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The University of Texas at Austin

Essay Requirements

To be complete, your application must include at least two essays. All applicants must submit Topic A and a second essay in response to D (required for some majors), E, or C, the special circumstances essay.

Required Essay Topic


Statement of Purpose (required for all applicants)

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.

Nursing Applicants: Applicants interested in Nursing should submit Essay A with a focus on their goals of becoming a nurse and/or a career in nursing.

Essay Topics


Preferred second essay for non-architecture/non-art majors

Choose an issue of importance to you – the issue could be personal, school related, local, 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.


Major-specific essay (required second essay for architecture and art majors)

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, design, 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 effected 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?

Submit this essay when applying for admission to architecture, art history, design, studio art, or visual art studies/art education.


Special Circumstances Essay (optional)

There may be personal information that you want 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.

Students submitting Essay C do so in order to submit additional information to the university about special circumstances, such as socio-economic standing; educational goals; cultural background; employment, internships, etc.; race or ethnicity; personal experiences and hardships; personal responsibilities; and any additional information submitted by the applicant.

Composing Your Essays

The best admissions essays are written using a process—drafting them in a word processor and editing them until they reflect your best response to the topic. Composing your essays in this manner also means that you will have a copy of your work for future reference.

Tips on Essay Writing

Plan ahead

By reviewing requirements for your major choices and programs, you may be able to keep the number of essays you write to a minimum while satisfying admission and other requirements.

Essay length

If you’re writing your essays to fulfill your admission requirements only, you should try to keep them no longer than one page (single-spaced).

Although one single-spaced page may be enough to tell us what you want and need to say, the length of your essay alone technically doesn’t matter. Developing your ideas completely does matter, however. If you can do that in a single page of text, that’s good; but if it takes you three pages or so, that’s alright, too (as long as you’re not just adding words to make your essay longer). It’s not realistic to assume that you can clearly communicate your unique perspective about anything in a short paragraph or two.

Take your time

Spend plenty of time writing and fine-tuning your essays, and ask for feedback from people you trust before submitting your essays.

Quality matters

Remember that your goal is to share important things about yourself while skillfully expressing yourself in writing.

Updated Thu, 2013-08-22 12:18 | Top

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The University of Texas at Austin
Office of Admissions
P.O. Box 8058
Austin, TX 78713-8058

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