that you inspire others to action.
To demonstrate the contribution to the community, show that you are interested in the world around you by discussing how you’ve engaged with your community through activities like volunteer work, conservation efforts, or civic participation. A record of community service will go a long way with UT Austin.
Do you need help putting together your UT Austin transfer application? I help many students successfully transfer into their dream schools every year, and I can do the same for you!
I offer hourly services, 3 different transfer packages, as well as a Fundamental Transfer Plan that includes a personalized transfer analysis, a 1-hour strategy call culminating in a formal transfer plan, and 5 hours of transfer application guidance. Here’s what past transfer clients have had to say:
“I just want to let you know how thankful I am for your help. I'm able to make progress toward my degree because of your help in the process of transfer applications. Given my situation, it was amazing how many schools I got into! This wouldn't have been possible without your help.”“I just wanted to share that I’ve been admitted to NYU!! You definitely exceeded my expectations and made me think deeply about things I had never thought about before. Thank you so much for your honesty and guidance. It helped me a lot.”
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