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How to Write Texas A&M (TAMU) Honors Essays

Texas A&M University, or TAMU, has a separate honors program application for college admissions. For the application, you have to answer a few short honors essay prompts. Today I will provide you some strategies and outlines for writing the best TAMU honors essays.

Prompt #1:

Thousands of non-honors graduates of Texas A&M are well prepared for and obtain their first choice medical school, law school, graduate school, or employment after they graduate each year. If you were guaranteed the admission or job of your choice without being in the University Honors Program, why would the Honors Program be an essential experience for you? (250 words max.)

What is the the general strategy?

You want to show admissions officers that you have a reason for participating in the University Honors Program (a reason that goes beyond simple prestige).

In other words, they want to know that you have done your homework and know what kinds of opportunities TAMU honors offers students. Then they want to know that you can see yourself using these resources to their full potential.

After all, if they are claiming that regular students have great success, why would they waste a space on someone who doesn’t really know how they’d benefit from the University Honors Program?

You need to identify 1-2 KEY components of the honors program. Maybe there is more access to research. Maybe there are better relationships with professors. Maybe you have to complete a senior thesis. Whatever the case may be, focus only on a couple elements, so you can speak to those program offerings in detail.

What should your outline look like?

  • Paragraph 1 (50 words): Introduce why you think honors studies are generally important and identify the 1-2 key components of the TAMU honors program. Ex: You could say how you’ve taken honors classes in high school and how this rigorous environment has led to your best thinking. You think that TAMU honors represents the best environment because of its professor-mentored independent projects and access to high-end research materials.

  • Paragraph 2 (90 words): Describe Key Component #1 and how you would benefit from it. Ex: You talk about the importance of professor-mentored independent projects. You specify what your honors program offers and how this independence will be pivotal for creating cutting-edge technology for medical sciences.

  • Paragraph 3 (90 words): Describe Key Component #2 and how you would benefit from it. Ex: You talk about the resources that are more readily available to students and how these resources will be essential to applying lessons from the classroom.

  • Paragraph 4 (20 words): Conclude by restating your thesis and try to include a meaningful image or phrase that calls back the beginning of the essay or some thematic element. Ex: You reiterate the value of independence and research materials, and you call back the notion of pushing yourself as the best way to be successful and engaged.

Note: You may not have enough space to discuss two key components. In that case, simply combine Paragraphs 2 and 3 into a longer 180-word paragraph. My advice is to go deeper on fewer points, so that you can come across more realistically and meaningfully as a person behind the essay.

Prompt #2:

What force of nature are you and why? To respond to this prompt, you may define “force of nature” as whatever that means to you from a cultural or disciplinary perspective. (250 words max.)

What is the general strategy?

Honors programs are known for their creative thinkers, regardless of discipline. This second question (and any like it) wants to see more of your personality, and more importantly, get admissions officers to understand your thinking. Honors students are typically people who think outside of the box, who conduct groundbreaking research, who found new and exciting businesses, who value both science and humanities, etc. You need to show that you are imaginative as well as mature, creative as well as thoughtful.

What do these traits mean for your essay? Well, there are a couple different approaches. For one, you want to think about what a “force of nature” is generally. Often we consider a force of nature something that breaks through all barriers, that doesn’t listen to directions. It can be both a good thing and a bad thing. It could be someone who gets work done but who also doesn’t care what others want. Obviously you will want to present yourself in the best way, so be mindful that your “force of nature” is one that is constructive and ultimately helpful.

Notice how the prompt also gives you two suggestions on how you could define “force of nature.” There is the “cultural” perspective and the “disciplinary” perspective. So, is a “force of nature” something related to your upbringing, or could it be something related to a field of study, such as researching medicine or creating works of art? And of course there is the literal meaning of “nature.” Could you be an agent of the natural world, out to do its bidding?

Let's think about a “force of nature” as a cultural trait. Maybe as part of your upbringing, your family taught you to be independent and verify the truth for yourself.

Now let's think about a “force of nature” as a term in your science field. Perhaps you can use one of the literal forces, such as gravity, as a way to define yourself. Perhaps people gravitate to you, and you connect others in meaningful ways.

Basically, there is no “wrong” answer to this question, but you should consider how your answer will reveal who you are and what you consider important. You have to make a choice on how you represent yourself.

My recommendation is that you choose something creative and fun, especially since the previous question will cover more “serious” topics. Remember that you want to be able to use each new essay as a way to showcase something different about your personality and background.

What should your outline look like?

  • Paragraph 1 (50 words): Introduce how you define “force of nature,” providing a thesis that explains what kind of force of nature you are and why you are this particular force of nature. Ex: You define “force of nature” as it relates to your chosen field of study, physics, as one that is gravitational. You say that you are a gravitational force because you bind people to a single core mission.

  • Paragraph 2 (90 words): Provide the context, or definition, of “force of nature” and how you got to this definition. Then state that you see yourself as this force of nature. Ex: First you explain how, even though it is an essential, regular part of everyday life, gravity has always fascinated you. As a prospective physics major, you see its influence and have even studied it in high school through research and personal projects. With this background, you see yourself as a similar “force of nature.”

  • Paragraph 3 (90 words): Transition from the type of force of nature you are and say why you think you are this force of nature. Draw on past experiences to do so. Ex: You provide support to back up why you are a gravitational force of nature. You talk about experiences (focus on one good one) that illustrate how you draw people to a single goal.

  • Paragraph 4 (20 words): Restate the kind of force of nature you are and why, and end on an interesting image or phrase. Ex: You say again what force of nature you are and why. Then you end on an image about keeping Earth grounded (or something like that).

Okay! You should be all set to write TAMU honors essays that make an impression on the admissions officers. Of course, you want to make sure that you have a quality ApplyTexas A essay as well.

Planning to apply to Texas A&M honors and need more personalized feedback on your honors essays? Need help with other essays in your college applications? Get the best advice on how to revise and sharpen your unique image!

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