2023-2024 Common App essay prompts

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We are pleased to announce that the Common App essay prompts will remain the same for 2023-2024.

It’s not just for the sake of consistency that we have chosen to keep the essay prompts the same for the upcoming application year. Our past research has shown that overall satisfaction with the prompts exceeded 95% across our constituent groups - students, counselors, advisors, teachers, and member colleges. Moving forward, we want to learn more about who is choosing certain prompts to see if there are any noteworthy differences among student populations.

We know some schools are beginning to have conversations with juniors and transfer students about their college options. As we’ve always said, this is not a call for students to begin writing. We hope that by sharing the prompts now, students will have the time they need to reflect on their own personal stories and begin thinking about what they want to share with colleges. As you assist students with their planning, feel free to share our Common App Ready resource on approaching the essay (in English and Spanish ). You can also visit our YouTube channel to view our breakdown of all 7 Common App essay prompts . 

"Moving forward, we want to learn more about who is choosing certain prompts to see if there are any noteworthy differences among student populations." Meredith Lombardi, Director, Education and Training, Common App

Students who are ready to start exploring the application can create their Common App account prior to August 1. With account rollover , we will retain any responses to questions on the Common App tab, including the personal essay.

Below is the full set of essay prompts for 2023-2024.

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

We will retain the optional community disruption question within the Writing section. 

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Texas A&M University Supplemental Essay Guide: 2021-2022

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Not sure how to approach the Texas A&M essay prompts? CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Texas A&M application essays will breakdown the Texas A&M essay requirements and show you exactly how to write engaging Texas A&M essays to maximize your chances of admission. If you need help answering the Texas A&M essay prompts, create your free or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

Texas A&M Essay Guide Quick Facts

  • Acceptance rate of 63.0%— U.S. News ranks Texas A&M as a more selective school. 
  • Every student must submit a Texas A&M essay through ApplyTexas or The Coalition Application . If you are applying as an engineer, you must write an additional Texas A&M essay.

Does Texas A&M have any supplemental essays?

Yes, there are two Texas A&M application essays. The Essay tab of Admission’s Freshman Application Page , lists the Texas A&M essay requirements. You’ll find both Texas A&M essay prompts there. In the first essay, you’ll share a bit about your high school career. The second, is an engineering-specific short answer question.

Does Texas A&M require a supplemental essay?

Yes, the Texas A&M requirements require all applicants to write Texas A&M application essays. While there are two Texas A&M essay prompts, there is only one required Texas A&M essay. Only students applying to the College of Engineering need to answer both Texas A&M essay prompts. 

To summarize, students applying as engineers will write two Texas A&M admissions essays. All other non-engineering students will write one Texas A&M essay. Now that we have established the Texas A&M essay requirements, let’s write those Texas A&M admissions essays!

How do I write my Texas A&M supplemental essay?

After you’ve reviewed the Texas A&M essay requirements, you can begin brainstorming topics for your Texas A&M essays.  Remember, there isn’t a perfect topic or a formulaic approach to writing your essay. Your Texas A&M admissions essays are an opportunity to infuse your application with your life, personality, and voice. Rather than trying to impress Admissions with your Texas A&M essays, go for honesty! That means being true to yourself and your experiences. 

No matter what topic you end up choosing to write about in your Texas A&M essays, it is important you remember your audience. Your Texas A&M application essays are part of an application, so you need to appeal to the needs of your reader: the Admissions team. They are looking to get a sense of who you are and how you’ll add to the vibrancy of their student body.

Here are three questions you should keep in mind when writing each of your Texas A&M admissions essays:

  • Have I answered the prompt in my Texas A&M essay?
  • Does my Texas A&M essay reflect who I am?
  • Do I show how I will be an asset to the school’s community in my Texas A&M essay?

Now that we have our essay goals in mind, let’s move on to the first step: brainstorming. We have provided the 2021-2022 Texas A&M essay prompts below. You’ll find a breakdown of how to approach each question, as well as tips for writing Texas A&M application essays that will help you stand out in admissions. 

Texas A&M essay – Question 1 (Required)

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (no word limit).

The Texas A&M essay prompts do not have specified word limits. Because there is only one required Texas A&M essay and this prompt is open-ended, we suggest sticking between approximately 500-700 words. Remember, if your essay is too short, you may not be telling a complete or detailed story. Too long, and you may not keep your reader’s attention.

Generate ideas

This Texas A&M essay is going to be about cause and effect. As you brainstorm , split your page into two columns: “Opportunities/Challenges” and “How I Was Affected.” The first column addresses the “what” part of your Texas A&M essay. The prompt asks about plural opportunities or challenges. Therefore, it is important you write down as many memories you can think of, as you’ll likely be picking more than one to include in your Texas A&M essay. Also, this prompt specifically asks about your high school career . Restrict your brainstorming to high school memories. 

The second column will be the “why” of your Texas A&M essay. Why is it important for the admissions team to hear this story? For each opportunity or challenge, write a corresponding bullet point that summarizes what you learned, how you grew, why you were proud of yourself, or why it was important to you.

Look for patterns

Once you’ve completed your brainstorm, start looking for patterns or ways to group your experiences. Was there a particular class you grew in? Perhaps there was a challenge that later reappeared as an opportunity. Or maybe there’s an aspect of your personality that shined through in multiple situations.

Whatever you settle on, be sure to refer to the three objectives before you start drafting your Texas A&M essay. This breakdown has already helped you be sure you are responding to the prompt, so you need to be sure the story you’ve outlined will reflect something about who you are and how you might positively impact Texas A&M’s community.

Tell your story

All that’s left to do is tell your story. As you begin drafting your Texas A&M application essays, be sure you aren’t simply listing facts or details. Instead, string them together with your thoughts, feelings, and interpretations. Even if the events on paper are simple, your voice is what makes will make you stand out .

Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Does your Texas A&M essay tell a story about opportunities or challenges you faced in high school? 
  • Did you show how your experiences helped shape who you are?
  • Does your Texas A&M essay have a point of view?

Texas A&M essay – Question 2 (Required for Engineering Applicants)

Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? (no word limit).

According to the Texas A&M essay requirements, all applicants to the School of Engineering must respond to a second prompt and write a total of two Texas A&M admissions essays. Neither of the Texas A&M essay prompts has word counts, so there is no specific word limit for your Texas A&M essays. Because this question is more straightforward, we suggest keeping your second Texas A&M essay between 300-500 words.

Although the topics are different, both Texas A&M essay prompts are cause & effect questions. For this brainstorm, split your page into two columns: “Academic and Career Goals” and “Who/What Inspires Me.” List out what you hope to learn and the kind of work and research you might want to do at college as well as the kind of positions or work you’d like to hold or be involved in post-graduation (including grad school if you’re already thinking of attending). Remember, whatever you include on your inspiration list needs to have “contributed to these goals,” so as you list people, topics, or events, also write down how they helped lead you to your goals. 

Focus on what’s important

Once you have all the information and details you’d like to include, all you need to do is write about them in a way that shows who you are and what is important to you. For example, if you already know the kind of job you’d like to have one day, you could start with your academic goals, reflect upon your inspirations, and end with your career aspirations. Or if there was one pivotal moment that has defined your path, maybe start with that moment and tell the story of how that has led you to have the goals you have today.

Everyone’s goals and inspirations will be specific to them. However, a strong Texas A&M essay should focus on your passion for engineering. Let that passion shine through in your writing, and you’ll be sure to have Texas A&M application essays that will blow the admissions team away. 

  • Did you describe your academic and career goals in your Texas A&M essay? 
  • Have you shown what has inspired you to reach for these goals?
  • Does your Texas A&M essay reflect your passion?

What does Texas A&M look for in essays?

To begin, you should think of the Texas A&M essays as a chance to introduce yourself. They’re also an opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants. Therefore, you’ll want to write your Texas A&M application essays in your own voice and show how your unique experiences have impacted how you view the world. The admissions team cares about more than just your grades and test scores; they care about the person behind the numbers.

Although it is not specifically mentioned in the Texas A&M essay requirements, it is expected your essays have the correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. In addition to telling your story, the admissions department is looking for Texas A&M admissions essays that are clear and polished. Excellent editing and proofreading are a must. The less distracted your reader is by little mistakes, the easier it will be to focus on the story your Texas A&M essays are telling.  

Tips for writing Texas A&M essays

In addition to providing the Texas A&M essay requirements, the university has a College Readiness page with resources and tips to help you through the application process. Be sure to review these tips on the website or below.  Approaching the Texas A&M application essays can be daunting. CollegeAdvisor offers 39 Essay Tips from Admissions Experts that will you navigate the writing process.

Answer the question

Our guide has already broken down the Texas A&M essay prompts to be sure you’ve answered the question completely. As you settle on a topic, be sure to use your Texas A&M admissions essays as an opportunity to touch on something not mentioned anywhere else in your application. Although the Texas A&M essay requirements don’t specifically tell you to, providing new information will help give the admissions team a full picture of who you are and the experiences that have prepared you for college.

Be authentic

We’ve said to “use your voice,” which is just another way to say be authentic. While it is important you keep your audience in mind (and specifically use language appropriate to the formality of a college application), it is also important you stay true to who you are. There’s no need to try to sound smarter or funnier or more serious in your Texas A&M essays than you do in real life – Admissions wants you to be yourself. 

Focus on details

The details you include will make your Texas A&M application essays stand out from the rest. Even if your circumstances or experiences seem like everybody else’s, your experience of them is what makes them special and unique to you. Being specific will also help bring your story to life and help drop your reader into your shoes so they can better understand who you are and what you bring to the table. 

Proofread your essay

Proofread, proofread, proofread! Grammar or spelling mistakes aren’t the end of the world. However, they do distract your reader from what is important: your story. Whether or not you are a strong proofreader, have a second pair of eyes on your Texas A&M essays. A teacher, counselor, or guardian is a great place to start. Even a fellow peer can be a good resource. Most importantly, your reader should give feedback on both grammar and story. This will ensure your final draft is as polished as it can be. 

As you begin compiling all the information you’ll need for your application, check out the Admissions blog for prospective students. Additionally, if you’d like more tips from Texas A&M’s undergraduate admissions team on approaching your essays, check out this video on telling your story!

Texas A&M Supplemental Essays: Final Thoughts

If the essay requirements seem daunting to you, remember that the admissions team wants to be impressed by you. There are so many types of students and people in the world. It is impossible to know who a person is by their grades and test scores alone. Consequently, the admissions teams reads the Texas A&M admissions essays to get a better understanding of each candidate as a person. Unlike the other aspects of your application, you have complete control over your Texas A&M application essays. Take that freedom and use your Texas A&M essays to show them your best, most curious self. Start early. Then, you’ll have time to brainstorm, draft, edit, rewrite, and proofread. With a little preparation, your Texas A&M application essays can wow the admissions team.

