Assistant Director of Admissions Mario Villa
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
College Majors: Sociology with minors in Business Foundations, Classics and French (undergraduate); Higher Education Administration (graduate)
Territories: East Texas
Office: East Texas Admissions Center
Q: Why did you decide to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
A: Being in Fort Worth all my life, I was ready for a change when it came time for college. I wanted to feel like I was somewhere different than the Metroplex, yet close enough that I could be home in a few hours. When I looked at UT, most of the colleges and major disciplines were reputable and highly ranked in the nation. Therefore, I knew as a Texas resident, I was getting a great education for a great price.
The decision became easier when UT awarded me a great scholarship package for all my hard work in high school. Plus, being a big sports fan, the University gave me an avenue to be part of a great community that exemplifies enormous spirit and pride in our athletic events. Finally, when I visited campus twice in my senior year, I realized more and more that the Longhorn community here is extremely supportive towards excellence in the University, its students, and in each other. I knew then that I had found a new home.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.
Q: What did you study in college? Why?
A: I started out as a Biology/pre-medical student in Natural Sciences. I took an introductory class in Sociology for a social science requirement and fell in love with the discipline since it deals with the study of society and culture. I always had an interest in people, different cultures, and why we think the way we do, and this discipline brought that passion out.
I decided to transfer into Liberal Arts and study sociology intensively. Some of the areas I enjoyed included criminology, studying gender roles, socialization of children, stratification, and the different dialects of American English. In Liberal Arts, you have to have a minor and another passion of mine is the Classics. Therefore, I was able to continue studying Classical Civilizations. I took Ancient Greek, and I analyzed works of Classical Literature. I also thought it would be helpful to have some knowledge of business, so I also completed the Business Foundations Program.
Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A: By far, my favorite place on campus is the Main Mall area. I love to approach it, see the Tower, and the great philosophical quote on the Main Building “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” That view to me is so majestic and represents the grandeur of UT.
I also love the view from the steps of the Main Building. I would sit there and take breaks, eat lunch, and read there. You have a great view of the whole mall with the State Capitol in the horizon, and you can people watch. More than likely, a friend of yours crossing the Mall will see you from those steps and say hi. Finally, all of our big University-wide events such as “Gone to Texas,” the Torchlight Rally, the Hex Rally, Forty Acres Fest, and Commencement happen there.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in Austin?
A: I enjoy the downtown entertainment scene in Austin, especially involving music and the rising film industry. There are some great cinema theatres that show all sorts of movies. Most national film festivals come through Austin and they show some great independent films that they will not show in other places. Being here in the Live Music Capital of the World, you can see some great local musical artists and rising stars in many venues and restaurants. I take pleasure in listening to live music whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I enjoy swimming out at Barton Springs or Lake Travis on a hot summer day. I love eating out, and many of the local restaurants here are awesome. My favorites include BBQ from the Salt Lick, a great burger at Player’s or Hut’s, Tex-Mex from Trudy’s or Guero’s, and the best pancakes are definitely at Kerbey Lane Café. They have a mean queso as well.
Q: What is your favorite UT Austin fact?
A: I like the Texas symbolism on some of the buildings on campus. For example, Garrison Hall has these symbols around the building which represent famous cattle brands from prominent Texas cattle ranches, and Waggoner Hall behind Garrison has the exports of Texas around its building. The Perry-Castaneda Library was also designed in an abstract shape of the state of Texas.
Q: What do you like the most about college admissions counseling?
A: I love meeting some of the best and brightest prospective students from East Texas and showing the university to these students and letting them know all that we have to offer. These prospective students and their families just seem to have this radiance because the students are about to embark on a new journey in their lives, and they bring this excitement into our office. Their excitement helps to remind me where they are coming from, and that I am there to help assist them into achieving even more success in life by guiding them to unlock the door to the benefits of a UT Austin education.
Advice to Students
- Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do. College is the time that you will learn about yourself and what you are truly passionate about both in and out of the classroom.
- Start writing down everything you have done since your freshman year, and do not hold yourself back from discussing your accolades in your applications for admission and scholarships.
- If you can, practice managing your time in your senior year. Those skills will come in handy not only in the application process with the amount of deadlines to keep track of, but in college itself.
- Also make sure to visit each place you are applying to, and see if the universities you visit feel comfortable for you.