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ut austin computer science essays

2 Awesome UT Austin Essay Examples

ut austin computer science essays

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the hardest colleges to get into in Texas . With a competitive acceptance rate, the school is moderately selective. Writing strong essays, however, will certainly boost your chances. 

UT Austin requires one long essay and three short answers, with an additional optional short answer question. There are also a handful of program-specific prompts. 

In this post, we’ll analyze sample essays written by a real applicants, sharing what they did well and what could be improved.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our UT Austin essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 

Essay Example #1

Prompt: Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay (prompt from the 2020-2021 cycle). 

“Fortunately, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father.”

– Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart 

Like most children, I aspired to my father. 

I saw my dad as an image of whom I wanted to be. Charismatic, genuine, respected among his peers – he embodied the qualities I saw essential to being a successful person. 

The most appealing to me, however, was my father’s medical background. As the first person to attend university in our extended family, he had always been revered for his accomplishment of becoming a doctor. 

As a direct consequence, biology was a keen passion during my childhood. I remember how each evening, as I was being tucked into bed, I would unload an avalanche of questions on my dad, many of them amusingly simple such as: If my body is 70% water, why don’t I have water spilling out of my finger every time I get a papercut? In school, I’d stay after class to probe my teachers about the topics I had read of but did not yet comprehend. And anytime I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I, without a whiff of doubt, bolted out I was going to be a doctor. 

However, as I got older, I developed new interests – in particular, social science and leadership – which did not always align with my childhood goals of medicine and biology. 

With this dichotomy in my mind, I decided to spend my sophomore summer volunteering at a hospital. 

Once there, it suddenly dawned on me that, for my entire life, I had viewed being a doctor through rose-tinted glasses since the reality of being a medical professional differed wildly from my perceptions. The dozens of biology textbooks I had read had not prepared me for a single drop of blood, as seeing just one could send me into an exhausting realm of dizziness. With every additional day of volunteering, it became painfully clear – I could not follow in my father’s footsteps. 

Disappointed, I began contemplating what made my experience in the hospital so bad and if anything could be done to improve people’s – whether patients’, doctors’, or volunteers’ like myself – experience. Then, a light-bulb switched on: what if I could improve the look of the hospital? As it stood, the hospital was incredibly run-down and inspired depression rather than hope. 

With a goal to improve the hospital’s appearance and thus create a friendlier environment for the people inside, I started the Better Setting – Better Getting project, which was going to decorate the hospital with photographs of nature. Having done so, there was a question of financing ー with the hospital administration over-budget, I had to source the funding entirely from the private sector. It was challenging but, a few dozen cold-calls and a handful of live-pitches later, I found a corporate partner that recognised my vision. Finally, I was ready to make my goal a reality. Legal roadblocks and printing nuances still stood in the way, but, with the enthusiastic support of the hospital community, I was able to navigate my way through. Today, dozens of wall-sized nature photos emit joy and hope into the halls of the hospital. 

My hospital volunteering, which had begun with heartbreak and disillusion, turned out to be a defining experience of self-discovery. It helped me close my chapter on medicine, a chapter I had so often doubted, and helped me validate my passion for leadership; it allowed me to operate free of doubt, knowing that I don’t have to follow my father’s footsteps. Above all, it made me realise that, although I would never be a doctor, I could nonetheless have a positive impact on society in my very own way.

What the Essay Did Well

The author begins with a quote from a historical fiction novel that the author has read. Although their essay topic doesn’t tie directly in with the novel’s plot, the quote they chose is profound and serves as a hook that piques the reader’s interest about the essay subject. 

The author starts the essay by mentioning their father. Their use of first person and writing style makes their first lines seem like the narration at the beginning of a film. This introduction draws the reader in as it seems like the author is building up to something. Similarly, your introduction should start as if you are telling a story to provide the most engaging experience for the reader. 

The author then delves more into their father’s background and describes his medical prowess by showing, rather than telling, readers about it. Instead of saying that his father is exceptional, the author presents a specific detail about how he was the first in his family to attend university. Phrasing your writing like this allows the reader to infer through descriptive detail rather than simply absorbing your words at face value. Ensuring that you create this immersive writing style might take more time, but it is worth it as it will make your essay more memorable to admissions officers.

Eventually, the third-to-last paragraph is the climactic point the reader has been waiting for. It is the most important part of the essay ー it’s time for the author to describe how they grew from the incident. During this portion of your essay, you should take readers through your thought process as you begin to formulate a solution for your conflict. It is not enough to say that you learned something new or to merely state that you felt like a changed person. You must provide concrete examples of how you reached a solution and what that solution entailed. Here, the author mentions their distaste for the hospital, specifically, its aesthetic. This sets readers up to hear their solution. 

In the next paragraph, the author describes how they resolved part of their issues with the hospital and were able to grow into their new career path. When detailing your solution, make sure you are centering yourself as the agent of change and give specific details as to your specific impact in your environment. In this essay, the author doesn’t just say “I learned that I had a passion for business.” Rather, they show readers how their skills developed and mention specific steps they took, like live pitching and navigating legal roadblocks. 

The author concludes this essay by summarizing their journey and bringing their essay back to their chosen quote. By wrapping up their essay in this manner, they underscore their growth in a way that flows well and is easy to read. Furthermore, their open-ended, future-facing final thoughts demonstrate that they intend to continue growing. This inclusion is a key part of any good essay; ending your essay on a strong, future-facing note evokes confidence and illustrates a readiness for the challenges that come with college and beyond.

What Could Be Improved

One area of improvement for this essay is that the section on their transformation is relatively brief. The author spends multiple paragraphs giving context but only dedicates one to the actions behind their growth. The author might want to trim other areas of the essay in order to fully develop this paragraph. They could describe what they did more thoroughly, and really delve into the steps they took to carry out the mentioned processes like so:

Essay Example #2

Prompt: Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?

I woke up. The curtains filtered the sun rays, hitting my face directly. I got up, looked from the bathroom to the kitchen, but my dad wasn’t there. I plopped on the couch, then the door opened. My dad walked in, clutching a brown paper bag with ninety-nine cent breakfast tacos. After eating, we drove to a customer’s house. He sat me in a chair, lifted the floorboard, and crawled under the house to fix the pipes. As he emerged, he talked, but my mind drifted to the weight of the eleven-millimeter hex wrench in my hand. My interest in mechanical engineering originates from my dad, who was a plumber. When I was fifteen, my dad passed away from cancer that constricted his throat. Holding his calloused hand on his deathbed, I wanted to prevent the suffering of others from cancer. Two years later, when I was given a topic of choice for my chemistry research paper, I stumbled upon an article about gold nanoparticles used for HIV treatment. I decided to steer the topic of gold nanoparticles used for cancer treatment instead, entering the field of nanotechnology. After reading numerous articles and watching college lectures on YouTube, I was utterly captivated by topics like using miniscule devices to induce hyperthermia as a safe method of cancer treatment. Nanotechnology is multi-disciplinary, reinforcing my interest in pursuing mechanical engineering as a gateway to participate in nanoscience and nanotechnology research at the University of Texas at Austin. I have learned that nanotechnology is not limited to stories like mine, but to other issues such as sustainable energy and water development that I hope to work towards. It is important for me to continue helping others without forfeiting my interest in nanotechnology, working in collaboration with both engineering and the medical field.

The introduction of this essay stands out for its narrative style. The first sentences only give hints of the story to come, which builds intrigue and keeps the reader engaged. The introduction transitions seamlessly into a vivid, personal story that shows where the author’s academic interests come from. Using a short anecdote like the one in this essay is the most effective way to explain your major choice.

The author then guides readers through their intellectual journey of discovering their academic passions. They demonstrate their passion by discussing specific details about cancer treatments and nanotechnology. Indeed, “nerding out” over your intellectual interests is an excellent way to prove that you are highly motivated to learn about them in college.

Lastly, the end of the essay looks forward to the future. We learn that the author’s dream is to cure cancer, and they want to do it by gaining multidisciplinary knowledge about engineering and medicine. We learn too that UT Austin is a part of the author’s vision. They show their interest in the school by discussing more than the major they want to pursue at UT Austin, highlighting research and the opportunity to explore new applications of nanotechnology.

The main area for improvement in this essay is its formatting. While formatting is far less important than the content of an essay, it can do much more than you would think to make your essay more impactful. This essay only needs one formatting change — paragraph spacing. Here is an example of the improvements:

I woke up. 

The curtains filtered the sun rays, hitting my face directly. I got up, looked from the bathroom to the kitchen, but my dad wasn’t there. I plopped on the couch, then the door opened. My dad walked in, clutching a brown paper bag with ninety-nine cent breakfast tacos. 

After eating, we drove to a customer’s house. He sat me in a chair, lifted the floorboard, and crawled under the house to fix the pipes. As he emerged, he talked, but my mind drifted to the weight of the eleven-millimeter hex wrench in my hand. 