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This 2021-2022 essay guide on Texas A&M was written by Stefanie Tedards. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources on Texas A&M, click here . Want help crafting your Texas A&M admissions essays? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

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Texas A&M University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

Regular Decision Deadline: Dec 1

You Have: 

Texas A&M University 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanation

The Requirements: Two required essays of 250 words each; one optional essay of 250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Oddball , Additional Information

Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (250 words)

This prompt is incredibly vague, which is kinda awesome because it sets you up to talk about almost anything you want. Which life event has sparked personal growth? What do you think it takes to be successful and how do you embody those qualities? Maybe a parent’s fragile health situation challenged you to take on more responsibilities than the average teenager, preparing you for the hard work ahead. Or perhaps you learned to love your football team’s playback sessions, as they forced you to routinely examine your mistakes, welcome constructive criticism, and guide you toward self-improvement. Whatever story you choose to tell, be sure to infuse it with personal details that no one else could include in their essay.

Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. (250 words)

Who is the first person to come to mind when you read this prompt? The person you write about can be someone in your immediate circle, larger network, or on the world stage. Remember that the person you choose is going to say a lot about what you value and respect in others. Maybe an adult in your life has served as a mentor and role model for you, or perhaps the person who has impacted you most is a close friend and confidant. Once you identify the person you’d like to write about, be sure to summarize who they are to you, how they have impacted your life, and how you’ve changed as a result of knowing them.

If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about, please note them in the space below. (250 words)

Let us start by saying: this prompt is not for everyone. If your GPA has not dramatically increased or decreased during your high school career, move along. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking, “Yes! An opportunity for me to explain!” then read on.  Your transcripts are like Garfield Minus Garfield . Sure, we can see that something’s changed from frame to frame, but we don’t know why. Grades need context. Admissions doesn’t know why or how things happened—good or bad—so ake a look at your grades and note any anomalies or odd jumps/drops. Think back to that time in your life and tell your story. Maybe your family struggled with financial instability or the loss of a loved one. Maybe you started meeting virtually with a tutor and climbed from a fall semester C in geometry to a spring semester A. No matter your story, you are not alone in your journey of ups and downs—high school is a veritable war zone of distractions and possibilities. And, remember, everyone loves a comeback. 

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write perfect applytexas essays.

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College Essays


The ApplyTexas college application contains many essay prompts, and each of the most popular colleges in Texas has different requirements for which essays they expect applicants to answer.

So how do you get advice on writing your best ApplyTexas essays, no matter which school you're applying to? Look no further than this article, which completely unpacks all possible ApplyTexas essay prompts. We'll explain what each prompt is looking for and what admissions officers are hoping to learn about you. In addition, we'll give you our top strategies for ensuring that your essay meets all these expectations and help you come up with your best essay topics.

To help you navigate this long guide, here is an overview of what we'll be talking about:

What Are the ApplyTexas Essays?

Comparing applytexas essay prompts a, b, and c, dissecting applytexas essay topic a, dissecting applytexas essay topic b, dissecting applytexas essay topic c, dissecting applytexas essay topic d.

  • Dissecting the UT and Texas A&M Short Answer Prompts
  • Briefly: ApplyTexas Essay Topic E (Transfer Students Only)

The ApplyTexas application is basically the Texas version of the Common Application , which many US colleges use. It's a unified college application process that's accepted by all Texas public universities and many private ones. (Note that some schools that accept ApplyTexas also accept the Common App.)

The ApplyTexas website is a good source for figuring out whether your target college accepts the ApplyTexas application. That said, the best way to confirm exactly what your school expects is to go to its admissions website.

Why Do Colleges Want You to Write Essays?

Admissions officers are trying to put together classes full of interesting, vibrant students who have different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and dreams. One tool colleges use to identify a diverse set of perspectives is the college essay .

These essays are a chance for you to show admissions officers those sides of yourself that aren’t reflected in the rest of your application. This is where you describe where you've come from, what you believe in, what you value, and what has shaped you.

This is also where you make yourself sound mature and insightful—two key qualities that colleges are looking for in applicants . These are important because colleges want to enroll students who will ultimately thrive when faced with the independence of college life .


Admissions staff want to enroll a diverse incoming class of motivated and thoughtful students.

ApplyTexas Essay Requirements

There are four essay prompts on the ApplyTexas application for first-year admission (Topics A, B, C, and D). For Topics A, B, and C, there are slight variations on the prompt for transfer students or those looking to be readmitted. We’ll cover each variation just below the main topic breakdown. There are also several short-answer prompts for UT Austin and Texas A&M , as well as Topic D for art and architecture majors and  Topic E for transfer students only . Although there are no strict word limits, colleges usually suggest keeping the essays somewhere between one and one and a half pages long.

All Texas colleges and universities have different application requirements, including which essay or essays they want. Some schools require essays, some list them as optional, and others use a combination of required and optional essays. Several schools use the essays to determine scholarship awards, honors program eligibility, or admission to specific majors.

Here are some essay submission requirement examples from a range of Texas schools:

  • You are required to write an essay on Topic A .
  • You also have to answer three short-answer prompts (250–300 words each) .
  • If you're applying for a studio art, art education, art history, architecture, or visual art studies major, you'll have to write a short answer specific to your major .
  • UT Austin also accepts the Common App.

Texas A&M

  • If you're an engineering major, you'll have to respond to  a short-answer prompt .
  • Texas A&M also accepts the Common App .

Southern Methodist University

  • You must write an essay on Topic A .
  • You may (but do not have to) write an essay on Topic B .
  • You also have to answer two short-answer prompts .
  • SMU also accepts the Common App and Coalition App and has its own online application, so you have the option to pick and choose the application you want to fill out .

Texas Christian University

  • You must write an essay on any of the topics (A, B, or C) .
  • TCU also accepts the Common App and Coalition App has its own online application, so it's another school for which you can choose the application you want to use.


The essays required as part of each admissions application differ from college to college. Check each institution's website for the most up-to-date instructions.

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

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Craft Your Perfect College Essay

Three of the ApplyTexas essay topics try to get to the heart of what makes you the person you are. But since Topics A, B, and C all focus on things that are essential to you as a person, coming up with a totally unique idea for each can be difficult—especially since on a first read-through, these prompts can sound really similar .

Before I dissect all of the ApplyTexas essay prompts, let's see how A, B, and C differ from one another. You can then keep these differences in mind as you try to think of topics to write about.

ApplyTexas Prompts

Here are the most recent prompts for Topics A, B, and C on the ApplyTexas application.

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

Most students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.

You've got a ticket in your hand. Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

How to Tell Topics A, B, and C Apart

One helpful way to keep these topics separate in your mind is to create a big-picture category for each one: Topic A is outside, Topic B is inside, and Topic C is the future .

In other words, Topic A is asking about the impact of challenges or opportunities on you and how you handled that impact. Topic B is asking about your inner passions and how these define you. Finally, Topic C wants to know where you're going from here. These very broad categories will help as you brainstorm ideas and life experiences you can use for your essay .

Although many of the stories you think of can be shaped to fit each of these prompts, think about what the experience most reveals about you. If it’s about how your external community shaped you, that'd probably be a good fit for Topic A. If it’s a story about the causes or interests that you're most passionate about, save it for Topic B. If it’s primarily about an event that you think predicts your future, it'll likely work well for Topic C.

(Note: if you are a transfer student writing the essay variation for Topics A, B, or C, keep in mind that these variations still ask you about the outside, inside, or future respectively.)


Your years-long passion for performing in theater productions is an appropriate subject for ApplyTexas Topic B essays.

Now, we'll thoroughly deconstruct everything you need to know about Topic A, the first ApplyTexas essay prompt.

What’s the Prompt Asking, and How Should You Answer It?

This prompt wants to see how a particular external experience as a high school student has shaped you . The prompt uses the phrase "your story," signaling that admissions staff want to know what you believe has had the biggest impact on you.

Step 1: Describe Your Experience

The first part of the prompt is about identifying and describing specific experiences you've had as a high school student. You don't want your essay coming across too vague, so make sure you're focusing on one or two specific experiences, whether they've been positive or negative. The prompt suggests zeroing in on something "unique," or something that has affected you in a way it hasn't impacted anyone else.

You'll want to choose an opportunity or challenge that you can describe vividly and that's really important to you. In other words, it   needs to have had a significant impact on your personal development.

It should also be an experience that has been part of your life for a while . You're describing something that's affected you "throughout your high school career," after all.

Step 2: Explain How This Experience Shaped You

You shouldn't just describe your experience—you also need to discuss how that experience affected you as a person . How did this particular opportunity or difficulty turn you into the person you are today?

It's best if you can think of one or two concrete anecdotes or stories about how your chosen experience(s) helped shape you. For example, don't just say that a public piano recital made you a hard-working person— describe in detail how practicing diligently each day, even when you weren't feeling motivated, got frustrated by particular parts of the piece you were performing, and experienced stage fright showed you that working toward your goals is worthwhile, even when it's hard.


Elaborating on how a specific challenge or obstacle that you faced during your high school career helped shape your current perspective and personality is one option for Topic A essays.

What Are Readers Hoping to Learn About You?

Admission staff are looking for two main things. First, they want to see that you can be mature and thoughtful about your surroundings and events in your life . Are you curious about the world around you? If you've really reflected on your experience, you'll be able to describe the people, places, and events that have impacted you as a high school student in a nuanced, insightful way.

Second, they want to see how you stand out from other applicants . This can be accomplished in one of two ways: (1) you can emphasize how you are somehow different because of your experience and how it impacted you, or (2) you can emphasize how you learned positive qualities from the event that differentiate you from other students. Basically, how did your experience turn you into a special, interesting person?

How Can Your Essay Give Them What They Want?

How can you make sure your essay is really answering the prompt? Here are some key strategies.

#1: Pick a Specific Experience

You'll need to select a particular opportunity or obstacle to zero in on. Opportunities include travel, internships, volunteer or paid jobs, academic events, and awards. Challenges might include competitions, performances, illnesses, injuries, or learning something new. Remember, you'll want to focus on one or two particular events or experiences that have truly contributed to your personal growth .

As you're choosing the experiences you want to write about, think about significant things that happened to you in connection with those events. Remember, you'll need to get beyond just describing how the opportunity or challenge is important to you to show how its impact on you is so significant .

#2: How Did This Experience Shape You?

You then need to consider what about your experience turned you into a person who stands out . Again, this can be about how you overcame the difficulty or how the opportunity fostered positive qualities or traits in you that would make you an appealing member of the college's student body. You want to make sure you have a clear message that links your experience to one, two, or three special traits you have.

