Tex Admissions

Texas A&M's Silly Surprise Supplemental Essay Requirements: Diversity, Influential Person, Life Event

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

EDIT 10/25/2021: Texas A&M does not read the essays for their top academic admits, even for engineering.

EDIT 07/06/2022: Texas A&M has discontinued the Diversity short answer for Fall 2023 applicants. They only require Life Event and Person of Influence

Many applicants who rank in the top 10% and score well on the SAT are receiving their positive admissions decisions within a few days of applying. It’s absolutely impossible to conduct holistic review, i.e. reading the entire application and comparing the file against most other applicants, and release decisions so quickly. By contrast, UT-Austin doesn’t release decisions any earlier than late November because the review process takes time. So, Texas A&M is wasting the time of thousands of applicants who will gain admission even if they submitted no essays at all. Shame on their staff for burdening tens of thousands of student and school work hours for essays that won’t be read. I invite any Texas A&M staff to dispel my assertion.

In my new book Surviving the College Admissions Madness , I discuss how applicants are writing more college essays to more universities than at any other time in history. Universities that admit most or all of their applicants based on academics are starting to require essays. Essay requirements are like a computer virus infecting systems everywhere. Their importance and pervasiveness is one reason why blogs like this and admissions consulting services like mine exist.

Every time universities change their essay topics, it drives traffic to my site because I can create new posts like this one. I respond by raising my prices for future families. I feel bad for high school counselors and college advisors whose workload will now increase while their salary remains the same. A colleague of mine at an inner-city school remarked, “Yeah, that’s one reason why I’m looking to move into independent consulting.”

Parents often tell me, “I don’t remember having to write any essays in my college applications, let alone three dozen.” And they’re right. OU, for example, now requires more essays than UT-Austin despite them admitting over 80% of their applicants. Universities are so out of touch with society that you can’t do anything but laugh at this point. This post’s snarky tone reflects the frustrations that families and high school counselors share with me.

Texas A&M for Fall 2022 now requires three short answers, not including an Engineering-specific supplement .

Person Most Impacted: Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. Life Event: Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.

I have strong reason to believe they do not read these essays except for marginal and borderline applicants. It makes me wonder: what’s the point?

My first piece of advice that I discuss later is to simply not answer these questions at all, or write a few sentences and move on. If your academics are above Top Quarter with a 1450, then you’re almost certain to gain admission to TAMU. Don’t worry about these hoops; your time is better spent elsewhere.

These questions are so half-baked and low-effort that it’s like scribbling an answer on a worksheet just before you turn it in since you didn’t bother working on it the night before. A&M is so lazy they don’t bother updating their admissions website. Now tens of thousands of families will stress out over some bureaucrat’s whimsy.

Also, the prompt should read “Describe a life event that you feel has prepared you to be successful in college,” not which . [Insert UT pompous elitism joke here].

Moreover, this prompt dismisses that students will have already written an Essay A “telling their story” that implicitly shows how they will be successful in college. Who imagines this nonsense and thinks it’s a good idea?

More initial thoughts: UT-Austin was the first university to break from Apply Texas essay requirements common to all Texas universities in 2017 when they released three short answer essay topics. Texas A&M, ever in UT’s shadow, followed last year by requiring a surprise question about Diversity (that they’ve since discontinued). UT-Austin released their own set of silly and onerous short answer questions for Fall 2022 . Little brother tries to emulate big brother even when it makes zero sense, especially as UT casts its shadow over their transition to the SEC athletics conference.

Texas A&M will be most high achieving applicants’ second or third choices behind UT-Austin and comparable with UT-Dallas, who has recently gone entirely essay optional, understanding that fewer application barriers means more applicants. Desirable applicants will have even less motivation to want to apply to or enroll at Texas A&M when they erect barriers to apply. TAMU didn’t publish this new topic anywhere on their website, and as of July 2022, they still haven’t published them.

In my many years of serving families, I’ve never had a client get rejected from Texas A&M who was also competitive for UT-Austin. So my first suggestion is…

Don’t write the new essay topics at all

If you’re a high-achieving student ranking in the top 10% of your class and scoring an SAT/ACT 1400 or 31, you could not submit any essays at all and A&M is highly likely to admit you. If you’re outside of the first quarter or scored below a 29 or 1350, then consider putting your best effort forward on these supplements.

Texas A&M’s middle 50% range for test scores is 1160-1390 on the SAT and 26-31 on the ACT.

For many of their programs, they practice “rolling admission” where you get an acceptance a few weeks or less after applying. Rolling admissions, by definition, doesn’t include a holistic review component because there is no way to review apps and offer decisions so quickly. Additionally, holistic review necessarily must wait until most or all applicants are in to compare your “personal achievement score” with the other applicants seeking your same major.

One issue is that Texas A&M representatives tell prospective families, particularly for Engineering, that they need to submit their applications ASAP. Yet they require essays that prevent that from happening. The inconsistencies are boundless.

So my honest advice for this topic and for others is to write a few sentences at most and move on. You’re going to gain admission anyway unless your academics are marginal. Another option is to repurpose a UT-Austin short answer or another university supplement to respond to the prompts. My idealistic hope is if enough applicants opt out of writing the essays by inputting (N/A), then Texas A&M will get the hint that students are unwilling to jump through seemingly endless and unnecessary hoops.

Their recent broadcast to admissions professionals says as much: “We anticipate receiving only a few sentences or at most a paragraph or two for these questions.”

Answering tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why.

The easiest way to answer this question is to discuss a favorite teacher. Other options could include an orchestra director, choir teacher, sports coach, and so on. You could discuss a family member or grandparent. It doesn’t really matter, honestly, and I don’t know what Texas A&M reviewers hope to gain from asking this question.

Answering describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.

This will probably be the easiest question to repurpose from the UT-Austin short answers or other supplements. I suppose any experience will do, and any of the blog posts that I share can help you share about:

a leadership experience

something related to your major

a time you overcame an obstacle

a favorite project

independent studies

a favorite extracurricular

career plans or ambitions

discussing the environment in which you were raised

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

The New Texas A&M Essay Prompts

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

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Texas A&M has added three new essay prompts for students applying this fall, which is three more essays than they required last year. This change has made many students nervous, as this seems like a major shift, and may impact their chances of admission. We believe this change has come due to the decreased importance of standardized tests during the Coronavirus pandemic.

While we already created a guide to Texas A&M , we thought it would be helpful for students if we also provided analysis of the essays the school required. In this article, we’ll go over the three new essay questions, give examples of how they can be answered, and discuss what Texas A&M is looking for.

Diversity Essay Example

Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values. Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you and for the Texas A&M campus community. Please share any personal experiences that have shaped your views. (300 words)

An emphasis on diversity prevents a community from collapsing into dull uniformity and close-mindedness. I am deeply aware of the upshot of diversity in this respect, but making sure an abstract ideal becomes more than a mere catchphrase or empty aspiration can be tricky. Diversity has to be cultivated; it doesn’t necessarily arise by itself when a bunch of very different people are brought together. Factionalism can set in even in those places where, on paper, a diverse set of people are working together, attending school, or playing sports on a team. I think that for diversity to become a reality, there needs to be those who take it upon themselves to establish communication between separate groups. I see myself at Texas A&M – which already has a vibrant sense of community – working as a moderator between friends and classmates to effect constructive dialogue. I have experience navigating the dicey waters of diversity.