My interest in mechanical engineering originates from my dad, who was a plumber. When I was fifteen, my dad passed away from cancer that constricted his throat. Holding his calloused hand on his deathbed, I wanted to prevent the suffering of others from cancer. 

Two years later, when I was given a topic of choice for my chemistry research paper, I stumbled upon an article about gold nanoparticles used for HIV treatment. I decided to steer the topic of gold nanoparticles used for cancer treatment instead, entering the field of nanotechnology. After reading numerous articles and watching college lectures on YouTube, I was utterly captivated by topics like using miniscule devices to induce hyperthermia as a safe method of cancer treatment. 

Nanotechnology is multi-disciplinary, reinforcing my interest in pursuing mechanical engineering as a gateway to participate in nanoscience and nanotechnology research at the University of Texas at Austin. I have learned that nanotechnology is not limited to stories like mine, but to other issues such as sustainable energy and water development that I hope to work towards. 

It is important for me to continue helping others without forfeiting my interest in nanotechnology, working in collaboration with both engineering and the medical field.

This new paragraph spacing makes the essay much easier to read. Separating certain parts into paragraphs puts powerful emphasis on the ideas that need them; for example, turning the sentence “I woke up” into its own paragraph creates a captivating hook that intrigues readers into finding out what happens next.

With the new format, it is also easier to see that the fourth paragraph would benefit from a few transitional phrases. To connect the author’s interests in mechanical engineering and cancer solutions, the paragraph could be reworded like so: 

My interest in mechanical engineering originates from my dad, who was a plumber. My interest in finding solutions to cancer — and how mechanical engineering could create them — comes from my dad too. When I was fifteen, he passed away from cancer that constricted his throat. Holding his calloused hand on his deathbed, I wanted to prevent the suffering of others from cancer. 

Where to Get Your UT Austin Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your UT Austin essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. In fact,  Alexander Oddo , an essay expert on CollegeVine, provided commentary on the essays in this post. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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ut austin computer science essays

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Bachelor of science in computer science, prescribed work common to all degrees, computer science, turing scholars honors, computer science honors, integrated program, honors computer science and business, special requirements, additional requirements for turing scholars, additional requirements for computer science honors, satisfactory progress, order and choice of work, academic standards.

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree program provides a strong technical background for students planning to begin careers upon graduation and for those interested in graduate study in computer science. This program allows students to take more coursework in computer science and related technical areas than does the bachelor of science and arts degree program.

In addition to the three options leading to the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, students may apply to the Integrated Program, which leads to simultaneous completion of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and the Master of Science in Computer Science, the Master of Science in Information Studies, or the Master of Science in Computational Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. The requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Integrated Program are given below. The requirements for the Master of Science in Computer Science, the Master of Science in Information Studies, and the Master of Science in Computational Science, Engineering, and Mathematics are described in the Graduate Catalog .

Students who would like to pursue any of the following degree programs must first be admitted. The admission processes for Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Turing Scholars Honors, Integrated Program and Computer Science and Business Honors are described in The Major in Computer Science ; the admission process for Computer Science Honors is described in the section Dean’s Scholars Honors Program .

In the process of fulfilling degree requirements, all students must complete:

  • Core curriculum
  • Skills and experience flags: a. Writing: two flagged courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or its equivalent, including one at the upper-division level b. Quantitative reasoning: one flagged course c. Global cultures: one flagged course d. Cultural diversity in the United States: one flagged course e. Ethics: one flagged course f. Independent inquiry: one flagged course

Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule . They may be used simultaneously to fulfill other requirements, unless otherwise specified. Please note, students may not earn the cultural diversity in the United States and the global cultures flags from the same course. Students are encouraged to discuss options with their academic advisors.

  • Beginning level proficiency coursework, or the equivalent, in a foreign language
  • First course in a foreign language and a three-semester-hour course in the culture of the same language area

https://cns.utexas.edu/students/degrees-majors-advising/university-core-curriculum/foreign-culture-requirement .

  • At least 42 semester hours of upper-division coursework.
  • At least 21 semester hours of upper-division coursework in computer science must be completed in residence at the University.

Additional Prescribed Work for Each Option

  • Mathematics 408C and 408D , or 408N , 408S , and 408M ; either 340L or 341 or Statistics and Data Sciences 329C ; and Mathematics 362K  or Statistics and Data Sciences 321

Either Biology 311C and 311D , or Biology 315H and 325H

Chemistry 301 or 301C , and  302 or 302C

  • Physics 303K and 105M , 301 and 101L , or 317K and 105M ; and 303L and 105N , 316 and 116L , or 317L and 105N

a different sequence listed in requirement 7

  • Geological Sciences 303  or Geological Sciences 401
  • upper-division mathematics, excluding Mathematics 325K , 340L , 341 , and 362K
  • Theory:  Computer Science 311 or 311H , 331 or 331H

Programming: Computer Science 312 , 314 or 314H

  • Systems:  Computer Science 429 or 429H , 439 or 439H
  • Twenty-four additional hours of upper-division courses in computer science
  • Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours.

Mathematics 408C and 408D , or 408N , 408S , and 408M ; either 340L or 341 or Statistics and Data Sciences 329C ; and Mathematics 362K or Statistics and Data Sciences 321

  • Either Biology 311C and 311D , or 315H and 325H
  • Chemistry 301 or 301C , and 302 or 302C
  • Physics 303K and 105M , 301 and 101L , or 317K and 105M ; and 303L and 105N , 316 and 116L , or 317L and 105N .
  • ​a different sequence listed in requirement 7

Geological Sciences 303 or Geological Sciences 401

  • Theory: Computer Science 311 or 311H , 331 or 331H
  • Programming: Computer Science 314 or 314H

Systems: Computer Science 429 or 429H , 439 or 439H

  • Computer Science 178H and 379H
  • Twenty-one hours of upper-division courses in computer science

The courses the student chooses to fulfill requirements a through c must be approved by the Turing Scholars program director. In addition to Computer Science 429H , 178H and 379H , at least five upper-division courses chosen to fulfill requirements a through e must be honors courses. The honors thesis the student completes in Computer Science 379H must be approved by the program director.

Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Breadth requirement: An honors mathematics course; Computer Science 311H and 314H ; one of the following two-semester sequences: Biology 315H and 325H , Chemistry 301C and 302C , Physics 301 , 101L , 316 , and 116L ; and either an additional three hours chosen from these courses or Physics 315 and 115L . Credit earned by examination may not be counted toward this requirement.

At least six semester hours of upper-division coursework in mathematics

Computer Science 429H , 331H , 439H , and 12 additional hours of upper-division coursework in computer science

A section of Undergraduate Studies 302 or 303 that is approved by the departmental honors advisor

A section of Rhetoric and Writing 309S  that is restricted to students in the Dean's Scholars Honors Program

Computer Science 379H and a three-semester-hour upper-division research course approved by the departmental honors advisor

Twenty-five additional semester hours of coursework approved by the departmental honors advisor

Six semester hours of coursework from the College of Liberal Arts and/or the College of Fine Arts

One of the following sequences of coursework:

Physics 303K  and  105M ,  301  and  101L , or  317K  and  105M ; and  303L  and  105N ,  316  and  116L , or  317L  and  105N

Three or four additional hours of majors-level coursework chosen from:

upper-division mathematics, excluding  Mathematics 325K ,  340L ,  341 , and  362K

The following courses in computer science:

Theory: Computer Science 311 or 311H , 331 , or 331H

Eighteen additional hours of upper-division courses in computer science

   6. Mathematics 408C and 408D , or 408N , 408S , and 408M ; either Mathematics 340L or 341  or Statistics and Data Sciences 329C ; and Statistics and Data Sciences 321

   7. One of the following sequences of coursework, also fulfills all of part I of the core curriculum science and technology requirement:

a. Either Biology 311C and 311D , or 315H and 325H

b. Chemistry 301 or 301C , and Chemistry 302 or 302C

c. Physics 303K  and 105M , 301 and 101L , or 317K and 105M ; and 303L and 105N , 316 and 116L , or 317L and 105N

   8. Economics 304K and 304L

   9. Three semester hours of coursework in anthropology, psychology, educational psychology, or sociology with a primary focus other than statistics or data processing. Courses dealing primarily with statistics or data processing may not be used to fulfill this requirement. Social Science 302C , 302D , 302E , and 302F (for Plan II dual majors only) are also accepted. A list of coursework can be found in the Canfield Business Honors academic advising office.

 10. The following courses in computer science:

a.Theory: Computer Science 311H , 331H

b. Programming: Computer Science 314H

c. Systems: Computer Science 429H , 439H

d. Twelve additional hours of upper-division courses in computer science of which six hours must carry the honors designation.