Try to think of specific stories and anecdotes related to the event. Then, thoughtfully analyze these to reveal what they show about you. Important adults in your life can help you brainstorm potential ideas.

#3: Think of the Essay Like a Movie

Like a good movie script, a college essay needs characters, some action, and a poignant but ultimately happy ending . When you’re planning out your personal statement, try to think of the story you’re telling in movie terms. Ensure that your essay has the following features:

  • Setting: As you're describing your experience, taking time to give a vivid sense of place is key. You can accomplish this by describing the actual physical surroundings, the main "characters" in your community, or a combination of both.
  • Stakes: Movies propel the action forward by giving characters high stakes: win or lose, life or death. Even if you are describing your experience in positive terms, there needs to be a sense of conflict or dynamic change. In the anecdote(s) you've selected to write about, what did you stand to gain or lose?
  • External conflict resolution: If there's an external conflict of some kind (e.g., with a neighbor, a family member, a friend, or a city council), you need to show some level of resolution.
  • Internal conflict resolution: Inner conflict is essentially about how you changed in response to the event or experience. You'll need to clearly lay out what happened within you and how those changes have carried you forward as a person.


Describing your feelings before, during, and after the opportunity or challenge is a crucial element of a Topic A college essay.

#4: Add Details, Description, and Examples

Your essay will really stand out if you add effective examples and descriptions.

For example, imagine Karima decides to describe how learning to navigate public transit as a high school first-year student made her resourceful and helped her explore the city she grew up in. She also discusses how exploring the city ultimately changed her perspective. How should she frame her experience? Here are some options:

I was nervous about taking the El by myself for the first time. At the station, there were lots of commuters and adults who seemed impatient but confident. At first, I was very afraid of getting lost, but over time, I became as confident as those commuters.

I felt a mixture of nerves and excitement walking up the Howard red line turnstile for the first time. What if I got lost on my way to the museum? I was worried that I would just seem like a nuisance to all of the frowning commuters who crowded the platform. If I needed help, would they help me? Was I even brave enough to ask? When the metal doors opened, I pressed my nails into my palms and rushed in after a woman with a red briefcase. Success! At least for the first step. I found a sideways-facing seat and clutched my macrame bag with my notebook and sketching supplies. A map hung above my seat. Pressing my finger to the colorful grid, I found my stop and counted how many I still had to go. I spent the entire train ride staring at that map, straining my ears for everything the conductor said. Now, when I think about the first time I rode the El by myself, I smile. What seemed so scary at the time is just an everyday way to get around now. But I always look around on the platform to see if any nervous kids linger at the edges of the commuter crowds and offer them a smile.

Both versions set up the same story plotwise, but the second makes the train ride (and therefore the author) come alive through the addition of specific, individualizing details , such as the following:

  • Visual cues: The reader "sees" what the author sees through descriptions such as "frowning commuters who crowded the platform," "woman with a red briefcase," and "colorful grid."
  • Emotional responses: We experience the author’s feelings: she "felt a mixture of nerves and excitement." She wonders if she's brave enough to ask for help. The train ride was "so scary at the time" but feels "everyday" now.
  • Differentiation: Even though the commuters are mostly a monolithic group, we get to see some individuals, such as the woman with a red briefcase.

ApplyTexas Topic A Essay Ideas

There's no one best topic for this essay prompt (or any other), but I've included some potential ideas below to help you get started with your own brainstorming:

  • Describe a time you organized the people around you to advocate a common local cause.
  • Hone in on a particular trip with one or more family members.
  • Identify a time when you were no longer in your comfort zone. Describe how you adapted and learned from that experience.
  • Discuss being a minority in your school or neighborhood.
  • Describe going through a cultural or religious rite of passage as a high school student.
  • Elaborate on how you moved from one place to somewhere totally different and handled your culture shock.

ApplyTexas Topic A for Transfer, Transient, or Readmit Students

If you are applying to transfer or to be readmitted, you likely already have some college experience. So in this case, ApplyTexas offers a personal statement option that allows you to write about your life beyond your high school years. This option still asks you to demonstrate what in your experience has turned you into a unique individual. But if, for instance, you left college and now are reapplying, you’ll want to address how some aspect of that experience made an impact on who you are now. Otherwise, follow the advice above for the standard Topic A prompt.

Here’s the current Essay Topic A prompt for transfer 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 admissions committee directly and to let us know more about you as an individual, in a manner that your transcripts and other application information cannot convey.

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

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Next up, let's go through the same process for ApplyTexas Topic B, taking it apart brick by brick and putting it back together again.

What’s the Prompt Asking?

At first glance, this prompt seems pretty vague. "Tell us about yourself" is not exactly the most detailed set of instructions. But if we dig a little deeper, we can see that there are actually two pretty specific things this question is asking.

#1: What Defines You?

This prompts posits that "most students"—which likely includes you!—have some kind of defining trait . This could be "an identity, an interest, or a talent," so you need to express what that defining trait is for you specifically.

For instance, are you an amazing knitter? Do you spend your free time researching cephalopods? Are you a connoisseur of indie movies or mystery novels? Or maybe you have a religious, cultural, ethnic, or LGBTQIA+ identity that's very important to you. Any of these things could plausibly be the main, framing theme of your essay.

#2: How Does That Defining Trait Fit Into "You" Overall?

Even though you have some kind of defining trait, that's not the entirety of you. Essentially, you need to contextualize your defining trait within your broader personality and identity. This is where the "tell us about yourself" part comes in. What does your defining trait say about you as a person? And how does it fit into your overall personality, values, and dreams?


In a Topic B college essay, you could potentially describe your knowledge of chess and how it exemplifies your talent for thinking several steps ahead.

Admissions staff are hoping to learn two main things:

#1: What You're Passionate About

It's essential that this essay communicates genuine passion for whatever you write about. College is a lot of work, and passion is an important driving force when things get busy. Therefore, readers are looking for students who are really engaged in the world around them and excited about specific causes and activities!

#2: How You View Yourself (and How Successfully You Can Communicate That)

A strong, well-developed sense of self goes a long way toward helping you weather all the changes you're going to experience when you attend college. Even though you'll change and grow a lot as a person during your college years, having a sense of your own core traits and values will help those changes be exciting as opposed to scary .

Colleges are looking for a developed sense of self. Additionally, they are looking for students who can communicate messages about themselves in a clear, confident, and cohesive way .

The challenge with this prompt is giving a complete picture of you as a person while still staying on message about your defining trait. You need to be focused yet comprehensive. Let's explore the best ways to show off your passion and frame your identity.

#1: Define the Core Message

First, you need to select that defining trait . This could be pretty much anything, just as long as you're genuinely invested in this trait and feel that it represents some core aspect of you.

It should also be something you can describe through stories and anecdotes . Just saying, "I'm a redhead, and that defines me" makes for a pretty boring essay! However, a story about how you started a photography project that consists of portraits of redheads like you and what you learned about yourself from this experience is much more interesting.

Be careful to select something that presents you in a broadly positive light . If you choose a trait that doesn't seem very serious, such as your enduring and eternal love of onion rings, you risk seeming at best immature and at worst outright disrespectful.

You also want to pick something realistic —don't claim you're the greatest mathematician who ever lived unless you are, in fact, the greatest mathematician who ever lived (and you probably aren't). Otherwise, you'll seem out of touch.

#2: Fit Your Message into the Larger Picture

Next, consider how you can use this trait to paint a more complete picture of you as a person . It's great that you're passionate about skiing and are a member of a ski team, but what else does this say about you? Are you an adventurous daredevil who loves to take (reasonable) risks? Are you a nature lover with a taste for exploration? Do you love being part of a team?

Select at least two or three positive messages you want to communicate about yourself in your essay about your key trait.


In a Topic B essay, a student could connect their long-time passion for cooking to their penchant for adding their unique touch to every project they take on.

#3: Show, Don't Tell

It's much more interesting to read about things you do that demonstrate your key traits than it is to hear you list them. Don't just say, "Everyone asks me for advice because I'm level-headed and reasonable." Instead, actually describe situations that show people asking you for advice and you offering that level-headed, reasonable advice.

#4: Watch Your Tone

It's important to watch your tone as you write an essay that's (pretty overtly) about how great you are. You want to demonstrate your own special qualities without seeming glib, staid, self-aggrandizing, or narcissistic .

Let’s say Andrew wants to write about figuring out how to grow a garden, despite his yard being in full shade, and how this desire turned into a passion for horticulture. He could launch into a rant about the garden store employees not knowing which plants are right for which light, the previous house owner’s terrible habit of using the yard as a pet bathroom, or the achy knee that prevented him from proper weeding posture.

Alternatively, he could describe doing research on the complex gardens of royal palaces, planning his garden based on plant color and height, using the process of trial and error to see which plants would flourish, and getting so involved with this work that he often lost track of time.

One of these approaches makes him sound whiny and self-centered, whereas  the other makes him sound like someone who can take charge of a difficult situation .

ApplyTexas Topic B Essay Ideas

Again, there's no single best approach here, but I've outlined some potential topics below:

  • Are you known for being really good at something or an expert on a particular topic? How does this impact your identity?
  • Discuss how you got involved in a certain extracurricular activity and what it means to you. What have you learned from participating in it?
  • Describe something you've done lots of research on in your free time. How did you discover that interest? What have you learned as a result?
  • What's your most evident personality trait? How has that trait impacted your life? (You can ask friends and relatives for help with this one.)
  • Relate the importance of your LGBTQIA+ identity.
  • Discuss your religious or cultural background and how this defines you.
  • Describe your experience as a member of a specific community.

ApplyTexas Topic B for Transfer, Transient, or Readmit Students

The ApplyTexas variation on Topic B is specifically designed for two different possible application situations. The first is for people who are applying as nondegree-seeking or postbaccalaureate students (aka “transient students”). In this case, they ask you to discuss the courses you want to take and what you hope to accomplish if you are admitted. That means they still want you to focus this essay on what you are passionate about, as mentioned above, but they expect that passion to be based on courses the university offers more directly.  

The second is for students who are reapplying after being suspended for academic reasons. In this situation, they ask you to describe any actions you have taken to improve your academic performance and to give them a reason why you should be readmitted. You’ll still need to focus on your positive traits in this variation, so this can be a tricky task. As in the example above, you’ll need to watch your tone and not come across as whiny. Instead, confront the cause of your academic suspension and what you learned from that experience; then, turn it into a newfound strength. Maybe you learned new study habits you can describe for them. Maybe working full-time while you were suspended improved your work ethic. Whatever you choose, show how a negative situation changed into a positive learning experience for you, and focus on the better person you are now because of it. 

