UT-Austin freshman admission numbers maintain steady growth rate throughout pandemic

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Kaushiki Roy

UT maintained steady growth in fall undergraduate admissions throughout the pandemic and saw overall student diversity increase in the past decade. 

The University admitted 18,994 students in fall 2021, 18,290 in fall 2020, and 17,029 in fall 2019, according to Kathleen Harrison, assistant director of communications for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Miguel Wasielewski, executive director of admissions, said the University focused on widening virtual recruitment, increasing community outreach and performing holistic application reviews during the pandemic.

“For us, it’s always been about looking at everything together (in the applications) and for students that don’t have those (standardized test) scores present, we’re still looking at all the other information in the application,” Wasielewski said.

The University removed its standardized testing requirement in June 2020, so students who applied for the fall 2021 admissions cycles did not have to submit SAT or ACT scores. Wasielewski said the admissions office will decide on standardized testing requirements for the fall 2022 admissions cycle in Feb. 2022.

Wasielewski said the University has also seen an increase in students from traditionally underrepresented groups over the past decade.

In 2011, people of color made up about 37% of the student population, according to the University institutional reporting, research and information systems. In 2020, people of color made up more than 48% of the student population. 

“An increase in those applications makes sense considering how we’ve dedicated a substantial amount of recruitment and outreach resources to getting to those underrepresented communities,” Wasielewski said.

Wasielewski said he predicts the number of students of color will continue to increase in fall 2022 as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

“We did a lot of work to transition to an online recruitment process, and one of the effects of that is that we’re actually able to reach a lot more students,” Wasielewski said.