 11. Completion of the following business core courses and other business courses in special Honors Program sections:

a. Accounting 311H  (may fulfill the quantitative reasoning flag)

b. Accounting 312H (may fulfill the quantitative reasoning flag)

c. Business Administration 101H

d. Business Administration 151H

e. A professional, business-related experiential learning course chosen from the following:   Accounting 366P ,  Business Administration 353 ,  653 ,  Finance 366P ,  Management 347P ,  366P ,  367P ,  369P ,  Management Information Systems 366P ,  Marketing 366P ,  Operations Management 366P ; only one of the following courses may be counted toward the degree:  Business Administration 353 , and  Business Administration 653 .

f. Business Administration 324 or Communication 324H  (may fulfill the writing flag)

g. Decision Science 235H

h. Finance 357H

i. Legal Environment of Business 323H

j. Management 101H

k. Management 336H (may fulfill the ethics flag)

l. Management 327H

m. Management 374H  (may fulfill the writing and independent inquiry flags)

n. Management Information Systems 301H

o. Marketing 337H

p. Operations Management 235H

q. Statistics 235H (may fulfill the quantitative reasoning flag)

 This dual major requires 124 hours for completion of both degrees

Students in all options must fulfill both the University's general requirements  for graduation and the college requirements . They must also earn a grade of at least C- in each mathematics and science course required for the degree, and a grade point average in these courses of at least 2.00. More information about grades and the grade point average is given in the  General Information Catalog .

Enrollment in  Computer Science 312 , 311 or 311H , and 314 or 314H  is restricted to computer science entry-level majors. All other computer science courses that may be counted toward a degree in computer science are restricted to students who have been admitted to the computer science major or have the consent of the undergraduate faculty advisor.

An undergraduate may not enroll in any computer science course more than once without written consent of an undergraduate advisor in computer science. No student may enroll in any computer science course more than twice. No student may take more than three upper-division computer science courses in a semester without written consent of an undergraduate advisor in computer science. All transfer coursework must be approved by faculty before it can count towards a computer science degree, except where equivalency is specified by state regulation.

Students in the Turing Scholars program , must maintain a University grade point average of at least 3.25 and a grade point average in computer science of at least 3.25; in rare circumstances, this grade point average requirement will be waived for students whose honors thesis has been judged by the Department of Computer Science Undergraduate Thesis Committee to be truly outstanding. In addition to this grade point average requirement, students must know and abide by the academic and disciplinary policies given in this catalog and in the  General Information Catalog . Those who fail to do so will be considered for academic dismissal from the Turing Scholars program. Under special circumstances and at the discretion of the director, a student will be allowed to continue in the program under academic review. A student who is academically dismissed from the program may enter another computer science program if he or she fulfills the scholastic standards for continuance in the University given in General Information. Students in scholastic difficulty should discuss their problems with a Turing Scholars program academic advisor and the director.

To graduate, students must remain in good standing in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program, must submit an honors thesis approved by the departmental honors advisor, and present their research in an approved public forum, such as the college’s annual Undergraduate Research Forum. More information about the Undergraduate Research Forum is available at  https://cns.utexas.edu/ .

Additional Requirements for Integrated Program

Students are expected to make continuous progress toward the degree by completing required computer science coursework each semester. Those who fail to take program coursework two long-session semesters in a row will be removed from the program and re-enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Option that they were following before admission to the Integrated Program. Students will be notified before this action is taken; they must meet with their academic advisor upon being notified.

The student is placed on probation if his or her grade point average in required undergraduate computer science courses falls below 3.00. Except with the consent of the undergraduate advisor or the graduate advisor, a student on probation may not take graduate computer science courses.

The student is dismissed from the Integrated Program if (1) he or she fails to improve his or her academic performance significantly while on probation, or (2) he or she will not achieve a grade point average of 3.00 even by earning grades of A in all remaining required undergraduate computer science and graduate courses.

Like all students, those in the Integrated Program must know and abide by the academic and disciplinary policies given in this catalog and in the  General Information Catalog . Those who fail to do so will be considered for academic dismissal from the program. Under special circumstances and at the discretion of the director, a student may be allowed to continue in the program under academic review. A student who is academically dismissed from the program may enter another computer science program if he or she fulfills the scholastic standards for continuance in the University given in the  General Information Catalog . Students in scholastic difficulty should discuss their problems with an academic advisor and the undergraduate faculty advisor.

To receive the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Master of Science in Computer Science, Master of Science in Information Studies, or Master of Science in Computational Science, Engineering, and Mathematics degrees through the Integrated Program, a student must have a University grade point average of at least 3.00 in the coursework in the Master of Science Program of Work. He or she must also have a grade point average in graduate computer science and information studies, or computational science, engineering, and mathematics coursework of at least 3.00.

The student must consult the faculty advisor each semester regarding order and choice of work.

Note: Computer science courses with numbers ending in H are intended for students in Option II, the Turing Scholars program, and Option III, computer science honors. Students outside these Options may enroll in these courses only with the special consent of the honors director.

Additional Requirements for  Honors Computer Science and Business

Admission to Honors Computer Science and Business (CSB) is limited to a small number of high preforming students who are chosen on a competitive basis. Students selected for the program will have demonstrated exceptional potential for success in both computer science and business. Admission decisions are made by the CSB Committee. Students enter the program as freshmen.

Students entering the University as freshmen may apply to the CSB by completing a separate online application available through the Office of Admissions. The CSB Committee considers the student's SAT Reasoning Test or ACT scores, high school class rank, preparatory courses, extracurricular activities, evidence of leadership ability, and other objective criteria.

A student who enters CSB as a freshman must have a grade point average of at least 3.25 on the courses taken in residence during the fall and spring semesters of the first year to continue in the program. The student must complete at least 12 semester hours in residence on the letter-grade basis during each of those two semesters. After the freshman year, each student is dismissed from the program if their overall, computer science, or business grade point average drops below 3.25. In addition to this grade point average requirement, students must know and abide by the academic and disciplinary policies given in this catalog and in the General Information Catalog . Those who fail to do so will be considered for academic dismissal from the program. Under special circumstances and at the discretion of the CSB Program Committee, a student will be allowed to continue in the program under academic review. Students in scholastic difficulty should discuss their problems with the CSB Honor Program director(s) and their academic advisor(s).

To graduate under the CSB Honors Program, the student must earn a University grade point average of at least 3.25 and a grade point average of at least 3.25 in business courses and a grade point average of at least 3.25 in computer science courses. A candidate for any degree must be enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin in the semester or summer session in which the degree is awarded.

Students in CSB must satisfy the University's Core Curriculum and degree requirements for a B.S. in Computer Science and for a B.B.A.; combined degree requirements below. If students later elect to complete only one degree, they must consult their academic advisor(s) and fulfill all degree requirements.

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ut austin computer science essays

How to Write the UT Austin Supplemental Essays + Examples

UT Austin tower

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 10/23/23

Writing the UT Austin essays requires introspection, creativity, and time! To learn how to ace this application component, read on!

University of Texas at Austin clock tower

If you’re planning on applying to the University of Texas and are making your way down your application checklist, you may hit a roadblock when it comes to the supplemental essays . 

These essays often prove to be the most demanding aspect of college applications, as they call for transforming your thoughts into captivating words and leaving a lasting impression on the admissions committee. But fear not! This guide has got you covered! In it, we’ll break down each of the UT Austin essays. 

UT Austin Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023-2024

Student writing essay in notebook

Before we delve into how to write the UT Austin supplemental essays , let’s go over the prompts. You’ll be required to answer one essay prompt and a few short answers. 

The required essay prompt should be around 500-700 words , typically two the three paragraphs. However, your responses to the short answer prompts should be no more than 40 lines or 250-300 words . 

Required Essay Prompt #1

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

Short Answer Prompt #2

“ Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”

Short Answer Prompt #3

“ 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 Prompt #4

“ 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 Prompt #5

Students may also answer the following short answer if it applies to them:

“Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance.”

How to Write Each Essay Prompt for UT Austin

Now, we’ll delve into how to answer each of UT Austin’s prompts to ensure your responses are original, insightful, and interesting! We’ll go through specific UT Austin essay requirements and also provide successful essay examples to begin your creative process. 

Two female students writing essays

How to Write UT Austin Required Essay #1 + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of UT Austin’s required essay prompt : This prompt, by asking you to “tell your story,” calls for some personal reflection on your life so far. UT Austin wants to get to know you as a well-rounded person beyond your application materials. They want to know the things that have shaped and formed you in your life. 

The various opportunities and challenges you’ve experienced say a lot about who you are. By asking you to tell these anecdotes, the admissions committee wants to see you display humility, self-awareness, gratitude, and a desire to learn and grow. Think deeply about significant moments in your life and how they have made you different. 