Here’s the current prompt for Essay Topic B for transfer applicants:

If you are applying as a former student and were suspended for academic reasons, describe briefly any actions you have taken to improve your academic abilities and give reason why you should be readmitted. If you are applying as a nondegree-seeking or postbaccalaureate application, briefly describe the specific objectives you wish to accomplish if admitted, including the courses in which you would like to enroll.


Now, we can take apart Topic C to get a good handle on how to tackle this future-facing essay.

You've got a ticket in your hand—where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

If ApplyTexas Topic A and Topic B were all about your past experiences, Topic C wants you to give readers a glimpse of your imagined possibilities .

There are basically two potential approaches to this question. We'll break them down here.

Option 1: Describe Your Long-Term Goals

One approach to this prompt is to use your essay as a chance to describe your long-term goals for your career and life .

For some students, this will be a straightforward endeavor. For example, say you’ve always wanted to be a doctor. You spend your time volunteering at hospitals, helping out at your mom’s practice, and studying biology. You could easily frame your "ticket" as a ticket to medical school. Just pick a few of the most gripping moments from these past experiences and discuss the overall trajectory of your interests, and your essay would likely be a winner!

But what if you’re not sure about your long-term goals yet? Or what if you feel like you really don't know where you're going next week, let alone next year or 10 years from now? Read on for Option 2.

Option 2: Demonstrate Thoughtful Imagination

Although you can certainly interpret this as a straightforward question about your future, you can also use it as a chance to be more imaginative.

Note that this entire question rests on the metaphor of the ticket. The ticket can take you anywhere; you decide. It could be to a real place, such as your grandmother's house or the Scottish Highlands or the Metropolitan Museum. Or it could be somewhere fantastical, such as a time machine to the Paleolithic.

The important point is that you use the destination you select—and what you plan to do there—to prove you're a thoughtful person who is excited about and actively engaged with the world around you .


The destination you choose to write about, whether realistic or fantastical, should be clearly linked to a specific goal or set of goals that you wish to pursue or are currently pursuing.

If you're on a direct path to a specific field of study or career, admissions officers definitely want to know this. Having driven, goal-oriented, and passionate students is a huge plus for any college. If this sounds like you, be sure your essay conveys not just your interest but also your deep love of the subject, as well as any related clubs, activities, or hobbies you’ve done during high school.

If you take the more creative approach to this prompt, however, realize that in this essay (as in all the other ApplyTexas essays),  the how matters much more than the what . Don't worry that you don't have a specific goal in mind yet. No matter where your eventual academic, career, or other pursuits might lie, every activity you've done up to now has taught you something, whether that be developing your work ethic, mastering a skill, learning from a mentor, interacting with peers, dealing with setbacks, understanding your own learning style, or persevering through hardship. Your essay is a chance to show off that knowledge and maturity.

So no matter what destination you choose for your ticket (the what ), you want to communicate that you can think about future (and imagined!) possibilities in a compelling way based on your past experiences (the how ).

Whether you take the ideas of "where you are going" and "what you are doing" in a more literal or more abstract direction, the admissions committee wants to make sure that no matter what you study, you'll be able to get something meaningful out of it . They want to see that you’re not simply floating through life on the surface but are actively absorbing the qualities, skills, and know-how you'll need to succeed in the world.

Here are some ideas for how to show that you have thoughtful and compelling visions of possible futures.

#1: Pick Where You're Going

Is this going to be a more direct interpretation of your goals (my ticket is to the judge's bench) or a more creative one (my ticket is to Narnia)? Whichever one you choose, make sure that you choose a destination that is genuinely compelling to you . The last thing you want is to come off sounding bored or disingenuous.

#2: Don’t Overreach or Underreach

Another key point is to avoid overreaching or underreaching. For instance, it’s fine to say that you’d like to get involved in politics, but it’s a little too self-aggrandizing to say that you’re definitely going to be president of the United States. Be sure that whatever destination you select for your ticket, it doesn’t come off as unnecessary bragging rather than simple aspiration .

At the same time, make sure the destination you've chosen is one that makes sense in the context of a college essay. Maybe what you really want is a ticket to the potato chip factory; however, this essay might not be the best place to elaborate on this imagined possibility.

While you can of course choose a whimsical location, you need to be able to ground it in a real vision of the kind of person you want to become . Don't forget who your audience is! College admissions officers want to find students who are eager to learn . They also want to be exposed to new thoughts and ideas.

#3: Flesh It Out

Once you've picked a destination, it's time to consider the other components of the question: What are you going to do once you reach your destination? What will happen there? Try to think of some key messages that relate back to you, your talents, and your goals .

#4: Ground Your "Journey" in Specific Anecdotes and Examples

The way this question is framed is very abstract, so ground your thoughts about your destination (whether it's more straightforward or more creative) in concrete anecdotes and examples that show you're thoughtful, engaged, passionate, and driven.

This is even more important if you go the creative route and are writing about an unusual location. If you don't keep things somewhat grounded in reality, your essay could come across as frivolous. Make sure you make the most of this chance to share real-life examples of your desirable qualities.

Imagine Eleanor’s essay is about how she wants a ticket to Starfleet Academy (for the uninitiated, this is the fictional school in the Star Trek universe where people train to be Starfleet officers). Which essay below conveys more about her potential as a student?

My ticket is to Starfleet Academy. There, I would train to become part of the Command division so I could command a starship. Once I was captain of my own starship, I would explore the deepest reaches of space to interact with alien life and learn more about the universe.

I've loved Star Trek since my dad started playing copies of old episodes for me in our ancient DVD player. So if I could have a ticket to anywhere, it would be to Starfleet Academy to train in the command division. I know I would make a superb command officer. My ten years of experience in hapkido have taught me discipline and how to think on my feet. Working as a hapkido instructor in my dojo the past two years has honed my leadership and teaching qualities, which are essential for any starship commander. Additionally, I have the curiosity and sense of adventure necessary for a long career in the unknown reaches of space. Right now, I exercise my thirst for exploration through my photography blog. Using my DSLR camera, I track down and photograph obscure and hidden places I find in my town, on family trips, and even on day trips to nearby cities. I carefully catalogue the locations so other people can follow in my footsteps. Documentation, after all, is another important part of exploring space in a starship.

Both versions communicate the same things about the imagined destination, but the second essay does a much better job showing who Eleanor is as a person. All we really learn from the first excerpt is that Eleanor must like Star Trek .

We can also infer from version 1 that she probably likes leadership, exploration, and adventure because she wants to captain a starship, but we don't really know that for sure. Admissions officers shouldn't have to guess who you are from your essay; your essay should lay it out for them explicitly and articulately.

In the second essay, by contrast, Eleanor clearly lays out the qualities that would make her a great command officer and provides examples of how she exemplifies these qualities . She ties the abstract destination to concrete activities from her life, such as hapkido and photography. This provides a much more well-rounded picture of what Eleanor could bring to the student body and the school at large.


Eleanor's essay about her desire to explore the final frontier creatively illustrates her curiosity and leadership potential .

ApplyTexas Topic C Essay Ideas

I've come up with some sample essay ideas for the two different approaches to this prompt.

Possibility 1: Your Concrete Goals

  • Describe your goal to pursue a particular academic field or career and discuss how specific classes or extracurricular activities ignited that passion
  • Discuss how your plans to pursue politics, project management, or another leadership role were fostered by a first experience of leadership (this could be a straightforward leadership position in a club or job or a more indirect or unplanned leadership experience, such as suddenly having to take charge of a group).
  • Discuss how your desire to teach or train in the future was sparked by an experience of teaching someone to do something (e.g., by being a tutor or by helping a sibling deal with a particularly challenging class or learning issue).
  • Describe your goal to perform on stage, and discuss how your past experiences of public creativity (e.g., being in a play, staging an art show, performing an orchestra, or being involved in dance,.) led you to this goal

Possibility 2: Creative/Abstract Destination

  • What would you do if you could visit the world of a favorite childhood book, movie, or TV series? What qualities does that show about you?
  • Is there a relative or friend you would like to visit with your ticket?
  • Is there a particular historical period you would like to time travel to?
  • Is there a destination you've always wanted to go to that you've read about, heard about, or only conjured up in dreams or in a moment of creativity?

Remember to tie your imaginative destination to concrete details about your special qualities!

Topic C for Transfer, Transient, or Readmit Students

ApplyTexas offers a Topic C alternative in case there is personal information you want them to consider along with your application, such as why you are transferring to a new school. They still want you to focus on the future, but they encourage discussing any hardships, challenges, extenuating circumstances, or opportunities that have affected your abilities and academic credentials (in a positive way). They also want you to discuss how these circumstances can help you contribute to a diverse college community. In this case, this variation is not fundamentally different from the ticket question; it just asks for a more specific focus. So if this variation applies to you, use the advice above for question C option one. 

Here’s the current prompt for Essay Topic C for transfer applicants:

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.


Would you use your ticket to visit Renaissance Italy, a journey you metaphorically hope to take as a history major?

If you're applying to one of several fine arts fields, you might have to write this essay.

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?

If you’re applying to study architecture, art, or art history, one of the essays you will likely have to write is this one. This essay topic is trying to ask as broadly as possible about an experience with art that has moved you in some way. This means that your options for answering the question are quite varied. So what are the two different parts of this prompt? Let's take a look.

Part 1: Observation and Reaction

Think of a time you experienced that blown-away feeling when looking at something human made. This is the reaction and situation the first part of the essay wants you to recreate. The prompt is primarily interested in your ability to describe and pinpoint exactly what quality made you stop in your tracks. The huge set of inspiring object options the prompt offers tells us that your taste level won't be judged here.

You can focus on a learning experience, which includes both classes and extracurricular activities, or you can focus on a direct experience in which you encountered an object or space without the mediation of a class or teacher. The only limit to your focus object is that it is something made by someone other than you. Your reaction should be in conversation with the original artist, not a form of navel-gazing.

The key for this part of the essay is that your description needs to segue into a story of change and transformation . What the essay topic is asking you to show isn’t just that you were struck by something you saw or learned about, but that you also absorbed something from this experience that impacted your own art going forward.


Did seeing the Angkor Wat Temple during a trip abroad with your family foster your intellectual passion for Southeast Asian art or religious monuments?

Part 2: Absorption

This brings us to the second part of the essay prompt: this is where you need to move from the past into the present — and then at least gesture meaningfully toward the future.

It’s one thing to look at a piece of art, such as a sculpture or architectural form, and feel moved by its grace, boldness, or vision. But it’s a sign of a mature, creative mind to be able to take to heart what is meaningful to you about this work and then transmute this experience into your own art or your interpretation of others' creative works.

