University’s new internal transfer rules limit student’s options

Matthew Gil

Last semester, students who had been enrolled for at least four long semesters or had taken 60 hours in residence at UT, whichever came first, became ineligible to transfer colleges without the explicit approval of a student dean. According to Alexia Apollo, an academic adviser for the School of Undergraduate Studies, the new policy is an overall attempt by the University to improve four-year graduation rates. 

UT, while having the highest four-year graduation rate in Texas at a public institution, doesn’t quite hold up to other universities around the country. While this issue arises quite often and is frequently discussed, it still seems to be a serious concern.

Although it might be in students’ best interest financially to graduate from college in four years, we must ask ourselves what the implications of such a push will be. There are many students who are being rushed to make a decision while not being allowed to explore all the different options available.

Thousands of students go to college every year in search of new experiences. The idea is for them to pursue a major of their interest, but policies like the new internal transfer rules create unnecessary obstacles, limiting student opportunities. 

Besides, there are other possible solutions to increase the graduation rate while not interfering with students’ ability to transfer to different majors.

One possible solution would be a re-evaluation of the core requirements. Students such as Gabriela Sosa, a radio-television-film transfer student from the University of Maryland, have to spend an additional year and more money to take courses that, in essence, offer no real value for their future careers.

“When I got here [UT], I learned I was going to have to take all these extra classes, like four years of Spanish and more history, that aren’t even part of my major,” Sosa said. "It’s frustrating that I am spending more money and an extra year just to get my degree.”

We should be looking at ways to help ensure each student has all the opportunities available to grow and succeed instead of focusing on graduation rates.

Policies like the one created this fall create roadblocks to students who require time to find their calling. College is about self discovery and learning about who you are as a person. There isn’t a time restraint and neither should there be on picking a major, even if that means staying an additional year or two.

Gil is a sociology sophomore from San Antonio, Texas

Editor's note: This article and it's headline have been changed to clarify that the internal transfer policy enacted in Fall of 2013 is a University-wide, not college specific, policy.