The Plan II Admission Decision Process
Unfortunately, due to the pressure of numbers, as is true of other impacted programs and colleges at UT and to the University as a whole, Plan II Honors must also regularly turn down students who might do quite well in our Program. To maintain the high quality of our Program and to retain our small community feel, we have to keep the program small. Moreover, our applicant pool shows higher qualifications every year. What may give the clearest idea of the level of the quantitative factors of successful applicants are our entering freshman class “profiles.”
What is less cut-and-dried and will be evaluated on a more subjective level, is the degree of sophistication and maturity we see in the essays of successful applicants. We also see a the depth and richness in their non-academic activites and leadership experiences that combine to give an applicant an intangilbe "sparkle." Great essays and those intangible qualities are what sets the successful applicants apart from the unsuccessful applicants who may have similar, perhaps even higher, grades, ranks and test scores.
The Plan II Honors admission evaluators use many criteria to make admission decisions. The application essays required of each applicant, in particular, are extremely important. We evaluate all applicants to Plan II Honors using all submitted test scores (SAT, ACT, IB, SAT II and AP)*, class rank, the courses an applicant chose in high school with emphasis on senior year choices, writing skills, extra-curricular activities (with emphasis on breadth as well as depth of interest and the level of leadership involved, if any), awards and honors, service to the community, work experience and evidence of leadership in and outside the classroom. Applicants should recognize that a very strong emphasis is placed on writing in the Plan II admission processes. We don't seek the students who are simply "the smartest" on paper. We seek students who make sparks, who write maturely and creatively, who know how to make a difference and are seeking challenges in many areas of academic study and non-academic life.
In recent years Plan II has been accepting about one-quarter to one-third of those students who apply. SAT scores and academic credentials of selected applicants are comparable to those in top universities. When reading essays and letters of recommendation, the Admissions Committee looks beyond scores and grades for evidence of analytic or imaginative abilities and a lively sense of intellectual adventure. Although Plan II admission decisions NEVER rely solely on grades and scores in selecting applicants, we seldom accept students who fall below the following levels:
It's important to note that these are guidelines NOT application requirements.
- Often from the top five percent of high school class (in schools that rank).
- Aptitude: 1400 (1450+ preferred) in the SAT or 30 in the ACT;
- Achievement: 650 (700+ preferred) on SAT II subject tests;
- AP Exams: 4 or 5 on English and AB or BC Calculus.
In evaluating exam scores, we may allow strength in one exam to compensate for weakness in another. For example, you might be an attractive candidate if your Calculus AP score were 5, or your SAT II in math were 700, even though you scored 600 on your math SAT.
Plan II Admission & Competition
Each year Plan II Honors receives over 1300 terrific applications from very bright hard-working students. Each year, we regretfully must wait list or deny hundreds of wonderful applicants, who would probably perform quite well in Plan II Honors. These are applicants we know would also bring a lot of heart and soul to the Program. We simply do not have room to admit them all without changing the nature of our Program, which we are not willing to do.
The University of Texas at Austin
We sincerely hope all applicants remember that completely aside from Plan II Honors, the University of Texas at Austin offers an incredible variety of academic opportunities, courses, and programs—all of which are filled with the best students and the best faculty in the state and certainly in the top ranks nationally. Although Plan II students often stand out in the University community, they are by no means the only students on campus who do so. All UT students—whether or not they are in Plan II Honors—have the opportunity to pursue double-majors and dual-degrees so non-Plan II students need not feel bereft of choices. If an applicant chooses to attend UT, he or she will still have access to an excellent education with thousands of course and career options, with internationally recognized faculty, the best professional advising in the nation, exciting classes and a dazzling library system, not to mention the cutting-edge computing infrastructure, exciting study abroad opportunities, nationally recognized sports programs and brand-new sports and recreation facilities—all in one of the neatest cities in the country.
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