Essay Topic B Apply Texas

 

UPDATE as of July 13, 2017:

ApplyTexas CHANGED prompt requirements for incoming freshmen for Fall 2018!!

Click to see new requirements: Learn about changes.

To sum them up: Students must write one core, personal-statement type essay about their background (Same Prompt A as before), and three short answers about their Career Plans, Academics and Leadership (under 300 words each.)

*Below is the original post I wrote about UT essay requirements in 2016. All advice on how to strategize for Prompt A still applies perfectly. Incoming freshmen no longer need to write essays for Prompts B and C; instead they need to write the new 3 short answer essays (refer to ApplyTexas web site for details).

ORIGINAL POST BELOW:

*(Only the advice for Prompt A is still relevant!)

ApplyTexas, which handles the applications for the public universities in Texas, as well as many private colleges, has announced on its web site that they have all-new essay prompts for Fall 2017.

These new ApplyTexas essays apply to students who would be starting as freshman in Fall 2017, and applying to schools such as the University of Texas at Austin, or its other locations, as well as other Texas colleges.

They replaced the three main prompts, called Topic A, Topic B and Topic C, with new questions.

Though the ApplyTexas essays don’t specific a word count, I believe a good average for each essay is around 500 words.

Here are the new instructions for new ApplyTexas essays:

ApplyTexas Essay Prompts A, B and C For U.S. Freshman and International Freshman Applications Slated to replace current ApplyTexas essay choices A, B and C For inclusion in ApplyTexas applications for the 2017-2018 cycle (Summer 2017, Fall 2017, and Spring 2018 – opening 8/1/16)

(Essays for Summer 2016, Fall 2016, and Spring 2017 Applications are NOT changing.)

Topic A: What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.

Topic 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.

Topic C: You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

If you are just starting brainstorming ideas for these ApplyTexas essays, I have some ideas for you that I have written about in posts about similar essay prompts. And news one for you, too!

 

IDEAS FOR
APPLYTEXAS ESSAYS:
TOPIC A

Topic A: What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.

For Topic A, I would suggest you learn how to write about “the environment in which you were raised” by first thinking about your background.

This is also sometime referred to as the “world” you come from, or your “roots.” It can mean anything about your past experiences involving your “family, home, neighborhood, or community.”

In essence, I believe this prompt wants you to write about something in your background (family, home, neighborhood, or community) that has “shaped” or defined you in some way.

As in writing about your “world,” one big tip is to focus your essay and not try to write about more than one of these parts of your background. Pick only one, such as “family” or “community,” and then focus in even more on what you want to say about it.

The other advice is to not simply describe one of these (family, home, neighborhood, etc.), but find something that happened involving those environments that “shaped you as a person.”

Hint: To find a mini-story (anecdote) about something that happened that you can use to illustrate how your background shaped you, think back about “times” you faced some type of problem (aka challenge, mistake, set-back, obstacles, change, etc.)

Also, try to identify one core value (what you care most about) you developed in handling the problem (Example core values: Integrity, honesty, truth, generosity, gratitude, reverence, kindness, individuality, courage, passion, creativity, open-mindedness, loyalty, fun-loving, etc.)

When you write about how your environment shaped you, pick one core quality that you value in life to showcase and your essay will have a strong focus, which you want!

Note there are two parts to this question, so you make sure to answer both parts:

  1. Describe something from your background (something that happened is best!)
  2. Explain HOW it shaped you (what you learned related to your core quality)

So you could start your essay describing something that happened related to your family, home, neighborhood or community. (The first paragraph or two)

Then you could go into how that made you feel, what you thought about it, and then how you responded to it. (Another paragraph or two on this)

In order to explain how it shaped you, then continue by explaining what you learned from that experience—about yourself, others and even the world.

This is where you can reflect, analyze and explain what you learned from dealing with that problem, and also talk about how you either used your core value in the process, or had that core value tested or developed further. (This is the meat of your essay; two or three paragraphs)

Did it change you in any way? If so, share how.

Conclude by sharing how you believe you will use or apply whatever you learned about yourself and the world in your future goals and dreams. (One paragraph.)