This essay wants to see that developing maturity in you ; therefore, you should explain exactly how your own vision has changed after this meaningful encounter you've described. What qualities, philosophy, or themes do you now try to infuse into what you create or how you analyze art?

More importantly, this essay prompt asserts that being affected by something once isn’t enough. That’s why in this second part of the essay,  you also need to explain what you’ve been doing to keep having similarly moving encounters with other creative works .

You have some choice, too, when it comes to answering, "What have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?" For example, you could describe how you’ve sought out other works by the same artist who moved you the first time. Or you could describe investigating new media or techniques to emulate something you saw. Or you could discuss learning about the period, genre, school, or philosophical theory that the original piece of art comes from to give yourself a more contextualized understanding.

If you’re planning an academic career in the visual arts or architecture, then you’re entering a long conversation started by our cave-painting ancestors and continuing through every human culture and society since.

This essay wants to make sure that you aren’t creating or interpreting art in a vacuum and that you have had enough education and awareness to be inspired by others. By demonstrating how you react to works that move you—not with jealousy or dismissal but with appreciation and recognition of another’s talent and ability—you're proving that you're ready to participate in this ongoing conversation.

At the same time, this essay is asking you to show your own creative readiness.  For example, describe not only the work you have produced but also your ability to introduce new elements into that work—in this case, inspired by the piece you described. This way, you can demonstrate that you aren’t a one-note artist but are mature enough to alter and develop what you make. Or if you want to major in art history or art education, relate how your perspective on a particular piece of art or architecture is shaped by your unique perspective, based on your experiences, education, and cultural identity.


A student might write their Topic D essay on how Michelangelo's Madonna della Pietà   has influenced their own artistic renderings of youth and beauty in grief.

What are some best practices for teasing out the complexities of art in written form? Here are some helpful tips as you brainstorm and write your essay.

#1: Pick One Piece of Art or Learning Experience

Once you’ve chosen between these two contexts, narrow down your selection even further . If you're writing about an educational encounter, don’t forget that it can come from an informal situation as well. For example, you could write about something you learned on your own from a documentary, a museum visit, or an art book.

If you're writing about a direct experience with art, don't necessarily fixate on a classic piece . Alternatively, you could discuss a little-known public sculpture, a particularly striking building or bridge you saw while traveling, or a gallery exhibition.

Whatever you end up writing about, make sure you know some of the identifying details . You don’t need to know the answers to all the following questions, but do your best to research so you can answer at least two or three of them:

  • Who is the artist?
  • Where is the piece on display?
  • What kind of work is it?
  • With what materials was it made?
  • When was it made?

#2: Figure Out Why You Were Struck by This Particular Work

The make-it-or-break-it moment in this essay will be your ability to explain what affected you in the object you're writing about . Why is it different from other works you’ve seen? Were you in the right place and time to be moved by it, or would it have affected you the same way no matter where or when you saw it? Did it speak to you because it shares some of your ideals, philosophies, or tastes—or because it was so different from them?

Be careful with your explanation because it can easily get so vague as to be meaningless or so obscure and "deep" that you lose your reader. Before you start trying to put it down on paper, try to talk out what you plan to say either with a friend, parent, or teacher. Do they understand what you’re saying, and do they believe you?

#3: Make a Timeline of Your Own Creative Works

When you think about what you've been making or thinking about making during your high school career, what is the trajectory of your ideas? How has your understanding of the materials you want to work with or study changed? What message do you want your works to convey, or what message in others' works most resonate with you? How do you want your works to be seen or engaged with by others? What is the reason you feel compelled to be creative or involved in the arts?

Now that you’ve come up with this timeline, see whether your changes in thought overlap with the art experience you're planning on describing . Is there a way you can combine what was so exciting to you about this work with the way you’ve seen your own ideas about art evolve?

#4: Use a Mix of Concreteness and Comparisons in Your Description

Just as nothing ruins a joke like explaining it, nothing ruins the wordless experience of looking at art as talking it to death does. Still, you need to find a way to use words to give the reader a sense of what the piece that moved you actually looks like —particularly if the reader isn't familiar with the work or the artist that created it.

Here is my suggested trick for writing well about art. First, be specific about the object. Discuss its colors, size, what it appears to be made of, what your eye goes to first (e.g., bright colors versus darker, more muted ones), what it represents (if it’s figurative), where it is in relation to the viewer, whether or not you can see marks of the tools used (e.g., brush strokes or scrapes from sculpting tools).

Second, step away from the concrete, and get creative with language by using techniques such as comparative description. Use your imagination to create emotionally resonant similes. Is there a form of movement (e.g., flying, crawling, or tumbling) that this piece feels like? Does it remind you of something from the natural world (e.g., a falling leaf, a forest canopy being moved by wind, waves, or sand dunes shifting)?

If the work is figurative, imagine what has been happening just before the moment in time it captures. What happened just after this point? Using these kinds of nonliteral descriptors will let your reader understand both the actual physical object and its aesthetic appeal.

Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.

Dissecting the UT and Texas A&M Short-Answer Prompts

Both UT Austin and Texas A&M require short answers as part of their first-year applications. For both schools, some prompts are required by all applicants, whereas others are required by those applying to certain majors or departments. 

We'll go over the UT Austin prompts, followed by the Texas A&M prompt.

UT Austin Short-Answer Prompts

UT Austin requires three short answers from all first-year applicants and also offers an optional prompt. Each short answer should be approximately 250–300 words , or one paragraph.

Short Answer 1: Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?

Short Answer 2: Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.

Short Answer 3: The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.

Optional Short Answer: Please share background on events or special circumstances that may have impacted your high school academic performance.

What Are These UT Austin Short-Answer Prompts Asking?

Obviously, these short-answer prompts are asking four different things, but they do have some similarities in terms of their overall goals.

These prompts basically want to know what you can offer UT Austin and why you'd be a great fit as a student there . They also want to know why you chose UT Austin and your specific major.

In other words, all these prompts essentially work together as a "Why This College?" essay .

How Can You Give UT Austin What They Want?

Admissions officers will be looking for evidence that you're genuinely interested in the school, the major you've chosen, and the career you want to pursue . Make sure to identify features of the program that appeal to you. In other words, why UT Austin? What makes you a good fit here?

Be as specific as possible in your responses. Since you won't have much room to write a lot, try to focus on a particular anecdote, skill, or goal you have.

Admissions officers also want to see that you have an aptitude for your chosen career path , so if you have any relevant work, research, or volunteer experience, they definitely want to know this! It's OK to take a broad view of what's relevant here.

Finally, they're looking for individuals who have clear goals as well as a general idea of what they want to do with their degree . Are you interested in working with a specific population or specialty? Why? What led you to this conclusion?


Texas A&M Engineering Prompt

All engineering applicants to Texas A&M must submit an esssay responding to the following prompt:

Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals?

What Is This Texas A&M Engineering Prompt Asking?

The engineering prompt wants to know two essential things:

  • What are your future goals for your specific field of interest (i.e., the kind of engineering field you want to go into or are considering going into)?
  • What environmental or external factors (e.g., a person, a mentor, a volunteer experience, or a paper or book you read) contributed to your development of these goals?

How Can You Give Texas A&M What They Want?

Be as specific as possible in your response. For the engineering prompt, what admissions officers want to know is simply what your biggest engineering ambition is and how you came to have this goal.

You'll want to be as specific as possible. Admissions officers want to see that you have a clear future in mind for what you want to do with your engineering degree. For example, do you plan to go on to a PhD program? Why? Do you have a particular career in mind?

In addition, make sure to specify the main inspiration for or motivation behind this goal. For instance, did you have a high school teacher who encouraged you to study engineering? Or perhaps you decided on a whim to take a computer science class, which you ended up loving.

Remember that the inspiration for your engineering goals doesn't have to be limited to something school-related. If you get stuck, think broadly about what initially got you interested in the field.


Briefly: ApplyTexas Essay Topic E (Transfer Students)

US transfer students and international transfer students must typically submit an additional essay responding to the following prompt (or must submit an essay on one of the topic variations listed above ).

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.

What's the Prompt Asking?

This prompt, which is intended for transfer students, essentially wants to know what hardship, challenge, or social issue has affected you on a personal level (or a larger group you're part of) and why you think this particular issue is so important to you .

For example, maybe you identify as LGBTQIA+ and have personally experienced discrimination in your local community because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Or perhaps you grew up in a wealthy family but have begun to see recently how widespread the issue of homelessness really is and now are making a more conscious effort to find ways to remedy this problem in your own community.

The issue you choose doesn't have to relate to a wider social issue; it could be a learning disability you have, for instance, or the fact that you no longer share the same religious beliefs as your  family.

The most important part of this question is the connection between the issue and yourself . In other words, why is this issue so important to you ? How has it affected your life, your goals, your experiences, etc.?

This essay is a way for admissions officers to get to know you and what matters to you personally on a much deeper level than what some of the other essay topics allow, so don't be afraid to dive into topics that are very emotional, personal, or special to you .

Furthermore, be sure to clearly explain why this particular issue—especially if it's a broader social issue that affects many people—is meaningful to you . Admissions officers want to know about any challenges you've faced and how these have positively contributed to your own growth as a person.

The Bottom Line: Tips for Writing ApplyTexas Essays

The ApplyTexas application contains four essay prompts (Topics A, B, C, and D), with different schools requiring different combinations of mandatory and optional essays . There are also short-answer prompts for UT Austin, as well as a Topic E only for transfer students.

One way to keep these three similar-sounding essay topics (A, B, and C) separate in your mind is to create a big-picture category for each one:

  • Topic A is about your outside .
  • Topic B is your inside .
  • Topic C is about your future .

Now, let's briefly summarize each essay topic:

Essay Topic A

  • Overview:  Describe any unique experiences you've had as a high school student and how these have shaped who you are as a person.
  • Pick a specific aspect of your experience.
  • Describe how it made you special.
  • Describe the setting, stakes, and conflict resolution.
  • Add details, description, and examples.

Essay Topic B

  • Overview:  Describe a defining trait and how it fits into the larger vision of you.
  • Define the core message.
  • Fit that core message of yourself into the larger picture.
  • Show things about yourself; don’t tell.
  • Watch your tone to make sure that you show your great qualities without seeming narcissistic, boring, glib, or self-aggrandizing.

Essay Topic C

  • Overview:  Describe "where you are going" in either a literal, goal-oriented sense or a more imaginative sense.
  • Pick where you’re going, but don’t over- or underreach.
  • Flesh out your destination. How does it relate back to you?
  • Ground your “journey” in specific anecdotes and examples.

