University of Utah application/merit

Looks like the University of Utah does not require an essay, but the student can submit one. Is there any reason for a student to submit one if it’s optional at Utah? Do the merit awards (besides Presidential award) depend on the essay?

My S21 has stalled on the CA essay. I’m tempted to have him submit his Utah application without the essay just to get the application in, but I don’t want him to do that if that could affect the type or amount of merit he may get.

I think the essay is needed for Honors College. Auto merit is supposed to be UW GPA and ACT based but with this year being test optional, it’s harder to know how this will be evaluated. And I think additional scholarships (eg Business Scholars) are going to consider it.

You have a while, there’s no benefit to applying way before the Dec 1 priority date. Everyone who applies before then finds out on the same day in mid Jan.


Thanks for your replies. The cutoff for merit is Feb. for this admission cycle, and Utah is saying you need a test score. So presumably they will award merit based on grades and test scores as they have in the past.

I’ve also seen a few recent posts about how you have to have 4.0UW for full four-year OOS tuition. My S21 has a 3.97 (that darn B+) and 35 ACT. What merit do you think he could get at Utah? We are a WUE state but I was hoping to get full OOS tuition.

I’d expect one year full OOS tuition (then you get instate rates thereafter if you stay for the summer) if stats are just below 4.0UW. Note that the scholarship doesn’t include fees which can be another $1000-$2000 depending on courses chosen.

But the single B+ is in no way disqualifying in the Eccles full ride competition. Quite a few of those winners didn’t get the full 4 year OOS tuition as auto merit. You just need to have other things to make you stand out in a cohort with diverse backgrounds and majors, including strong ECs (plus write a good essay for the Eccles prompt and do well in the interview).

Can you clarify a bit more how the potential full OOS tuition works? They only qualify for one year and then it switches to just qualifying for in-state tuition? What happens if they don’t stay for the summer? My daughter is basically in the same position as the previous poster with just below a 4.0UW and a 35 ACT. We are really looking at Utah as an option, and just trying to clarify how their auto merit works. We live in MN.

Don’t they have to do more than just ‘stay for the summer’? Don’t they have to become Utah residents, become independent from their parents for tax purposes?

You do have to stay for the summer (physical presence for all but 28 days in a continuous 365 day period) to get the instate tuition. You can split it over two summers (ie go for a vacation before freshman year), it just has to be completed before the cutoff (approx the first day of term for which you want resident status). There is an extensive set of lower division courses on offer in the summer semester, and accommodation available, so many students take a couple of courses (summer semester is all at instate rates anyway) and work part time. Or you can get a stipend and free room and board as an orientation leader.

The first year scholarships allow you to do that and move to resident status, however WUE status does not count so it is one or the other for students coming from WUE states.

There are other requirements, like changing drivers license, registering to vote and not being a dependent of a non-resident, but that last requirement simply means not being claimed as a dependent on your parents’ most recent tax return (ie 2020 for 2021-22 residency) even if you were eligible to be claimed. It doesn’t mean actually being financially independent which is the usual requirement in other states. The parents do end up giving up the $500 tax credit that they could otherwise take for a dependent.

With regard to the essay, the honors college asks for an essay and appears to use the same prompts as the Common App. If an applicant opted to include the common app essay, do honors applicants just upload the same essay for the honors app (in other words, is the honors review separate from the regular admissions review such that they need a separate upload)?

^^Nevermind. I found the answer to my question, and also, OP’s question. I just noticed the following language on the admissions website:

“The University of Utah does not require nor do we review personal essays or letters of recommendation.”

So, there does not appear to be any reason include the common app essay for the regular application as admissions won’t read it.

So my daughter was just accepted for Fall '21. Does she need to do anything else to be considered for merit scholarship opportunities?