Texas A&M vs. UT Austin: Which Should You Choose?

Trying to decide on UT vs. Texas A&M? Learn more about the two biggest colleges in Texas with our guide.
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When it comes to higher education, everything really is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State is home to two of the country's 10 largest four-year colleges: Texas A&M and UT Austin. Together, these two massive public schools serve more than 124,000 students each year.

Countless Texans have argued the merits of UT vs. Texas A&M, but which school really comes out on top? Read on to learn about the major differences between these two Texas rivals.

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What Should You Know About Texas A&M University?

Based in College Station, Texas A&M is the oldest public college in Texas. Founded in 1876 as an agricultural and mechanical school, Texas A&M has grown into a major research university that serves more than 72,000 students annually. The school offers 133 undergraduate programs in most major academic fields, including arts and sciences, business, and education.

Texas A&M offers a bustling campus in a college-town environment. As an Aggie, you can take advantage of sports, clubs, entertainment, and other traditional college activities. The school is known for leaning conservative, though it lacks any religious affiliation.

What Should You Know About University of Texas at Austin?

Widely recognized as the top public college in Texas, UT Austin is known for its research and strong academics. Located near downtown Austin, the college also plays a major role in the city's creative, liberal culture. UT Austin enrolls around 52,000 students annually, offering more than 150 undergraduate programs in most academic and professional fields.

UT offers an urban campus experience in a large city. As a Longhorn, you'll have access to activities both on campus and in the greater city of Austin. UT Austin is also known for its athletic rivalry with Texas A&M, particularly in football.

Texas A&M vs. UT Austin: 5 Key Differences

When comparing UT vs. Texas A&M, you have several factors to consider, including selectivity, price, and campus setting. This list highlights five key differences that might influence your decision.

1. Acceptance Rate

Selectivity is one of the most notable differences when looking at Texas A&M vs. UT Austin. UT Austin ranks among the most selective colleges in Texas, admitting just 31% of undergraduate applicants for fall 2022. While Texas A&M is still fairly selective, the school admitted 63% of undergraduate applicants for fall 2022.

Overall, Texas A&M offers a significantly higher acceptance rate compared to UT Austin. If your GPA or SAT/ACT scores aren't the highest, you'll likely have an easier time being accepted into Texas A&M. Conversely, if your grades and test scores are strong, you stand a good chance of getting into UT Austin.

2. Cost of Attendance

In terms of tuition, UT Austin and Texas A&M offer fairly similar rates. UT Austin is slightly cheaper for Texas residents, charging an estimated $11,700 for the 2022-23 school year according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Texas A&M is slightly more expensive, charging around $13,240 for 2022-23.

Comparing UT Austin vs. Texas A&M for out-of-state students, Texas A&M offers a slightly lower tuition rate. The school charged approximately $40,140 for the 2022-2023 school year, while UT Austin charged around $41,070 per year. However, both schools maintain generally similar tuition rates overall.

3. Campus Setting

While only about 100 miles apart, UT Austin and Texas A&M offer very different locales. Located in the heart of Austin, UT Austin gives you the experience of a large city with a population approaching 1 million. Based in College Station, Texas A&M offers a more traditional college town experience in a midsize city of just under 125,000.

While both schools offer sprawling campuses populated by tens of thousands of students, College Station is smaller and quieter, while Austin is larger and more active.

4. Student Body Size

Texas A&M and UT Austin rank as the two biggest colleges in Texas, but when it comes to student population, Texas A&M is the larger school. Enrolling more than 74,000 students annually, Texas A&M's undergraduate population is larger than UT Austin's entire student body. However, UT Austin's student population of more than 52,000 still makes it one of the country's largest colleges by enrollment.

Both schools host enormous student populations, but if you're concerned about size, Texas A&M is ultimately the bigger school.

5. Most Popular Majors

UT and Texas A&M are both major research universities with extensive course offerings in most academic fields. The two schools often attract students with different academic interests, though some of their most popular majors do overlap.

UT's most popular majors are psychology, engineering, and biological/biomedical sciences. Other popular programs include business, communications, and health professions.

Given its status as a land-grant university and its original focus on agricultural and mechanical education, Texas A&M does offer more agricultural programs than UT. The school's most popular majors include interdisciplinary studies, psychology, and biomedical sciences. Other popular programs include mechanical engineering and communications.

Texas A&M vs. UT Austin: Which Is Right for You?

When comparing UT vs. Texas A&M, the choice ultimately comes down to your own academic background, personal interests, and professional goals.

UT is an obvious choice if you're looking for prestige. The school's higher selectivity and massive endowment allow it to attract top students and faculty. However, Austin is a large and expensive city, which will appeal to only some types of students.

Texas A&M's higher acceptance rate makes it a practical choice if you're worried about grades. The school also might be a better fit if you're interested in certain majors, such as agribusiness or agricultural science.

Frequently Asked Questions About Texas A&M vs. UT Austin

Is it harder to get into Texas A&M or UT Austin?

UT Austin is more selective than Texas A&M, with an undergraduate acceptance rate of just 31% for the fall 2022 semester. Texas A&M accepted 63% of undergraduate applicants for fall 2022, which is about twice as high as UT.

Why is UT Austin so prestigious?

UT Austin's prestige comes from top academic programs, athletics, and the achievements of its faculty and alumni. The school is also one of the best-funded in the country: the University of Texas System ranks third behind Harvard and Yale for the largest endowment among U.S. colleges.

Is Texas A&M more expensive than UT?

Texas A&M is slightly more expensive than UT for Texas residents, charging $13,240 during the 2022-23 school year, compared to $11,700 at UT. However, Texas A&M is less expensive for out-of-state students, charging $40,140 during the 2022-2023 school year, compared to UT's estimated rate of around $41,070.

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