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University of Texas – Austin

Magellan College Counseling - UT-Austin Comp sci bldg lobby

The lobby of the Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Building

With nearly 50,000 students, the University of Texas at Austin really has something for everyone, unless you’re looking for a small, intimate college experience.  UT-Austin is the quintessential college experience – big-time sports, nationally-ranked programs, and an urban campus that spills over into the city but still feels like a campus.  There are nearly a half million living UT alumni.

UT’s McCombs School of Business is ranked in the Top 10 (as are UT’s programs in education, pharmacy and mechanical engineering).  About 4,000 undergraduates are business majors, and the school Master of Accountancy program is top-ranked.  Additionally, McCombs has created a business foundations certificate, available to all students (except business majors); 10,000 undergraduates participate in this 24-credit sequence that requires a few more courses than a minor would require.

A list of UT’s 18 colleges (4 strictly graduate level) is here.

The Moody College of Communications School of Film/Television/Radio has had more than a few notable graduates, including Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids).  This program offers students the opportunity to spend a semester in Los Angeles, living in the Oakwood Apartments in North Hollywood, taking courses and interning with entertainment companies in Burbank and Hollywood.  My tour guide was a Radio/TV/Film major and talked about paid positions at the many student-run publications and productions, including TSTV, Texas Student TV, which is fully FCC licensed and produces 24 shows, as well as Texas Travesty, the satirical paper (sort of like The Onion) that pokes fun of the Daily Longhorn, among others.

First-year students are not required to live on campus; in fact housing is not even guaranteed the first year (UT does not have enough housing for all first-year students; about 75% of them live on campus).  However, because students who live on campus are more likely to get higher grades, get involved on campus and graduate in four years, UT encourages applicants to apply for housing as soon as possible after submitting their ApplyTexas application (application opens on August 1 each year).  The $75 application fee is non-refundable, but for those who want to guarantee themselves a spot on campus, this is the way to go.

Magellan College Counseling - UT-Austin (41)

Fountain in the plaza adjacent to UT’s iconic Tower

Out-of-state students make up only a small part of the UT family; about 10% of students are not native Texans.  The only way to be truly guaranteed acceptance into UT is to be a Texas resident in the top 7-8% of your high school class (they adjust the number each year depending on the number of graduating seniors in Texas).  For those students who don’t qualify this way, admission is highly competitive, and UT is looking for more than just grades and test scores.  UT does not superscore and requires students to submit ALL tests.  While uploading a resume is technically optional, a veteran admissions officer told me that in fact, UT relies heavily on the information students provide about their extra-curricular activities, leadership, and depth of involvement, all in an expanded resume.  Basically, you should use this as an additional essay, beyond the required essays (limit those to 1 ½ to 2 pages per essay, by the way!).  Note the reasons you pursued certain activities and the steps you took for each activity or program.  Give details!  Came in second in swim meet?  Tell them out of how many swimmers!  Started a club to raise money for pediatric cancer?  Tell them what motivated you and give metrics that illustrate your success.  Your expanded resume can be 4-5 pages and can include bullet points and some narrative.  UT is looking for smart, involved leaders who can immediately identify how they will contribute to campus life.

It’s impossible to think about UT without talking about Austin.  The campus is intertwined with the vibrant downtown that this capital city has become; the iconic UT Tower’s view of the state Capitol, less than a mile away, is protected by statute.  Live music and abundant Tex Mex food add to the experience and ensure that students will always be busy here.

Evelyn visited UT-Austin in February, 2015.  You can see her complete photo album here.  And while UT is obviously a very large institution, it is possible for undergraduates to get personal attention from professors.  Here’s tour guide DJ talking about how important and supportive faculty at UT are.

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