Here’s a more specific Sample Outline for Prompt A:

  1. Share moment, incident or “a time” from your background when SOMETHING HAPPENED. Include some type of problem. (One to two paragraphs ONLY!)
  2. Go back and describe what led up to this moment (the “back story”). Then explain how you handled the problem; the steps you took. Include how you felt. (One to two paragraphs)
  3. Share what you learned from handling the problem. Focus on one core quality that it helped you develop or was tested. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world. What was the upside? (One to two paragraphs)
  4. Conclusion: Give status update on the problem you shared. Explain again what you learned in one sentence. Then share how you intend to use what you learned to help you meet your future goals. (One paragraph)

To learn more on how to write an essay about something from your background that shaped you, check out How to Write a College App Essay in 3 Steps.

 

IDEAS FOR
APPLYTEXAS ESSAYS:
TOPIC B

Topic 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.

Good news on this new prompt!

It’s very similar to the first of the five prompts for The Common Application.

(You can recycle an idea you had for this Topic B to Prompt 1 of the Common App or consider using this essay to inspire your Prompt 1 essay for the Common App!)

Read How to Answer Common App Prompt 1 to get some ideas on how to write about an identity, interest or talent you have.

Again, it’s crucial to give a sharp focus to your essay, and the best way is to think of a specific example or “time” you can use to illustrate something about the identity, interest or talent you want to showcase in your essay.

Then you can go into how it makes you feel, what you learned about it and yourself, the good and bad of it, and why it matters to you.

I think this Topic B is your best place of the three new ApplyTexas essays to feature your area of interest or what you intend to major in or study in college. So include that if it fits.

For example, if you know you want to study business, try to think of something specific that happened that related to your “interest” in that field. Same with other fields, such as medicine, law, computer science, engineering, nursing, art, etc.

Not everyone knows what they want to study, and that’s fine. You can still write a great essay for this prompt.

But if you do know, try to work it in. The UT, and most colleges, likes students who have a plan!

 

 

IDEAS FOR
applytexas essays:
TOPIC C

Topic C: You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Wow! Now this is a fun, almost whacky new prompt!

Since Topic C is playful and creative, this is your chance to display similar qualities in your essay.

They want you to use your imagination and think out of the box.

I believe the goal is to see your personality, sense of humor and dreams.

So the idea is you can go anywhere you want.

It can be your first time there or somewhere you’ve been before.

The most creative part of this prompt is the last question: What will happen when you get there?

Yes, you get to totally make up a story.

If this stumps you, try thinking up some type of problem that comes up in this place you land.

That way you inject some action and interest. Otherwise, you will find yourself simply describing this new place, and that could end up on the dull side.

By sharing you how handled that problems—be it big or small—your fun little essay will also end up highlighting something about you. That will give it focus and also reveal a piece of you that sets you apart from other students.

 

 

Have a little fun with this essay. Maybe your ticket is to Mars. Or to a country of your family’s origin and culture. Or to the town of a friend you haven’t seen in years.

The ticket could be for any mode of transportation—from airplanes, busses and trains to helium balloons and Disneyland.

It could even be a ticket to the future, or the past.

Just make sure something happens there, and describe how you reacted, dealt with it and learned.

Finally, if you know what you want to study or major in at your target Texas college or university, I would try to link your fantasy travel essay to that field.

For example, if you want to study biology, maybe imagine time travel back to the days of Darwin and visit the Galapagos Islands.

Try to brainstorm places you could “go” where you would be likely to have some type of experience related to your field of interest.

This is a terrific opportunity for you to showcase what you want to study in this essay, and most schools love to see this!

I really like these new ApplyTexas essays and think they give you an opportunity to showcase three distinct parts of yourself.

Make sure that those three parts do show different things about you, and don’t overlap.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Out These Related Posts!

As you may have seen in our last blog post, the prompts for all three ApplyTexas freshman application prompts have changed. We (the College Readiness team) challenged ourselves to think about how we’d answer these new prompts if we were still in high school. We started with Essay A, so this week we’ll talk about the prompt for Essay B. Happy writing!

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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.

Kate: If I haven’t already written something similar for essay A, I might write about being from another country and how that has defined my identity and overall perspective (so this would answer the identity part of the prompt). Alternatively, I could write about how my identity and sense of self have been shaped through having a twin.

I was talented enough in dancing and singing to make Markettes and the varsity choir MHS, but I don’t think I considered either of these as talents that I excelled in (nor did I pursue either when I got to college). I held significant leadership positions through both activities, however, so I’m sure I could find a way to write about being a strong leader and my leadership abilities and/or why it was important to me to try out for those leadership positions..