The past two elections were obviously some of the most divisive periods in our nation’s history and my school community was not spared the fallout. With friends belonging to different camps, I would frequently find myself in the midst of one of those soul-crushing shouting matches where everyone seems to be talking past each other. I have always had a strong moral compass, and, although I’m no expert when it comes to politics, I am willing to call out hypocrisy when I see it. When one day a difference of aesthetic preference regarding Trump Tower quickly degenerated into a conflict that nearly approached fisticuffs, I knew I had to do something. I decided that I should avoid partisanship and expose the hypocrisies and quandaries of both sides of the political spectrum. My intervention was effective, and, as the emotions simmered, actual constructive dialogue began.

Diversity Essay Analysis

This prompt is fairly explicit in what it is asking for, and what position it takes. It is, however, looking for two separate things in the same essay. The first is an explanation of what you believe the benefits of diversity are, both for yourself and for Texas A&M. The second is an exploration of how your personal experiences shaped your beliefs on diversity.

In answering the first part of this question, you should focus on your personal reasons for embracing diversity. You should try to create a response which is not cliched, and which does not read like a Hallmark card. In the example above, the author discusses how diversity is not a state of existence, but a process, one which must be worked at in order to be maintained.

In doing this, the author shows a deep understanding of how diversity works at an institution like Texas A&M, and demonstrates a willingness to contribute to that diversity. Colleges want to admit students who will actively participate in their communities, and contribute to the culture they have worked to build. The second half of this essay is where you can provide an example of this capability. By showing how you personally encountered diversity, you demonstrate to the university how you are able to contribute to it in the future.

In the example above, the author discusses diversity of political opinions. This can be a controversial topic, but is quite relevant in our current times. While the author does not take a political stance in this essay, that does not mean you cannot. We do, however, recommend being cautious when taking a contentious political stance. Admissions officers are people too, and if your essay comes across as combative, they may think poorly of your application.

This is a good example of how diversity can cover many different traits. You can write about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, socio-economic status, politics, or even lighter fare. Being a female wrestler or a male ballet dancer both count as diversity, and can lead to interesting essays. Whatever you write about, you should demonstrate how you will contribute to the school’s community if you are admitted. Again, many of these topics can be quite sensitive, and we urge you to use tact and cautious editing when writing this essay.

Personal Impact Essay Example

Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. (300 words)

The lessons that my dad drilled into me can be condensed into the following aphorism: it isn’t how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. When serving his community and church, he has had his fair share of dealings with disgruntled or troubled people who were going through a lot. Sometimes those people would lash out at him, but my dad is unperturbable. He maintains zen-like equanimity and never lets unpleasant behavior compromise his empathy.

Life includes many frustrations and unforeseen anxieties. Keeping a level head is perhaps the most crucial skill to have nowadays. When my family was driving to Colorado during an unbelievably fierce blizzard, we suddenly realized we were low on gas. Then snow, somehow, got even worse. It looked like downy blankets of white were being thrown on the windshield. Everyone in the car was in full panic mode, except my dad. If he felt the same terror that gripped me, he didn’t show it. Rather than being annoyed at my mom’s anxiety-ridden but essentially useless vocalizations, he somehow managed to comfort her and us with reassuring words and timely humor. All the while, without being able to see two feet in front of the car, he managed to get us to a gas station.

It’s that kind of experience that has really cemented my admiration for my dad. The guy is enormously compassionate in situations where there simply isn’t time for empathy. Many people with his level of toughness tend to be rough around the edges. Not so with my dad; he never lets clouds, tantrums, mistakes, breakdowns, personal conflicts, disgruntled folks, or general bad luck, darken his heart of gold.

Personal Impact Essay Analysis

In contrast to the first prompt, this essay is far more open in regards to subject matter. While you can write about most anyone, family members are likely to be a common choice, as we see in the essay above. This is completely reasonable; it makes sense that the person who has raised you since birth would have a major impact on who you are as a person. This essay, however, merely asks about impact on you, which means there are several directions you can take this essay.

It is important to consider what the university is looking for when they ask this question. As with all other essay prompts, what Texas A&M wants to know with this is some of who you are as a person, and what your values are. The person who impacted you most, and the values they instilled, says something important about what your values are, and how you will impact others once you reach college.

In the example above, the author discusses his father, and the virtue of equanimity. The ability to face problems calmly, and deal with them in an adult manner, regardless of the challenges life presents.

This is a good value to demonstrate for colleges, and has the advantage of being uncommon. The less common a value is, the more likely your essay is to stand out, and the more likely admissions officers are to take note of what you say. You can talk about more common values, but these should be discussed in uncommon ways. For example, discussing strength in vulnerability, or patience through an uncommon past-time.

In the example above, the author uses driving through a snow storm to demonstrate calm under pressure, and show the impact of equanimity. The ability to remain calm and collected under pressure, and to spread that calm to others, is quite helpful at college, which is notoriously stressful.

Whatever you decide to write about, you should show how the person impacted you, and how those impacts have turned you into the person you are today, and how that person will be a positive impact on campus. This person can be a family member, a teacher, or even a stranger, though you would need some very persuasive writing to make the latter option make sense.

Life Event Essay Example

Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (300 words)

Back before climate change habituated us to 100+ degree days as a matter of course, 95 degrees was sufficient to earn a day the label of “scorcher”. My teammates and I were preparing to run our district race for cross country, and were already dripping with sweat. When the gun went off, we rushed to the top of the pack and hoped to cement that early lead. We had put some distance between ourselves and the rest of the competitors when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my coach, arms akimbo, flailing like a madman to get our attention. We had taken a wrong turn – a 200 meter wrong turn. Not good.

At that catastrophic moment, there were two options. #1: quit in the face of a seemingly insurmountable mistake. #2: turn around and finish the race.

When we halted, seconds ticked by in indecision. I broke our paralysis with a barbaric yawp of “let’s go!” and charged in the other direction.

Once we got back on the course, we were in the back of the pack. Naturally, I was horrifically discouraged about having led my teammates the wrong way. The idea that I had potentially squandered our one chance to win our first-ever district race was devastating. But I didn’t crumble. Instead, I pushed my teammates up the last mile, catching one runner after another. The distance between us and the rest of the runners seemed to shrink. Before we knew it, I was in third place with my teammates tracking behind me, with a half a mile to go. Once we got to the final kick, I was able to push through and finished first, with my best friend and former teammate getting second. We got lucky that day; in other circumstances we might have finished last, failing to reach our goal. But it’s one thing to fail and another thing entirely to give up. I prefer the former.

Life Event Essay Analysis

This essay can be about almost anything, and we recommend you cross apply another essay you have written which fits within the prompt. This is also a good place to explore one of your extracurricular activities you have not had an opportunity to discuss yet. Whatever you write about, it should demonstrate how you are prepared for the rigors of collegiate life.

In the example above, the author discusses adversity and perseverance during a race. While this topic is a bit cliched, that does not mean you can’t write about it, merely that you have to approach such topics with care. Cliches are used so often because they are so widely applicable; they are tools like any other.

