Why UT Recruits Smart Kids — And How Alumni Can Help

Now this is how alumni stay connected to The University of Texas.

Sure, most loyal Longhorns want to send more bright young students to their alma mater, but who does UT recruit? And why? And how can alumni help?

Nearly 100 Texas Exes chapter leaders learned the answers about UT admissions (and posed questions of their own) on Friday when admissions director Kedra Ishop and admissions alumni volunteer coordinator Letitia Cooper spoke at the Alumni Center.

These local alumni group leaders came from everywhere from New York to Lubbock, San Francisco to Mississippi, Denver to Del Rio to talk about how to involve alumni in meeting up, having fun, and giving back — wherever they live.

Cooper plugged the admissions office’s “Ex for Tex” program, which seeks volunteers to call on (or be called by) recruited students all over the country. Quite a few local Texas Exes chapters have designated an “Ex for Tex” chair to work closely with admissions on academic recruiting.

One question: Why recruit at all, with some 30,000 young people banging on the door to get in each year? “So we can make sure those 31,000 are the cream of the crop,” Cooper said. “If you ever take the attitude that people are always going to want to come here, that’s where you sink off.” 

She and Ishop talked about the need to attract the best and brightest students from both in and out of state (something the Texas Exes are getting onboard with by offering full-ride, merit-based 40 Acres Scholarships). “We do not have an aggressive out-of-state — or even in-state — financial aid package,” Ishop said. “That’s one reason we’re so excited about the 40 Acres Scholarship Program.”

She took alumni through the stairstep graph on which applicants are gauged. Admissions, she said, is looking for certain combinations of academic achievement and personal achievement, not just test scores. 

Ishop also emphasized the different “pathways” would-be Longhorns can take to landing at UT.

Besides being ranking in the top 8 percent of their high school class or being admitted through a full-file review, there are also options to transfer in, she said. The options include attending another UT System institution for a year and achieving a certain GPA in what’s called the CAP program. “Almost any caliber of student,” she said, “can work their way here if they’re willing to put in the effort.”

There were many questions, of course, but one chapter leader attested to CAP. Her son went to UT-Permian Basin for a year, she said, had a solid experience, and then started at the school of his dreams.

To get involved with your local chapter of the Texas Exes, click here.


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