Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Stop the CAP

Caroline Puckett

UT Austin’s Coordinated Admission Program (CAP) offers an alternative to students who were not initially accepted into the university. Students must complete a year and 30 transferable hours at another UT school, a math course above college algebra and earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2. Upon completion, they are assured admission into UT’s College of Liberal Arts. There is no guaranteed admission to any other college. Many swear enrolling in this high-stakes pathway is worth the trouble, yet this seems to be said more out of relief than accomplishment. 

CAP does much more harm than good, not only to the students who commit endless hours attempting to fulfill the requirements but also to the UT system schools, especially UTSA. The program robs students of milestone experiences and reduces UTSA’s ability to succeed independently. 

Any freshman at UTSA can tell you a story about their efforts to befriend a stranger only to be shut down because they are “only here for a year.” CAP freshmen are notorious for their lack of interest and involvement on campus, only participating in endeavors they find necessary or beneficial and always preferably with other CAP students. This is understandable on their part; however, in the tunnel vision that ends at UT, many neglect to consider this is their only freshman year of college and forget — or refuse — to enjoy themselves. 

Despite UTSA’s age, there is no absence of culture or tradition on campus, yet several students abstain from fully integrating themselves out of shame. The sense of superiority UT fans bring to campus is weaved into UTSA’s first-year experience: whether it be CAP students resentful they have to attend a “lower-rate” university or UTSA students embarrassed they could not make it into a “better” school. It is difficult to find a community of active ‘Runners as proud to attend UTSA as the outspoken Longhorns at UT. UTSA’s school spirit heals when we admit Roadrunners who want to be Roadrunners.

Too many high school graduates have yet to understand that the university they attend does not represent their self-worth, but the sale of this idea is a multi-million dollar business that UT’s marketing and Office of Admissions reigns across Texas. 

Last fall, UT reported a record four-year graduation rate of 73.5%. It is easy for UT to flaunt these numbers as CAP students improve said graduation rate while lowering that of its satellite schools. The UT System Data Index admits: “Institutions with large numbers of CAP students (e.g., UTA, UTSA) will see a negative impact on their traditional, four-year, same graduation rates — since these students will not graduate from the original institution from which they initially enrolled.” 

Additionally, UTSA’s admission rates are skewed: acceptance to the CAP guarantees admittance to an eligible school to complete the program. UTSA’s admission rates since 2020 range from 83.5% to 90.5% — but what percent of these were compulsory admits? When high school students look to pursue an undergraduate degree, how many consider contributing to the honorable designations, awards and future potential when applying to a university? Unfortunately, the ability to show off competitiveness and name recognition plays a significant part, and CAP does UTSA no favors. 

UTSA is not just a UT campus an hour and a half away. It has far more to offer than being a stepping stone or detour to UT. It has the roots to create a distinct identity that can carry its educational power for decades. It is the underdog, but even underdogs have to root for themselves.

In 2015, UTSA considered pulling out of the program by 2017. This topic has been discussed for nearly ten years. Peer schools like UT Dallas flourish without the weight of the Coordinated Admission Program. UTSA should follow through with their plan and withdraw from CAP for its benefit and that of its students.

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About the Contributors
Faith Kouadio
Faith Kouadio, Staff Writer

Faith (she/her) is a public health major with a minor in information systems. Despite choosing to pursue studies in these specific fields, she enjoys writing and communications and hopes to incorporate them as a key part of her career. She believes in an increasingly information-heavy world, everyone has a duty to responsibly disseminate information – contributing to the Paisano is her small way of accomplishing this.

If you ask Faith what movie she saw last night, she will have a new answer every time. Other than watching movies, she enjoys listening to and collecting music and traveling. Having grown up in the Toronto region, Texas is one stop from the many places she has called home. After her anticipated graduation in Spring 2024, she’s excited to see where life takes her next.

Caroline Puckett
Caroline Puckett, Graphic Artist
Caroline (she/her) is a graduate student from Brownsville, Texas studying Health, Community and Policy. She is a passionate artist with a love for graphic design and illustration. On any given day, you will find Caroline re-watching her favorite shows, drawing in her sketchbook or crocheting tote bags.

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