The main value expressed by the author is perseverance, especially in the face of their own mistakes. Mistakes happen; that’s a part of life. What matters is how you react to them, and what you do next. In this essay, the author shows their willingness to work to rectify their own mistakes, and to accept the responsibility for their errors.

These are both traits which colleges like to see, as this attitude indicates maturity, and a willingness to self-evaluate honestly. Perseverance in the face of adversity is also important for college, where the classes will likely be far more challenging than what you had to deal with in high school.

When you answer this prompt, you can choose any of your values to focus on. We recommend discussing values that did not get covered in your other essays, so that you give admissions officers the most complete picture of who you are possible. You should also talk about an event or experience that your other essays did not cover, for the same reason. Admissions officers only know what you tell them, so you should try to tell them as much as possible.

Final Thoughts

While the new essay requirements from Texas A&M feel jarring, they are not altogether surprising. College admissions have been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and now colleges are beginning to respond and react. Texas A&M is no longer able to rely as heavily on standardized test scores, and so now they have introduced mandatory essays as a metric by which to evaluate students.

Preparing for tests and writing essays are different demands, but it is entirely possible to succeed at both. If you feel overwhelmed, or want advice on writing your own Texas A&M essays, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation . We have a depth of experience helping students with every aspect of college admissions, and are always happy to hear from you.

Need help with college admissions?

Download our "guide to everything," a 90-page pdf that covers everything you need to know about the college admission process., more to explore.

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

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Texas A&M University

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Diversity Statement

We, the staff of Counseling & Psychological Services, are proud of the diverse background of our students and recognize that embracing a diverse worldview provides a great opportunity for all of our students to gain a richer experience.  Texas A&M University represents over 100 countries and is a diverse community that includes many groups of people, some of whom have been historically discriminated against on the basis of characteristics such as racial, ethnic, and cultural background, national origin, immigration/ documentation status, gender, gender identity and/ or expression, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status. We believe that prejudice and discrimination are detrimental to human development. We support an environment in which everyone is respected, welcomed, and appreciated. The appreciation and valuing of diversity contribute to the development of community in its most ideal sense.

We also value the creation and maintenance of an atmosphere of openness and trust in which everyone is encouraged to explore and discuss their attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors. The process of learning about and being sensitive to the diverse life experiences of others enhances staff members individually and as a group, which enables the staff to provide the highest quality of service and training.

We will continually assess our progress in fostering an environment where everyone is respected, welcomed, and appreciated. Areas to assess will include such things as the physical environment, interpersonal communication, student feedback, and continuing education. As we proceed on the journey of developing our community, we will value and practice community building behaviors including mutual respect, civility, and responsible forthrightness.

Adopted June 22, 1995

Revised September 2, 2013

Updated September 3, 2019 with new department name

Copyright 2023 • Counseling & Psychological Services | • All Rights Reserved. • Hosted by Division of Student Affairs Department of IT

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

Tackling the Texas A&M Short Answer Application Prompts

When Texas A&M introduced short answer questions to their application in 2020, many students felt panicked. Applications are already writing-intensive, so the thought of even more required writing was an overwhelming prospect.

It is helpful to remember that these short answer questions are intended to benefit students. How? By giving them more opportunities to show why they should be an Aggie.


Short answers offer one more opportunity for application reviewers to get to know you. It sounds obvious, but the first piece of advice is: answer the question! It's important to keep in mind that these are not trick questions. Texas A&M is asking students exactly what they want to know. Students should read the question carefully and be sure they're addressing it with relevant and specific information.

These answers may be short, but that doesn’t mean they are trivial. These questions offer students an important chance to make a positive impression on the admissions committee by highlighting their distinctive qualities, accomplishments, values, and why they believe they would be a great fit at Texas A&M.

You can find more specific information about this year’s Texas A&M short answer questions below.


Short Answer Prompt

Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values (loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service). Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you personally and for the Texas A&M campus community. 

Diversity is a broad term, so before students start writing, they should think about all of its implications. Diversity can include race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and cultural beliefs, socioeconomic background, immigration status, physical disabilities, and neurological differences, among many other aspects of identity. Students should also consider the other key term in this question: inclusion. Diversity is one thing, but any environment needs to be inclusive (accepting and encouraging of diversity) in order to allow all different kinds of people to thrive within a community.

Once they've taken a step back, it's time to focus on the two parts of the prompt: 

Part 1: Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you personally

Part 2: and for the Texas A&M campus community.

First, they'll need to zoom in to their personal experiences: What kinds of diverse communities have they been a part of? How have those communities helped them? How did they personally grow from their experiences within those communities? They can keep those values that A&M describes (loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service) top of mind while they brainstorm.

Next, students need to think about why it’s important for a college community to be both diverse and inclusive. As a thought experiment, students can imagine themselves in an environment with people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. In what ways will that make their college experience richer—both inside and outside the classroom?

As students write, they should cite personal examples from their own lives. They only have 250-300 words, but that should be enough for a quick anecdote. And if a student doesn't come from a diverse background, they can use this space to talk about why it's important for them to be part of a diverse culture on campus and how it will help them grow.

Students may also want to consult A&M’s own statement on the diversity page of their website:

“We define diversity as the inclusion and support of individuals from all groups, encompassing the various characteristics of people in our community. Diversity is the exploration of differences, identities, and ideas in a welcoming and nurturing academic environment. The educational benefits of diverse learning environments includes: civic learning, engagement, and preparation to live in complex global settings.”


Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.

As with the first short answer question, you might think of this question as having two parts as well. First, it asks students to recount a single event or experience, and second, it asks them to reflect on how it has prepared them for college success. The student’s answer does not need to follow a two-part structure, but it is crucial that both parts of this answer (the anecdote and the reflection) be included.

What kind of life event should students choose to write about? In making this decision, students should think about the goal of their essay. Like the other two short answer questions, this one allows admissions readers to get a deeper understanding of the student’s context and life experiences. Students should focus on a life event that offers readers at least one of the following things:

Students may choose to recount a story of accomplishment, but they can also use this question to reflect upon a less positive experience and how they have learned or grown as a result of it. Whether they write about triumphs or tribulations, they should be sure to answer the second part of the question: how has this event prepared them to be successful in college (whatever “success” might mean to them personally)?

Remember that this short answer should not overlap with the student’s Essay A. It should discuss a different event than any outlined in that personal statement, and it should offer different insights about the student’s personality, maturity, and values.


Tell us about a person who has most impacted your life and why.

Some students are daunted by the challenge of choosing a person who has most impacted their life. How to choose just one person? Our advice is not to get overwhelmed, but instead to select a person whose impact the student can both: a) illustrate with specific examples; and b) reflect on in a thoughtful and illuminating way. Keep in mind that specific examples are always more interesting to a reader than vague generalizations. The student’s aim is to paint a vivid picture of this person, so that the reader can appreciate this person’s influence in the student’s life.

It is no surprise that many students choose to write about a parent for this answer. While there is nothing wrong with that, we would encourage students to think beyond their parents for this answer-- and even beyond their nuclear family. Some of the most distinctive short answers to this question focus on a friend, teammate, colleague, teacher, coach, community or religious leader, among others. In selecting whom to write about-- and what to say about them-- students should consider what they admire about this person. Which of the students’ values does this person embody? What qualities in this person might the student want to emulate? What has this person’s actions and/or words taught the student?

