2014 New Apply Texas Essay Prompts
Every student applying to the University of Texas-Austin and dozens of other private and public campuses in Texas use the Apply Texas application site. Some also use their own applications or the Common Application, but all of the UT campuses use it exclusively.
For the 2013-2014 school admissions cycle, Apply Texas has changed its essay prompts. Each school requires a different combination of these three-some require all three, some just two, or others make certain ones recommended or optional.
- Essay A: Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.
- Essay B: Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?
- Essay C: Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extra-curricular activities might help you achieve your goals.
The Apply Texas site will open this summer. The University of Texas applicants can begin applying August 1. https://www.applytexas.org/
Students using these prompts will find little seeming overlap with the new Common Application prompts. Perhaps they can use Essay A or a version of it as the prompts: “Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?”
Perhaps Essay B can overlap with “Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?”
There is no essay overlap with the UC essays. Students will have to write essays and make sure they are all powerful.
We need to remind kids that they may want to create different essays because these new essays seem to really focus on challenges and obstacles.
Dr. Joseph Is Presenting at WACAC-Western Association for College Admission Counseling.
I am presenting with Sylvia Juarez from UC Berkeley, Joe Beltran from USC, and Lauren Poplowski at Oaks Christian School
TITLE: Communicating Their Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Application Essays
DATE: Wednesday, May 22
SESSION LOCATION: We will inform you of your session’s location when you arrive at the conference.
I really love the app (ALL COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS) and use it as a go-to for a lot of different things. I notice it’s available through the Google Play store now (I’m an Android AND an Apple user — go figure!)
I took a screen shot of the Middlebury app and sent it to my colleague in Westchester NY and she bought the app, too. I also introduced it to our local public high school college programs coordinator.
Honors College Essay Time
It’s time to write applications for honors colleges.
You must check to see whether you can use what you have already submitted to that college.
If you must start from scratch, tell a story that is recent and really relates to where you envision yourself making a mark.
Here are the University of Michigan’s creative prompts. Maybe you will get an idea about another essay you can write for a scholarship.
“2013 Honors Essay Prompts
The LSA Honors Program is community of individuals who are interested in ideas, discovery, and intellectual and cultural exchange. We seek academically talented students who want to be part of such a community. To help us determine whether you might thrive in the Honors community, you will respond to one of the posted prompts.
Your essay should be 500-1000 (please, no more than 1000 words). You will put your name along with UM ID number at the top of your essay, indicating the prompt to which you responded. (You will save your essay as a pdf, and name the file with your last name, first name, and UMID: “doe,tammy13131313.pdf.”)
Essay Prompts for the Fall 2013 Freshman Class:
- “This must be Thursday,” said Arthur. “I could never get the hang of Thursdays.” How do you get the hang of Thursdays?
- Why is there air?
- Lost in Translation. It’s been a lament of many people, a concern of scholars the world over, even the title of a movie. Elaborate on an example from your own life when you lost something in translation.
- In the second century BC, Terence said in Eunuchus, “In fact, nothing is said that has not been said before”. What do you have to say?
- Describe an American innovation that would convey some sense of our nation’s distinctiveness in the world.1
1. See Delbanco, Andrew. 2012. College: What it was, is and should be. Princeton University Press, pg. 1.”
Good luck and apply now!!!
The Writing Sections of The 2013-2014 Common Application
The Common App just released the format of the Writing Sections sections. This information won’t challenge kids as they won’t know what came before. But these changes will take counselors a while to adapt to. In addition to what they released today, while students can submit unlimited alternate versions, they can only make changes to essay three times.
This is what the Common App just released:
“THE WRITING SECTIONS: FIRST LOOK
What writing opportunities are available in the 2013-14 Common Application?
• The Essay. Required of all applicants.
• Additional Information. Optional for applicants who wish to report circumstances or
qualiﬁcations not reﬂected elsewhere in the application.
• Required Explanations. Conditionally required for applicants based on responses to
application questions about school discipline, criminal history, military discharge, or an
What is changing about writing in the Common Application?
• There are 5 new essay prompts. They will be reviewed annually and may change, in
whole or in part, based on member feedback.
• Each writing section will have an enforced 650 word limit. The essay will not allow a
response shorter than 250 words.
• The extracurricular short answer question will be moved to individual member Writing
Supplements for colleges that wish to review an answer to that question.
• Uploaded documents will be replaced by text-entry. Students can compose their
responses directly in the application or cut-and-paste a response drafted in another word
What are the advantages of text-entry relative to uploads?
• Mobile/touchscreen devices can be better supported.
• Word count can be enforced, creating a more level playing ﬁeld for applicants.
Can students format their writing?
Yes. Basic formatting (bold, italics, underline, and accented characters) will be available.
In addition, text pasted from a word processing program will typically retain these styles of formatting. An analysis of 2011-12 essays revealed that 99.7% of them had either no special formatting or the basic formatting that we will support in CA4.
Will students have other opportunities to share more writing or additional submissions?
Yes. Any college that wants to collect and review writing samples may continue to do so on their Writing Supplement. In addition, any member willing to receive uploaded documents such as résumés, research papers, or graded assignments can invite these submissions on their Writing Supplement–or not–as they choose.”
University of Colorado-Boulder +38 Other Colleges To Join The Common Application
The following colleges are joining The Common Application. The University of Colorado-Boulder is a major new addition as are Purdue and Temple. The Boulder application has always been a bit challenging, so we anticipate huge application increases next year for this popular college. Below are all of the schools joining.
