Why Ut Austin Essay Requirement

Hot off the press, UT has sent out their counselor e-mail notifying applicants and families of two important changes.

Essay Changes

Essay A from Apply Texas is still required, which asks students to discuss the environment they were raised. Three short answer questions to be determined will also be required. It isn't clear if students will have the options to submit essays B, C, or S.

"All freshman applicants will be required to submit one essay — in response to Topic A — in ApplyTexas. Other long-form essays in ApplyTexas (B, C, D, S, etc.) will no longer be needed for freshman applicants.

As part of ApplyTexas all freshman applicants will also respond to three short-answer questions to provide UT Austin with information about the applicant’s major/career interests, academics and leadership. Responses to short answers are required items in UT Austin’s ApplyTexas freshman admissions application.

Applicants to a few majors will have additional requirements. Nursing applicants will submit an additional long-form essay (Essay N) outside the ApplyTexas process. Applicants to Social Work and Art/Art History will also submit an additional short answer response in ApplyTexas."

November 1 Priority Deadline

UT has finally clarified its policy on submitting applications early. The priority deadline for Honors has changed from October 15 to coincide with a university-wide first-time freshman deadline of November 1.

"November 1 – Priority Application Deadline (notification no later than February 1)

December 1 – Regular Application Deadline (notification no later than March 1)

The Office of Admissions and each freshman honors program will notify students who meet the priority application deadline no later than February 1. Priority notifications will include offers of admission to majors and acceptance to honors programs as well as deferrals. A deferral is a notification saying that a little more time is needed for the student’s final decision. Students who are deferred will receive final decisions no later than March 1."

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If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at UT Austin is 40%. For every 100 applicants, 40 are admitted.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at UT Austin is 3.75.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. This school did not officially report its average GPA, but we've estimated it here using data from over 1,000 schools.)

With a GPA of 3.75, UT Austin requires you to be above average in your high school class. You'll need at least a mix of A's and B's, with more A's than B's. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you're able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.75, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to UT Austin. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

UT Austin SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1350 (Old: 1904)

The average SAT score composite at UT Austin is a 1350 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1904.

This score makes UT Austin Moderately Competitive for SAT test scores.


UT Austin SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1240, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1450. In other words, a 1240 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1450 will move you up to above average.

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Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math670620740
Reading333136
Writing343136
Composite135012401450

UT Austin SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1730, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 2070. In other words, a 1730 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 2070 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math655600710
Reading628570680
Writing621560680
Composite190417302070

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

UT Austin has the Score Choice policy of "Contact School."

This means that the school wants you to contact them to learn more about their Score Choice policies. Keep reading - we may have extra notes about this from our own expert research.


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UT Austin ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, UT Austin likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 29

The average ACT score at UT Austin is 29. This score makes UT Austin Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 26, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 31.

Even though UT Austin likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 26 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 29 and above that a 26 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 29 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to UT Austin, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 29.


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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

UT Austin requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that UT Austin requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.


Our Expert's Notes

We did more detailed research into this school and found the following information.

Enrolling students with SAT Writing scores between 600 and 800 and ACT writing scores of 26 or higher earn credit for freshman English (RHE 306) at UT Austin. Additionally, certain majors in Engineering, Geosciences, and Natural Sciences have a "calculus readiness requirement," which can be fulfilled in multiple ways including getting at least a 600 on SAT Math or a 26 on ACT Math. More on the calculus readiness requirement here.

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