Competition increases as UT automatic acceptance rate drops

Jenan Taha and Maria Mendez

Admissions to UT will become more competitive with a 6 percent automatic acceptance rate for fall 2019 applicants.

The decrease to 6 percent will be UT’s lowest automatic acceptance rate since 2009. The change from the current 7 percent rate will take effect the summer of 2019 but will not impact high school seniors applying to UT for the summer or the fall of 2018, according to a Friday press release from the University.

“Today, the University is enrolling about 1,000 more freshmen than it did six years ago,” UT President Gregory Fenves said in the press release.

The University is required by state law to admit at least 75 percent of Texas high school graduates in the top of their class. The automatic acceptance rate has fluctuated between 7 to 9 percent since 2009, when the state legislature allowed UT flexibility in its automatic admissions, according to J.B. Bird, UT director of media relations.

However, the number of applicants has increased by over 33 percent since 2013, forcing the University to accept a smaller percentage of Texas high school graduates. The number of applicants is expected to increase by several thousand in the next few years and will likely lower the percentage of automatic acceptance even further with improved Texas high school graduation rates.

“I think the 6 percent (decrease) is going to have a much bigger impact on the smaller, more academically rigorous high schools,” advertising junior Soheyla Escher said.

Escher transferred into UT because her rank placed her just outside of the top 7 percent of her class. Despite this, Escher said she feels the automatic acceptance usually benefits Texas students.

Undeclared freshman Gabriela Rojas and philosophy freshman Yeni Torres both graduated from a class of 65 students. Torres was second in her class and would still have been admitted under a 6 percent acceptance rate. However, Rojas said she would not have been able to attend UT under the new automatic acceptance cutoff.

“I put all my thought and effort into the application, but it was a safety net,” Rojas said. “In regards to them dropping it to 6 percent, I don’t know how I feel about it. I was fifth out of 65, so if they had decreased it then, I don’t think I would have gone here.”

Fenves said in the press release that four-year graduation rates have increased, and UT will seek to expand access for Texas high school graduates. Torres said she feels the new drop might hurt motivated high school students.

“I sense the unfairness in the fact these kids aren’t getting the same opportunity,” Torres said. “If more are graduating that should be a good thing, they should be celebrating and colleges should be happy to take them in.”