Four Questions for Kedra Ishop

Kedra Ishop has been UT’s director of admissions since 2009.

How have you seen the typical UT applicant change since you’ve been director of admissions?

Wow, are they busy! We are amazed at how engaged students are beyond the classroom.  Kudos to all the families who help these students achieve amazing civic and service accomplishments. Before they even arrive on campus, they have already begun the work that makes them game-changers and soon to be world-changers.

Why do students choose UT?

UT-Austin doesn’t try to hide who we are. We’re big and bold and we challenge  our students to follow through—to change the world. Our applicants and those who enroll want to be a part of that. They want to take on the challenges that UT-Austin provides access to, and they want to be around others doing the same.

Last year’s freshman class was one of the biggest ever, but it’s seen success in many academic measures. What’s the University doing to help them?

Bringing in a larger class by no means meant that we weren’t going to ensure the success of those students. University-wide, we committed to providing the necessary resources—from orientation space to advising to labs—to make sure that students had what they needed. That large class is also a very good class, one of our strongest in history.

What’s the biggest challenge in narrowing more than 38,000 applications down to 8,000?

We have many challenges, but one of the most significant is that there are many, many more qualified and highly talented students in our applicant pool than there are spaces in our class. Space not being an issue, we could admit two classes of phenomenal students. But we can’t, and instead we must—through multiple reviews of thousands of files—make tough decisions to select the best group of phenomenal students that meets the needs and goals of the University.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy Lucy Ledesma.


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