It's your ticket - go anywhere and do what you want!
Continuing the theme of how these new prompts over a broad range to showcase impressive qualities about yourself, Essay C offers the greatest chance for a creative approach.
“Topic C: You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?”
Essay C’s open-ended nature reminds me more of applying to the University of Chicago or a Small Liberal Arts College than to public universities in Texas. It is evident the Apply Texas essay committee sought a significant departure from previous prompts. I am particularly curious to see how students choose to approach this topic.
The possibilities are endless.
A student could talk about a literal ticket like a plane, amusement park, or a musical. It could be an imaginary ticket like a ticket to fulfilling your dreams, to visit a distant planet, or an invitation to a dinner date with your favorite figure from history. I am inclined to think you don’t even need to talk about a ticket and only address your future academic and professional plans in a more conventional personal statement prompt. I can think of hundreds of ways to approach this, but as always, students are typically more clever than me. I anticipate some truly out there response.
With this opportunity also comes a responsibility to not lose sight of highlighting important qualities that admissions committees are looking for – perseverance, grit, curiosity, and an ability to communicate well. If you choose to put forward an unorthodox response, don’t lose sight that the ultimate goal is to gain admission into your desired program.
Spending a few sentences to address your academic and professional goals will help give reviewers an idea why you have chosen your selected major. Since “fit” is an important part of UT’s review process, your application should focus on why the university should invest in you an available space.
At any rate, use Essay C to write your ticket into your dream school.
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Some Tips to Consider:
Here is a tip directly from UT Austin:
“Leadership can be demonstrated by positions you hold as an officer in a club or organization, but other types of leadership are important too. Leaders can emerge in various situations at any given time, including outside of the school experience. Please share a brief description of the type of leadership qualities you possess, from school and non-school related experiences, including demonstrations of leadership in your job, your community, or within your family responsibilities, and then share how you hope to demonstrate leadership as a member of our campus community.”
The most effective way to respond to this prompt is to split it into two parts. Part 1 should concern your experience with leadership or cultivating a leadership skill. Part 2 should directly respond to Part 1 by analyzing how the identified skill will apply directly to a campus group or community at UT Austin.
For example, you could begin by describing your experience volunteering or tutoring at a local elementary school. Instead of simply saying you were “a leader” to the younger kids, focus on describing the types of qualities you learned and how. If the kids often struggled with paying attention or staying on task, you could explain how you learned to temper expectations, be patient, and interact with a cool head. When the kids recognized how patient and composed you were, they adopted the same demeanor when solving problems and improved drastically. You could even go in-depth about particular moments or instances in which you learned a certain skill or developed a leadership quality. Further, you can also discuss what leadership means to you, potentially touching on the types of qualities you value in a leader.
Following your anecdote, you can specifically show how your leadership qualities will be used at UT Austin. For example, if you are interested in leading outreach projects in local Austin communities or even other countries, you can explain how the quality of “patience” will come in handy when convincing organizations to let you work with them. If you do a mission trip in another country, patience is often crucial for forming relationships and overcoming social or linguistic barriers, as well. The point of this example is to show how clearly you must organize the response and how the specific quality you discuss in your personal anecdote must also motivate your application to UT Austin.