To write a strong essay for UT Austin, consider following these tips:

Tip #1: Dig into Your High School Memories

Female student looking at photos

Time for a little throwback session! Sit down with a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever else floats your boat, and start digging up all those unique experiences you had during high school. For most of you, you’re likely in your senior year, so this shouldn’t be too hard!

Remember those times when life threw something special at you or maybe even knocked you off your feet? Jot all of these memories down so you can go through them and pick the most meaningful ones to talk about. 

Tip #2: Find the Common Thread

Now that you've got a bunch of high school memories in front of you, see if there's a common theme or a big idea that ties them together. It could be a passion, a challenge you faced head-on, or a turning point that changed the game for you.

Tip #3: Be Descriptive!

Get creative with your writing! Paint a picture with your words. Make your essay engaging and fun to read. You want those admissions officers to be hooked from the start to the finish. 

Tip #4: Get Real and Vulnerable

text that says "Be honest"

No need to put on a show here to worry about what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Be yourself! 

Share your stories and feelings with authenticity. The admissions committee wants to see the genuine you, not some perfectly polished version. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, share your feelings and emotions, and demonstrate your growth.

Tip #5: Talk About Unique Opportunities

Share those opportunities that set you apart from the crowd. Maybe it was an internship, a special extracurricular , a passion project , or a chance to travel. 

Show them how these experiences opened up new doors and helped you grow.

Tip #6: Face the Challenges, No Holding Back

Person climbing mountain

Life's not always rainbows and sunshine. The admissions committee wants to hear about your struggles and your ability to overcome them. So, discuss those tough moments that you thought you’d never get through, how you pushed on, and what you learned along the way.

Show the committee how all these experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly—shaped the awesome person you are today. 

Tip #7: End On a High Note

End your essay with a forward-looking approach. You’ve spent most of your essay reminiscing about high school and the lessons you learned from it. Now think about what’s next! 

Offer the admissions committee some insight into your academic and career aspirations. Talk about how you plan on fulfilling these goals at UT Austin and what you plan on contributing to this school!

How to Write UT Austin Short Answer #2 + Analysis and Tips

Textbooks lined up

Short answer #1 analysis : The first short answer is relatively straightforward. There’s a reason you chose your intended major, and now’s your time to demonstrate your passion and explain why your selected program interests you! 

UT Austin is dedicated to making a real difference in the world, so it’s essential you take your essay beyond the realms of your immediate college career. Think about what you’ll do with your education and how you’ll impact those around you!

Keep these tips in mind to ensure you nail this short answer:

  • Showcase your passion and genuine interest : Avoid essay topics that you think the committee wants to hear. Instead, ensure your sincere passion for the major you've selected is evident throughout your essay. Explain why it excites you and what specific aspects of the subject matter resonate with you.
  • Connect to your background : Reflect on any relevant events, challenges, or opportunities that influenced your decision. Share one or two brief anecdotes or stories that demonstrate how your experiences have shaped your aspirations and academic path. This will make your essay personal and engaging. 
  • Highlight your skills and alignment with UT Austin : Explain how your skills, strengths, and natural abilities align with the chosen major. Describe specific talents or aptitudes that you possess and how they complement the demands of your academic program and profession.
  • Emphasise UT Austin's program and opportunities : Demonstrate your knowledge and interest in UT Austin's program. Research its offerings, faculty members, research opportunities, and distinctive features related to your chosen major. Explain how these aspects appeal to you and align with your goals.
  • Discuss your future aspirations : Share your long-term aspirations and how pursuing this major will enable you to make a positive impact in your chosen field and beyond. Discuss how you envision using the knowledge and skills gained from this program to contribute to society or address real-world challenges. 

How to Write UT Austin Short Answer #3 + Analysis and Tips 

Students volunteering

Short answer #2 analysis : With this prompt, UT Austin wants to see drive and commitment to make a difference in the university community as well as proof that you’ve made a difference in other spaces as well. 

This question should demonstrate self-awareness, passion, and motivation. UT Austin wants to know how your past experiences have brought you to where you are, and they also want to know more about your future aspirations. 

By demonstrating your potential to have a positive impact both in and out of the classroom, you can present yourself as a well-rounded candidate that will make great contributions to the UT community!

Implement these tips into your second short answer response:

  • Highlight your key qualities and experiences : Provide an overview of the experiences, perspectives, talents, and leadership activities that define you as an individual but avoid listing them without adding context and depth. Explain how they contribute to your overall character and worldview.
  • Emphasize leadership skills and potential : Discuss your involvement in leadership activities. Illustrate how you have taken initiative, influenced others, or demonstrated a commitment to creating positive change. All of these traits are highly valued by UT Austin!
  • Talk about your future : Demonstrate how your specific attributes and experiences will allow you to make a positive impact both in and out of the classroom at UT Austin. Explain how your perspectives and background have shaped your understanding of different issues and will enrich class discussions.
  • Connect back to UT Austin : Show that you have done your research on UT Austin's values, culture, and community. Explain how your experiences, perspectives, and talents align with the university's mission and how you plan to contribute to the campus environment. 
  • Be genuine and specific : Throughout your essay, be authentic and avoid any vagueness. Share specific anecdotes and examples to illustrate your points, and be descriptive! Show, don't tell, and immerse your readers into your experiences so they connect to them better.

How to Write UT Austin Short Answer #4 + Analysis and Tips

Person holding small globe

Short answer #3 analysis : This short answer is one of the more challenging UT Austin essays. It requires students to look ahead past their college career and think critically about how they plan on bettering the world. 

While the previous questions are focused on your passions in a more general sense, this prompt asks you to think about your aspirations at UT Austin specifically. How does your desire to attend UT Austin connect to your dreams and goals? 

Here are some tips on how to approach this question:

Tip #1: Be Realistic

The admissions committee isn’t looking for any sappy or exaggerated goals. They aren’t expecting you to cure cancer or find life on Mars. 

Think about what realistic impact you want to have on the world. Whether it be changing the lives of your patients as a healthcare worker, helping address social issues, or simply being a strong advocate for the environment, any effort to better the lives of others counts!

Tip #2: Be Specific

Don’t make vague statements about your passion to change the world, healthcare, poverty, or any other broad topic. Be specific and clearly state your long-term aspirations and the specific ways you envision changing the world after graduation. 

Think about who exactly you want to help, what issue you aim to address, and the tools you’ll use to do so. 

Text thats says "focus on your goals"

Tip #3: Connect UT Austin's Offerings to Your Goals

Showcase your understanding of UT Austin's unique offerings and how they align with your ambitions. Discuss specific academic programs, research opportunities, clubs, or organizations that UT Austin offers and explain how they will support your personal and professional growth towards your goal of changing the world.

Tip #4: Discuss Your Commitment to Impact

Emphasize your dedication and commitment to creating a positive impact. Demonstrate that you are not just interested in pursuing your career for personal gain, but that you genuinely care about making a difference in the lives of others and improving society.

Tip #5: Be Ambitious

Be ambitious in your goals, but also be realistic about the steps you'll take to achieve them. Demonstrate that you have a clear plan for how your experience at UT Austin will serve as a stepping stone to creating a lasting impact on a broader scale. Demonstrate you have direction and know what it’ll take to reach your goals.

Tip #6: Wrap Up with Confidence and Gratitude

text that says "thank you"

Conclude your essay with a strong and confident statement that reinforces your commitment to changing the world and your gratitude for the opportunity to do so at UT Austin. Leave a lasting impression on the reader that highlights your passion and determination.

How to Write UT Austin Optional Essay #6

Answering the optional essay is simple; stick to the facts and be honest. There is no need to be overly descriptive or create a compelling narrative out of your circumstances. 

This essay should only help the admissions committee learn more about the extent of your circumstances, how they prevented you from achieving your best, and how you attempted to overcome them. As such, you’ll want this essay to be relatively short. It should not exceed one to two paragraphs. 

Examples of UT Austin Supplemental Essays That Worked

It can be really helpful to look at examples of successful essays for inspiration. Below, you’ll find essay examples from accepted UT Austin applicants! We’ll look at each example closely to examine what worked about it. 

