The ApplyTexas Application: Everything You Need to Know

InGenius Prep

The ApplyTexas Application: Everything You Need to Know

News flash: not every college accepts the Common Application. While trying to add a Texas school, you might notice that it’s not there! For some colleges, you have choices about which application system you can use, and ApplyTexas might be one of the options. 

ApplyTexas is another online college submission system specifically for certain Texas schools, similar to other platforms like the Common Application or Coalition Application. As one of the biggest states in the country, Texas provides many higher education options, especially for its residents. As a result, ApplyTexas was created through collaborative efforts between the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the colleges and universities represented on that site. 

You might be familiar with top Texas schools such as UT Austin or Baylor, but the ApplyTexas application provides you with nearly 60 colleges to choose from. If you’re a proud Texan or you’re hoping to move to the Lone Star State, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the application so you know what to expect. So, what sets ApplyTexas apart from the Common Application or the Coalition Application? Here is a look, section by section, at the different sections that make up ApplyTexas.

The Basics

ApplyTexas opens on the 1st of July and applications are due in early December, with different dates for different schools. You can’t start your application without knowing if the schools on your list use the ApplyTexas portal in the first place. Here’s a full list of all of the schools that are under the ApplyTexas system, with ApplyTexas-exclusive schools marked in bold:

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Angelo State University
  • Austin College
  • Baylor University
  • Concordia University
  • Dallas Baptist University
  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Houston Baptist University
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Lamar University
  • LeTourneau University
  • McMurry University
  • Midwestern State University
  • Our Lady of the Lake University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Schreiner University
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Southwestern University
  • St. Edward’s University
  • St. Mary’s University
  • Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Sul Ross State University
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M University (at College Station, Laredo, San Antonio, Galveston, Central Texas, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Texarkana)
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas Lutheran University
  • Texas Southern University
  • Texas State University
  • Texas Tech University
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • Texas Women’s University
  • Trinity University
  • University of the Incarnate Word
  • University of Dallas
  • University of Houston
  • University of North Texas
  • University of St. Thomas
  • University of Texas (at Austin, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, Tyler, Rio Grande Valley, Permian Basin)
  • West Texas A&M University

If you’re applying to a school which also happens to use the Common App, it’ll be easier for you to keep all your schools under one portal if possible. But if you’re applying to multiple schools in the state of Texas, chances are, you’re going to have to use this state-specific application system. 

The Application Components

Like all college applications, there are some materials that you will need in order to get started. For the ApplyTexas app, these include:

  1. A copy of your high school transcript
  2. Your standardized test scores
  3. Your extracurricular activities
  4. Contact information for your guardians and guidance counselor
  5. Parent employment information
  6. A personal statement
  7. Letters of recommendation

ApplyTexas is divided into different sections, much like other application systems, which ask information about your background and interests. The sections are:

  • Biographical information
  • Educational background
  • Educational information
  • Test scores
  • Residency information
  • Extracurricular and volunteer activities
  • Employment information
  • School-specific questions

These sections help admissions officers learn more about the context in which you grew up, how you spend your time after school, what you hope to study, how to contact you in case they need to ask a clarifying question, and more. All of these components add up to a more holistic picture of you as an applicant. School should be able to use all of this data to understand your background and interests.

Biographical & Education Information

The ApplyTexas application requests all of the standard biographical and educational information, including your contact, school, and demographic details. Admissions officers use your answers to learn more about where you grew up, the resources your schools provided you with, and how you compare to your peers. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions - the schools simply want to understand your circumstances better.

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You might notice that you’re asked to denote whether you plan to enroll in a pre-professional program. This is a great way to show your future goals so that colleges can understand your ambitions. If you have extracurriculars that align with your interest, that’s even better.

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Texas-Specific Questions and Automatic Admission

ApplyTexas also asks some questions for Texans specifically. Since ApplyTexas was created for public universities in Texas, some requirements are unique, such as:

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If you’re confused about whether these apply to you or not due to an unusual case, ask your guidance counselor. As you can see, ApplyTexas asks very specific questions about residency. Like most public universities, UT schools have to admit a certain number of students who are from Texas. For example, the in-state acceptance rate at UT Austin is 48.5%, while the out-of-state acceptance rate is 25.9%. So if you are a resident, your chances of being admitted to a Texas university are much higher. Plus, you receive benefits such as certain scholarships set aside for in-state applicants, reduced in-state tuition, and automatic admission.

Public Texas universities offer automatic admission to students in the top 10% of an accredited Texas high school. UT Austin is the exception to this rule. For this cycle, you need to be in the top 6% of your class. If you reach this threshold, congratulations! You can go through the college application process with much less stress, knowing that you are going somewhere.

Activities, Community Service, and Honors Sections

The ApplyTexas application actually lets you list more activities than the Common App activities list does! You are allowed to submit up to 10 extracurriculars, but these do not include community service/volunteering or job experiences. ApplyTexas splits extracurricular activities from community service, allowing you to describe up to 8 community service activities, and has 8 slots for you to enter honors, awards, and talents - which is more than the Common App honors section.