Essay Topic D

  • Overview:  Describe being affected by a work of art or an artistic experience to make sure that you are ready to enter a fine arts field.
  • Pick one piece of art or one specific experience of learning about art.
  • Figure out exactly why this work or event struck you.
  • Examine your own work to see how this artwork has affected your creativity or engagement with art or art history.
  • Use a mix of concrete descriptions and comparisons when writing about the piece of art.

Short-Answer Prompts

  • Overview: Specific to UT Austin applicants
  • Describe your relevant experiences and interests up to this point.
  • Describe what about the program appeals to you and how you will use your degree (i.e., your future goals).
  • Treat the prompts as parts of a "Why This College?" essay.

Essay Topic E (Transfer Students)

  • Overview: Specific to US and international transfer applicants
  • Pick an issue that means a lot to you and has had a clear effect on how you see yourself.
  • Emphasize how this issue or how you've treated this issue has ultimately had a positive impact on your personal growth.


What's Next?

Curious about the other college essay choices out there? If your target college also accepts the Common Application, check out our guide to the Common App essay prompts to see whether they would be a better fit for you.

Interested to see how other people tackled this part of the application? We have a roundup of 100+ accepted essays from tons of colleges .

Stuck on what to write about? Read our suggestions for how to come up with great essay ideas .

Working on the rest of your college applications? We have great advice on how to find the right college for you , how to write about your extracurricular activities , and how to ask teachers for letters of recommendation .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Texas A&M University Supplemental Essay Prompts

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

Texas A&M is located in warm and sunny College Station, Texas. If you are set on becoming an “Aggie,” then crafting winning responses to the Texas A&M supplemental essays will help your application stand out from all other applicants. Keep reading our guide to learn how to best respond to the Texas A&M prompts! 

Breaking down the Texas A&M supplemental essay prompts

The Texas A&M supplemental essays may seem overwhelming at first. There is one optional prompt as well as a prompt just for engineering majors. So, be sure to know which prompts to respond to. 

Here is a breakdown of the Texas A&M prompts : 

  • Essay Prompt 1

Short answer #1

Short answer #2.

  • Short answer #3 (optional) 
  • Prompt for College of Engineering only 
Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? 

This prompt is an extremely open-ended and broad question. Therefore, you can take this as an opportunity to elaborate on anything you are proud of that was not included in your Common Application or Coalition Application . 

To begin, you should create a list to brainstorm ideas. Write down the most impactful opportunities and challenges that you encountered while in high school. Once you have narrowed down your list to two or three  of the most important and influential events, it is time to write your response! 

The important thing to do when responding to this prompt is not to just simply state the events but expand on the “why” of your prompt. 

Think about the following questions to help expand upon the prompt : 

  • Why is it important to share these experiences? 
  • What did you learn from this experience? 
  • Did you grow from this event? 
  • Why were you proud of yourself during this experience? 
  • How has this experience shaped you into the person you are today? 

Whatever you write, be sure that you are telling your story. You want to be truthful and true to yourself and your interests. Being authentic will help the Texas A&M admissions officers see just how unique you are.

One important thing to remember throughout your response is that you are not just listing facts and details. Rather, you should weave together your thoughts in an organized and easy-flowing way. Your perspective and interpretation of the events that quite literally changed your life is what the admissions officers are looking for. 

Before submitting your answer to this prompt be sure to ask yourself these questions : 

  • Does this prompt tell a story about opportunities or challenges you face while at high school? 
  • Is this prompt response told in an organized way? 
  • Did you show how your experience shaped who you are today? 

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Short answer section.

With a 10 to 250 word limit , these are true “short answer” questions. Therefore, be sure to stay short and sweet with your answers! Your response can be anywhere from a few sentences to a few paragraphs .

Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.

This is an extremely broad question. Therefore, try to narrow down your most influential life event. 

Consider the following questions when brainstorming for this prompt’s response:

  • What challenges have you faced that have changed your life? 
  • How have you overcome obstacles in your life? 
  • What are your most dominant traits?
  • How are you prepared to become successful in college? 
  • What do you want to do in the future? 
  • What skills have you developed over the years? 
  • How will you thrive at Texas A&M? 
  • Who has helped you through your academic and social journey in high school?

Once you have narrowed down to your most influential life event, you should then describe this event in a narrative way. After describing said event, detail how it has impacted you. What have you learned that will make your college experience more successful?

Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why.

Right after reading this prompt, someone popped into your mind. Who was it? However, if you are not content with this person try brainstorming impactful people in your life. 

Think about the following to help you brainstorm people: 

  • Family members
  • Celebrities
  • Historical figures

Once you have determined who has had the greatest impact on your life, describe them and your relationship with them. Are they a friend? Did you read their book every night? Are they still alive? Once you have introduced this person and your relationship to them, highlight how they impacted your life. 

Questions to consider: 

  • Did this person teach you anything? 
  • Would you be the person you are today without this person’s influence? 
  • How exactly was this person impactful in your life? 

Short answer #3

If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials,  which you have not already written about , please note them in the space below.

This question is completely optional, so therefore, do not feel pressured to answer. Only answer this question if you have suffered academic or other types of hardships from COVID. 

Make sure you are not repeating anything that you have already written about in your application. This prompt is the opportunity to elaborate on circumstances that may have affected your grades, clubs, or anything else found on your application. 

If you choose to respond to this prompt, make sure that you are divulging the full truth. Do not beat around the bush and be specific with facts.  Explain any COVID-related hardships you may have experienced and how they negatively affected you. 

Engineering majors only prompt

“Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? It is important to spend time addressing this question as it will be considered as part of the engineering review process. If you have chosen an engineering major for both your first and second choice majors, you will see the same question twice and may provide the same response to both questions.

Ultimately this question asks you to narrow down your engineering goals for a better understanding of you as an engineering student. Think about which field of engineering you specifically want to pursue and then think about what future goals you have for yourself. 

Consider the following questions:

  • What career do you see yourself thriving in? 
  • Why do you want to pursue this field? 
  • What has influenced you to fulfill these goals? 
  • Do you have any figures you look up to in this field? 
  • How will your interests and talents be put to use in this field? 

After addressing the answers to a few of these questions, it is then important to address any experience you have had in this engineering field. 

Consider the following questions: 

  • How did you become interested in this field? (YouTube video, teacher, parent, etc.) 
  • Were you in any engineering or related clubs in high school? 
  • Have you volunteered anywhere in the engineering community? 

Lastly, you should tie your response back to Texas A&M. 

Think about the following questions to help you tie your response back to Texas A&M

  • What resources does Texas A&M have to help you reach your future and career goals?
  • Are there any organizations you are looking to join?
  • What specific classes are you excited to take? (Use the actual names of these classes!) 
  • How will Texas A&M help you better than other schools? 

Final thoughts on the Texas A&M supplemental essays

The Texas A&M supplemental essays might seem a little daunting at first. However, there is no need to worry if you read every prompt carefully and outline your responses prior to writing. This will help you narrow down what to discuss in your prompt responses.

The most important thing is to be authentically you. Texas A&M is looking for unique, creative, and ambitious students to join their incoming freshman class to become part of their Aggie community. So, just be yourself!

Once you complete your Texas A&M supplemental essays, be sure to check over your writing for any mistakes and that you are answering the questions completely. Best of luck on your academic journey, and make sure that you apply for all the scholarships you qualify for!

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Additional resources

At Scholarships360, we offer free college admissions information at your fingertips. We understand that the college admissions process is challenging, and have tried our best to provide resources that can help you. 

Check out our following guides to help you navigate through college admissions: 

  • How to write a 500 word essay
  • How to answer the Common App Essay Prompts
  • How to write an essay about yourself

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  • Apply Texas College Essay Prompts for Class of 2023

January 17, 2022 By Jolyn Brand

College essay writing

The Apply Texas application is a common application form for most Texas public universities. It allows students to input their information for several different colleges at once. ApplyTexas college essay prompts for class of 2022 are:

  • Essay A:   Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
  • Essay B:  Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.
  • Essay C:  You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Each school requires a different combination of these three college essays-some require all three, some just one or two, or others make certain ones recommended or optional. Some schools even use these essays for both admissions decisions AND scholarships so it’s important to put time and effort into each one!

UT Short Answer Question Requirements

As part of ApplyTexas, all freshman applicants will also respond to  short-answer questions .

Fall 2022 Prompts-Required Short Answers (250-300 words each):

1.     Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?

2.     Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT.

3.     The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is, “To Transform Lives for the Benefit of Society.” Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate.

4.     Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance, including the possible effects of COVID-19.

Texas A&M University-  3 Short Answer Questions for all applicants

  • Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values (loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service). Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you personally and for the Texas A&M campus community. (250-300 words)
  • Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why.
  • Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.

Texas A&M University- Short answer question for Engineering majors (Priority deadline- October 15)

Engineering Essay : Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals?

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How to apply,  applicant type.

You are a domestic freshman if you:

  • are a current high school student (with or without college credit) OR a high school graduate with no college credit earned after high school AND
  • are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or have applied for permanent residency OR are graduating from a Texas high school after three years in residence in Texas.

Additional information for international freshmen   is available here .

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Texas A&M University at Galveston only utilizes ApplyTexas for its application for admission.


Your documents must be received by the deadline   (see   When to Apply   below).

  • ESSAY Complete Essay A ApplyTexas Essay: Tell us your story.  What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? Average length is a page to a page and a half.  - BEST>>:  S ubmit as part of the application. - OTHER>>:  Upload at  Applicant Information System (AIS)  via the Upload Documents tab.  
  • PREFERRED>>:  Pay through  ApplyTexas
  • Check or money order by mail
  • Checking the Fee Waiver box on the application is not sufficient.
  • SAT Fee Waiver   or   ACT Fee Waiver   OR
  • PREFERRED>>:  Upload in  AIS
  • OTHER METHOD>>:   Mail
  • Emailed copies will NOT be accepted.
  • If still in high school must submit a complete, official transcript through their junior year/6 semesters
  • If graduated from high school must submit an official transcript that also includes senior courses, a graduation plan and date of graduation
  • Home-schooled students must submit a complete, official transcript through their junior year/6 semesters which includes grades earned for all completed coursework.
  • If your school does not rank, a school profile from the high school must be provided along with your transcript and Texas A&M will assign a class rank based on reported GPA.
  • PREFERRED>>:  Electronic transcripts sent by TREx (available only to Texas high schools)
  • PREFERRED>>:  Upload a copy of current high school transcript in  AIS  (after you graduate, your final high school transcript  cannot be uploaded  through AIS; it must be mailed.)
  • Faxed or e-mailed copies will not be accepted.
  • You must send your scores through the testing agency.
  • Your highest total score from a single test date will be considered for admission.
  • SAT and ACT scores expire after 5 years.
  • Optional essay/writing portion is not required.
  • Allow 2-4 weeks for scores to be received.