Female student holding pen on paper

Sample Essay #1

Your UT Austin essays need to be concise, captivating, and creative to effectively answer this prompt:

Take a look at this example essay:

“‘Gone but never forgotten’---the solemn inscription on the plaque dedicated to my best friend, displayed prominently in our high school. A phrase intended to offer comfort, but one that will always ring hollow for me. The reality remains stark; gone is still gone. No matter how many times I replay his infectious smile or reminisce about our sunlit summers spent surfing until sundown, he remains forever confined to the realm of memories.
Losing my best friend to cancer was a heart-wrenching blow that shattered my world. We had shared dreams, laughter, and endless plans for our future. His untimely departure left an emptiness in my heart and a void in my life that seemed impossible to fill. Grief consumed me, and the once vibrant light of my high school years dimmed significantly. Coping with the loss of such a young, budding life was a challenge unlike any other, and it tested my emotional strength to its limits.
But, In the face of this overwhelming and seemingly unending pain, I found solace in the support of my family and friends. Their unwavering presence and understanding helped me navigate through the darkest times. I realized that I was not alone in my grief and that reaching out for support was not a sign of weakness but an act of bravery. This experience taught me the power of empathy and the significance of connection, shaping my understanding of the value of relationships in life.
While the loss of my best friend left a permanent scar, it also sparked an awakening within me. I became acutely aware of the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. As I struggled to regain my sense of purpose, I sought solace in volunteer work at a local cancer support center. Being able to offer comfort and empathy to patients and their families on their own journeys was a cathartic experience that helped me heal and provided me with a newfound sense of direction.
Amidst the challenges, high school also offered unique opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. I found inspiration in the arts, particularly through music and painting. These creative outlets became my refuge, allowing me to express emotions that words could not convey. Art became a powerful medium through which I could heal and explore my own emotions, and it ignited a passion that continues to fuel my aspirations.
As I delved deeper into my artistic pursuits, I discovered my ability to inspire others through storytelling. I started sharing my experiences through writing and public speaking, aiming to bring hope and awareness to those facing similar struggles. This newfound purpose motivated me to excel academically and to embrace every opportunity for growth that high school offered.
With newfound resilience, I became an active member of various clubs and organizations that focused on cancer awareness and support. I initiated fundraisers and awareness campaigns, determined to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this dreadful disease. In doing so, I found strength in unity, as we came together as a community to support a common cause.
Through the highs and lows of high school, I have evolved into a compassionate, determined, and empathetic individual. The loss of my best friend has taught me that life is fragile and unpredictable, urging me to make the most of every opportunity and to embrace challenges with unwavering resolve.
As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of my journey at UT Austin, I am filled with a sense of purpose and determination. I aspire to study medicine, combining my love for the arts with my passion for healthcare to bring comfort and healing to those in need. The experiences of my high school years have shaped me into a resilient individual who values empathy, compassion, and the power of connection. I am confident that my journey through grief and self-discovery will not only enable me to excel academically but will also empower me to change lives and make a lasting impact both in and out of the classroom. So, while my best friend may be gone forever, his legacy will live on; through me, the sunsets I now surf through alone, the patients I will heal, and the grieving families I will support when all they have left to hold are intangible memories.”  

Why It Works

This essay stands out because of its deeply personal exploration of the writer's journey from grief to resilience, fueled by a passion for cancer awareness and healing. 

The unique fusion of art, medicine, and storytelling highlights the writer's distinct personality, aspirations, and well-roundedness. Their commitment to community engagement, coupled with a clear academic focus on medicine, also aligns well with the university's values. 

Short Answer #1 Example

Hand holding pile of books

Below, you’ll find an example essay answering the following prompt: 

“Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”

Here’s another example essay to draw inspiration from:

“In 'The Alchemist,' Paulo Coelho writes, 'And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.' This profound sentiment resonates deeply with my decision to pursue an English major at UT Austin. For me, the study of English is a transformative journey of self-discovery and a pursuit of understanding the interconnectedness of humanity through the written word.
Like Santiago, the protagonist in 'The Alchemist,' I believe that our desires and dreams can shape our destinies. In the enchanting world of literature, I find myself constantly drawn to the power of storytelling, where words become vessels for ideas, emotions, and shared experiences. 
Choosing UT Austin as the home for my academic pursuits was an easy decision. The English program's reputation for fostering intellectual curiosity and nurturing creativity aligns perfectly with my academic goals. The diverse range of courses, from classic literature to contemporary poetry, promises to provide a comprehensive understanding of literary traditions, nurturing my ability to critically analyze and interpret texts.
Beyond the curriculum, I am excited about the vibrant literary community at UT Austin. Engaging with like-minded peers in literary clubs, workshops, and events will undoubtedly enrich my perspective and encourage meaningful discussions on the intricacies of literature. Moreover, I envision utilizing my passion for writing to contribute to UT Austin's literary publications and participate in creative writing workshops. Embracing opportunities to share my voice, whether through poetry or prose, is essential to my growth as a writer and communicator.
Ultimately, my decision to pursue an English major at UT Austin is driven by a deep-rooted passion for storytelling, a desire to understand the complexities of human existence, and a conviction that words possess the power to change lives.”

Why Essay #1 Worked

This essay begins with an interesting quote that intrigues the reader from the very first line. Then they artfully connect this quote to their personal and academic aspirations, which reflects a thoughtful consideration of the applicant's choice of major and resonates with the transformative power of education.

The alignment of their academic interests with UT Austin's English program also showcases a well-researched understanding of the university's offerings. 

Short Answer #2 Example 

Two male students shaking hands

You’ll need to do some serious brainstorming and reflecting to write an essay that answers this prompt well: 

“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.”

You can use the following UT Austin essay to guide you in your brainstorming process:

“My journey leading up to UT has been shaped by a tapestry of experiences: my responsibilities at home, my passion for basketball, and my commitment to community service. Balancing two part-time jobs throughout high school to ease the financial burdens at home has instilled in me a strong work ethic and a determination to excel both academically and personally.
As a devoted basketball enthusiast, the court has become my sanctuary, teaching me invaluable lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and leadership. The discipline and dedication required in sports have translated into my academic pursuits, where I strive for excellence with the same fervor I bring to the game.
My commitment to community service is deeply rooted in my family's legacy of veterans, who have instilled in me the importance of giving back. Volunteering at local animal shelters, soup kitchens, and hospitals and organizing charity events has allowed me to witness the transformative power of service firsthand. As such, I am driven by a desire to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others, both in and out of the classroom.
At UT, these experiences and perspectives will serve as my compass for engagement and leadership. As a student-athlete, I intend to contribute my skills to the campus basketball team, fostering a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship. On the academic front, my diverse background will enrich classroom discussions, bringing unique perspectives to the table.
Outside the classroom, I aspire to collaborate with service-oriented organizations, amplifying their impact on the community. Moreover, my leadership experience, gained from organizing charity events and coordinating community initiatives, will be instrumental in rallying fellow students to join forces for common causes. I am eager to embrace the enriching opportunities that UT has to offer, using my talents to foster a nurturing environment where empathy, determination, and teamwork thrive.”

Why Essay #2 Worked

The essay effectively highlights how all of this student’s experiences have shaped their character, instilling qualities like a strong work ethic, determination, teamwork, and leadership. 

Their commitment to community service reflects a genuine desire to give back, and their intention to bring this commitment to UT's campus showcases their dedication to making a positive difference in the university community. 

Short Answer #3 Example

nurse bandaging patient's hand

For UT Austin’s third short answer essay, it’s important to include meaningful details. However, remember to be concise when answering the following prompt: 

“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.”
Below is a sample essay to help you craft your own detailed and concise response: 
“Aspiring to become a nurse, I am driven by a profound sense of compassion and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on people's lives. The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin resonates deeply with my aspirations, and I believe my experience at UT Austin will empower me to change the world through the profession of nursing.
UT Austin's esteemed nursing program will provide me with a comprehensive and cutting-edge education, equipping me with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver high-quality care to diverse populations. The renowned faculty and state-of-the-art facilities will cultivate my clinical expertise, enabling me to make a tangible difference in patients' lives.
Through hands-on experiences and clinical rotations, UT Austin will offer me invaluable opportunities to work with real patients and understand their unique needs and challenges. These experiences will shape me into a compassionate and empathetic caregiver, dedicated to advocating for the well-being of each individual.
Additionally, UT Austin's commitment to community engagement and service aligns perfectly with my vision of making a difference in society. Participating in health outreach programs and volunteering at local clinics will provide me with a broader perspective on healthcare disparities and strengthen my commitment to serving underserved communities. The diverse and inclusive environment at UT Austin will enhance my cultural competence and foster my ability to provide patient-centered care to individuals from different backgrounds.
My experience at UT Austin as a nursing student will be transformative, preparing me to be a compassionate and skilled healthcare professional. Rooted in the university's core purpose of transforming lives for the benefit of society, I am confident that I will graduate as a competent nurse ready to embrace the challenges of the healthcare field and positively impact the lives of those I serve.”

Why Essay #3 Works

The student grounds their aspiration to become a nurse in a genuine compassion for others and a desire to create a positive impact, which resonates well with the university's core purpose. 

The essay also effectively outlines how UT Austin's nursing program is a perfect fit for the applicant, highlighting the comprehensive education, renowned faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities that will prepare them to deliver high-quality care. 

These points present a strong case for how UT Austin’s program will empower this student and how she will contribute to the university’s community. 

