5 Insider Tips for Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Texas at Austin

Last Thursday College MatchPoint hosted an informational session with Alexandra Billick, Director of the Undergraduate Admissions Center at The University of Texas at Austin. We were thrilled by the turnout and appreciated the insights that Alexandra was able to provide to everyone in attendance.

For those who missed the event, we did want to share a few highlights from the evening—there are important takeaways for everyone considering UT:

  1. Making your application personal is key. With all applicants getting a holistic read (this includes automatic admits, who aren’t necessarily admitted their top choice school/major), you need to be sure that your story is coming through. From your essays and resume to rec letters, UT admissions wants to see what makes you, you. Alexandra even suggested choosing non-traditional recommenders who know you beyond your grades—those with personal stories to tell. Students should be strategic in choosing their recommenders, looking at their total application and trying to fill in holes with rec letters (if your grades and test scores show that you are a math genius, for example, don’t have someone writing a letter that says essentially the same thing).
  2. Sending an expanded resume is critical, particularly for Engineering, Computer Science, and Business applicants. Engineering and Computer Science applicants must show actual background in the field beyond coursework. Business students need to  demonstrate significant leadership experience. And students in all fields should use the expanded resume to communicate how they match to their intended major. The key to making a resume work for UT is to show details beyond those in the application and show why an activity matters to you and your story.
  3. Send in all your scores—they will pick and choose which test score to consider for your major/school and will toss out the others.
  4. Fit to major remains an important piece of the UT admissions puzzle—this means that they want to match students to majors they know you have interest in, and are likely to succeed in. Alexandra confirmed that trying to “game” the system and sneak into highly competitive programs like business or engineering by selecting a different major might find themselves without an acceptance letter—they are on to this strategy and it doesn’t play well.
  5. Don’t mess with the deadlines. For UT, all application materials (rec letters, test scores, resume, etc.) must be received by—not postmarked by—the deadline. This means ordering test scores for any fall tests on the day of the exam (so that UT gets them the same time you do). If any piece of your application is missing on deadline day, your application will be deleted. Don’t be late!