As with all of these short answers, remember that Texas A&M is interested, above all, in getting to know the student better. When students write about an important individual in their life, they are also giving the admissions committee a deeper sense of the kind of person they are.

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

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texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay


texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay


Texas A&M University 2022-23 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Texas a&m university 2022-23 application essay question explanation.

The Requirements: 3  essays of roughly 500 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community , Oddball , Additional Information

Texas A&M University believes that diversity, diversity.tamu.edu, is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values. Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you and for the Texas A&M campus community. Please share any personal experiences that have shaped your views. (No word count provided)

Admissions officers want to know that you value diversity and will contribute to inclusivity on campus, so share a story that demonstrates your commitment to that goal. When have you engaged with people from different walks of life? What did you learn or take away? How does expanding your horizons benefit both you and your community at large? You can also address how you will contribute to diversity on campus. Consider why your particular background or experience will be useful in an academic setting or can enrich or inspire others. Were you raised in an indigenous community? Do you identify as transgender? Have you lived on four different continents? What has influenced your identity? What do you believe and how will your worldview bring something of value to the community at Texas A&M?

Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (500 words)

This prompt is incredibly vague, which is kinda awesome because it sets you up to talk about almost anything you want. Which life event has sparked personal growth? What do you think it takes to be successful and how do you embody those qualities? Maybe a parent’s fragile health situation challenged you to take on more responsibilities than the average teenager, preparing you for the hard work ahead. Or perhaps you learned to love your football team’s playback sessions, as they forced you to routinely examine your mistakes, welcome constructive criticism, and guide you toward self-improvement. Whatever story you choose to tell, be sure to infuse it with personal details that no one else could include in their essay.

Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. (500 words)

Who is the first person to come to mind when you read this prompt? The person you write about can be someone in your immediate circle, larger network, or on the world stage. Remember that the person you choose is going to say a lot about what you value and respect in others. Maybe an adult in your life has served as a mentor and role model for you, or perhaps the person who has impacted you most is a close friend and confidant. Once you identify the person you’d like to write about, be sure to summarize who they are to you, how they have impacted your life, and how you’ve changed as a result of knowing them.

If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about, please note them in the space below. (250 words)

Let us start by saying: this prompt is not for everyone. If your GPA has not dramatically increased or decreased during your high school career, move along. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking, “Yes! An opportunity for me to explain!” then read on.  Your transcripts are like Garfield Minus Garfield . Sure, we can see that something’s changed from frame to frame, but we don’t know why. Grades need context. Admissions doesn’t know why or how things happened—good or bad—so ake a look at your grades and note any anomalies or odd jumps/drops. Think back to that time in your life and tell your story. Maybe your family struggled with financial instability or the loss of a loved one. Maybe you started meeting virtually with a tutor and climbed from a fall semester C in geometry to a spring semester A. No matter your story, you are not alone in your journey of ups and downs—high school is a veritable war zone of distractions and possibilities. And, remember, everyone loves a comeback. 

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How to Write the Texas A&M Supplemental Essays: Examples + Guide 2022/2023

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay


Located in aptly named College Station, Texas, A&M University has evolved significantly since its founding nearly 150 years ago. The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas was originally formed to teach military tactics and the agricultural and mechanical arts (the A&M in the school’s name is a symbolic nod to this past), alongside traditional classical and scientific studies.

Today, Texas A&M is a premier research facility with the triple distinction of holding land-, sea- and space-grant designations, while its Corps of Cadets is the largest uniformed body outside the national service academies.  

Although Texas A&M is rooted in tradition, it’s by no means stuck there. Its long-term vision focuses on four pillars: transformational education; discovery and innovation; impact on state, nation, and world; and university as a community. Understanding this vision can help you write essays that reflect those same morals and values.

For deeper insights into these pillars and how this public university envisions fostering long-term student success and making a global impact, read through its strategic plan and vision for the decade ahead . And to get a better understanding of what Texas A&M is looking for in its Aggies, a by-the-numbers look at its offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information, is available on its Common Data Set . 

Note: Texas A&M now accepts applications via the Common App (new for 2022) and ApplyTexas . It’s worth pointing out that the maximum word counts for A&M’s supplemental responses vary based on which application portal you’re using. We’ve noted the word counts for both portals below.

What are the Texas A&M University supplemental essay prompts?

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today? (Required, 10-750 words for Common App, recommended 500-750 for ApplyTexas)

Optional: If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about , please note them in the space below. (250 words for Common App; max. 439 for ApplyTexas)
Short Answers: Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (Required, 10-250 words for Common App; max. 439 for ApplyTexas) Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. (Required, 10-250 words for Common App; max. 439 for ApplyTexas)

For Engineering Applicants: Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? It is important to spend time addressing this question as it will be considered as part of the engineering review process. (50-500 words for Common App; max. 539 for ApplyTexas)

How to write each Supplemental Essay Prompt for Texas A&M University

How to write texas a&m supplemental essay prompt #1.

Essay prompts don’t get more open-ended than this. While it may seem overwhelming to have such a broad prompt, it’s actually an amazing opportunity. You now have the latitude to share with A&M something about who you are beyond your grades and test scores. 

If you’re applying to other colleges using the Common Application or Coalition App and think you need to write a second personal statement for A&M to match this prompt, don’t panic . Here’s some valuable advice for you: Choose a subject for this essay that can also answer a prompt for other schools on the Common App (which sets a max limit of 650 words) and/or Coalition Application (which suggests but doesn’t strictly limit your essay to 500-650 words).

If you’re applying to A&M through ApplyTexas, they suggest this Topic A essay be 500-750 words , but that’s just a suggestion—you won’t be penalized in any way for going over (or under) that suggested word budget. Things are a little different if you’re applying through the Common App: Your max word count is 750, and you’ll paste your Topic A essay into the A&M Questions section of the Common App (max of 750 words). You’ll want to not also submit your Common App personal statement when you’re asked if you want to include it or not (A&M won’t consider it, and it’s likely the same essay as your Topic A anyway).

In either case, we recommend you spend only the number of words necessary to tell your story in a concise, complete, and compelling manner, without going to extremes one way or another.

We know that you’re thinking. “Can I really use the same essay for all three application portals?”

All the prompts for these application systems are so broad and open-ended that you can pretty much write about any topic (well, almost any). But, more importantly, by focusing on writing one main essay for three application types, you can spend more time drafting and revising it so that it’s really, really great. #efficiency

“But what if I’m not applying to other schools using the Coalition Application or Common App?

Then write your deepest story. 

What do we mean by that?

There’s so much to say about writing your personal statement that we’ve created an entire step-by-step video course . Oh, and it’s pay-what-you-can. :) But if you want the short version, check out this free, one-hour guide . It covers the three core parts of writing a great college essay: brainstorming your topic, structuring your essay, and revising it to make sure it’s doing its job.

This essay, written for the University of Texas at Austin, does a great job at answering this Topic A prompt.