Optional Essay Example

Female student working in library

Remember, you only need to respond to this prompt if it applies to you: 

For your reference, here’s a sample essay explaining the circumstances that prevented a student from achieving the GPA they intended to:

“During my high school years, I encountered a unique set of circumstances that significantly impacted my academic performance. After my single mother was unexpectedly fired from her job and faced challenges finding another, our family's financial stability became uncertain. In order to support my mother and contribute to household expenses, I took on multiple part-time jobs, which demanded a substantial portion of my time and energy. As I juggled work commitments alongside my academic responsibilities, I found it increasingly challenging to maintain the GPA I had envisioned, a 3.8. While my determination to succeed academically remained steadfast, the added responsibilities and time constraints hindered my ability to dedicate as much time to my studies as I desired.
Despite these challenges, I persevered, ensuring that I gave my best effort in every aspect of my life. Balancing work and studies taught me invaluable time management and prioritization skills, but it also meant sacrificing some extracurricular opportunities that could have enriched my high school experience further. While my academic performance may not have reflected the 3.8 GPA I initially aimed for, I am proud of the resilience I demonstrated in the face of adversity. The experiences I gained from shouldering responsibilities beyond academics have shaped me into a diligent and empathetic individual. I believe these life lessons will undoubtedly serve me well as I embrace new challenges and opportunities in the future.”

Why This Optional Essay Works

This answer sticks to the facts and clearly articulates the circumstances the student faced, how they tried to improve their situation, and what they learned from it. The student keeps a positive tone throughout and does not place blame or try to evoke pity from the admissions committee!

Get More Sample Essays Here!

Looking at sample essays can work wonders for your own inspiration and motivation. If you want to check out more college application essays written by admitted students, take a look at our college essay database down below! 

FAQs: UT Austin Essays

Below, you’ll find the answers to any remaining questions about the UT Austin essays!

1. How Many Essays Does UT Austin Require?

UT Austin requires all of its applicants to answer one long essay and three short essays. There is an additional optional essay for students that faced circumstances that negatively affected their high school experience. 

2. Does UT Look At the Common App Essay?

Yes, the Common App essay will be considered in the admissions committee’s evaluations. 

3. Does UT Look At Coalition Essays?

No, UT Austin only uses the Common Application or the Apply Texas application . 

4. How Long Does UT Austin Supplemental Essay Need to Be? 

The UT Austin required essay should be between 500-700 words. However, the short answer essays only need to be 250-300 words. 

5. How Important Are Essays for the University of Texas at Austin? 

According to UT Austin’s most recent common data set , the application essays are taken into consideration. This means that you’ll have make sure your essays are stellar so that your application stands out! 

Final Thoughts

Overall, your UT Austin essays are not just about showcasing your achievements, but also about how your unique journey has shaped you into the person you are today. Embrace the challenges you've faced and the lessons you've learned along the way. 

Be confident in your abilities and potential. Show them how you can make a positive impact both inside and outside the classroom at UT Austin. UT Austin is looking for a diverse array of individuals, so let your personality and potential shine brightly in your essays!

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ut austin computer science essays

Computer Science Major & Courses

Computer science majors have options in designing their course of study, as well as the ability to pursue concentrations.

About the major

At UT Computer Science, undergraduate students receive a rigorous educational experience, with options to pursue more than 50 courses that span the full spectrum of topics in modern computer science. Students in the major develop a strong background in hardware architecture and mathematics as a foundation on which to build their computing education, and they have many options to select a program of study and out-of-class opportunities matched to their interests.

All about Computer Science at UT Austin

Concentrations in Computer Science

Concentrations are courses grouped to teach students about a particular area of computer science and build skills in that area. They are not listed on the degree itself (i.e., students graduate with a degree in Computer Science.)

Computer Systems:  Computer systems is a broad field of study that offers students the opportunity to develop expertise in operating systems, distributed systems, networks and security. These skill sets support a wide array of applications and technologies such as cloud computing, virtual machine technology, network and systems reliability and the Internet of Things. 

Cybersecurity:  The Cybersecurity concentration (formerly known as INFOSEC) is available to students who want to intensively study cybersecurity and privacy. Students will receive instruction on a wide range of cybersecurity related topics like network security and cryptography. 

Game Development:  Texas has the second largest concentration of game studios in the U.S., and as mobile, online and social platforms improve, more and more opportunities will arise. Game development is an inherently interdisciplinary field, which is why the department of  Computer Science has a partnership between Arts and Entertainment Technology (AET, College of Fine Arts) and Radio-Television-Film (RTF, Moody College of Communication). Together they have jointly developed the world-class Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA) program. GAMMA students will take classes like computer graphics, game technology and a project-based capstone course. 

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence:  The concentration for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is ideal for students who desire to learn how to program computer systems to 'learn' from data and perform complex tasks normally associated with human-level intelligence. AI/ML includes the opportunity to study topics such as computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, machine learning, deep learning and knowledge acquisition and representation. 

Mobile Computing:  Mobile computing has revolutionized the way we interact with the world. This concentration explores important topics in mobile computing, including internet and wireless networks, mobile app development, cloud computing, network security and Internet of Things. These topics are applicable to a virtually endless array of industries. 

Big Data:  The era of Big Data has ushered in a host of exciting opportunities for computer scientists. Students in our data concentration will study both advanced computational and analytic tools such as data mining, large-scale optimization, data analytics, data storage and data-intensive computing, as well as modern interdisciplinary applications of big data in industries as diverse as healthcare, transportation, energy and finance.

Options in Computer Science

Students may opt to pursue degrees with special honors and honors programs, specialize in teaching in computer science (option 5) and pursue an  integrated program  to secure both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years (option 4). To learn more, please see  All Undergraduate Programs .

Learn more about our undergraduate program

Courses Computer Science Majors Take

Get a sense for some of the courses that many of our majors take below. A more complete list for each catalog may be found when you search for your degree option by the year of entry or catalog.

Computer science students all take six core classes, two of each in Programming, Systems and Theory. Students will be taking three entry-level courses, followed by three transitional courses before they move into their upper-division coursework and any concentration. The department’s curriculum summary provides more information.

CS students are advised in the Computer Science Advising Center and must apply to CS for upper-division status.

Entry-Level Requirements

Natural Sciences students declare a degree and a major after receiving good grades in key courses. For CS, these are typically:

  • Introduction to Programming (CS 312)
  • Data Structures (CS 314)
  • Discrete Math for Computer Scientists (CS 311)

Examples of Courses

Students take additional courses in computer science and other disciplines, such as:

  • Algorithms and Complexity
  • Computational Organization and Architecture
  • Principles of Computer Systems
  • Biology, Chemistry or Physics
  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics 
  • Upper-division Mathematics

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University of Texas at Austin 2023-24 Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision Deadline: Dec 1

You Have: 

University of Texas at Austin 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations 

The Requirements: 1 essay of 500-700 words; 3 essays of 250-300 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community , Why , Additional Info , Personal statement

All freshman applicants must submit a required essay, Topic A in ApplyTexas and the UT Austin Required Essay in the Coalition application. Please keep your essay between 500–700 words (typically two to three paragraphs).

Tell us your story. what unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today (500-700 words).

Whether you’re using the Coalition or ApplyTexas to apply to UT Austin, you’ll have many opportunities to document your greatest high school achievements. So for this essay, it’s important that you focus on telling a personal story (it’s right there in the prompt!) that doesn’t appear elsewhere on your application. What opportunities and challenges were specific to your high school experience? The goal isn’t to craft a list, so aim to focus on one central story that describes either an opportunity or a challenge. When brainstorming , on the other hand, we recommend writing the longest list you can think of: two columns or a Venn diagram documenting every hurtle or special chance you got throughout high school. 

As you consider your “opportunities,” keep in mind that your reflection on the event or opportunity that shaped who you are today will be a source of great insight for admissions. Maybe being fluent in Tagalog opened up a unique opportunity for you to start an online exchange between your school and a school in the Philippines.  Or were you invited to perform with your dance group at a community event? Did this experience launch you to seek out other performance opportunities, spurring your interest in entrepreneurship? As you sift through your “challenges” route, aim to showcase qualities like resilience, perseverance, or simply an ability to turn lemons into lemonade. Perhaps the long commutes on the bus between home, school, and your internship taught you about time management or inspired an interest in urban planning. The challenges you choose to write about can be serious (dealing with bullies or discovering a learning disability) or seemingly banal (a public speaking #fail). While the possibilities are almost endless, students should be careful not to choose challenges that may seem trite (getting a B on a big project or winning lottery tickets to Hamilton). 

Regardless of the direction you choose to pursue, remember to make sure that admissions is learning something new about you through personal anecdotes and specific details. 

All applicants must submit three required short answers responding to prompts in your admissions application. Answers are limited to no more than 40 lines, or about 250–300 words, typically the length of one paragraph.

