Liberal Arts Honors Class of 2020 Statistics

I was selected as one of three students from thirty nominations to represent the 8,000 or so members of the Class of 2011. Pictured: me and some of my friends I made freshman year in the honors dorms.

I was selected as one of three students from thirty nominations to represent the 8,000 or so members of the Class of 2011.

Pictured: me and some of my friends I made freshman year in the honors dorms.

I began my UT journey in Fall of 2007. UT was the only school I applied to. Because I was on the top 10% of my class, admission was assured. However, spaces in honors programs like Liberal Arts Honors remained highly competitive. UT was the only school that I applied to and I never visited campus or contacted an admissions or honors representative. I was a "dark horse" applicant. The truth is, I didn't know any better.

I ranked 8 out of 500 with a 29 on the ACT. My resume was thin and, in retrospect, my essays were lacking, but neither of my parents went to college and I came from a working class high school where few people went to UT. That year, "only" 26,000 students applied to UT.

Fortunately, I received a coveted spot in LAH. When I arrived, I quickly realized I was behind my more academically-prepared peers groomed since middle school to excel. I was at the bottom of a talented pack.

I worked harder than any of my friends and, unknown to me at the time, the soft skills I gained from attending a mixed high school paid off at an institution that rewards independence and taking initiative. I eventually graduated with degrees in Government, History, and the Humanities Honors program, which is administered by the LAH staff and the director of both, Dr. Carver. I graduated with special honors in both Liberal Arts and Humanities by earning three A's in upper division honors coursework and both semesters of my thesis. President Powers recognized me and two others during his commencement speech in front of the Main Building as an embodiment of the Longhorn spirit.

Dr. Carver, the architect of LAH born in the 1980s as an alternative to Plan II, itself an alternative created in the 1930s to the wider institution, will retire soon after 42 years of service. Each year, he sends a note to the alumni detailing what their incoming class looks like.

"The LAH Class of 2020—155 students chosen from 1143 applications (our largest applicant pool ever!)—has just three more weeks in their first semester as Longhorns.  Fourteen come from out of state, 111 are female, 44 male, and 8 are Valedictorians, 4 are Salutatorians.  We have one set of twins and two siblings of current LAHers.  Forty five hail from non-ranking schools, 14 from private schools, and 95 from schools greater than 200 (Allen High School remains the largest High School with a graduating class of 1533).  Fifteen are from schools smaller than 200.  The average ACT is 31; the average SAT, 1355.  Stacey, Linda, and I are delighted by their enthusiasm, energy, talent, and the many ways they are already participating in the LAH community."

In reality, their 155 enrolling students came from a pool of admitted applicants probably around 300. They routinely admit about double the amount of students they expect to come yielding an admissions rate of roughly 25%. Honors applicants are typically above average relative to the general UT pool, so they are looking for excellent students in an already talented pool.

Don't get discouraged if your academics fall below average. Both LAH and Plan II place a strong emphasis on writing skills, so be sure to work hard on those essays! Both programs look for leaders who will participate in the variety of honors student organizations.

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