This gives you valuable space - take advantage of this set up! Say you’re a Girl Scout, but have more than 8 activities for your ApplyTexas application. Something like this could be categorized as community service. Be strategic in how you classify your activities and how you organize your lists. Arrange the order in each section by impressiveness as well as importance to you.

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With each entry, you only have 70 characters (including spaces!) to describe your involvement and impact. This barely allows enough space for a couple of words, so be very straightforward and use powerful language. If an extracurricular activity is very important to you, you can consider using one of your essays to elaborate further.

Employment Information

While the Common App asks you to describe work experience on the activities list, the ApplyTexas app has a completely separate employment section. However, you are not allowed to describe your job; you only input your employer, hours per week, and the dates that you worked. You have the opportunity to fill out 8 different jobs. Admissions officers appreciate students who are responsible and hardworking, so carefully filling out this section can work very well in your favor.

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8 jobs may seem like a lot, but think about what you characterize as a job. Is tutoring considered a job, or an extracurricular, or a volunteering experience? Because ApplyTexas has so many different categories, think critically about where each activity belongs. A good rule of thumb is that if you got paid for your work, no matter how limited, place this experience in the job section.

Custom Questions

Most Texas universities include custom questions - which is the ApplyTexas version of supplemental essays. These essays usually ask why you’ve chosen a certain major or how you hope to contribute to campus. Texas A&M asks spring applicants to write an essay on the environment in which they were raised; UT at Austin asks three 250-word questions, covering your future career, academics, and leadership. Don’t set yourself up for a lot of last minute stress if you find out about extra requirements right before you submit!

Essays

While the Common Application requires a 650-word essay, ApplyTexas requirements vary. The prompts that are required depend entirely on the school, although most require at least Essay A. Texas A&M requires Essay A and B, while UT Austin only requires Essay A (but has three smaller custom questions). Your essay must be no longer than 120 eighty-character lines of text (including spaces and blank lines). This roughly converts to 1200-1500 words or three and a half pages, which is a very generous amount. It would be wise to stick to less than 1000 words since admissions officers have a lot of applications to go through. The prompts are below:

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

This essay prompt is similar to a personal statement you might write if you’re using the Common App or Coalition App. What are some things that admissions officers must know about you? Make sure you write a story that’s unique to you. The goal of this essay is to help make you memorable. Don’t write about a math test you scored well on (everyone’s had their fair share of strong test performances) or a person you admire (because they’re not you). The story you narrate should have a deep connection to you, since you’re the one who is applying to college. You could write about adversity that you’ve had to overcome such as an illness, loss of a family member, a natural disaster, etc. 

You can also use this prompt to talk about your opportunities. Have you been able to engage in an activity most of your peers haven’t? Think hard about whether the topic truly separates you or not.

Essay B: Most students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.

With this question, you have free reign. Since there is so little space to describe your activities, this could be a good place to expand on your most meaningful one. Talk about your activity, why it’s important to you, and how you developed that specific interest. The activity could be tied to the theme of your application, to highlight that you’re committed to what you’re passionate about and have actively pursued it.

The prompt also mentions that you can talk about a part of your identity. This could be your ethnic background, culture, languages you speak, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class, or even an unusual hobby that defines you - anything that you believe has played an essential role in who you are, how you think, and how you act. Make sure you go beyond just mentioning what the identity is. Talk about how it has shaped your perspective and why it is important to you.

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

Writing this essay should be fun! Use your imagination—there are no limits. Wherever you choose to go, think critically about why and try to relate it back to your application. Having an overall theme of your application will help you stand out in the college admissions process. The prompt doesn’t state that you have to go to a real place - so you can even include fictional locations. This question is a great way to show admissions officers how your mind works and what characteristics of a community you value. Don’t pick a common answer such as Antarctica or Hogwarts. Think carefully about why you’ve made the choice and what your personal connection to the place is.

While answering any of these prompts, it’s important to really SHOW who you are. Don’t just say, “I am a nice person;" show the admissions officers by describing situations when you were kind. Make sure you start ahead of time and have your friends, family, and teachers read your essays for edits. The more feedback, the better!

Scholarship Section

The ApplyTexas app is unique because you can apply to scholarships for select schools directly through it. These are:

  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Tech University
  • UT Austin
  • UT San Antonio
  • UT Tyler

It your school isn’t on the scholarship drop down menu (which includes the schools in the list above), then check their website and follow directions from there. Again, make sure that you do individualized research for each school on your list! Scholarship deadlines differ at each one. The UT of Austin deadline for a scholarship is December 1st, while the Texas A&M deadline is January 2nd.

It may seem time consuming to have to fill out yet another application besides the Common App, but the ApplyTexas application is pretty similar. So if you’ve already done the Common App, filling out this one should be very straightforward. If you are a Texas resident, applying to a public Texas university could really help your chances of getting accepted. Texas offers various incredible universities, just be aware that they use a different application system!

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