Note special requirements: architecture, art and art history, nursing, and social work require additional short answer questions of their applicants. , required short answer 1: , why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major.

This prompt sounds simple enough: describe what you want to study and why you like it so much that you’re willing to dedicate four years of your life to it (at the very least). While you might be tempted to get technical or poetic in your response, your reader will expect you to connect your intended major to some prior experience and/or passion. In other words, tell a story. Lucky for you, we would have advised you to start with an anecdote anyway. The most memorable essays spring from concrete descriptions of your experiences. What excites you and why? When was the last time you got drawn down a Reddit rabbit hole – and what was the topic? While you don’t need to pinpoint the exact moment you became interested in ancient history or calculus, try to zero in on some inspiring experience. What was the best TED Talk you ever watched? The first time you spoke to your new friend in ASL? Your story should showcase your unique connection to your chosen course of study. And don’t forget to talk about UT Austin! By the end of your essay, your reader should not only know why you are passionate about your chosen major, but also what excites you about Austin’s program. In admissions, we call that your fit!

Oh and a quick shoutout to all the undecideds out there: don’t worry! If you can’t decide, then tell a story that demonstrates your wide range of interests or natural curiosity. Focus on the opportunities UT Austin offers across departments and how you plan to explore once you arrive on campus. It’s normal to want to try new things at the start of college!

Required 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..

In short, this is an essay about diversity and the aspects of your life and experience that distinguish you from your peers. For some applicants, the answer might be obvious: you might have been the only one at your school with a certain background, belief system, or inherited skill set. But whether this prompt seems like it was made for you or just a total head-scratcher, we encourage you to dig a little deeper than your first thought. What about your history, experiences, perspectives, or talents might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer? And how can the experience, perspective, or talent you choose enrich the learning environment at UT Austin?

Maybe you grew up in a military family that moved around a lot, and you want to write about how this experience has shaped your ability to make new connections super quickly. Perhaps you’ll teach your floor-mates about what makes for a great ice breaker. Maybe you were raised on a farm and developed a strong work ethic at a young age as you helped your parents tend to the fields. Perhaps you will be a natural leader in group projects and take initiative in the many clubs you’d like to join. Be sure to connect your personal story to a future vision of yourself at UT Austin. The most important thing to remember for this prompt is that your experience, perspective, or talent is dynamic and specific to you and who you are, and no one else.

Required 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..

UT Austin seeks to invite movers and shakers to campus, students who dream of a better tomorrow and have a plan to make it happen. Admissions wants to know what change you would like to effect in the world. Maybe you want to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and global warming. How do you plan to contribute and how will your time at UT Austin set you up for carbon neutral success? Perhaps you would like to see more reparations in place for marginalized and historically deprived communities in the United States. Will UT Austin’s Race, Indigeneity, and Migration major help prepare you for a career in public service?

However you decide to answer this prompt, be sure to show admissions that you care about the wellbeing of others. And make sure they know you want to be part of positive change and will make UT Austin proud long after graduation.

Optional Short Answer 4:

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

T his essay is perfect for students who have encountered outstanding challenges, and need an opportunity to explain them. In fact, we recommend saving those details for an Additional Info essay, so that you can use the rest of your application to highlight other parts of your amazing personality. So, if something has happened that affected your academic performance, this is a great opportunity to explain the circumstances. Did a COVID-19 infection during your junior year cause your participation in clubs and activities to take a hit? Did a family emergency cause an overall drop in your GPA? A drop in grades or a gap in your resume does not define you. Remember to make this essay not about the things you couldn’t control, but the actions you took to improve the situation. You don’t want to come off as a victim of circumstance, but as a resilient person who can take steps to positively affect their situation.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, ut austin computer science transfer acceptance rate.

Hey, gang! I'm considering transferring to UT Austin for computer science. What's the acceptance rate for transfer students in that major? How competitive is it? Thanks!

Hey there! The acceptance rate for transfer students to UT Austin's Computer Science program tends to be quite competitive. While it's challenging to provide an exact number for acceptance rates as they can vary from year to year and are not usually published, it's widely regarded that the Computer Science program is one of the most competitive at UT Austin.

The competitiveness stems from the fact that UT Austin's Computer Science program is highly ranked and well-regarded, so it attracts a large number of high-caliber applicants. To improve your chances of getting accepted as a transfer student, you should aim to have a strong GPA, particularly in relevant courses such as math and computer science, as well as a solid foundation in programming and other computer science skills.

Additionally, it can help to showcase through your application your involvement in related extracurricular activities, such as hackathons, programming competitions, or computer science clubs. This demonstrates your passion for and commitment to the field. Lastly, make sure your essays are well-written and show a clear interest in computer science, providing insights into your background and goals within the major.

In summary, the UT Austin Computer Science transfer acceptance rate is quite competitive, but by focusing on your academics and emphasizing your passion for the subject, you can increase your chances of being accepted. Good luck!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

Texas Honors Computer Science & Business is an integrated degree program at The University of Texas at Austin that allows you to earn degrees in Computer Science and Business in a shorter time. Texas CSB provides a world class education, countless opportunities and a tight-knit student community.

To learn more please feel free to come to one of our virtual information sessions "Technology + Business at Texas" hosted by the Department of Computer Science and the Canfield Business Honors Program. Sessions can be found under the McCombs School of Business or the College of Natural Sciences sections.

How to Apply

To apply to Texas CSB, you must: 

  • Apply to UT Austin using either the ApplyTexas or Common applications. Select Unspecified Business and Computer Science Entry Level as your first and second choice majors. Your first choice major should be the one you are most interested in.
  • Indicate your interest in an honors program towards the end of the application. By selecting the Unspecified Business and Computer Science Entry Level major combination, you will be able to complete the honors prompt for Texas CSB. Depending upon your first choice major, you will also be able to apply to either the Canfield Business Honors Program or Turing Scholars . 
  • Complete all other requirements to apply to UT Austin.
  • Submit a detailed, expanded resume through MyStatus or the CommonApp documents section. The Activities section of CommonApp does not meet the resume requirement, a separate document must be provided
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from an academic source (teacher, professor, etc.). Please note that you must use the Document Upload System in MyStatus, which will email your recommender a request to submit their recommendation to us directly.

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UT-Austin Announces Significant Changes for Freshman Fall 2025

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Six Examples of Apply Texas A "Tell Us Your Story"

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Eight Tips for New UT-Austin Apply Texas Essay A Prompt "Tell us your story"

UT-Austin announces the new Apply Texas Essay A Freshman prompt. Consider these tips when writing “Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?”

Tips and Eight Examples for New Short Answer "Please share how you believe your experience at UT-Austin will prepare you to “Change the World” after you graduate."

I share tips and eight examples to answer the new freshman short answer question: “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.”

Six First Choice Major UT-Austin Short Answer Examples

Check out these non-CS and McCombs first-choice major essay examples: “Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?”

Eight Tips for Your First-Choice Major UT-Austin Short Answer

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Building a Reasonable and Debt-Minimizing College List

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UT-Austin Turing and Computer Science Major Short Answer Examples

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UT-Austin Leadership Short Answer Examples

Leadership Examples for the Fall 2022 Short Answer prompt: “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.”

Transfer Admission

You can apply for transfer admission if:

  • You have already started studying at another college or university after graduating from high school or earning a GED.
  • You have or will have earned 24 semester hours of required transferable coursework at another college or university. The option to use coursework in progress is not available for spring semester applicants.

Transfer Credit Resources

Required Application Materials Deadline Extension: Summer/Fall 2024

The Common App and ApplyTexas summer/fall application is due March 1 (11:59 p.m. Central). Students may submit all additional application materials until Friday, March 8 (11:59 p.m. Central).

For questions, email [email protected] .

If you are a transfer student who is not a U.S. citizen and who is not a U.S. resident, please visit our International Transfer page.

If you are a current UT Austin student looking to transfer to a different major, please visit our Internal Transfer page.

Key Transfer Admission Dates

Summer/fall enrollment.

  • ApplyTexas Application Opens Aug 1
  • Common App Opens Sep 1
  • Deadline to Apply March 1
  • Admission Decisions Released Mid to Late June

Spring Enrollment

  • ApplyTexas Application Opens March 1
  • Deadline to Apply September 1
  • Admission Decisions Released Mid-December

Required Application Materials

Application.

Transfer applicants can submit an application through ApplyTexas. They can also use the Common App .

Application Fee

Pay the non-refundable $75 application fee when you submit your application. Fee waivers are available. Request a fee waiver when you apply for admission or submit the Request for Fee Waiver form in MyStatus via the Document Upload System.

Along with your application, submit one essay. Applicants to the School of Architecture and Studio Art, Art Education and Art History must submit an additional essay. We recommend submitting your essay in the application. You may also submit the essay using the Document Upload System in MyStatus or by mailing them to the Office of Admissions.

