UT Senate town hall to discuss admissions process

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Photo Credit: Jun Yang | Daily Texan Staff

UT Senate’s academic policy committee hosted the Fair Admissions Policies Town Hall on Nov. 18 to hear student concerns about the University’s admissions process.

Isaac James, co-chair for the academic policy committee, said this is the first time the committee has hosted a town hall on this issue.

“It’s really just to spark a discussion on ways that we can advocate on behalf of the student body to the administration on these issues,” said James, a Plan II and government sophomore. 

James and co-chair Steven Ding said they decided to discuss fair admissions in light of the case against former UT-Austin men’s tennis coach Michael Center, who pled guilty in April to accepting a bribe to fraudulently admit a student into the University.

“It’s an issue nationally, the equity behind college admissions with however affluent you are, how much privilege you may have had growing up, how that affects your admissions chances,” said Ding, a management information systems and urban studies sophomore.

 

At the town hall, the first topic discussed was automatic admission. UT-Austin currently accepts all Texas public school undergraduate applicants in the top 6% of their high school graduating class. 

Biochemistry sophomore Yukta Sunkara said high school rankings are not a good indicator of college readiness. She said she knew students at her high school who were in the top 8% that were more college-ready than higher-ranked students but were rejected from UT-Austin.

“(The top 6% rule) disregards the other students who aren’t in the top 6% but who are college ready,” Sunkara said.

When discussing the Coordinated Admission Program, where applicants are deferred to another UT System school for a year before being admitted to the Austin campus, Alex Sexton, a public affairs graduate student who did his undergrad at UT-San Antonio, said that CAP students were never integrated into the UTSA campus.

He said CAP students are not advised in their major, and they get their own orientation, which inhibits their student development.

“At UTSA, we segregate (CAP students) from the rest of us,” Sexton said. 

The town hall also covered admissions policies for out-of-state students. Biochemistry freshman Tyler Durham, who is from Portland, Oregon, said out-of-state students aren’t as diverse in terms of socioeconomic status due to higher tuition rates. He said he wishes the admissions process was more holistic.