UT Austin Forty Acres Scholarship

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We’ve discussed scholarships offered by individual schools before, but wanted to return to the topic to discuss a scholarship for UT Austin, which many of our students apply to. While admission to UT Austin is guaranteed for Texas’ brightest students, there is not always as much financial aid offered as students would like, and many students end up attending other colleges for this reason.

In this article, we’ll cover what the Forty Acres scholarship is, who qualifies for it, and how you can apply. Paying for college is a challenge faced by many students, and we want to help you find every possible resource to lessen your financial burden.

What is the Forty Acres Scholarship?

The scholarship is funded and disbursed by the Texas Exes, a group of UT Austin alumni who look back fondly on their time at the school, and who want to help the next generation of students attend. While it is not the only scholarship the group offers, it is the largest, most prestigious, and most competitive.

The name comes from the original size of the UT Austin campus, given to the school as a state grant, though it has grown substantially since its inception. This is a common nickname for UT Austin, and it felt appropriate for the scholarship.

The scholarship is merit-based and is awarded without regard to financial need. The scholarship provides funding to fully cover tuition for four years, along with granting funding for living expenses. The goal of the scholarship is that all recipients graduate debt-free, and are able to pursue academic experiences without needing to work during college.

On top of this, the scholarship program seeks to provide enrichment experiences for the students in it. This includes a research stipend to help pay for study abroad experiences or summer programs, along with events for students in the program to meet with mentors and network.

While the scholarship is not officially associated with UT Austin, it seeks to enhance the experience of attending the school, and allow students to do so without worrying about how they will pay for it.

Applying and Eligibility

High school seniors applying to UT Austin are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Only US citizens and permanent residents may apply. International and transfer students are not eligible but are welcome to apply for other scholarships offered by Texas Exes.

The deadline for the application is in early November for the preferred deadline and early December for the final deadline. These parallel the admissions deadlines for UT Austin. Applications for the scholarship are closed for the 2022-23 academic year. We recommend submitting your application by the preferred deadline. This will not make you more likely to achieve the scholarship, but since it aligns with UT Austin’s own submission deadline, it helps you keep everything organized.

You will need to submit a general application to the Texas Exes freshman scholarship program before you can begin the Forty Acres application. This is far less work but is a necessary first step.

The application opens September 1st and is due by December 1st at the latest. After an initial review, semi-finalists are interviewed in January. Finalists are then announced in February. The recipients are announced in March, once the committee has confirmed potential recipients are attending UT Austin.

You can apply for the scholarship online here. The application requires the following things:

  • The online application form
  • A resume
  • Self-reported standardized test scores
  • Short essay responses

Note that the application does not accept supplemental documents. Do not send score reports, letters of recommendation, or additional documents to Texas Exes; they will not be considered.

They have no preference for SAT vs ACT scores. You should not submit the writing score for either test.

The Interview

Students who make it to the semi-finalist stage are invited to complete an interview. This is an important part of the application process, and getting invited to an interview lets you know you were one of the most qualified students to apply.

This interview parallels those offered by colleges. It isn’t meant to intimidate or overwhelm you (though we understand you may feel intimidated or overwhelmed), but instead to get to know you better as a person and see if your communication skills live up to the talents you displayed in your essays.

If you are nervous about your own interview, we recommend you read our article on how to prepare for college interviews. The format will not be exactly the same, but you will be able to use the same methods to prepare.

What They Want

Texas Exes is looking for the following things when they review applications for their scholarship:

  • Academic achievement, above and beyond what UT Austin requires
  • A passion for learning, and intellectual vitality
  • Skill in leadership
  • Extracurricular involvement and achievement
  • A history of helping others, and a desire and capacity to better the world
  • Skill at communicating, both with peers and adults

This seems like a lot, but let’s break some of these down further. Overall what do they want to see from applicants? The same traits top colleges are looking for.

Texas Exes is looking for students who will make the most of the opportunities they are given. Therefore, they are looking for signs that you will excel in college, and put the education you receive to good use. As with college admissions, the best indicator of what you are capable of is what you have already accomplished; students who have shown their academic prowess and skill as leaders in high school are more likely to be strong leaders and excel academically in college.

While you do not need to apply to honors programs at UT Austin to be considered, Texas Exes does note on their site that students who get accepted into UT Austin’s honors programs overlap strongly with students selected as finalists for their scholarship. What they are looking for is the same; so students who qualify for one are more likely to qualify for the other.

Finally, there are some factors that they do not consider when reviewing applications:

  • Financial need (though Texas Exes does offer some need-based scholarships)
  • Legacy status
  • Intended major/school

Final Thoughts

We did not discuss the essays required for the Forty Acres application in this article, as we have already rambled on enough. Next week, we will publish an article discussing the essay questions that Forty Acres asks for, and giving examples of responses from past Ivy Scholars students. We hope that this article was able to provide a solid introduction to the Forty Acres Scholarship and let you know whether it is right for you. Overall, we encourage you to apply for this scholarship if you qualify for automatic admission to UT Austin (or would qualify, if you are from out of state).

College is expensive, and even state schools are increasingly pricey. Scholarships like Forty Acres will allow you to focus on your academic pursuits, without having to worry about how you will pay for it. If you would like help in completing your application for Forty Acres, or want advice on any part of the college admissions process, schedule a free consultation with us. We have a long experience helping students get into their top colleges, and are always happy to hear from you.

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