Aggie Class of 2024.. advice before you hit submit on application

Engineering is also a tough one. Do not immediately discount acceptance to Blinn TEAB, Galveston or other pathways. It is all doable if that is your student’s dream. READ everything they send you. Do not blow off the MPE exam. It can put your student a semester behind. Remeber: they are accepted into general engineering 1st. ETAM is another ball game. 2 Engineering, 2 Math, and 2 Science classes need to completed to apply to ETAM. The best GPA is a must to get 1 st choice major. Lastly, schedule a tour with housing.

Thanks so much to @AggieMomhelp for starting this thread. My son is a wholistic review applicant so these important bits of information and ANY and ALL tips are very much needed and appreciated. Please keep them coming, everyone! As a parent I have not had to deal with the college application process and it is like trying to learn a foreign language. Thank goodness for this forum.

My questions today (I’m sure I’ll have more later):

  1. Is the requirement still to write all three essays? I thought I read somewhere that all three were recommended for a wholistic review application, but then I think I might also recall that it's changed and now they should only write one of them?
  2. How many letters of recommendation are required?

@GermanPancakes First… yay, even though this is a stressful time, it’s also very exciting, so try to enjoy it all!

Last year they dropped to 1 essay only (I believe Engineering may have another essay- @thelma2). They do not want to read a bunch of essays. It was suppose to speed up the process for admissions.

Zero letters of rec are required. I’m still not sure how much weight they provide, but it’s better to have 1 solid one if possible than to have nothing. And that old saying, it’s who you know, not always what you know, holds true for these. If you know anyone on the Board of Regents or someone that has some clout at TAMU, use them if they are willing. If not, no big deal, just be sure the person writing the rec letter knows your son and his aptitude.

Get the application completed ASAP… don’t wait around. The sooner the better. AND please know that holistic review candidates will probably not hear til end of January or February. If you hear sooner, it’s a blessing!!!

Best of luck and congrats on your son’s graduation! OH and keep the questions coming.

Thank you for the quick reply @AggieMomhelp !

So can he start the application process now and keep it “saved” in the system until July 1?

Also does he choose which essay to write or do they require a particular one?

Another tip: Have your kids create a resume now that breaks out their school activities (years and offices held), Awards, and community activities with number of service hours.

This forces the student to look at everything a head of time - before they type it into the apply texas or common app. They can check spelling and really think about everything they have done - not leaving anything out.

App won’t open til July 1st… gotta wait. BUT, do as @BlueBayouAZ says… get it down on paper now. As for essay, they will tell you the prompt. All freshmen will do the same essay. Not sure if it has changed since last year or not. They tend to change the prompt every few years.

It looks like the essays are the same until spring 2020. https://www.applytexas.org/adappc/html/preview19/essay_preview.html

Thank you @BlueBayouAZ for that link. I’m thinking I might have seen it on another thread and that’s why I was thinking there were 3 essays to choose from. So the student doesn’t choose, they are assigned one? Meaning the student should get all three written so they’ll have it ready to go when they see what prompt they are assigned?

This past year, if schools required one essay - it seemed to be “A” or which ever one the student wanted. We found out when applications opened in July that TAMU was only requiring essay A and the other essays would not be reviewed. In the previous year - you submitted more than one.

OK, thanks so much. Hopefully it will be simple and TAMU will want essay A again, but I’m wondering if he should do all three just in case. Ha, I’m a worry-wart. I should chill out because his chances are slim being wholistic review. Thank you for the quick reply!

I know you’re half kidding, but Do not have him do all three. It might even hurt his chances. They want one essay (if like last year) and any more won’t even be looked at. It’s about coloring between the lines at this point but making what’s in those lines count.

As a review applicant, here are some things that helped me tremendously!

  • I took a campus tour
  • Got really involved with the regional center (attended multiple meetings and events)
  • Use all the resources your TAMU regional center has to offer
  • Took the SAT a few times with essay
  • Asked the A&M regional advisor for my part of Houston to review and look over my topic A essay (she had so many points that made my essay improve so much!)
  • I applied on October 1st (Definitely don’t wait until November to apply if you are a review applicant)
  • I joined a few clubs my senior year that really helped boost up my resume

As the parent of a class of 2029’seniir who did NOT get in, my advice would be apply to many
Colleges. Make sure they understand they may not get in, despite doing everything right. And be prepared for disappointment.

My kiddo was 16% class rank. Isn’t a fabulous standard test taker, but worked her ass off for a 1330 on SAT. Great essay. Great letters of rec. Four year Varsity letterman. Involved in many clubs & had leadership positions. Community service.

And she didn’t get in.

She got a PSA offer that didn’t offer a single option that related to her major choices. And we were told don’t accept within the intentions of switching majors because it won’t happen. Classmates with 20% lower rank & over 100 points lower SAT received Blinn team.

We still don’t understand it. Thankfully my child is strong and resilient and has moved on.

A nice pep talk from her older sister that reminded her it is what you accomplish & do with your college experience that is important, not where you go!

Good luck to all of you. It is a stressful time. I wish you all the outcome you hope for.

Unfortunately for class of 2023 we saw a lot of what @Mommydoodle is talking about. Great stats, well rounded students who did not get in.

I feel strongly that prepping to send the application in should also include the mental prep of handling the “rejection” if you are not granted admission. Have solid back ups that you like. If you don’t, keep looking for other schools. There are too many great schools out there to feel like you are settling.

The program my daughter wanted was not available on PSA or PTA. And a straight transfer is difficult and you would almost certainly be adding an extra year onto your education. So PSA was not something even considered.

My daughter will be attending college at a school that we did not know existed (as a undergraduate school) until we began the process. And I think it is an excellent fit for her.

There were probably hundreds of students at my daughter’s school that got CAPed from UT a couple of weeks before my daughter got her TAMU PSA. That really took a lot of the sting out of PSA for her. When you see your friend ranked around 18 percent - with a 36 ACT get CAPed you know you are not alone. My daughter came home saying - “Wow mom, nobody really has been talking about college admissions, but today in every single class (She was in 4 AP classes) that is all anyone was talking about. Nobody got into UT that wasn’t an auto admit.” Interestingly - all the auto admits seemed to get the exact major they applied for.

Sorry about the late reply, and thanks for the advice. What I meant was, I would have him get essays prepared for all three prompts since he will not know which one he will be asked to write about on the application. But I’m wondering if I am understanding the essay process correctly. Is this how it works? Just be ready to answer any of the three, no telling which one they will ask for?

I have another question about the essay (sorry, complete newbie to this process and I’m finding it confusing and intimidating). Since the application is the Apply Texas application, does that mean the students’ essays should be generic rather than tailored to each school? My son understands he is a longshot for A&M, so of course will be applying to other schools. So if he tailors his essay to A&M (mentioning A&M in the essay) will the other school admission reps read it and wonder what the heck he is going on about?

By the way, my above reply is to @AggieMomhelp 's reply #17. Sorry, I forgot to tag you.

@GermanPancakes for tamu they will tell you what essay ahead of time. The prompt should be set by now. You don’t write it at time of application. And unless you’re engineering, you will only and I mean only write one.

Not all schools require an essay. Some have short answer questions.

I’ll go check on prompt. Since applications open in less than a month, the prompt has to be set. At least it has in all prior years.

Go to admissions.tamu.edu and they have the prompt for freshman. It’s dated 2019

And then google to be sure.

Excellent, thank you so much, @AggieMomhelp . The essay is topic 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?”

So if he tailors his essay to Texas A&M, it is application-specific and then he can tweak it for other schools within Apply Texas?

Exactly!!! Good luck. Fun process but jeez the nerves. Lol