UT Austin: Am I In? Am I Out? What is a CAP Anyway?

Ut Austin

After months of waiting, the time is finally here. Decision Day. With bated breath and butterflies flapping so strongly they threaten to fly away, we log into the University of Texas portal to learn about our admissions fate.


What does that even mean?

As admissions to selective universities becomes increasingly competitive, universities look for opportunities to admit more amazing applicants than they can manage through traditional routes. For fall 2023, UT received a record 66,000 applications, of which nearly 12,000 were automatic admits. For applicants not automatically admitted, there will be about a 12% overall admission rate.

CAP students elect a satellite campus (UT Arlington, UTEP, etc.) to begin their education and, as long as they meet the requirements, move to Austin in second year to complete their degrees in the College of Liberal Arts.

While the CAP offer is a great option for many students, it is possible to appeal the decision and be reconsidered for direct entry. Here’s how to go about a CAP appeal:

  1. Letter of Recommendation: Submit one letter of recommendation from a teacher, school official, or community member who can speak to the nature of the appeal, which should include compelling background. Since UT doesn’t require a letter of recommendation with the regular application, you should already have this letter done. You just need to make sure it is sent.
  2. Updated Transcript: Hopefully, senioritis has not set in yet. Demonstrate your continued commitment to your academics by sending in your first semester transcript
  3. Expanded Resume: If you didn’t submit UT’s expanded resume in your initial application, be sure to do it now.
  4. Short Answer Essay: “Describe the new information (not already included in your original admissions application) that should be considered by the appeals committee, and why.” (500 words or fewer)

Here’s a suggested structure:

  • Introduction
    • Introduce your name, high school
    • Indicate that you were disappointed by the decision to CAP but understand, given the strength of the applicant pool
    • Restate interest in UT as #1 choice
  • Academics
    • Review of first semester grades (if strong)
    • Any areas of improvement?
    • Any new research projects or extra-curricular classes? 
  • Testing
    • If you did not submit test scores, explain why test scores may not be indicative of academic potential (test anxiety, lack of professional test prep, etc.?)
    • If you were able to take test scores since you submitted your application, consider submitting them if they are in the middle 50%
  •  Extra-curricular Activities and Accomplishments
    • Any new activities, employment or internships?
    • Any new accomplishments with your current extra-curricular activities?
    • How are you impacting your community?
    • Any interesting plans for the summer that will be compelling?
  • Why UT
    • Why do you want to study your specific major? Please reassess your major in terms of your high school transcript and popularity of the major you selected.  If your chosen major is not consistent with strength in grades or is one of the most popular/difficult to gain admission to majors, reconsider your choice
    • How will you take advantage of the extra-curricular opportunities at UT? Be specific!  Which clubs or activities or traditions will you participate in and how will they enhance your growth and development.  I suggest you pick at least one that relates to your chosen course of study, one that continues an interest from high school and one that pushes you outside your comfort zone to try something new.
    • What have you done to prepare to be successful in this major? What appeals to you about the Academic opportunities at UT? Be specific!  Which classes, professors, research opportunities, experiential learning, etc. will you take advantage of and how will these experiences help you achieve your goal (see elevator pitch/unique value proposition) 
  • Conclusion
    • Reiterate your dream of becoming a Longhorn and why. If you have a family connection or personal experience at UT, say so.
    • Explain how you will contribute to UT’s community (what values or experiences will you bring with you)
    • Indicate your additional letter of reference will further elaborate on why you are a great fit for UT

 With the volume of applications, a CAP appeal is unlikely to be successful, but there is no downside. So, I say let’s give it a go!

Stef Mauler

Mauler Pattern Thin
Mauler Pattern Thin