UT-Austin delays, releases all Fall 2018 External Transfer Decisions
Competition this year for applicants attempting a transfer from a two-year college or four-year university is by far the most selective that I've ever seen. Congratulations to those students who received admission. I hope you enjoy your time on the Forty Acres.
I know this is a very difficult time for many students and families. I encourage disappointed students to focus on hopefully positive admissions outcomes at other universities, find a way to make things work at your current institution, and to move forward assuming that UT-Austin will not be an option for Fall 2018.
External Transfer Admissions Review Process
Every transfer applicant who has over a 3.0 GPA and more than 24 hours completed or in progress by March 1 has their file reviewed by admissions staff.
Academics, primarily the GPA but also the rigor of your coursework, account for half of the review calculation. The other half is a score from 1-6 assigned by reviewers based on the desirability of an applicant. The process is similar for first-time freshman review, but a full accounting of how decisions are made is outside of the scope of this post. I cover the transfer review process in this video.
Most notably, transfer admissions differs from first-time freshman because students are admitted based on the spaces available in each college, school, or major. From 2013-2017, between 7,500 and 8,500 students attempted a transfer admitting on average 3,000-3,500 students.
UT recently reduced their number of required hours from 30 to 24 meaning many more students are eligible who wouldn't have been before. It's highly probable that UT received a record number of transfer applicants for a historic low number of spaces available.
More than usual, I am hearing from a lot of frustrated yet highly talented students who did not find success.
It seems that, across the university, there were less spaces available for transfer students than in previous years. Many applicants to all major with a perfect 4.0 got denied.
Receiving Your Admissions Decision
Starting in the middle of April, UT began releasing their decisions in waves usually on Fridays. There were major delays this year where, uncharacteristically, the bulk of decisions came out the day after their stated decision release deadline of June 15. Most applicants heard back June 16. In previous years, it was very uncommon for students to receive either admitted or rejected decisions so close or after the posted deadline.
There are rumors that UT is experiencing staffing issues leading to delays in admissions review and release, and it is the case that they are changing offices from John Hargis Hall to be closer to the Main Campus.
Whatever the reasons for the delays, there is no way to know why a given applicant was or was not admitted to the university. UT also rarely if ever publishes their admissions statistics, i.e. the number of applicants and admitted students, although they do state the average GPA for Fall 2017 admitted students was a 3.7, an all-time high compared to 3.6 the previous year.
Admissions Data and Observations
Some of my transfer clients found success this year including an admitted student to Mathematics in Natural Sciences with a 3.83 who also gained admission to UCLA and UC-Berkeley. I also worked with admitted students who had a 4.0, a 3.93, and a 3.92 to Business, and a 3.33 to Economics. Most surprisingly, a 3.86 applicant to Psychology and a 4.0 to Computer Science did not receive good news.
Students are way more than just their GPA, but in the transfer admissions process, the GPA is an important benchmark for who gains admission.
College Confidential user Eagle2Horns compiled a ton of helpful self-reported data on the admissions outcomes of their users, which by virtue of their regularly posting on a college admissions community are above average compared to the typical applicant. I'm pretty shocked at the results.
Previous to this year, I had never known an applicant with a 4.0 get denied to any programs except Architecture and Nursing. It seems not only many applicants to historically competitive programs like Engineering, Business, and Computer Science were denied, but also those with perfect grades rejected from various majors in Communications and Liberal Arts.
Perfect grades are not necessary for admission as many applicants with between a 3.7 and 3.9 gained admission to Business, Engineering, and Computer Science. A 4.0 seems to no longer result in a high probability of success. Few applicants with below a 3.7 gained admission even to less selective programs.
I got denied. What are my next steps?
I'm just as surprised as many of you are at who didn't gain admission. Depending on how many college hours you have completed or where you are in your studies, there may be options available.
For students completing their freshman year or who have around 30 hours completed, you can try again for Fall 2019.
Applicants wanting Liberal Arts, Education, Social Work, and most majors in Natural Sciences may attempt a Spring 2019 application. You can read more about that here.
It's possible that some students could try for both Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 depending on their current progress and future ambitions.
Applicants who have more than 60 hours completed or who have recently finished their sophomore year attending a four-year university, you should strongly consider completing your degree at your current institution.
UT gives lower priority to any applicants who have around 90 or more hours. Completing a UT degree is a minimum of two years and for many programs at least three. My advice, and the Office of Admissions would likely say the same, is that you should finish your degree and look at UT-Austin for graduate school.
Many students are asking whether they should submit an appeal. Unless you have new, significant information or an error was made in your original application, i.e. a transcript issue, there are no grounds to appeal.
Even so, appeals are very rarely successful, and especially considering how many highly talented students did not gain admission, there isn't much space at the university available to begin with.
You're welcome to submit an appeal on your My Status page, but I encourage you to move on and evaluate your options assuming UT will not be an immediate possibility. It's exceedingly unlikely that any appeal will work, and it's probably a minimum of a few weeks before appeals are assessed and released on a rolling basis.
I understand that this may not be the news you want to hear. You are welcome to reach out to me with any questions or concerns firstname.lastname@example.org