I am fascinated by the ways that microscopic biomolecules like proteins, fats, sugars, and nucleic acids come together to create an incomprehensibly complex organism. The systems of the body are vast and intricate, and yet, one tiny mistake can be the difference between health and disease. Biology is about searching for that one small missing piece, the single A out of 3 billion, swapped with a T, that can mean the difference between normal hemoglobin and single-cell anemia, a disease that comes with a lifetime of complications. From the little boy hunched over his science kit to labs in AP Bio, my search for that special missing piece has continued to drive me down the many important avenues of my life. My mom signed me up for my first acting class when I was 4, and I jumped right into my role as a male Glinda the Good Witch, complete with sparkly pants and vest. I was hooked. On the day of the show, racked with nerves, I stood in front of the crowd of parents as I did my best to remember what seemed like a bajillion lines. I fell in love with the cheers of proud parents and bored siblings. Afterwards, I ran over to my parents and begged them to sign me up for another show. Although my initial performance was not exactly what one would call moving, as I grew, so did my dedication to discovering how to portray a realistic emotional arc of a complex character. Acting, to me, is about finding the missing, hidden piece and unlocking the mystery of a character's dreams and motivations. Another mystery I’ve come to marvel at is the complex, intricate ways that numbers can model situations. I love looking at a confusing question, seemingly unrelated to anything I’ve learned, and stripping it down to its basic concepts. For example, the limit as x approaches 1 of (4(-2+x)-4)/(x-1) is just asking for the slope of the line y=4x-8, where x is -1. From Algebra I to AP Statistics and AP Calculus BC, math has become a game, as I scavenge for the missing pieces that can turn a dataset of 100 heights into the probability that a randomly selected person is 5-feet tall. When I discovered the world of politics, I became engrossed in the moral dilemmas, ethical trade-offs, and the profound effects the people we elect can have on society. I watched with disgust as same-sex couples were denied the right to marry, migrants were locked in cages, cops shot unarmed Americans, and mass shooters massacred hundreds while politicians offered little more than “thoughts and prayers.” Searching for the missing pieces of justice, I have turned my outrage into action—organizing and attending protests, educating friends and family on current issues like climate change and presidential abuse of power, and leading a voter registration campaign at my high school. From the newsie Davey's righteous anger, to the DNA double-helix, to local linearization, to gun reform, my search for the missing pieces in the world around me comes together to assemble a portrait of the person I am today. But, like the world around me, my portrait is still missing pieces, especially when I try to sort out the puzzle of my future career. Will I be a lawyer, crafting complex arguments, defending the civil liberties of the neglected and abused? Or a lawmaker, working to create a more just system of laws that benefit the masses, not just the top one percent? I’m not sure, but one thing’s for certain: My search for the missing pieces of my life has taught me to look beyond the easy, obvious answers, and instead work to devise multifaceted solutions to intricate world problems. As I continue my quest, the question is: What other pieces will I find along the way? (643 words) — — —

Tips + Analysis

Look for unusual connections. Remember that admission officers want to see the unique sides of you that don’t come through in the four corners of your application. This student takes a potentially simple theme—missing pieces—and uses it to show dramatically different sides of himself: acting, math, politics, and biology. The result? We walk away with a better understanding of who this student is and how he’ll contribute to a college campus.

Showcase your knowledge. It’s perfectly OK to show you know what you’re talking about when it comes to your favorite subject. But there’s a way to do it without losing your reader in complex lingo. This student is obviously well-versed in biology and math, yet he weaves slightly technical explanations of the biological component of hemoglobin and the limit of X in a conversational way that displays genuine curiosity and interest without over-jargoning the essay.

Don’t be afraid to have fun. It’s easy to think your personal statement has to be super-serious and to the point. After all, your future is at stake here, right? But we’re confident in saying schools are also looking for students who enjoy life, seize opportunities, and have a sense of humor about the things life throws at them. This student shows he’s well-rounded by balancing the serious topics of migrants’ rights and LGBTQIA+ equality with the descriptive visuals of him as “Glinda the Good Witch, complete with sparkly pants and vest.”

End with a clear “So what?” This student takes the opportunity at the end of his essay to restate his theme about searching for missing pieces. And then he leaves us with a takeaway—a “So what?” moment that demonstrates he’s still just as curious as ever: “But, like the world around me, my portrait is still missing pieces, especially when I try to sort out the puzzle of my future career.”

how to write Texas A&M Supplemental Essay Prompt #2

Optional: If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about, please note them in the space below. (Max 250 words for the Common App; max 439 words for ApplyTexas)

If you’ve already filled out your Common App, this might sound like a familiar question. And that’s great news for your typing-weary fingers! If you’re using the Common App for your A&M application and you’ve already completed the Additional Information and COVID responses, you can leave this blank. If you’re using ApplyTexas to submit your application , you can use your same answer for this question as you’ve done on the Common App. 

And if you haven’t gotten started on either, here are our can’t-miss tips.

Resist the urge to use the whole word count. Instead, use only the space needed to say what you need to say. No more, no less. This is especially true if you’re completing this prompt for the Common App, where you’ve likely already completed responses to the COVID-19 and Additional Information sections and you can’t think of what on earth more you could possibly write about. Which brings us to …

Say something new. Don’t repeat things you’ve already included elsewhere in your application. This would be the place to explain how the lack of Wifi impacted your grades during remote learning or to add important details about the nonprofit organization you started that didn’t fit in your activities list. If you’re not sure what to include, head over to our guides on How to Use the Common App Additional Information Section and How to Write About Coronavirus/COVID-19 in Your College Essay & Application.

Don’t feel obligated to fill it out at all . This section is optional (really!). So don’t feel like you have  to write something just because there’s space there. You want to add value to your application, not empty words. Little frustrates (and bores) an admission officer more than reading a whole lot of nada .

how to write Texas A&M Supplemental Essay Prompt #3

You might panic at the two different (like, really different) word counts for the same essays in the different portals. But let’s take a deep breath together first. Inhale. Exhale. Better? 

Now, in the past, Texas A&M has described these as responses required for you to move through the application. Your response can be a few sentences to a few paragraphs, depending on what you have to say about the topic. So as we encouraged you earlier, use the word count needed to answer the question and tell the story you want to tell. No more, no less. And don’t open an ApplyTexas account just to get extra word count. When you choose your words wisely, you can tell a great (amazing, even) essay in just a handful of words. More isn’t always better, y’all.

Although we don’t have any A&M-specific responses to share with you, but we do have these tips on brainstorming and writing your responses:

Understand your response is about more than answering the prompt. If you simply address the prompt, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. While you must describe the person and event, that’s not really what admission officers want to read about. Instead, read between the lines and be reflective. How have you changed because of this person/event? What have they taught you about yourself or the world? How is your perspective different because of them?

Make lemonade from lemons. Your response doesn’t need to be all sunshine and roses and puppy kisses. We’ve all met people we don’t get along with and gone through traumatic or upsetting experiences. But often, something amazingly positive can come out of it. That’s  the story to tell—the transformation you went through and the insight you gained. 

