Open Records Request Your UT-Austin Admissions File
A current UT-Austin freshman in CSB Honors requested their completed admissions file and shared it with me. It’s over a hundred pages long, and a lot of it isn’t particularly insightful, but there are some interesting revelations like your Academic Index and Personal Achievement Index scores.
In the case of their file, the Office of Admissions assigned a Personal Achievement Index score of 5, which I agreed with.
FERPA law requires that you can access any personal information that UT-Austin or any university has on file for you.
What can you see?
HS Percentile: your percentile class rank
REV PGPA Current App: Predicted GPA that UT calculated for you.
REV Units Plus: Whether you got 0.1 bonus points added to your AI.
AI Grid Value: your Academic Index score
PAI Grid Value: your Personal Achievement Index score
For students at non-ranking schools, this file is useful to see what they assigned for your “derived ranking.”
UT also assigns a probability score that forecasts your ability to graduate in four years. This does not play a role in the admissions process, but it’s likely to play some factor in financial aid and scholarships. UT’s top priority for current students is that they graduate in a timely manner.
You can also view your “Recruiter” report that shows every interaction you’ve had with the university like e-mails, campus visits, or event invitations. To my knowledge, this does not play any role in the Academic or Personal Achievement Index and therefore not a direct role in admissions. It may, however, play a role in recruitment.
Analysis of these files
There is a ton of information that the university provides. Most of it is for accounting and data gathering purposes the university may be required by state and federal law to keep and supply upon request.
Every year, the university compiles a “Common Data Set” to provide to legislatures and the public. Much of the information goes into this accounting process. That means there is a ton of room for confusion and asking “does this matter?” when the reality is 99% of this information did not play a role in your admissions process.
Remember, UT only compares your AI and PAI scores on a grid for other applicants to your college or school, and in some cases like Engineering or Computer Science, your major.
On the first pages, you can view your Academic Index score, assigned ranking, and PAI Score. The PAI score is either E1 or P1. If it appears you received more than one PAI score, that means your file was reviewed two or more times.
It seems that UT has changed their Academic Index formulas to allow for a maximum of 4.0. They still have four categories, and you can see what your AI score would have been if you selected different colleges. Since they have not released their formulas publicly, I suggest using the formulas I have modified.
Limitations of the Open Records Request
I have a feeling requesting your file may do more harm and cause more anxiety than it helps. The biggest issue, and one reason I published my book Your Ticket to the Forty Acres, is due to the profound misconceptions out there about what UT does or does not consider in the admissions process. These requests are likely to confuse rather than clarify.
My advice is to keep it simple. Don’t dwell on what is highly unlikely to be of importance.
Since your file will not have the AI or PAI scores of all the applicants to your first choice program, it is impossible to extrapolate any conclusions from the data. Even when I worked for UT, I did not have access to the AI and PAI grids where UT draws the admissions line.
Perhaps you could do a separate request to your Honors program, but it seems any Honors review information is absent from these files since that process is independent from the Office of Admissions.
Reviewers also do not make notes on applications like many highly selective universities who conduct final reviews by committee. That means you won’t see any of the logic or reasoning that went into your PAI score. You only see the score.
If you have younger siblings or friends, it may be of interest for future applicants. It may also be worthwhile if you are applying as a transfer after not finding success as a first-time freshman. If you are applying for a second or third time as a transfer, you should be able to access your previous files, which would be very helpful.
Otherwise, whether you gained admission or not, what’s done is done and no admissions outcome can be altered.
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