Texas MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Students

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 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.

Essay Submission Tips:

  • You will have the option to submit your online application and essay either together or separately. I highly recommend that you submit your application first and return to the essay later, if necessary, so that your references receive their Request for Reference e-mail notifications early in the admissions process.
  • Approximately 1-2 business days after submitting your application, you will receive an email message from UT, which will direct you to an online application status check. From this site you will have an opportunity to upload a .pdf of your essay.
  • Alternatively, you can log back into ApplyTexas and submit your essay through the application system. If you prefer this option, be sure to write and edit your essay responses in a plain-text editor such as Microsoft WordPad and then copy and paste the text into the essay text box.
  • If you submit your essay through ApplyTexas, the system will accept a maximum of 120 eighty-character lines of text (including spaces and blank lines). Please note that this is the maximum allowed by the system, not the recommended length!


  1. Hi Keri, my friend and I have submitted our PS via the on-line application system, but we found out that in the documents( transcripts, resume, recommendations) uploading system, it requires us to upload our PS again, otherwise it will show incomplete.

    Thank you very much!


    • Keri Ledezma

      November 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Applicants have the option of submitting the Statement of Purpose either via the Apply Texas application system or as an uploaded document. Applicants are not required to submit the Statement of Purpose twice. The Apply Texas system sends the Statement of Purpose and the application to the university separately, even if the applicant submits them both at the same time. The application is received first, and the Statement of Purpose is received up to 24 hours later.


  2. Hello Keri,

    I have another question about the transcripts. I am currently a college senior, since the deadline is Jan 1, so the transcripts for the first semester have not been ready yet. Will the admission office require our in progress course transcripts during application review?

    Thank you very much.


    • Keri Ledezma

      November 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      You are required to upload a transcript that reflects grades at least through the spring 2012 semester. The fall 2012 grades are not required; however, if you prefer to send me an update with your fall grades via email, please feel free to do so.


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