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What Are Texas Exes Scholarships?

Texas Exes scholarships are offered by UT Austin’s non-profit alumni association and include full-ride scholarships like the Forty Acres Scholars Program. These scholarships are not covered under FAFSA or in the Scholarship Section of UT Austin’s ApplyTexas or Coalition application, so you must apply for them separately.

Today, I will tell you exactly how to do so.

How to apply to Texas Exes scholarships

Step 1

Students need to SUBMIT their ApplyTexas or Coalition application before the PRIORITY DEADLINE and obtain their UTEID. I suggest submitting your ApplyTexas or Coalition application for UT Austin ASAP, so that you can move onto Step 2 and apply for Texas Exes scholarships by the November 1 deadline. (Of course, don’t rush your ApplyTexas or Coalition application to get to Texas Exes scholarships.)

Step 2

Go to the site. Fill out the General Application. The General Application will automatically allow you to be considered for all available Texas Exes scholarships, but for Forty Acres, you have to write an additional essay.

On a related note, you should still fill out the FAFSA and the scholarship section of the ApplyTexas or Coalition application since these applications will screen you for not only need-based financial aid but also merit-based scholarships offered by the university and the state/federal government.

Here are some highlights from the Texas Exes scholarship site’s FAQ:

Do I have to enter anything in ApplyTexas to apply for Texas Exes scholarships?

No, our application is entirely separate from the ApplyTexas application and therefore you do not have to indicate on ApplyTexas that you will be applying for our scholarships. [The same applies to Coalition.]

How much does your application cost?

$0! Our application is entirely free and available to anyone applying to UT!

Are your scholarships need-based or merit-based scholarships?

The Forty Acres Scholars Program is a merit based, full-ride scholarship. Our 600+ other scholarships range from need-based to merit-based and offer a wide range of supplemental funding from $500-$15,000.

Will Texas Exes have access to my ApplyTexas application?

No, Texas Exes will not have access to your Apply Texas application and therefore we will not read any materials that are submitted on ApplyTexas. [The same applies to Coalition.]

Can I use the same essay responses from my ApplyTexas application?

Yes, if you feel your responses adequately answer our prompts, you are welcome to use the same responses.

How to write the Forty Acres scholarship essay (4 steps)

The prompt below is for the 2018 applicants. Check the website for the most recent prompt for your application year:

Describe one problem—large or small—that you see in our society today. Now imagine you had the following at your disposal: the resources of a top-ranked public university, like UT Austin; a scholar community full of talented individuals with a wide array of strengths and interests; and a powerful, global alumni network of 500,000. How would you leverage it all to solve this particular problem?

[Note: the word limit is not listed on the page, but traditionally the limit has been 500 words.]

Step 1

Break down the prompt into its components, and then plan your response accordingly.

The prompt has three components:

  1. Describe one problem—large or small—that you see in our society today.

  2. Now imagine you had the following at your disposal:

  3. the resources of a top-ranked public university, like UT Austin;

  4. a scholar community full of talented individuals with a wide array of strengths and interests;

  5. and a powerful, global alumni network of 500,000.

  6. How would you leverage it all to solve this particular problem?

Your thesis statement should identify what problem you would solve and how you would use the three key elements of the FASP program. Each of your body paragraphs should address one of the key elements.

Of course, since this essay is still considered a part of college admissions, you should also make sure that you aren’t responding to the prompt in an academic way. Your essay needs to contain the same personal and narrative qualities of your other college admissions essays.

Step 2

Determine what problem you would solve.

The problem itself shouldn’t matter to Texas Exes; it’s more about how you’ll approach the problem, given the resources. In this case, however, it's better that your problem be more serious than comical. Save your quirkiness for another essay.

Also, consider a problem that has personal relevance to you. Don’t just say something like “world hunger” or “cancer” if you don’t actually mean it or if you simply want to seem impressive. Depending on where you are in your application process, you may have written a few essays already; see what you can glean from those and discuss a problem that is related to you, your major, and/or what you’ve experienced.

Step 3

Figure out how to recycle anything you’ve already written for ANY other college applications.

Remember, Texas Exes will NOT see any other application. And the site directly states that you can recycle any essay material. The key is that you don’t just rip off the entirety of one of your ApplyTexas or Coalition or even Common App essays.

The best strategy is to review any essays that you have written and see if you can recycle the following:

  • A problem that you want to solve

  • Using the resources of a top-ranked, public university

  • How you would collaborate with like-minded and diverse peers

  • Ways that you would utilize an alumni network

The most likely best-case scenario is that you can adapt your ApplyTexas, Coalition, or Common App essay for the FASP essay. You will need to change the essay to address the prompt. (Don't cut any corners!) It should be obvious that you are applying to the Forty Acres scholarship, not simply dumping a recycled essay into the application.

Step 4

Write and edit a few drafts, because this essay will be a crucial part of your Forty Acres scholarship application. You can’t expect to ride the merits of your academic profile.

You should write about 700-800 words and then cut down to 500 words.

And you should follow a format like this:

  • Paragraph 1: Provide a hook “scene” that introduces a problem that’s personal to you.

  • Paragraph 2: Give an introduction that explains scene in hook and transitions to a thesis statement that directly says the problem you would solve and how you’d use the FASP resources to do so.

  • Paragraphs 3-4: Describe how you’d use UT resources. You should mention 1-2 resources that are specific and relevant to your problem. Don’t just list a bunch of stuff.

  • Paragraphs 5-6: Describe how you’d use cohort of FASP scholars/peers. You should use experience from the past to show how you collaborated and then say how you’d act similarly with the FASP cohort.

  • Paragraphs 7-8: Describe how you’d use the UT alumni network. Discuss any previous relationship with teachers, adults, businesses, internships, or volunteering programs. Discuss any experience with networking at school or other organizations and say how you’d act similarly. If you have no experience in those areas, then be very specific about how you’d utilize the alumni and why you’d act a certain way.

  • Paragraph 9: Conclude and then end essay with an image from the hook.

Planning on applying to the Texas Exes scholarships and would like help on your Forty Acres essay? Check out our college admissions essay services and get expert advice on how to draft and revise your essay. You only have a limited time before you need to press submit!

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