* For admissions purposes only, Texas A&M University is test optional and will not require ACT or SAT scores for freshman applicants. We encourage students who have test scores to send them. The submission of test scores will not create any unfair advantage or disadvantage for those students who provide them. Applicants may submit SAT/ACT test scores to demonstrate compliance with the   Texas Success Initiative Program   with regards to college-level readiness in reading, writing, and mathematics. 


  • High School Curriculum Requirement   (Texas private high schools only) Students who do not meet the   State of Texas Uniform Admission Policy (UAP)   must provide   Exemption Form 3 . - BEST>>:    Upload at  Applicant Information System (AIS)  via the Upload Documents tab.  - OTHER>>:    Mail  
  • Permanent Resident Card or I-551 Students who are not U.S. citizens but are permanent residents (or have applied for permanent residency) need to provide a copy of the card. - BEST>>:    Upload at  Applicant Information System (AIS)  via the Upload Documents tab.  - OTHER>>:    Mail
  • Senate Bill 1528 Affidavit - BEST>>:   Upload at  Applicant Information System (AIS)  via the Upload Documents tab.  - OTHER>>:   Mail
  • Letters of Recommendation Once submitted, you will not be able to see your letters of recommendation.  We will only review the first two letters we receive. Letters of recommendation typically do not play a pivotal role in the decision process.  - BEST>>:    Upload at  Applicant Information System (AIS)  via the Upload Documents tab.  - OTHER>>:    Mail  
  • Resumes Resumes should only be used if you run out of space on the application. - BEST>>:    Upload at  Applicant Information System (AIS)  via the Upload Documents tab.


SPRING August 1 - December 1 DEADLINE:   December 1

FALL August 1 - May 1 DEADLINE:    May 1

  • All other required documents will be accepted through May 15. 
  • Spring application dates differ for incoming   International Freshman .
  • If the deadline falls on a weekend, the application will remain open until 11:59 PM (CST) on the following Monday. Additional required documents will be accepted until 5:00pm (CST) on that Monday.

NOTE:   On average, it takes 3-5 business days from the time your application is successfully submitted for Texas A&M to receive it. Monitor your email address which you provided on the application for the Application Acknowledgement communication.


All students applying to Texas A&M University at Galveston are expected to follow the Aggie Code of Honor which states “An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do.” Applicants found to have misrepresented themselves or submitted false information on the application will receive appropriate disciplinary action. Pursuant to the current undergraduate catalog and Texas A&M student rule 24.4.1, acts of dishonesty include but are not limited to:

  • withholding material information from the University, misrepresenting the truth during a University investigation or student conduct conference, and/or making false statements to any University official
  • furnishing false information to and/or withholding information from any University official, faculty member, or office
  • forgery, alteration, or misuse of any University document, record, or instrument of identification

The submission of false information at the time of admission or readmission is grounds for rejection of the application, withdrawal of any offer of acceptance, cancellation of enrollment, dismissal or other appropriate disciplinary action.

What are your chances of acceptance?

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texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

How to Write the Texas A&M University Essays 2021-2022

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

Texas A&M University is a large public research institution and one of the biggest attractions in the city of College Station. As the flagship university of the Texas A&M University system, the school is one of the business, agriculture, and engineering giants of the South.

With a total undergraduate population of over 50,000, Texas A&M’s size has created the famous Aggie Network, otherwise known as the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M. This organization of over 640,000 Texas A&M alumni opens up a host of post-grad job opportunities through an extensive network of alumni known for sporting the golden Aggie Ring.

Long-held traditions further strengthen Aggie Pride. In accordance with their saying: “If it happens twice, it’s tradition!” come customs like the Midnight Yell, a gathering held the midnight before each home game, and the 12th Man, in which all spectators are expected to stand throughout football games.

Its 5 8% acceptance rate makes the university selective, though Texas students whose GPAs are at the top 10% of their high school class receive automatic admission. The rest of the student body must show that they have what it takes to be an Aggie through writing fantastic supplemental essays. Want to know your chances at Texas A&M? Calculate them for free right now !

Want to learn what Texas A&M will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Texas A&M needs to know.

Texas A&M Supplemental Essay Prompts

All applicants , tell us your story. what unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today (unspecified word count, so we recommend responding within 1.5 pages or between 500-750 words), applicants to the college of engineering:, describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). what and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals (no word count was specified, so we recommend aiming for ~500 words).

Notice how you are encouraged to speak about an opportunity or a challenge. Many students believe that they must talk about a tragedy in order to grab the attention of admissions officers, but this isn’t true. An essay can easily be thoughtful, insightful, and an engaging read without utilizing this specific emotional appeal.

Still, stories about difficult circumstances are often memorable. They are most effective when focused primarily on the student’s journey of working through the challenge instead of the challenge itself. Check out Collegevine’s article if you would like more tips on writing about challenges .

You’re trying to stand out, so beware of overused tropes like the following:

  • Mental illness: It takes enormous strength to heal from and learn to manage a mental illness. Still, they may be tricky to write about. Read our article for more information on covering mental illness and disabilities within your application .
  • Getting a bad grade in a class but then working hard to raise it.
  • Sports stories such as winning/losing the “big game” or getting injured.
  • Death of a pet or family member.
  • Mission trip which made you realize how lucky and privileged you are.

Side note : Sometimes students face challenges that are outside of their control and which have negatively impacted their academic and/or extracurricular performance. If this has been your experience, and you don’t plan to explain them within this essay response, you may ask one of your recommenders to do so through their letter of recommendation.

Now, there’s no such thing as a “bad” or “good” essay topic; students have gotten into top schools with essays about Costco, pizza deliveries, and sparkling water. It often matters less so what you write about than how you write about it! 

These common essay topics are only doable when well-written, specific, and featuring a fresh take. The story of how fixing your Calculus grade taught you the value of hard work is not nearly as interesting as that of a student who is diagnosed with dyscalculia—a disability which creates a difficulty in understanding and working with math and numbers—and then opens up a dyscalculia awareness club with plans to become a special education teacher. The latter story would demonstrate the student’s ability to turn preconceived weaknesses into strengths, and admissions officers will quickly see that though he may initially struggle with long division, this student is nonetheless a creative problem-solver.

Please be aware that although it is possible to make a “common” topic interesting, it is easier to write about a situation that is unique to begin with. Also, don’t feel pressured to write about a challenge, especially if the situation has happened so recently that you haven’t fully finished processing or growing from it.

With all of this in mind, let’s get into brainstorming! Many people begin their ideation process through writing long lists or even talking into their phones in an untethered stream-of-consciousness. Do whatever it takes to get your creative juices flowing! 

As you reflect, you may consider these questions:

  • Which values and skills do you hold closest to your heart? Honesty? Hard work? Clear communication? Diversity? Environmental stewardship? Activism? Where did these priorities come from?
  • What are you most grateful for? What are you most proud of? What risks have you taken which have paid off?
  • What do you like to do? When and how did you get into it?
  • How would your family and friends say you have changed for the better over the years, and why?
  • Look back at your list of extracurricular activities. Which ones were challenging and/or special opportunities? When have you tried something new?

Practice self-compassion while considering topics, and know that none are too big or too small. You can write about anything from taking a summer math class (even though you’re more of an English person) to being a camp counselor to giving your first speech in front of a crowd.

Overall, the admissions officers are looking for growth. They want to see the circumstances you turned into opportunities for improvement. You may even reflect upon a situation that initially seemed like an unpleasant challenge but later revealed itself as a hidden opportunity. For example, you may have reluctantly let your friend drag you to a business club meeting before discovering a passion for economics and rising as a club leader.

Ideally, your story will be unique and offer a fresh perspective. Be specific about the challenge or opportunity you were presented with, and think about how it changed you for the better. 

Remember, they are literally asking for you to “tell [them] your story,” so consider using a narrative format, especially if storytelling is a talent of yours. 

Here’s a general outline: 

  • If you choose to go with a traditional storytelling format, we recommend beginning with a vivid anecdote featuring rich imagery to draw the reader in or an unexpected premise which makes one have to read on in order to fully understand. 
  • From there, you may dive into who you were at the time, how you felt and how you acted, before moving towards your turning point—the challenge or opportunity—from which you decided to grow. 
  • Explain how, exactly, the turning point influenced you. Ask yourself: How did it make you feel? Excited and ready for more, or initially anxious? How did it impact you? Perhaps you learned something new about yourself, or maybe now you’re kinder, more confident, or a harder worker. 
  • To mix it up a bit, you could even play with sequencing, perhaps starting with a moment of success before reflecting on all of the growth you had to complete to get to that point.

Finally, you are human, so you don’t have to portray yourself as perfect in the end. You are using this essay to talk about what may be one of your greatest strengths or sources of pride, but make sure to stay balanced with a humble tone.

This prompt is your opportunity to show Texas A&M you are a good fit for both the university and its programs. You are asked to cover a lot of ground here, so it is important to be specific throughout your essay. Use precise wording and double-check that each word, phrase, and detail has a place in your piece.

Let’s start by breaking down the academic and career goal components of this prompt. If you don’t have a clear plan for your future, don’t worry; most high schoolers don’t! Also, you aren’t tied down to whichever path you decide to write about, so feel free to get specific.

If it helps, think of the research you will perform for this prompt as an exercise in thinking about your future. Follow your natural curiosity while reading about the academics within the College of Engineering and the careers graduated Aggies often pursue. Hone in on the programs and opportunities which appeal to you most, many of which are featured on Texas A&M’s website .

Academic goals aren’t limited to getting good grades in school. These accomplishments may take many forms, including the following:

  • Research opportunities! These are readily available to undergraduates, especially through the competitive Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Texas A&M offers potential research goals through independent research-based courses, employment, summer programs, special honors and awards, and more. Check out current research programs and see which professors and projects you resonate with most. 
  • Graduating with a specific major(s)/minor(s)
  • Continuing to a graduate school or program
  • Receiving specific academic honors or scholarships 
  • Entering the Honors Program, which will create special opportunities that are in line with your academic and personal priorities.

A solid engineering degree such as the one you will receive at Texas A&M will likely open up to a fascinating and challenging career within any of a multitude of given specialties. The engineering umbrella is broad, but you have to pick one to focus on for this prompt when describing your career interests. What’s your dream engineering job, or your target field? What type of engineering most interests you and why?

When discussing your aspirations both within your career and academic world, directly connect them to opportunities offered by Texas A&M to demonstrate that you’re a strong fit. Don’t just say that you would like to perform research; say that as a prospective aerospace engineering major and computer science minor, you hope to join Professor Jacques Richard in his aero-propulsion studies under the Aero-U program. Due to circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some opportunities may be delayed, canceled, or altered, so be aware of this and look deeply into each option.

