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UT Austin’s Holistic Application Review Process

Updated: May 16, 2023



UT Austin is a vibrant college campus inside one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. It is hard to be in Texas and not see the distinct burnt orange or the longhorn logo. The community UT has created is around us in so many of the notable alumni - Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Durant, Janis Joplin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brene Brown, and Michael Dell to name a few. These alumni are actors, athletes, astrophysicists, tech pioneers and social change leaders.


UT Austin has transformed itself into a beacon of academic, athletic, and cultural excellence. It has quickly climbed the college charts in business, engineering, computer science, and biomedical sciences. With a campus of 40,000+ undergraduate students, it is a large public college in the heart of Texas.


UT Admissions Stats By The Admissions Numbers


For the class of 2025 that enrolled in the Fall of 2021:

Total Applications: 66,043

Total Admitted: 18,989 *roughly 14,241 students are automatically admitted in the state's top 6% auto-admit rule.

Total Enrolled: 9,060

That is an acceptance rate of 28.7%


UT Austin’s incredibly low acceptance rate, around 12% outside of the auto-admit rule makes it a highly selective university. Comparable to schools like Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins.


UT Austin Holistic Application Review


The application for UT Austin has many different parts where you can show who you are. They require prospective students to choose a major of their choice as part of the application. Even if you are in the top 6% auto admit group your major of choice is not guaranteed and you will still be under “holistic review” like all applicants.


Holistic Review is when the admission team is looking at a student's grades, community involvement, personal qualities (essay and short answer), and fit to major. UT specifically outlines that they “look for applicants with a genuine commitment to its core values - learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity and responsibility.


The University of Texas at Austin employs a holistic application review process, which means that the admissions committee considers a range of factors beyond just test scores and GPA when evaluating applicants.


Here is a Step-By-Step Breakdown of UT Austin's Holistic Application Review Process:


  • Initial Review:

When an application is received, the admissions committee conducts an initial review to ensure that all required materials are included and that the applicant meets the university's minimum requirements.

  • Academic Review:

The admissions committee evaluates the applicant's academic performance, taking into account factors such as the rigor of their high school curriculum, their class rank, and their grades. While there is no specific formula used to evaluate academic performance, UT Austin values students who have challenged themselves academically and excelled in their coursework.

  • Personal Achievement:

The admissions committee evaluates the applicant's extracurricular activities, leadership roles, awards, honors, and work experience. They are looking for students who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their activities, as well as a commitment to their community.

  • Essays:

The admissions committee evaluates the applicant's essays to gain insight into their personality, interests, and motivation for attending UT Austin. The essays are an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate their writing skills and to provide additional context to their academic and personal achievements.

  • Letters of Recommendation:

The admissions committee evaluates the applicant's letters of recommendation to gain insight into their character, work ethic, and potential for success at UT Austin. They are looking for letters from individuals who know the applicant well and can speak to their strengths and potential.

  • Additional Factors:

The admissions committee may consider additional factors such as the applicant's geographic location, socioeconomic background, and whether they are a first-generation college student.

  • Final Review:

After considering all of these factors, the admissions committee conducts a final review of the applicant's file to make an admissions decision.


Overall, UT Austin's holistic application review process is designed to identify students who will thrive at the university and make a positive impact on the campus community. By evaluating a range of factors, the admissions committee is able to consider each applicant as a whole person and make informed decisions about admissions.


How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting into UT Austin?


As college admissions become increasingly competitive, it's important for students to put their best foot forward when applying to the University of Texas at Austin. Some of these qualities can be challenging to bring to life in your application. Here are some tips from your college application experts to help you stand out in the admissions process:


● Take the most challenging courses you can handle within your high school


This means all content areas, if science and math come easy to that doesn’t mean avoid the challenging foreign language, history and english classes that are available to you.


● SAT and/or ACT scores


Testing is still important at UT Austin. The goal scores are a 1480 SAT & 33 ACT for STEM applicants. Taking the SAT or the ACT doesn’t matter, not test is better or preferred over the other. Taking these exams and getting a competitive score is highly recommended for STEM.


● Extracurricular involvement


What you do in your high school matters, are you in Theater, Band, Athletics, Choir, DECA, HOSA, Debate, Clubs… the list can go on. This doesn’t mean being involved in everything, it means to find what you love and do one or two programs well. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY. UT asks applicants for an Expanded Resume. Check out our FREE Guide to that linked here

● Letters of recommendation


What your teachers say about you can bring to life the type of student you are.


● Engaging Essays and Short Answer Questions


UT Austin uses the Common Application as well as Apply Texas for applicant portals. They read both the applicant essay and Short Answer UT Specific essays. This is where you can show who you are and what is important to you. Looking for help on your essay? We have some free resources that can help.


Does UT Austin Track Demonstrated Interest?


One common question among high school students interested in applying to the University of Texas at Austin is whether or not the university tracks demonstrated interest. Demonstrated interest refers to a student's level of engagement with the university before and during the application process, such as attending campus tours or information sessions, connecting with admissions representatives, and signing up for the university's mailing list. Some colleges use demonstrated interest as a factor in their admissions decisions, while others do not.


In the case of UT Austin, the university does not officially track demonstrated interest as a factor in their admissions decisions. This means that students who do not attend information sessions or interact with admissions representatives are not penalized in their application review. However, this does not mean that demonstrated interest is completely irrelevant to the application process.


