Texas MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Students

U.S. Applicants: December 1 Deadline

Dec 2015

If you are working on completing your application by the December 1 early deadline… great! Your application will be first in line for consideration. However, do not worry if your application is not complete on December 1. Why do I say that?

  • The Texas MPA program uses a rolling admissions process in which we review applications in the order of completion, starting with those completed by December 1 and ending with those completed by the March 1 final deadline. Your chances for admission would not be affected if you complete your application several weeks after the 12/1 deadline, as it would still be early in our admissions cycle.
  • Yes, it is advantageous to complete your application as early as possible due to space limitations. However, you should take the time necessary to submit the strongest application possible rather than overly rushing. For example, you may need more time to study for the GMAT, or you might wait to submit your transcript until after your fall grades are posted if:
    1. You are taking pre-enrollment courses in the fall,
    2. You are enrolled in a significant number of accounting classes in the fall, or
    3. Your upper-level GPA will be improved substantially with your fall grades.
  • Your application will not be considered complete and reviewed for a decision until all application materials, including the official GMAT score report, have been received. On average, it takes at least 3 weeks for the score report to be sent, received, and loaded to an applicant’s record.

Do you have any concerns about your application? Please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here to help!

Please note: The rolling admissions process applies to U.S. applications only. All international applications will be reviewed after the January 5 application deadline.

MPA Application Tips: International Applications


Frequently-asked questions from international applicants:

Are all of the application materials required by the January 5 application deadline?

Your application will be forwarded to our department for a decision after all application materials, including the official score reports, have been received. If your application is not complete by the January 5 deadline, the admissions committee may need to review your application on a space-available basis after the first round of decisions have been made. If you wish to provide an updated transcript after fall grades are available, you can send it to me via email as soon as the grades are posted to your transcript. Plan ahead: On average, it takes at least 3-4 weeks for a score report to be sent, received, and loaded to an applicant’s record.

When are international decisions released?

All international applications will be reviewed after the January 5 application deadline, not on a rolling basis. Admissions decisions are typically released throughout the month of February.

Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores if I studied in the U.S. or another English-only speaking country?

All international applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score report, even if they studied in an English-only speaking country. See the admissions packet for additional information.

Do I need to submit a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?

A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

Do I need to submit the Certification of Financial Responsibility with my application?

The Certification of Financial Responsibility is used for immigration document processing, not for admissions purposes. Therefore, the form and supporting documentation are not required for the completion of an admissions application. However, the International Office will not issue the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 until a student has been officially admitted and certification of adequate financial resources has been received.

Can I get in touch with any current international MPA students?

Texas MPA Student Ambassadors and MPA International Connection volunteers are groups of current MPA students who have volunteered to share their experiences with prospective students. They can provide you with their perspectives on MPA classes, the job search, campus life, and living in Austin. They cannot, however, provide advice on admissions. Please send me your admissions-related questions, instead.

U.S. Applicants: When Should You Apply?

Now or later

We review U.S. applications in the order of file completion, starting with those completed by the December 1 early deadline. Therefore, as a general rule, U.S. applicants benefit by completing their applications as early as possible in the admissions cycle. That said, if you need additional time to prepare your application (to prepare for the GMAT, for example), it is to your advantage to take your time and present the strongest application possible.

Should you submit your transcript before December 1 or wait until your fall grades are posted?

I recommend that you submit your transcript after your fall grades are posted if:

  1. You are taking pre-enrollment courses in the fall,
  2. You are enrolled in a significant number of accounting classes in the fall, or
  3. Your upper-level GPA will be improved substantially with your fall grades.

Your chances for admission would not be affected if you wait for fall grades before submitting your transcript. Mid- to late- December is still very early in our admissions cycle.

NOTE to international applicants: You must upload a transcript for a complete application by the January 5 application deadline, even if your fall grades are not available. If you wish to provide an updated transcript, you can send it to me via email as soon as the fall grades are posted to your transcript.

Application Tips: Transcripts


How should you submit your transcript(s)?

Do not mail in a hard copy! After you submit your online application and pay your application fee, UT’s Graduate and International Admissions Center will send you an EID and password via email. You will use the EID/password to log into the documents upload page and upload a copy of your official transcript(s). Please note: Most colleges and universities will not supply an official transcript in a .pdf version. Instead, you will need to obtain an official transcript and scan the hard copy into a .pdf document. Please refer to the admissions packet for detailed instructions.

Do you need to submit community college transcripts?

Please submit transcripts from junior or community colleges if you completed our pre-enrollment requirements or any accounting courses at these institutions. You should be able to locate the community college as an optional item in the application status check. However, if the community college is not listed, you can upload the transcript as a “miscellaneous admissions document.”

If you need to submit a transcript from a foreign university, do you need to include a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?

A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

MPA Application Tips: Recommendation Letters


Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Choose references who know you in an academic or professional context and are familiar with your academic or professional achievements, credentials, career aspirations and work history, if applicable. Also consider references who can provide unique and diverse viewpoints. Through the recommendation letters and statement of purpose essay, we aim to learn about your strengths, personal qualities, skills, goals, and the potential for success in the classroom and as a professional.

Can I submit more than two recommendation letters?

Although only two recommendation letters are required for the MPA application, you are welcome to request more than two letters. All recommendation letters that are submitted will be reviewed.

When will my references receive an email notification?