Essays and Short Answers

College Transcripts and/or High School Transcripts

Send official transcripts documenting all coursework you have attempted at any college or university you attended. If you have attended more than one college or university, we’ll need a transcript from each school, even if the credits earned at one school were transferred to another. If you are applying for automatic transfer admission, submit your official high school transcript, as well. We cannot accept transcripts via email.

Transcript Info

Submit your resume offering additional information about your achievements using the Document Upload System in MyStatus. Your resume should include your previous five years of academic, extracurricular, community and work activities as well as honors and awards. You can also include high school accomplishments if they took place within the last five years.

If you submit a resume, you should include:

  • Details about what each activity involved rather than a general description.
  • The number of hours per week and weeks per year spent on each activity.

Review Optional and Additional Materials

Certain majors may require additional materials after you have submitted your application. You may also wish to submit additional materials to strengthen your application, such as letters of recommendation or an expanded resume.

Additional Materials

If applicable, the following materials may be required. All required items must be received by the appropriate deadline.

Major-Specific Items

Certain majors have required prerequisites for transfer applicants. These items can be found on each college and school on our Colleges & Degrees page. Please be sure to review the prerequisites for your first and second choice majors.

Colleges & Degrees

Letters of Recommendation

You can submit up to two letters of recommendation with your application or after you’ve submitted your application. These letters may be from mentors or people who know you well and can include teachers or school counselors, although we encourage you to provide letters from sources outside of your high school. The letter should be able to give additional context or information to support your admission that is not already provided in your application or other submitted documents (resume, transcripts). Letters of recommendation are not required but are encouraged.

Submitting Your Recommendations

We do not accept recommendations via email. Submit your recommendations via:

  • MyStatus using the Document Upload System
  • Parchment or Scoir

Residency Affidavit

You may qualify for residency if you aren’t a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident but have established Texas residency. Both the Common App and ApplyTexas applications will prompt those who indicate they meet these criteria to download the appropriate form. You can submit the affidavit to the address listed on the form.

Residency FAQs

Automatic Transfer Admission Form

Some transfer applicants are able to apply for automatic transfer admission. If you are eligible and would like to apply, complete the Automatic Transfer Admission form. More details about applicability and application instructions can be found on our Appeals page.

Automatic Transfer Admission form

Once you’ve submitted your application, you can track the status and submit additional documents in MyStatus. Be sure to regularly monitor MyStatus until your application is listed as complete and submit any to-do items prior to the deadlines.

Check MyStatus

You may be asked for additional information after you submit your application. Check MyStatus to stay up to date.

Complete the FAFSA/TASFA

Completing the FAFSA/TASFA before January 15 will maximize your eligibility for financial aid awards.

Complete Your Housing Application

You can apply for housing before you receive an admission decision. Housing is offered on a first come, first served basis. We recommend applying as soon as possible.

Check Your Email

We’ll alert you about your admission decision, financial aid awards, housing contract and other important details via email. Check your email regularly.

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Empowering the Future: Celebrating 20 Years of UT Austin's Computer Science Academies

Submitted by Trinity Erales on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 9:47am

Collection of images of teens participating in UT Computer Science Summer Camps.

UT Austin's pre-collegiate computer science summer camps are celebrating their 20th Anniversary

For the past two decades, The University of Texas at Austin's Computer Science Academies have been at the forefront of providing pre-collegiate computer science education. Starting with the inception of First Bytes, a summer camp aimed at high school women, the program has undergone a remarkable evolution, expanding opportunities to diverse students from across Texas and the United States substantially.

Academy for Women: Empowering Through Evolution

The roots of the Academy for Women can be traced back to the inception of First Bytes, a pioneering tuition-free camp designed to engage high school women in the world of computer science. Over time, this transformative initiative evolved into what is now known as the Academy for Women. While the names have changed, the core mission remains unwavering - to elevate aspirations and provide a platform for young women to explore the realm of computer science.

Emerging directly from the success of First Bytes, the Academy for Women continues to offer a free one-week residential program. Geared towards rising sophomore, junior, and senior students, this program opens doors to quality education, mentorship, and immersive hands-on experiences. It's worth noting that the Academy for Women has been a catalyst for remarkable success, exemplified by the participation of 143 women in 2023 alone.

Furthermore, the Academy for Women plays a pivotal role in shaping the composition of the University of Texas at Austin's computer science community. Its impact is profound, contributing significantly to the influx of female students entering the UTCS fold. This transformative influence resonates as an embodiment of inclusivity and diversity within the university.

As the Academy for Women continues to expand and thrive, it upholds its legacy as the foundation from which the entire Computer Science Summer Academies outreach program emerged. What began as First Bytes, a single camp during the summer, has blossomed into the Academy for Women, now offering two enriching sessions each year. This evolution stands as a testament to the commitment of UT Austin's Computer Science Academies to provide pre-collegiate education that empowers, enriches, and embraces diversity.

Expanding Horizons: Academy for All

As the impact of First Bytes expanded, UT Austin introduced Code Longhorn in 2016, now known as the Academy for All. This free one-week residential academy is designed to address diversity, equity, and inclusion barriers in STEM education for historically underrepresented student populations. In recent years, the Academy for All has experienced exponential growth, with the number of participating students more than doubling by 2022 and reaching a record-breaking 340 students in 2023, including both the Academy for Women and Academy for All.

Tuition-Based Excellence: Specialized Programs

In addition to the application-based academies, UT Computer Science's commitment to fostering excellence led to the development of specialized tuition-based programs . These programs cater to students seeking intensive, focused instruction in specific areas of computer science. From the Academy for iOS App Development to Game Development , Graphics Programming , and Robotics , these tuition-based academies offer tailored curricula that delve deep into respective fields, equipping participants with practical skills through hands-on projects and instruction from industry professionals.

A Legacy of Impact and Growth

As The University of Texas at Austin's Computer Science Academies celebrate their 20th anniversary, their legacy shines as a beacon of hope and inspiration for fostering diversity and inclusivity in STEM fields. From humble beginnings to serving approximately 1,800 students over two decades through the Academy for Women and Academy for All, these academies have left an indelible mark. Notably, they continue to fulfill their mission by encouraging students to pursue computer science degrees, dispelling stereotypes, and offering a taste of campus life at UT Austin.

A Future of Possibility Looking ahead, the academies remain steadfast in their commitment to evolution and empowerment. As they embrace new challenges, these academies will empower even more students to pursue their dreams in technology. Through dedication and innovation, they are paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

A Future of Possibility

Looking ahead, the academies remain steadfast in their commitment to evolution and empowerment. As they embrace new challenges, these academies will empower even more students to pursue their dreams in technology. Through dedication and innovation, they are paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

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COMMENTS

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    Computer Science is one of UT's most popular majors. Universities nationwide have experienced exponential growth in their CS application numbers. Ten years ago, UT received less than a thousand CS applicants. Now, it wouldn't surprise me if more than 6,000 applied for an admissions rate of less than 15%. For fall 2019, 729 CS applicants ...

  4. Tips for Applying to UT-Austin Computer Science, Cockrell School of

    UT-Austin Computer Science Accelerated Transfer Program (ATP) Starting for Fall 2021 enrollees, UT-Austin released a pilot program for the only direct-admission pathway into Computer Science, ATP. When I first heard of it, I honestly thought it was a weird scam, but it's 100% legit.

  5. How to Write the UT Austin Essays 2023-2024

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  7. Bachelor of Science in Computer Science < The University of Texas at Austin

    Theory: Computer Science 311 or 311H, 331 or 331H. Programming: Computer Science 312, 314 or 314H. Systems: Computer Science 429 or 429H, 439 or 439H. Twenty-four additional hours of upper-division courses in computer science. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours.

  8. How to Write the UT Austin Supplemental Essays + Examples

    Learn how to craft compelling essays for UT Austin with tips and examples. Find out how to answer the required essay prompt, the short answer prompts, and the optional prompt for computer science majors.

  9. Computer Science Major & Courses

    Computer science students all take six core classes, two of each in Programming, Systems and Theory. Students will be taking three entry-level courses, followed by three transitional courses before they move into their upper-division coursework and any concentration. The department's curriculum summary provides more information.

  10. Six First Choice Major UT-Austin Short Answer Examples

    UT-Austin admissions expects students to make an informed decision about their first-choice major. Given that the vast majority of applicants will only be considered for what they select first and not also their second choice, it's important to select wisely. Throughout your application, one criteria reviewers use to assess your profile is ...

  11. Current UT Students

    Department of Computer Science The University of Texas at Austin 2317 Speedway, GDC 2.302 Austin, Texas 78712 ... Department of Computer Science The University of Texas at Austin 2317 Speedway, Stop D9500 Austin, TX 78712 [email protected]. Director, Turing Scholars Honors Program

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