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

A smarter freshman class?

The class of 2017 is UTSA’s most competitive incoming freshmen class yet. When the Texas Legislature founded UTSA in 1969, enrollment was limited to roughly 700 students. In the 40 years since the school’s opening, UTSA has come to be a home to more than 30,000 students.

A major appeal in attracting students had historically been the low requirements for admissions and easy access to education. Students rejected from larger and more expensive universities had been able to fall back on UTSA.

This, however, is quickly changing. In the goal to become a Tier One university, UTSA has begun the process of raising the standards for admission. UTSA President Ricardo Romo has often described the road to Tier One status as not a sprint, but a marathon.

According to UTSA’s strategic plan, the university will be increasing its standards of research, academic excellence and international reach.

Specifically, UTSA has implemented enrollment management plans to create a student body conducive to Tier One status.

UTSA hopes to have admissions standards that reflect the success of a research institution, even if that means decreasing the amount of students enrolled annually.

In the past few years UTSA has admitted 4,500 students on average per year. The incoming freshman class for 2013, however, includes only about 3,600 new freshmen.

UTSA is accepting top performing high school students. In 2012, half of the incoming freshmen were in the top 25 percent of their graduating class. In 2013 however, over two-thirds of UTSA’s freshmen have come from the top 25 percent of their class, raising the bar for academic performance.

UTSA will soon be competitive with other top universities around Texas. Texas A&M admits 64 percent of its applicants, an acceptance rate close to UTSA’s.

Freshman Maritza Villamil credits her hard work in high school for her acceptance into UTSA. “I had all the credentials necessary to be granted automatic admission to UTSA. I took my SAT and ACT, sent them my scores, sent my transcript and showed them that I was qualified to be part of the UTSA Roadrunner family.”

While UTSA wasn’t Villamil’s first choice, she now feels lucky to be a student at UTSA. “I knew I would be someone here, not just a number.”

Not all high school graduates are so fortunate. For college-bound students, the stricter admission standards can bar access to UTSA.

One recently graduated high senior was denied access to UTSA. When UTSA did not accept her dual credits from high school her GPA subsequently dropped and- she was unable to enroll. She chose instead to attend a community college.

According to USTA’s Provost John Frederick in a faculty senate meeting, “This group is the best freshman class we have ever admitted to UTSA. They have been filtered out already. We think they can succeed.”

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