Now that we’ve covered which goals you would like to pursue, let’s get into explaining why these goals matter to you. Instead of focusing on relatively superficial aspects of your aspirations, like prestige and pay, think about what makes it interesting, worthwhile, or personally fulfilling. This may be linked to your description of the “whats or whos” which have influenced you to pursue these goals. 

Finding a “who” to write about is relatively straightforward, as many of us can point to the people in our lives who have pushed us in the right direction. Think back on your family members, friends, mentors, and teachers who believed in your ability to succeed academically or in the general world of engineering. This could be anyone, but most importantly, this person somehow pushed you to work harder or simply led by example.

For example, having a mechanic as a father may have sparked your fascination with deconstructing and reconstructing mechanical systems for maximum efficiency, leading you to a path in manufacturing and mechanical engineering. 

The “What,” our second potential motivator, is much more open-ended. Yours may be an event, background, special interest, closely-held value, childhood fascination turned adult aspiration, or even an innate personality trait. 

For example, your childhood fascinations with puzzles and remote-controlled robots, followed by your later software position with your high school’s Robotics Team, may all be indicative of your inclination towards problem-solving, which influenced your decision to major in Computer Science.

As you’re tying all the aforementioned aspects of your response together, make sure to maintain cohesive links between all of them. Your academic and career goals should be aligned with your professed personal qualities as well as the influences you claim the people and things in your life have had on you. Through writing clearly and concisely, you’ll paint a compelling portrait of your character as someone with direction, drive, and a future as a fantastic asset to Texas A&M’s vibrant community. 

Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

San Antonio, Texas

Texas a&m university-san antonio.

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  • Admission requirements
  • Essay prompts

Want to see your chances of admission at Texas A&M University-San Antonio?

We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

This school does not require essays or the essay prompts are not available yet.

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How to Get Into Texas A&M: Acceptance Rate and Strategies

July 14, 2023

texas a&m essay prompts fall 2023

The oldest university in the state of Texas, A&M has long outgrown the “Agricultural & Mechanical” portion of its name. More than 40,000 students applicants have applied for the opportunity to attend the College Station campus in each of the past six admissions cycles; back in the year 2000, fewer than 17,000 applied. The Texas A&M acceptance rate has remained steadily under 65%, but this is not a particularly strong indicator of just how selective A&M is in 2023.

Due to a policy that grants Texas residents who finish in the top 10% of their high school class automatic admission, roughly two-thirds of attendees hail from the top decile. As a result, competition for the remaining spots tends to be fierce.

Given the increasing level of competition in the quest to become an Aggie, students really need to do their homework before submitting the application. Toward that aim, this article will provide applicants with:

  • Texas A&M’s Class of 2026 acceptance rate
  • SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted A&M applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2026
  • The demographics of current Texas A&M undergraduates
  • Texas A&M’s yield rate
  • How A&M’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
  • Tips for applying to Texas A&M
  • How to assess whether applying to A&M is even worth the $75 application fee (for you)

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

Texas A&M: Acceptance Rate – 2023

A&M received 43,422 applications for a place in the Class of 2026, one of the highest totals in school history; 27,203 were admitted for an acceptance rate of 63%. For the Class of 2025 (most recent data available), the in-state acceptance rate was 66% compared with a 56% acceptance rate for out-of-state applications.

All students must apply by December 1st at the very latest, but students can apply as early as August 1. Engineering students should always aim to meet the early action deadline of 10/15.

Texas A&M Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank

The middle-50% SAT scores for the Class of 2026 were 1160-1380; the math range was 580-700. SATs were submitted by 76% of applicants. ACTs were submitted by 24% of applicants and the middle-50% ACT Composite score was 25-31. The median ACT Composite score was 28 and the median SAT score was 1270. An impressive 61% of those attending placed in the top 10% of their high school class while 88% were in the top quartile.

Admissions Trends & Notes

  • Students who are in the top 10% of the high school class earn automatic admission into A&M. Prior to 2021, students could be in the top 25%.
  • 25% of those presently attending Texas A&M are the first member of their family to attend college.
  • 21% of incoming students were awarded Pell Grants.
  • Just 1% of current undergrads are international students.
  • In a typical year, there are 250 National Merit Finalists in the freshman class.

Who Gets Into Texas A&M?

Let’s look at the demographics of the Aggie undergraduate student body.

Most A&M students hailed from the Lone Star State and paid in-state tuition. In fact, 96% of the student body are Texas residents.

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown is:

  • Asian American: 10%
  • Hispanic: 25%
  • African American: 2%
  • International: 1%
  • Multiracial: 4%

Texas A&M Acceptance Rate (Continued)

International students came from the following countries in the greatest numbers:

  • South Korea

The breakdown by gender shows more men than women enrolled at A&M:

  • Female: 48%

Students in one recent class came from the following locations:

  • Number of US high schools: 1,281
  • Number of Texas counties: 192
  • Number of US States: 44

Texas A&M’s Yield Rate

A&M’s yield rate was 46% last year. To compare this school to other top-notch public STEM-focused institutions, Georgia Tech is at roughly 40%, Virginia Tech has a 33% yield, and Purdue is at just 23%.

How Texas A&M Rates Applicants

There are five factors that Texas A&M ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, class rank, GPA, extracurricular activities, and talent/ability. Essays, first-generation status, geographical residence, state residency, volunteer work, and work experience are rated as “important”.

In the admissions office’s own words: “If you do not qualify for top 10% , but meet the State of Texas Uniform Admission Policy, your application file, which includes all factors you noted, will be reviewed in a holistic manner. Academic factors include all high school courses attempted and grades earned, rigor of coursework, GPA and class rank. Non-academic factors include involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, employment and summer activities as well as extraordinary opportunities, challenges and hardships experienced during high school career.”

Possessing a top-notch athletic program, it most definitely helps if you are recruited as an athlete to join one of A&M’s 20 Division I sports teams . There are roughly 650 student athletes competing at A&M and 75% receive some level of scholarship. In general, recruited athletes possessed GPAs and SATs far below the average for the pool of general admits.

Tips for Applying to Texas A&M

If you plan on joining the 43,000+ Aggie hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • While a holistic process, A&M does not offer interviews.
  • Texas A&M does consider “demonstrated interest” so be sure to take steps toward that aim .
  • Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essays required by Texas A&M. In the 2023-24 cycle, you will encounter a number of essays prompts, so save plenty of time prior to the deadline to write, revise, and polish your responses.

This year’s prompts are as follows:

  • Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (Required, 500 – 750 words)
  • Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? (for engineering)
  • Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (Required)
  • You have selected a major in the College of Engineering for either your first or second choice major; therefore, please address the following prompt: Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? It is important to spend time addressing this question as it will be considered as part of the engineering review process. If you have chosen an engineering major for both your first and second choice majors, you will see the same question twice and may provide the same response to both questions. (Required for Engineering applicants)

Texas A&M Acceptance Rate – Final Thoughts 

Getting into Texas A&M has never been more of a selective process, as it now requires either a) finishing in the top 10% of your Texas-based high school class or b) possessing other supremely impressive attributes that blow away admissions committee. As such, all students need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list , containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. You’ll definitely want to do this in collaboration with an admissions professional who is aware of the latest trends and strategies associated with your prospective colleges.

  • Application Strategies
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Andrew Belasco

A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew's experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans two decades. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.

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    There are four essay prompts on the ApplyTexas application for first-year admission (Topics A, B, C, and D). For Topics A, B, and C, there are slight variations on the prompt for transfer students or those looking to be readmitted. We'll cover each variation just below the main topic breakdown.

  12. Transfer

    August 1, 2023 - December 1, 2023. Dates are valid for applicants to Texas A&M College Station and the Higher Education Center at McAllen. Application dates differ for incoming International Transfer. If the deadline falls on a weekend, the ApplyTexas application will remain open until 11:59 pm (Central Standard Time) on the following Monday.

  13. How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Texas A&M University Supplemental Essay

    Updated: September 19th, 2023 Texas A&M is located in warm and sunny College Station, Texas. If you are set on becoming an "Aggie," then crafting winning responses to the Texas A&M supplemental essays will help your application stand out from all other applicants. Keep reading our guide to learn how to best respond to the Texas A&M prompts!

  14. College Essays for Students in Texas

    1. Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? 2. Describe how your experiences, perspectives, talents, and/or your involvement in leadership activities (at your school, job, community, or within your family) will help you to make an impact both in and out of the classroom while enrolled at UT. 3.

  15. Freshman Admissions

    Your highest total score from a single test date will be considered for admission. SAT and ACT scores expire after 5 years. Optional essay/writing portion is not required. Allow 2-4 weeks for scores to be received. * For admissions purposes only, Texas A&M University is test optional and will not require ACT or SAT scores for freshman applicants.

  16. How to Write the Texas A&M University Essays 2021-2022

    Texas A&M University is a large public research institution and one of the biggest attractions in the city of College Station. As the flagship university of the Texas A&M University system, the school is one of the business, agriculture, and engineering giants of the South. With a total undergraduate population of over 50,000, Texas A&M's ...

  17. Texas A&M's Silly Short Answer Essay Requirements

    EDIT 07/06/2022: Texas A&M has discontinued the Diversity short answer for Fall 2023 applicants. They only require Life Event and Person of Influence ... from Apply Texas essay requirements common to all Texas universities in 2017 when they released three short answer essay topics. Texas A&M, ever in UT's shadow, followed last year by ...

  18. Texas A&M University-San Antonio's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

    This school does not require essays or the essay prompts are not available yet. Sign up to be notified of any changes. Applying to Texas A&M University-San Antonio and trying to find all the correct essay prompts for 2023-24? Find them here, along with free guidance on how to write the essays.

  19. Texas A&M Acceptance Rate 2023

    Texas A&M does consider "demonstrated interest" so be sure to take steps toward that aim. Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essays required by Texas A&M. In the 2023-24 cycle, you will encounter a number of essays prompts, so save plenty of time prior to the deadline to write, revise, and polish your ...

  20. Texas A&M: Admission Requirements 2023

    The SAT requirements for Texas A&M are a 1160 to 1370 composite score, combining the reading and writing and math sections together. If your SAT is lower than suggested at the time you apply, you may have to perform above average on your other standardized tests or have spectacular extracurricular activities to compensate.

  21. 2023-2024 Texas A&M

    20,271. Mar 17, 2023. #1. Members don't see this ad. 2023-2024 Texas A & M Secondary Essay Prompts: (Question #1 has changed from last year) **Regular MD interviews are remote (online)**. 1. As a physician, you never know what type of patient you will serve. From your past experiences, please describe or highlight factors or situations that ...