How to Apply to College in Texas

Want to read a great Topic A essay from a student applying to UT Austin? Here it 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?

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?

— — —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *