New Student Orientation to Focus More on Timely Graduation

April 2, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Orientation programs for incoming University of Texas at Austin students are being redefined to provide more guidance on selecting majors, meeting academic requirements and graduating in four years. 

The changes stem from recommendations made in February by the Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates and are the first step in the university’s efforts to increase its four-year graduation rate to 70 percent by 2016. Currently, about half of all students graduate in four years — higher than at any other public university in Texas but lower than other national research universities.

“By making orientation more focused on academic progress, we will allow students to access the tools they need to develop, and successfully implement, a four-year graduation plan,” says President Bill Powers.

Powers has named Associate Dean Marc Musick of the College of Liberal Arts as a special assistant to the president to oversee the office of New Student Services and implement the changes, which will be introduced this summer. Orientation will be mandatory for all incoming members of the Class of 2016 and will begin in June.

“The increased emphasis on academics will help students in all colleges and allow us to align and elevate our orientation programs across campus,” says Soncia Reagins-Lilly, dean of students at The University of Texas at Austin.

When students graduate in four years, they incur less debt, enter their careers or graduate studies sooner, and demonstrate an ability to successfully complete a world–class education — all while saving their parents money on tuition.

Recognizing these benefits, the task force on graduation rates made more than 60 recommendations, including enhancing the first-year experience and improving advising and student tracking. The university is committed to implementing many of these recommendations, beginning with the increased emphasis on academics in orientation.

For more information, contact: Gary J Susswein, Director of University Media Relations, Office of the President, 512 471 4945.

3 Comments to "New Student Orientation to Focus More on Timely Graduation"

1.  William said on April 5, 2012

I would have graduated in 3 years, but cuts in financial aid have dictated the completion of my undergrad in 4. This past academic year I have been close to $5k short of the expected COA for each semester. The only help I received from the university was a grant for $19.00. I understand that my circumstances are different from most students, and surely isn't the worst, but if you want to help make sure I graduate or others like me in a timely manner, try alleviating some of the financial burden that we are constantly faced with.

2.  Michael said on April 9, 2012

@William
This article isn't talking about people who take courses, leave for a semester or two, and then come back. People who drop out because they cannot afford tuition are not counted in the same way as people who are enrolled for 5 consecutive years.

3.  Anita said on April 9, 2012

A local junior college that experienced similar statistic was having difficult explaining to the statisticians that many, many, many of their students not only had Bachelor Degrees but also Master Degrees. They were in the process of collection that information to better evaluate their statistics. Since it isn't clear from this report what was evaluated by the task force, I'm hoping that they were only looking at students who eventually graduated but seemed to take longer than four years.