Consider the obscure. The 2020 election. Malala Yousafzai. Immigration policy. George Floyd. All are very important and relevant, but as an essay topic, they might be a little too common and make it harder for you to stand out. But what about the 5’0” basketball player on your team who taught you a lesson in overcoming obstacles. Or learning to ride a bike as a 16-year-old? These more obscure (even mundane) topics can be just as (sometimes even  more impactful) than those making headlines.

how to write Texas A&M Supplemental Essay Prompt #4

This is another one of A&M’s “short answer questions,” so follow the advice for Prompt 4 when considering how long your essay should be. Now that we’ve clarified length, let’s talk content. This is a by-the-numbers “Why Major” essay , covering the events and people who led to your interest in engineering, what you’ll do at A&M to further this interest, and what you’ll do in the future.

The example below was written by a student applying to UT, and while UT’s prompt is slightly different from A&M’s, it does touch on many of the important points you’ll need to cover in your essay.

At the University of Texas, I plan to major in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on preserving the environment. The Bridges to the Future Credentials Program will enable me to research sustainable energy systems under Dr. Dongmei Chen and take Energy, Technology, and Policy, where I will learn about different clean energy technologies and their positive environmental effects. I can then use what I learn in class by joining the UT Solar Vehicles team to raise awareness for solar energy. Through my previous research on lithium-ion batteries in high-school, I can help produce a hybrid vehicle with a solar-powered lithium-ion battery which can be used on days with no sunlight. In the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, I plan on bringing my previous experience coding autonomous robots, recording sensory feedback, and creating chassis to research intelligent mechanical systems utilizing AI. I plan to participate in the Engineers for a Sustainable World program by working with mechanical, electrical, and robotics engineers to invent automated devices that make workers more efficient. UT offers the Longhorn Energy Club, an organization supporting energy-related events and fundraisers. People with various STEM careers discuss their opinions and debate on current events related to energy such as renewable power generation and cost-effective fuel cell technology. Through conversations I’ve had with NASA engineers and astronauts, I offer a unique perspective on how current technology is both harming and helping society. Furthermore, through Habitat for Humanity, I have been able to construct four new houses and raise $30,000 to help fund future projects. Not only is the fundraising and building process enjoyable, but every new house gives one family a secure setting which they previously may have never had. I would like to continue giving homes to those in need through the UT Habitat for Humanity program. — — —

You’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing the "Why Major" essay here , and we strongly  recommend reading through it, because this is probably not the only essay of this kind you’ll have to write. But here’s the TL;DR version, along with analysis of how the example essay above hit the right points:

Imagine a mini-movie of the moments that led you to your interest, and create a simple, bullet point outline. Can you find (and describe) the unique influences that set you apart from other aspiring engineering students? Detailing how you meticulously cut out and put together a kinetic hummingbird sculpture will be far more intriguing and memorable than those connecting Legos (no pun intended) with a passion for engineering. The A&M prompt doesn’t ask for students to describe their influences, but if it had, this student could’ve expanded on his lithium battery research or told a story about his conversations with NASA scientists and how that changed the student’s course of study.

Put your moments (aka the “scenes” of your mini-movie) in chronological order, as it’ll help you (and the reader) see how your interests developed. Bonus: This structure also makes it easier to transition between paragraphs. This student keeps each experience in its own paragraph, making it easy to see his academic and future goals.

Decide if you want to include a specific thesis that explicitly states your central argument—in this case, what you want to study and why. This thesis can be at the beginning, middle, or end of your essay. This student chooses to start his essay with a clear, to-the-point declaration of his academic focus.

Write a draft! Don’t forget to address each part of the prompt (in this case, your past, present, and future with engineering).

Special thanks to Julia for writing this post

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

Julia published her first “book” on the elusive Pika in elementary school and has been writing fervently ever since. She’s thrilled to unite her quirky love of grammar and master’s in psychology to help students tell their most meaningful stories. Her favorite punctuation mark is the apostrophe because, in the words of Imagine Dragons, it’s “a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see.”

Top values: Collaboration | Family | Productivity

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How to Respond to the Texas A&M University Supplemental Essay Prompts

texas a&m diversity and inclusion essay

Texas A&M is located in warm and sunny College Station, Texas. If you are set on becoming an “Aggie,” then crafting winning responses to the Texas A&M supplemental essays will help your application stand out from all other applicants. Keep reading our guide to learn how to best respond to the Texas A&M prompts! 

Breaking down the Texas A&M supplemental essay prompts

The Texas A&M supplemental essays may seem overwhelming at first. There is one optional prompt as well as a prompt just for engineering majors. So, be sure to know which prompts to respond to. 

Here is a breakdown of the Texas A&M prompts : 

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 prompt is an extremely open-ended and broad question. Therefore, you can take this as an opportunity to elaborate on anything you are proud of that was not included in your Common Application or Coalition Application . 

To begin, you should create a list to brainstorm ideas. Write down the most impactful opportunities and challenges that you encountered while in high school. Once you have narrowed down your list to two or three  of the most important and influential events, it is time to write your response! 

The important thing to do when responding to this prompt is not to just simply state the events but expand on the “why” of your prompt. 

Think about the following questions to help expand upon the prompt : 

Whatever you write, be sure that you are telling your story. You want to be truthful and true to yourself and your interests. Being authentic will help the Texas A&M admissions officers see just how unique you are.

One important thing to remember throughout your response is that you are not just listing facts and details. Rather, you should weave together your thoughts in an organized and easy-flowing way. Your perspective and interpretation of the events that quite literally changed your life is what the admissions officers are looking for. 

Before submitting your answer to this prompt be sure to ask yourself these questions : 

Prompt #2 – Optional

If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about, please note them in the space below. 

This question is completely optional, so therefore, do not feel pressured to answer. Only answer this question if you have suffered academic or other types of hardships from COVID. 

Make sure you are not repeating anything that you have already written about in your application. This prompt is the opportunity to elaborate on circumstances that may have affected your grades, clubs, or anything else found on your application. 

If you choose to respond to this prompt, make sure that you are divulging the full truth. Do not beat around the bush and be specific with facts.  Explain any COVID-related hardships you may have experienced and how they negatively affected you.  

Texas A&M University believes that diversity is an important part of academic excellence and that it is essential to living our core values. Describe the benefits of diversity and inclusion for you and for the Texas A&M campus community. Please share any personal experiences that have shaped your views. 

With nearly 74,000 students , Texas A&M welcomes people from all walks of life. Students come from different states, countries, and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, this prompt wants to ensure that applicants are comfortable in diverse environments and are open to inclusivity. 

To help brainstorm ideas of diverse perspectives you may hold or may be familiar with think about the following:

However, these are not the only things that make a human being  diverse. Rather, you can touch upon socioeconomic status, hobbies, and places you are from. To begin this prompt, start by acknowledging and addressing the benefits of becoming a part of a diverse group at Texas A&M. 

Think about the following questions to help brainstorm your introduction to this prompt: 

Now that you have written and acknowledged your diversity perspective, think of specific examples in which diversity and inclusion affected your life. In addition, think of specific times in which any personal experiences shaped your life and your views. 

To help brainstorm ideas of examples in your life think about the following questions: 

Essentially, you should choose one event or experience that shaped your perspective and helped you promote diversity and inclusion. This should be an experience that you had while in high school. Therefore, it can be a volunteering, work, or hobby experience. 