Tips: If an interest or talent immediately comes to mind when you read this prompt, I think it would be a good idea to go with that. This prompt is asking you to talk about your passion and why you devote so much time to it. If you’re struggling to come up with anything to write about, consider your interests and the things that you make time for outside of school. What’s something that you started researching for fun that made you stay up way past your bedtime because you were so intrigued? How do you define yourself? If you’re struggling with this prompt, ask your family, friends, or whoever knows you best to help your brainstorm some ideas.

Something really neat about this particular prompt is that when you write this essay, you can probably use the exact same essay for the first prompt on the Common App (“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.”), which means one less essay you’d have to write if you’re going to be using both applications (yay!).

Alex: Again, there are two directions I personally would choose to take with this essay, based on my personal experiences. If I were to go the identity route, I would probably write my essay about my literal heritage: my father is from Czechoslovakia, and came to the United States when he was eleven, making me a first generation American on that side. Consequently, we’ve incorporated a lot of European traditions into our family household, and there were aspects of my childhood growing up that I never realized were uncommon in other homes. I would also probably incorporate the fact that my mother is from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and I was not born in Texas, and so I have never really felt anchored to or affiliated with any particular location/state/culture.

If I were to choose the interest/talent route, I would write my essay about playing the piano and how important this was to me as a high school student. I was definitely one of the “artsy” kids, and piano was a musical outlet for me in a very specific way: playing the piano was one hundred percent for my own personal enrichment and enjoyment, without any kind of pressure to compete or perform (outside of two yearly recitals) or to be completely perfect at it. I would practice for two hours every day (again, being homeschooled allowed me the time to devote to this particular activity), and for those two hours I could relax, unwind, and immerse myself in a craft that, to me, was a worthwhile pursuit and an excellent use of my time. As high school students, we typically apply ourselves to activities and school work because we are working for the pay-off (getting a full ride scholarship for our grades or for sports) – but I never had to worry about that with piano. It was the perfect example of art for art’s sake.

Tips: What’s helpful about this topic is the flexibility – you can pick an interest or talent or identity. Just like Essay A, pick ONE topic and stick to it! The more narrow your focus, the better your essay will be! This is also the kind of essay where generating a list of possibilities will come in handy. Even if you are the star of your lacrosse team, you may get two paragraphs in and you’ve said all you can say about that particular interest – but find yourself waxing poetic about that time your dad bought a completely junked Cadillac Coupe de Ville and you both spent all summer restoring it to its original 1950’s glory (and now you’re planning on majoring in business so that you can open a dealership that exclusively handles vintage car restoration and sales).

Eriel: My high school experience is split in two parts. In Part 1 (grades 9th and 10th), I am a socially-challenged, homeschooled genius, taking private singing lessons and film-acting courses because I was determined to be the star of the Boy Meets World reboot. In Part 2 (grades 11th and 12th), I am (still) a socially challenged theater actress and budding fiction writer crawling her way to the graduation podium so she could chuck a deuce and say sayonara to an army of teenagers she could hardly hold a conversation with. At the core of this duality, I disliked (note the past tense here) people and loved to create things. My time being homeschooled allowed me to invest my time where I wanted – performing, painting, writing, creating, etc. Though my parents’ professions aren’t in creative departments, each member of my family had some sort of artsy talent. My mom loves interior design, my dad’s a chef, my sister’s a dancer, my little brother has his music, and my baby brother has his sketches. So, I’m guessing high school me would’ve rolled with an interest in the creative arts and how they pair with personalities or how they translate from personality to medium. To further specify the essay, I’d hone in on storytelling and how that creative art wedged itself into several mediums (i.e. performance, writing, cooking).

Tip: I think a major struggle students will encounter with this prompt is specificity. Because the prompt asks for an identity, interest, or talent, students may feel the need to address all three pillars here. That certainly isn’t the case. This is a pick one and run kinda thing. When you do pick, however, pick wisely. It may take a couple of drafts and drills to find the sweet spot, so take your time choosing before sprinting away with the topic in hand. I believe students should have a two pronged approach to this prompt: 1) Show off your personality and your hobbies, and 2) Relate it to what you intend to do professionally. This will give you the opportunity to show who you are and what impact you intend to leave on the world.

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