Mar 15, 2013

Texas Colleges announce Big Admissions Changes and New Essay Topics


Hats off to folks in Texas for giving serious advance notice of changes in admissions policies for the coming year! 

All too often colleges fail to publicize or otherwise let counselors know when they’re moving deadlines, changing requirements or otherwise making adjustments that have a huge impact on applicants and those who advise them.

They simply change a few words on the webpage and expect the world to notice.

But several Texas universities are letting everyone know—well in advance—that they have some new policies for students applying this fall.  And here they are:

SMU and TCU add Early Decision
Beginning fall of 2013, Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Texas Christian University (TCU) will offer a binding Early Decision (ED) option to their respective application processes.  According to their joint press release, SMU and TCU will also continue to offer an Early Action (EA) option, which will remain non-binding.  Both schools have set November 1, 2013, as the deadline for all early admission applications—ED as well as EA.  SMU, however, will offer students a second-round binding application option (ED II).  This allows students who identify SMU as their first choice later in the process to indicate their commitment to attend SMU if offered admission.

Texas A&M sets New Application Deadline
The new deadline for students applying for admission for the Fall 2014 semester and forward is December 1, 2013.  This new admission deadline aligns itself with the scholarship application deadline at A&M and coincides with that of the University of Texas.  Students can apply for scholarships and admission online at  ApplyTexas opens August 1.

TCU superscores the ACT
TCU joins a lengthening list of colleges and universities superscoring the ACT (most colleges automatically superscore the SAT).  To superscore the ACT, colleges recompute the “composite” score by selecting the highest subscores from different test dates to come up with a new higher composite or superscore.  Since students are increasingly turning to the ACT as their test of choice, and 20 percent of the states in the nation require it for student assessments, more students have multiple test results that could benefit from superscore policies.

ApplyTexas announces New Essay Topics
Like the Common Application (CA), ApplyTexas is changing essay topics for the 2013-14 application season.  Unfortunately, there’s little in the way of overlap with the five prompts recently announced by the CA.  ApplyTexas essay choices will be:

  • Essay A:  Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours.  Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.

  •  Essay B:  Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it.  Did it change you?  If so, how?

  • Essay C:  Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extra-curricular activities might help you achieve your goals.

Special thanks to Joy App, of Texas-based App Educational Consulting, for all her help with this article.

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