The University of Texas at Austin
  • UGS welcomes its inaugural class of students

    By Julia Ferguson
    Julia Ferguson
    Published: Sept. 9, 2009

    Guthrie Cook had a master plan, a plan that included a green energy business and an old friend.

    Determined to make his plan a reality, Cook started attending night school in anticipation of transferring to The University of Texas at Austin.

    He had his business idea, now he needed to find the right program at the university to make it work. That’s when Cook decided to transfer into the School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS), where he found Melva Harbin, a committed academic adviser who was determined to make his idea into an entrepreneurial success story.

    Cook, who is just like many other transfer students who are unsure of what route to take when entering the university, found his path in UGS.

    This influx of uncertain students has led to the inaugural class of UGS, composed of 728 first-year and 65 transfer students. The school was created to house undergraduates who are undecided on their academic path at the university. Undergraduates will spend up to four semesters in Undergraduate Studies before transferring to another college or school.

    The school offers strategic advising to help its students find alternative paths to majors and career goals, as well as a first-year experience, made up of First-year Interest Groups (FIGs) and Signature Courses.

    “It is important to humanize this large public university by developing smaller communities and learning groups where students feel at home,” President William Powers Jr. wrote in his most recent newsletter. “If we do that, we are not only transforming the lives of a new generation of Longhorns, we are making our alumni and friends proud to call this university their own.”

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