The most important thing is that you are describing this experience, your role, and how your perspectives were changed from this experience. 

Lastly, you should try to connect what you have learned back to Texas A&M. What resources does Texas A&M have to help you contribute to the diversity of their community? Research Texas A&M for clubs, organizations, or events that you want to be a part of. Perhaps even discuss an organization you would like to bring to campus in order to contribute to the diversity on campus.   

Prompt 4 – short answers

There is no maximum or minimum word count associated with this prompt. However, these are short answers, so be sure to stay short and sweet with your answers ! Your response can be anywhere from a few sentences to a few paragraphs . 

Short answer 1

Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why.

Right after reading this prompt, someone popped into your mind. Who was it? However, if you are not content with this person try brainstorming impactful people in your life. 

Think about the following to help you brainstorm people: 

Once you have determined who has had the greatest impact on your life, describe them and your relationship with them. Are they a friend? Did you read their book every night? Are they still alive? Once you have introduced this person and your relationship to them, highlight how they impacted your life. 

Questions to consider: 

Short answer 2

Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college.

This is an extremely broad question. Therefore, try to narrow down your most influential life event. 

Consider the following questions when brainstorming for this prompt’s response:

Once you have narrowed down to your most influential life event, you should then describe this event in a narrative way. After describing said event, detail how it has impacted you. What have you learned that will make your college experience more successful?

Prompt 5 – Engineering majors only

You have selected a major in the College of Engineering for either your first or second choice major; therefore, please address the following prompt: Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution, and engineering technology). What and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals? It is important to spend time addressing this question as it will be considered as part of the engineering review process. If you have chosen an engineering major for both your first and second choice majors, you will see the same question twice and may provide the same response to both questions.

Ultimately this question asks you to narrow down your engineering goals for a better understanding of you as an engineering student. Think about which field of engineering you specifically want to pursue and then think about what future goals you have for yourself. 

Consider the following questions:

After addressing the answers to a few of these questions, it is then important to address any experience you have had in this engineering field. 

Consider the following questions: 

Lastly, you should tie your response back to Texas A&M. 

Think about the following questions to help you tie your response back to Texas A&M

Final thoughts on the Texas A&M supplemental essays

The Texas A&M supplemental essays might seem a little daunting at first. However, there is no need to worry if you read every prompt carefully and outline your responses prior to writing. This will help you narrow down what to discuss in your prompt responses.

The most important thing is to be authentically you. Texas A&M is looking for unique, creative, and ambitious students to join their incoming freshman class to become part of their Aggie community. So, just be yourself!

Once you complete your Texas A&M supplemental essays, be sure to check over your writing for any mistakes and that you are answering the questions completely. Best of luck on your academic journey! 

Additional resources

At Scholarships360, we offer free college admissions information at your fingertips. We understand that the college admissions process is challenging, and have tried our best to provide resources that can help you. 

Check out our following guides to help you navigate through college admissions: 

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How to Write the Texas A&M University Essays 2022-2023

Texas A&M University has three required essay prompts on its application. You are asked to write about your personal story, a life event that has prepared you for success in college, and a person who has profoundly impacted your life. There is also an optional essay prompt about any additional challenges or opportunities you have had to overcome. There is another prompt specifically for applicants to the College of Engineering.

Texas A&M receives tens of thousands of applications from students with a strong academic record, so the essays are your opportunity to paint a unique picture of yourself that separates you from the crowd.

Want to know your chances at Texas A&M? Calculate them for free right now!

Texas A&M Supplemental Essay Prompts

All applicants:.

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? (750 words)

Prompt 2: Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (250 words)

Prompt 3: Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. (250 words)

Prompt 4 (Optional): If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including COVID related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about , please note them in the space below. (250 words)

Applicants to the College of Engineering:

Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering (including computer science, industrial distribution and engineering technology). what and/or who has influenced you either inside or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals (500 words), tell us your story. what unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today (750 words).

Notice how you are encouraged to speak about an opportunity or a challenge. Many students believe that they must talk about a tragedy in order to grab the attention of admissions officers, but this isn’t true. An essay can easily be thoughtful, insightful, and an engaging read without utilizing this specific emotional appeal.

Still, stories about difficult circumstances are often memorable. They are most effective when focused primarily on the student’s journey of working through the challenge instead of the challenge itself. Check out Collegevine’s article if you would like more tips on writing about challenges .

You’re trying to stand out, so beware of overused tropes like the following:

Side note: Sometimes students face challenges that are outside of their control and which have negatively impacted their academic and/or extracurricular performance. If this has been your experience, and you don’t want to explain them within this essay response, you may ask one of your recommenders to do so through their letter of recommendation, or explain it in the shorter prompt #4.

Now, there’s no such thing as a “bad” or “good” essay topic; students have gotten into top schools with essays about Costco, pizza deliveries, and sparkling water. It often matters less so what you write about than how you write about it! 

These common essay topics are only doable when well-written, specific, and featuring a fresh take. The story of how fixing your Calculus grade taught you the value of hard work is not nearly as interesting as that of a student who is diagnosed with dyscalculia—a disability which creates a difficulty in understanding and working with math and numbers—and then opens up a dyscalculia awareness club with plans to become a special education teacher. The latter story would demonstrate the student’s ability to turn preconceived weaknesses into strengths, and admissions officers will quickly see that though he may initially struggle with long division, this student is nonetheless a creative problem-solver.

Please be aware that although it is possible to make a “common” topic interesting, it is easier to write about a situation that is unique to begin with. Also, don’t feel pressured to write about a challenge, especially if the situation has happened so recently that you haven’t fully finished processing or growing from it.

With all of this in mind, let’s get into brainstorming! Many people begin their ideation process through writing long lists or even talking into their phones in an untethered stream-of-consciousness. Do whatever it takes to get your creative juices flowing! 

As you reflect, you may consider these questions:

Practice self-compassion while considering topics, and know that none are too big or too small. You can write about anything from taking a summer math class (even though you’re more of an English person) to being a camp counselor to giving your first speech in front of a crowd.

Overall, the admissions officers are looking for growth. They want to see the circumstances you turned into opportunities for improvement. You may even reflect upon a situation that initially seemed like an unpleasant challenge but later revealed itself as a hidden opportunity. For example, you may have reluctantly let your friend drag you to a business club meeting before discovering a passion for economics and rising as a club leader.

Ideally, your story will be unique and offer a fresh perspective. Be specific about the challenge or opportunity you were presented with, and think about how it changed you for the better. 

Remember, they are literally asking for you to “tell [them] your story,” so consider using a narrative format, especially if storytelling is a talent of yours. 

Here’s a general outline: 

Finally, you are human, so you don’t have to portray yourself as perfect in the end. You are using this essay to talk about what may be one of your greatest strengths or sources of pride, but make sure to stay balanced with a humble tone.

Describe a life event which you feel has prepared you to be successful in college. (250 words)

This prompt is similar to the first in that it is asking about a life event, but there are two things to note. Firstly, the word limit is quite small, so there is less room for a vivid, image-laden introduction. Secondly, the prompt does not specify challenge or opportunity, so you have more creative freedom in your answer.

