UTD eliminates automatic admission based on test scores

Graphic by Christina Jia | Mercury Staff.


UTD admissions policies for automatic and transfer admissions are set to change in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The university previously admitted students automatically based on their test scores or if they ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. However, students will no longer be automatically admitted from test scores alone.

Incoming freshmen will be admitted based on a new holistic review of their performance before enrollment. This process would entail looking at the applicant’s overall qualifications instead of focusing on any particular strength. Ingrid London, the director of the Office of Admission and Enrollment, said this evaluation will better identify the best indicators of success at UTD.

“As the university has grown throughout the years, admissions criteria has changed and been modified to best accommodate, so that we can assess student’s preparation to be successful here at UT Dallas,” London said. “Moving from the past admissions criteria, just looking at one component, moving to a more holistic framework outside of those admitted automatically for top 10 percent rank, allows us to look at a number of different components.”

Factors considered during the revised all-inclusive review include a student’s academic record, high school rank or GPA, academic rigor, SAT or ACT scores and major preparatory indicators, such as related coursework or experience.

Another deciding factor is the optional essay, including a choice of three topics. The essay acts as a supplement to a prospective student’s application, weighed during a review process that incorporates all elements. 

“Dynamic-wise, it allows us to be able to gauge preparation for students attending UTD, and we are still utilizing the SAT and ACT in our review process, as well as a number of different components, so … we’re admitting students who have done those metrics to help prepare them for the curriculum they’ll face when they attend UTD,” London said.

Transfer admissions will also undergo changes. The GPA cutoff to be admitted as a transfer student has increased from 2.7 to 3.0 for an applicant with 42 to 90 transferable credit hours. There is a specific emphasis on major-related coursework preparation for transfer students because it can highlight success at the university, London said.

Despite these changes, she said the hope is that the university continues to experience a steady growth of its freshman cohort.

“One of the benefits of holistic review is that it’s not one particular component that is at the forefront, so it allows for a more well-rounded review of an application file,” London said. “It allows, also, for students to be assessed regarding their overall preparation, not just preparation for one specific marker like a test.”


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