American International College
California College of the Arts
Central Connecticut State University
Chicago State University
George Fox University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgian Court University
Hawai’i Paciﬁc University
King’s College London (UK)
Mary Baldwin College
Modul University Vienna (Austria)
Pine Manor College
Saint Joseph’s College (IN)
St. John’s University
Trinity Christian College
University of Aberdeen (UK)
University of Birmingham, England (UK)
University of Bristol (UK)
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Maine at Presque Isle
University of New Hampshire Manchester
University of North Carolina Greensboro
University of Oklahoma
Virginia Commonwealth University
William Paterson University of NJ
William Peace University
Positive Feedback is Fabulous
I’ve been working on my app for such a long time that receiving unexpected praise makes it all worthwhile. I received this email last week:
“Thanks so much. I love your website and your iPhone App: All College Application Essays. I was sitting in a session at NACAC in Denver and a woman showed me the app. I immediately put it on my phone, and it’s the best $4.99 I’ve ever spent.
Cyndi Niendorf Certified College Counselor”
Thanks Cyndi. I’m purring.
A New World For College Applicants: The Common Application Releases New Prompts
For the first time in its recent history, the Common Application has changed its essay prompts for the 2013-2014 school year. More than 2 million high school seniors and 460 colleges use this college application platform; it enables students to send out the same application to member colleges. It requires one long essay, whose prompts have never changed.
Starting the upcoming 2013-2014 application year, the Common Applications plans to release new prompts each winter/spring. This change means we must share these prompts with all English teachers and counselors as students at many under-served schools will be at a great disadvantage if they don’t see all of the new prompts early in the college readiness cycle.
Now more than ever, we will have to keep abreast of these new prompts. The Common Application removed the formal topic of your choice prompt, which more than 60% of all previous applicants have used, yet we believe the new first prompt takes that place and provides a great chance for students to share unique stories. Thank goodness that the application still values the unique stories students may want to tell that may not fit neatly into the other four prompts.
The Common Application is also implementing a 250-650 word limit. That is new, and students will learn how they will submit their essays when the new version is released. That word length is certainly sufficient for most students. I do not know if the application will have an additional information section.
In the past, students could adapt their Common Application essay easily for many other universities that have their own applications, including the University of California, University of Texas, and Georgetown. With these prompts, those adaptations can still work but in different ways. Students, teachers, and counselors will need to be creative in developing strategies to help student write the fewest, most powerful essays.
Some ideas already come to mind: Students can use the fourth or fifth prompts and adapt it to their first University of California Essay about describing the world they come from. University of Texas applicants can adapt the third prompt for their second essay about an issue of great importance to them. And who knows, these new essays may prompt other universities to shift their essays, including the many colleges that require additional supplements. Keeping track of the major essays is already a challenge. This new world of essays will make for an interesting year, and potential challenges for under-represented students to keep track of the different prompts.
Teaching students how to work with essay prompts is a part of effective reading and writing development. Please encourage everyone you know who works with high school students to embed the new annual prompts into their ongoing work with students. These essays encourage students to share their voices through specific stories and to ground these stories in their present day meanings for students.
As the essay prompts will shift each year, students will not have prior examples to examine, and I have always been grateful for colleges that share essays they like. With the specific guiding questions for several prompts, I hope that the Common Application board members will provide some advice for students about how to structure their essays and continue to provide examples. The ending of several of the prompts could lead to didactic and artificial essays if taken literally. I am hoping that as in the past, students can embed these questions into their overall essay flow. I imagine some lively debates about the interpretation of these essays, especially their endings, in the upcoming months.
The only prompt that I worry about is the second one about an incident or time of failure. I don’t want students to wallow in that experience as the first part of the prompt may allow, but I want them to spend the majority of the essay focusing on the positive affects of the failure on the students and the powerful lessons learned. The University of Michigan used to have a similar prompt, and this led to many tales of unnecessary woe. That university removed that essay even before transitioning to the Common Application. We hope that students will use this prompt sparingly and turn their stories into evidence of who they are now: amazing students ready to offer unique qualities to their match colleges.
It’s a brand new world in college application essay writing. I hope that the process is equitable, and that all students get these new prompts in time to write great essays that truly communicate their unique voices and stories.
NEW COMMON APPLICATION PROMPTS
From the Common Application:
“The Common Application Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2013-14 essay prompts. They are presented below along with the instructions that will accompany them. While not specified here, the online application will make clear that the word limit will be enforced.The new prompts and the written guidance around them are the culmination of two years of discussion about the role writing plays in a holistic selection process. The Board relied heavily on the advice of the 15 counselors who serve on its Outreach Advisory Committee. Together, these colleagues have decades of experience advising students from every academic, social, cultural, and economic background. As they considered the topics our members suggested, they worked diligently to ensure that all applicants,regardless of background or access to counseling, would have the chance to tell their unique stories.The Board of Directors thanks everyone who provided constructive and collegial feedback over the last several months. We are excited about the possibilities these prompts present for thoughtful and creative expression. The measure of their success will be how well they help our member institutions make informed decisions. We will revisit the essay prompts each year, and we will look to our members for input regarding their effectiveness.
Instructions. The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so. (The application won’t accept a response shorter than 250 words.)
• Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
• Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
• Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
• Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
• Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.”
We are so excited to announce the release of ALL COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS on all google devices.
“I really love the app (ALL COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS) and use it as a go-to for a lot of different things. I notice it’s available through the Google Play store now (I’m an Android AND an Apple user — go figure!)
I took a screen shot of the Middlebury app and sent it to my colleague in Westchester NY and she bought the app, too. I also introduced it to our local public high school college programs coordinator.” —Janis Allen