In order to write this essay, it is helpful to take a step back from the sometimes panic-inducing task of focusing on your college applications and instead look around. As you go about your day, maintain awareness of things that ordinarily seem insignificant, to the point that you may be taking them for granted.
For instance, remind yourself of the neighborhood you wake up in every day, the foods available to you for breakfast, and how you feel as you pass through your community on your commute to school. Reflect upon the impact your surroundings have on your day-to-day life and the ways in which they have fostered your personal development. You are probably familiar with your surroundings, to the point where they don’t seem particularly remarkable to you, but you are trying to introduce yourself to an admissions committee that probably knows very little about your hometown.
After reflecting on this exercise, you might realize that your work ethic stems from your gratefulness for the sacrifices your immigrant parents have made in order to give you a chance to succeed, or it could take the shape of your precocious desire to study geriatric medicine and hearing-loss pathologies because you have grown up in a town where the majority of your community is of advanced age.
This thought experiment is the perfect way to start dissecting what it is about your surroundings that has shaped you into the person you are today. Most importantly, it will show your essay reader that you have matured enough to be able to speak about yourself in a frank and vulnerable way. As long as you speak your truth, there is no wrong answer.
That being said, as you tell your story, you will want to avoid clichés and stay true to the complexity of your experience. If you have struggled to overcome obstacles, you don’t need to present yourself as a heroic individual that has achieved success because of your own grit and determination. You can acknowledge the bonds of friendship or family that helped you hold yourself together during tough times. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and indeed having the courage to reach out and the humility to acknowledge your support network is one way to demonstrate maturity.
If you needed to watch after your father while he was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, you might talk about how you had to work with your sister to watch him in the evening, and how sometimes you needed to get out of the house and play soccer with your friends in order to be able to come back inside and commit yourself to the work of care all over again. Maybe that experience is part of what made you want to get into nursing, not only to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, but also to encourage patient’s family members to take care of themselves.
If you describe poignant tales of overcoming hardship and obstacles in your response, that is fine, as long as it is the truth. Some applicants might think that exaggerating their tales will score with admissions officers, but admissions officers are not judging your essay based on the level of hardship you have overcome. Rather, the question they will ask is what you’ve learned from your experiences and what kind of person you will be when you join the Texas A&M community.
One last word: As we’re revising this guide for the 2017 application season, the rains have only just barely stopped falling after Hurricane Harvey. The environmental, economic, and political dynamics of this disaster will be thought about and debated in the coming years as people try to rebuild more resilient cities in a changing climate. The students, faculty, and staff at Texas A&M will be taking part in this conversation.
If you were affected and feel so moved, you can certainly talk about your experience of the storm in your essay, even if you think that a lot of other applicants will also be talking about the storm as well. A major disaster contains a multitude of narratives, and if you focus on the particularities of your experience — what you lost, what you saw, how you imagine going forward — you will be making a contribution to a conversation about Harvey that will continue for years to come.
When to Apply
APPLICATIONS & REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
July 1, 2017
December 1, 2017
July 1, 2017
March 1, 2018
APPLICATIONS & REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
July 1, 2017
February 1, 2018
*The scholarship application for entering students is part of the ApplyTexas application. The deadline for Terry Foundation scholarships is January 6, 2018.
Freshman Admission Policy
When all credentials necessary to complete a freshman applicant's file are received during the admission application period, one of the following criteria will be used to determine who will be offered admission:
1. Top 10% Applicants from Texas High Schools
Applicants who are Texas residents or who are enrolled in recognized public or private high schools in Texas with a rank in the top 10% of their high school graduating class will be automatically admitted to the Texas A&M University Galveston Campus if they have successfully met the State of Texas Uniform Admission Policy and have successfully completed the recommended or distinguished graduation plan or the foundation distinguished plan. Choice of major is not guaranteed.
These applicants must submit all required credentials by the closing date in order to qualify for automatic admission.
2. Academic Admits
Applicants who rank in the top 25% of their high school graduating class, achieve a combined SAT Math and SAT Critical Reading score of at least 1300 on an SAT test taken prior to March 2016, with a test score of at least 600 in each of these components of the SAT, or achieve a combined SAT Math and SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score of at least 1360 on an SAT test taken after March 2016, with a minimum 620 Math and 660 EBRW score, or earn a composite ACT score of at least 30 with a test score of at least 27 in ACT Math and ACT English, have successfully completed all recommended coursework and have successfully met the State of Texas Uniform Admission Policy will be automatically admitted to the Texas A&M University Galveston Campus, but not necessarily to the major of choice. These applicants must submit all required credentials by the closing date to qualify for automatic admission.
3. Other Applicants
Applicants not meeting the above requirements for automatic admission but who have met the state of Texas Uniform Admission Policy will have their complete application file reviewed in a holistic manner to make an admission decision.