I have a good number of students every year who would like to attend the University of Texas at Austin. There are a lot of great reasons to go to Austin (weather, cool city, great sports teams, world-class programs), but my students are always surprised to find out just how competitive UT Austin actually is when compared to similar schools.
For example, last year UT Austin admitted around 50% of its applicants. That's an incredible difference from Brigham Young's 75% admission rate or Arizona State's 90%+ rate, two more typical rates when looking at large state schools that have strong academic programs. UT's low rate is much closer to Occidental College (45%), a small private college than it is to any of these other state schools!
I've always known that UT Austin has a strong preference for in-state students and assumed that they have gotten more selective over the years, a typical position for a school that has raised standards and built a brand that appeals to parents and students. But this week, some information came out of the UT campus that redefined the discussion quite a bit.
The University of Texas at Austin President, William Powers, revealed to the Texas Associated Press that 81% of entering freshman at UT: Austin were admitted under the "10% law" and called for the law to be rewritten to give his admissions staff more discrection in the process.
That's right. More than 80% of the entire entering class has to meet only two requirements to be automatically granted admission:
- Graduate from a Texas High School
- Be in the top 10% of the class
That leaves the admissions office at UT Austin in a bind. They can't deny admission to any of these students, so they have to get more selective with the remainder of their class.
Therefore, unless you are a stand out student, it's going to be difficult to gain admission, not because the student body is getting more selective overall, but because they are simply so few spots left! (You'll find the same sort of situation over in the Ivy Leagues, where admission rates have fallen in half because the number of applicants has doubled without a significant increase in open spots.)
Powers is going to continue to fight this battle, but he's not doing it to ensure that they can get more out of state students. In fact, he's more concerned about Texas students that don't meet the requirements being denied admission and the efficiacy of this program in regards to minority applicants.
So, what can you do about the low admission rate for out of state students? Not much. As you now know, there aren't a lot of spots left every year for out of state kids. You've got to treat UT Austin as if it was an incredibly selective school.
But now that you know how tough the battle will be, you can get ready for it. Improve your ACT or SAT score, get some help with your college essay, and keep your grades high! If you've set a goal like UT Austin, make you are getting all the help you need!
What are you doing to get ready for applications this year? Let us know in the comments!