After UT-Austin receives your submitted Apply Texas application (approximately 1-2 working days after submission), your references will receive a “Request for Reference” email message which will contain instructions and a link to the recommendation system.

Can my references submit hard copy recommendation letters?

Submitting hard copies will significantly delay the processing of your application. As a result, we highly recommended that your references submit their recommendation letters online.

What should I do if I have already submitted my online application but need to make a change to my reference information?

The Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) will send you an assigned UT EID and password about 1-2 working days after you submit your online application. You will use the EID and password to log into the application status check. Under the “Letter of Recommendation” section, click on “Details,” and you will find a link to “Manage your recommendation requests.” From there, you will be able to resend the Request for Reference e-mail to any of your references or add a new reference.

UT Austin Named One of the Healthiest Campuses in U.S.



From UT News: Active Minds, a national nonprofit group with 400 campus chapters advocating for young-adult mental health, named UT Austin a winner of the inaugural 2015 Active Minds Health Campus Award.

Read more…

MPA Application Tips: Resume


We strongly recommend that you follow the MPA Application Resume Guidelines and the MPA Application Resume Template when constructing your resume for the MPA application.

Can MPA staff assist in constructing your resume?

Due to substantial MPA applicant volume, the MPA admissions and career services staff are unable to assist applicants with resume content or format. However, we have provided detailed guidelines, a list of action words and a Word template to assist you. If admitted, you will use this format again during the MPA recruiting process and receive individualized attention from our MPA career consultants. They will work with you to fine-tune your resume content to maximize its effectiveness.

If you have already submitted your resume, but it is not in the MPA format, how can you submit an updated resume?

Updated resumes can be submitted in the document upload system.

Austin: #1 City with Fastest Growing Economy

Austin-downtown by river

WalletHub recently ranked Austin as the #1 large city with the fastest growing economy. The study compared 515 cities on 10 key metrics (such as population growth, median household income growth, growth in the number of businesses, and unemployment rate decrease) and identified those with the greatest socioeconomic expansion between 2008 and 2014. Other large cities in Texas that were ranked in the top 20:

#3 – Fort Worth, TX

#5 – Corpus Christi, TX

#10 – Houston, TX

#11 – San Antonio, TX (tied with Seattle, WA)

#14 – El Paso, TX

#20 – Dallas, TX

MPA Application Tips: GMAT


UT-Austin code for the GMAT: 396-44-94


  1. All MPA applicants are required to submit GMAT scores. No waiver requests are accepted.
  2. We do not accept the GRE in place of the GMAT.
  3. If feasible, plan to take the GMAT exam no later than mid fall because:
  • You will be required to wait 31 calendar days if you wish to retake the exam.*
  • Your scores will arrive at UT-Austin and become an official part of your application approximately 3 to 4 weeks after the official score report is requested.
  • All application materials, including the official test scores, must be received before the admissions committee will review your file for an admissions decision.

*If you retake the GMAT, the score report with the highest total score will be considered (scores are not averaged). If your application is complete and you are retaking the GMAT, please notify me of your new test date. The admissions committee will hold off on a decision until we receive the new test results.

 Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to take the GMAT before I submit my application?

No. You can leave the GMAT section blank in the application if you haven’t taken the exam yet. Be sure to designate UT-Austin as a score recipient after you take the exam.

What is the minimum GMAT score the MPA program will consider?

The MPA program does not impose minimum scores and considers the GMAT in the context of a holistic review of all admissions criteria. That said, the GMAT is an important component of the MPA application. You may find it helpful to review our current student MPA class profile as well as the tips to make your application stand out.

Can I use test scores that are about to expire? 

GMAT scores are valid for five years from the test date. As long as the official score report is submitted to UT-Austin before the expiration of the exam, we can use the score for admission purposes. For example, if you took the exam in November 2010 and submit the scores before November 2015, we can use the scores for the entire fall 2016 application cycle. If you do not submit the scores by the exam expiration date, you would need to retake the exam.

MPA Application Tips: Statement of Purpose Essay


Writing an admissions essay can seem like a daunting task…

What should I write? 

How should I write it? 

How long should the essay be?

Here are some tips to consider before writing your MPA application essay:

  • First and foremost, be yourself. The purpose of the essay is to provide the admissions committee with a better understanding of what makes you unique. It gives you an opportunity to stand out from the sea of applicants. Provide a thoughtful portrayal of why you are interested in the Texas MPA and how our program will assist you in reaching your goals. Don’t write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear! We would like to know about your unique aspirations and achievements and will not judge what you aim to do with your career.
  • Develop your ideas, but be concise. Although you should focus more on content than length, the average essay is approximately two pages long. As a result, it is important to stay concise and avoid repeating information that is readily available in other parts of the application. Rather than simply listing your experiences, let us know how these experiences helped you to grow personally or professionally. We want to get to know you from a perspective that cannot be achieved by reviewing transcripts, test scores and resumes.
  • Mind your writing technique. The essay is a reflection of your written communication skills. Avoid being too wordy; stay focused and organized; and check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Clarify. You can use the essay as an opportunity to explain weaknesses in your record. If you do, be sure to explain them adequately and address your attempts to improve.

Submitting the Essay:

Approximately 1-2 business days after submitting your application, you will receive an email message from GIAC that will direct you to an online application status check. You will be able to upload a .PDF of your essay under the “Statement of Purpose” section.

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