Before you begin writing, you should think about the different paths you can take when answering this question:

One effective way to address this prompt is to think of what you want to major in. If there is a life event that drew you to a specific field, you can discuss how you have looked into this field already and how you are equipped to take classes in it. If you haven’t decided on a major, you can think of skills you have picked up that aren’t necessarily academic but can translate well into being a student.

Examples of some events that helped prepare you for college success include:

You have ample opportunity to talk about intriguing and unusual experiences, but as with the first prompt, you should avoid cliché topics unless you are able to add depth to them. For example, you would not want to write about how losing a school baseball game taught you to accept failure. However, you might be able to spin that kind of story into something more interesting by talking about how you lost that game because you stayed up the night before studying for a physics exam, which ended up revealing to you how much you love physics more than baseball. You could then move into a discussion about how that turning point taught you how to manage time better, how to set priorities better, and what you wanted to pursue in college. Again, be mindful that the word limit is small so you must be succinct.

These supplemental essays are supposed to give an impression of who you are as a person. Don’t be afraid to go outside the boundaries of common, everyday life events if there is something really distinct that you experienced. The questions are intentionally vague to give students elbow room to write something unique if they want to.

Tell us about the person who has most impacted your life and why. (250 words)

This is a common prompt in essays and interviews, and it can be difficult overwhelming to decide on a role model. Many students default to a parent/sibling for this question, and though that’s a valid choice, it’s extremely common. You can write a good essay with this choice, but it’s harder to stand out. 

If you do decide on a family member, be sure to provide granular detail about how this person impacted your life. While anyone can write about their family members, only you can tell the specific stories of how your family member impacted you. Admissions officers don’t want to hear how caring your mom is; they want to know about the time she gave the scarf off her neck to someone who said they were cold. 

Some other potential people to write about include a teacher or close friend. Some people have teachers who completely changed their outlook on a subject or on learning as a whole. If this describes a teacher you once had, you might be interested in this choice. Be sure to provide detailed examples about the teacher’s personality and/or pedagogy. Don’t just say, “Mrs. Johnson made me like math.” Describe how she did it and why you like math now. Some people have friends who have completely changed (or even saved) their lives. Often, our closest friends are people we grew up with and know intimately. This deep knowledge of a person and his impact on your life can give you a lot of details to write about.

You might have a community leader (pastor, coach, shopkeeper) who taught you to think beyond your immediate circle and begin to engage with the wider community. This kind of person is another great example of someone outside your nuclear family who influenced your life for the better.

Though there is a plethora of people you can write about, there are a few that you should do your best to avoid , even if they truly have impacted your life:

As with the previous prompt, be mindful of the lower word limit. You can definitely share 1-3 anecdotes, but you only have 250 words, and you want to spend some of that on reflection.

Prompt 4 (Optional)

If there are additional personal challenges, hardships, or opportunities (including covid related experiences) that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, which you have not already written about , please note them in the space below. (250 words).

This prompt is optional, and while we typically recommend that you respond to optional prompts, this one is asking about additional info not reflected in your application—so you should only write a response if you truly have something to add. 

Notice that this is very similar to the first prompt, but it’s more focused on hardships and challenges. Unlike the first prompt, this would be a fine space to address any issues in a straightforward manner—you don’t have to worry about coming up with an original topic. Some potential things you can address include divorce, tragedy, financial hardships, family responsibilities, learning disabilities, etc. 

The specification of “COVID related experiences” also allows you to discuss any particular issues you faced due to the pandemic. Since everyone has been going through the pandemic, we only recommend discussing COVID if you had a particularly disruptive experience.

Finally, don’t forget that this prompt also allows you to elaborate on any positive opportunities that shaped your high school career. If you have a unique extracurricular that you haven’t written about yet (beyond the Common App Activities section), you can write about it here. You could also talk about your experience at a leadership program or a mentor you had.

Basically, anything goes, as long as it impacted you significantly, and isn’t addressed properly in the rest of your application.

Prompt for Applicants to the College of Engineering

This prompt is your opportunity to show Texas A&M you are a good fit for both the university and its programs. You are asked to cover a lot of ground here, so it is important to be specific throughout your essay. Use precise wording and double-check that each word, phrase, and detail has a place in your piece.

Let’s start by breaking down the academic and career goal components of this prompt. If you don’t have a clear plan for your future, don’t worry; most high schoolers don’t! Also, you aren’t tied down to whichever path you decide to write about, so feel free to get specific.

If it helps, think of the research you will perform for this prompt as an exercise in thinking about your future. Follow your natural curiosity while reading about the academics within the College of Engineering and the careers graduated Aggies often pursue. Hone in on the programs and opportunities which appeal to you most, many of which are featured on Texas A&M’s website .

Academic goals aren’t limited to getting good grades in school. These accomplishments may take many forms, including the following:

A solid engineering degree such as the one you will receive at Texas A&M will likely open up to a fascinating and challenging career within any of a multitude of given specialties. The engineering umbrella is broad, but you have to pick one to focus on for this prompt when describing your career interests. What’s your dream engineering job, or your target field? What type of engineering most interests you and why?

When discussing your aspirations both within your career and academic world, directly connect them to opportunities offered by Texas A&M to demonstrate that you’re a strong fit. Don’t just say that you would like to perform research; say that as a prospective aerospace engineering major and computer science minor, you hope to join Professor Jacques Richard in his aero-propulsion studies under the Aero-U program. Due to circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some opportunities may be delayed, canceled, or altered, so be aware of this and look deeply into each option.

Now that we’ve covered which goals you would like to pursue, let’s get into explaining why these goals matter to you. Instead of focusing on relatively superficial aspects of your aspirations, like prestige and pay, think about what makes it interesting, worthwhile, or personally fulfilling. This may be linked to your description of the “whats or whos” which have influenced you to pursue these goals. 

Finding a “who” to write about is relatively straightforward, as many of us can point to the people in our lives who have pushed us in the right direction. Think back on your family members, friends, mentors, and teachers who believed in your ability to succeed academically or in the general world of engineering. This could be anyone, but most importantly, this person somehow pushed you to work harder or simply led by example.

For example, having a mechanic as a father may have sparked your fascination with deconstructing and reconstructing mechanical systems for maximum efficiency, leading you to a path in manufacturing and mechanical engineering. 

The “What,” our second potential motivator, is much more open-ended. Yours may be an event, background, special interest, closely-held value, childhood fascination turned adult aspiration, or even an innate personality trait. 

For example, your childhood fascinations with puzzles and remote-controlled robots, followed by your later software position with your high school’s Robotics Team, may all be indicative of your inclination towards problem-solving, which influenced your decision to major in Computer Science.

As you’re tying all the aforementioned aspects of your response together, make sure to maintain cohesive links between all of them. Your academic and career goals should be aligned with your professed personal qualities as well as the influences you claim the people and things in your life have had on you. Through writing clearly and concisely, you’ll paint a compelling portrait of your character as someone with direction, drive, and a future as a fantastic asset to Texas A&M’s vibrant community.

Where to Get Your Texas A&M University Essays Edited

Want feedback on your Texas A&M University essays to improve your chances at admission? When you’ve proofread your essay a dozen times, it can be hard to even spot where there’s room for improvement. That’s why we’ve created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also sharpen your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays!

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, CollegeVine advisors have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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