Although UT Austin does not track demonstrated interest, the University does consider a student's fit for the university as part of its holistic admissions review. This means that factors such as a student's extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation can all play a role in their admissions decision. Demonstrated interest, although not officially tracked, can still be a part of a student's overall fit for the University.


Furthermore, demonstrating interest in UT Austin can still be beneficial for students in other ways. For example, attending an information session or connecting with an admissions representative can help students learn more about the university and make a more informed decision about whether or not to apply. Additionally, engaging with the university can demonstrate a student's enthusiasm for the school and potentially lead to opportunities for scholarships or other programs.


The University of Texas Austin application process


The application process for the University of Texas at Austin can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the UT Austin application process for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle:


  • Create an account:

Starting August 1, 2023, create an account on the UT Austin admissions website. This will allow you to access the application and track your progress.


  • Choose your application:

UT Austin accepts both the Apply Texas application and the Common Application. Choose the application that works best for you and complete all required sections.


  • Submit your transcripts:

UT Austin requires official transcripts from all high schools attended. Contact your high school guidance counselor to have your transcripts sent to UT Austin by December 1, 2023.


  • Submit test scores:

You'll need either SAT or ACT scores. Official scores should be sent directly from the testing agency to UT Austin by December 31, 2023.


  • Complete the expanded resume:


UT Austin requires an expanded resume that provides a comprehensive overview of your extracurricular activities, awards, honors, and work experience. Make sure to include all relevant information and follow the guidelines provided by UT Austin.


  • Submit letters of recommendation:


Your application to UT Austin will also need two letters of recommendation from teachers who have taught you in academic subjects. You can also submit additional letters of recommendation from coaches, employers, or other individuals who know you well.


  • Complete essays and short answer questions:


UT Austin requires both an essay and short answer questions as part of the application process. These essays provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing skills and showcase your personality and motivation for attending UT Austin.


  • Pay the application fee:

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is needed to apply to UT Austin. Fee waivers are available for eligible students.


  • Track your application status:

Once you have submitted your application, you can track your status on the UT Austin admissions website. You will receive notifications about missing materials and updates on your application status.


By following these steps and submitting a complete and strong application by the appropriate deadlines, you can increase your chances of being accepted to the University of Texas at Austin for the Fall 2024 semester. Remember to start early, stay organized, and seek out support when you need it.


How Does UT Austin Look at Applications?


When you submit your application either by the November 1- Priority Deadline or December 1- Regular Deadline, it is first read by your regional admissions representative. If your high school hosts a college fair or college reps, it is typically that person that is the first eyes on your application.


From there if they believe you should move on, meaning YES, they recommend you for admissions your application is read by a Dean or Supervisor of admissions for the final stamp of approval. If your regional rep is questioning your “fit” with UT Austin, your application is read by another regional rep who can confirm your denial for admission. The second reader can also disagree with the initial denial and move your application on to a Dean or Supervisor for reconsideration.


The admissions decisions you can receive are Admitted, CAP Admit or Denied.


CAP (Coordinated Admission Program) is when you are accepted to the University of Texas system and will begin your first year studies at another UT System University. Examples are, UT San Antonio, UT Tyler, UT Arlington, etc. After completing the CAP requirements you may transfer to UT Austin into the College or Liberal Arts. Just like other prospective transfer students you’ll be able to compete for admission to majors outside the College of Liberal Arts.


Are You The Right Fit for UT Austin?


The University of Texas at Austin is the most popular school in the state of Texas, as demonstrated by the growing number of applications it receives each year. The academic programs, campus life, and community it has built draw students from all over the world to Austin Texas. Visiting the campus and learning from students, professors, and admissions representatives can help solidify your decision to apply to UT. The vibrant community and commitment to excellence in its programs make UT Austin a top choice for students looking for a wide range of opportunities after high school.


How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting into UT Austin?


To increase your chances of getting into UT Austin, it's important to pursue your passions, take on leadership roles, be mindful of your social media presence, and seek out resources and support. Here are some tips to help you navigate the admissions process:


  • Pursue your passions:

Admissions committees look for students who are passionate and committed to their interests. This means that it's important to pursue activities and interests that you genuinely enjoy and that align with your goals and values. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and pursue non-traditional activities if they are meaningful to you.


  • Seek out leadership roles:


UT Austin values students who have demonstrated leadership and initiative in their extracurricular activities. Look for opportunities to take on leadership roles in your clubs, organizations, or community activities. This can help you stand out in the admissions process and demonstrate your potential for success at UT Austin.


  • Be mindful of social media:

Admissions committees may look at your social media profiles as part of the admissions process. Make sure that your online presence is professional and reflective of your best self. Avoid posting anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate.


  • Seek out resources and support:

Applying to college can be a stressful and overwhelming process. Don't be afraid to seek out resources and support from your high school counselors, teachers, and resources created by college application experts like Dale Price at Access College America. There are also many online resources available to help you navigate the admissions process, such as the UT Austin admissions website and online forums and communities.


By following these tips and putting in the effort required to create a strong application, you can increase your chances of being accepted to the University of Texas at Austin. Remember to stay true to yourself, pursue your passions, and seek out support when you need it. Good luck with your college applications!


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