Former Longhorn Jerry Miller came to UT in 2013 with one goal in mind: to transfer into the Cockrell School of Engineering.
That goal never became a reality. After two rejections from the school, the then mathematics sophomore was forced to transfer to Texas Tech University, where he was admitted into the petroleum engineering program.
Now a senior at Texas Tech, Miller recalls the anxiety and confusion he felt when he was rejected the second time.
“I was devastated,” Miller said. “I loved being a UT student, but I decided to transfer out because my future was more important than being in Austin. Lubbock is actually not bad at all.”
Like Miller, many new students enroll at UT with the intention of transferring to a different major, according to admissions officials. Jay Guevara, a senior academic advisor for the McCombs School of Business, said students intending to transfer internally should have a backup plan in case they’re rejected.
“It’s going to be hard to transfer internally,” Guevara said. “If it doesn’t happen, you’re going to have to know what your other options are.”
Guevara said transferring into schools like engineering and business is difficult because they require high GPAs and certain prerequisite classes.
UT alumna Marissa Estrada-Padilla said switching majors was a simple process when she was a communication student in the early 90s. Estrada-Padilla said she entered UT as a biology student before switching to business and, finally, communication.
“I remember switching my major more than three times,” Estrada-Padilla said. “At the time, you could just change your major over the phone and by signing a piece of paper.”
Historical data published on UT’s website shows McCombs’ cut-off GPA for internal transfers has increased from 3.5 in 2013 to 3.75 in 2016. Cockrell’s average GPA was 3.7 in 2016, compared to 3.45 in 2014.
Guevara said the business school had to lower the number of internal transfers to keep a reasonable student-faculty ratio.
“We only have so many faculty and staff members who can handle a lot of students,” Guevara said. “We want to take pride in giving students the interaction they deserve.”
Guevara added that students should evaluate whether it’s more important to be a Longhorn or to study what they really want.
“Getting into UT itself is a great achievement,” Guevara said. “It’s up to the student to decide.”