Uber-long rant on Texas college admission law

For several months now, I’ve been very ticked off at the recent way life has managed to screw me over. Now, I’m generally a “Keep my troubles to myself” type, and get over grievances pretty quick and get on with my life, but this one has been eating away at me and appears to continue doing so for quite a long time.

Therefore, I’ve decided for the sake of my mental health to get the monkey off my back and then kick it in the head several times.


I didn’t like high school. I went to a small rural school and course selection was limited. I was bored, unchallenged, and uninterested. Accordingly, my average dropped from all but perfect in my freshman year to about 3.5 for graduation. Still, not too bad, right?



Determined not to have the same problems in college, I happily applied for the largest and most prestigious public university in the state. Everyone I knew, including the guidance counselor, assured me that with a 1312 SAT and a 32 ACT, I was a shoe-in for wherever I applied.

My future looks good!


I fell as 7th in class ranking, giving me the privelage of being an ‘Honor Graduate.’ For all practical purposes, I was considered one of the “achievers” of the school. More fuel for my ego. At some point before graduation, my acceptance letter comes. I was not accepted.

Well, to be fair, I was sort of accepted. I have to spend my freshman year in a lesser university; if I maintain a 3 point average, then I’m automatically guaranteed admission to my original choice for my 2nd year.


This did little to please me. Why in the HELL was I not directly accepted? What the FUCK were they thinking? My transcript was perfect! After a few days of steaming, I finally believed I had found the answer.

It is Texas state law that the students in the top 10% of every graduating class are guaranteed admission to any state college. There were 63 people in my class. I graduated 7th in my class. Do the math. Yeah, now I was plenty mad at myself for not trying just a LITTLE harder, but then I thought about the situation in a larger school, where I would have received this benefit, had I gone there.


And I suddenly realized by cruel personal experience, this law is not a help to college-bound students! It basically sticks a cap on the number of students from smaller schools, where (at least in my area) the percentage of A students was much higher than in the larger schools, from getting into highly selective universities. Why can they not just let college’s set their own standards? I am POSITIVE that I had a higher average than many who fell under the top 10% range, and even if not, my test scores were exceptional!

The state law, however, acknowledges no other standard other than flat GPA scores, a horrendously inaccurate (in my opinion) indicator of college readiness. The university I applied for is known for being quite a bit overcrowded, thus it seems to me be very likely that they accepted only the students that the state MANDATED they accept, ignoring all other candidates, even if they had a better overall transcript.


Now, I concede a few things.
One, that I am jumping to conclusions, particularly on why the college did not accept me, and…
Two, that my bitching about this is just to deflect my own personal failure of getting into the college of my choice.

However, I had been led to believe (even by professionals who have worked with colleges and high school students for years), up to the day that the letter arrived, that I had a damn impressive transcript and would almost certainly not be rejected.

Well, anyway, here I am. A freshman on a campus that after a few weeks of acquaintance, I’ve decided that I absolutely LOATHE and it appears that I will miss out for another year on the college experience I have been looking forward to for years.

sigh I guess I’m done now. Tell me if the monkey twitches, and I’ll come back to finish him off.

Don’t worry about it.

I went to an expensive. It was really no better than a state school and basically a waste of money. So I don’t thinkGoing to a “lesser” school until you get in to UT or wheve ever is a disgrace. Just chin up and do good work.

I know a guy who went to a community college for a year or two and then was accepted at Boston College (considered a desirable school where I was from). His diploma says “BC” on it, and that’s all that matters!

Yeah, that’s true, and I console myself that way, but the prestige aspect isn’t really what bothers me. What bothers me is that I’m missing out on a stimulating college experience. The one I’m going to now is little more than a commuter college. Almost all the students are locals, no one really cares about their education other than to get a better job, the admission standards are about as low as it gets. Music scene? HA! Artistic scene? HA! Political scene? HA! This campus is flat-out culturally barren, and… and… gah!

I deserve better than this!

Golly, suddenly affirmative action isn’t looking so bad after all…

You can thank GW Bush and your lovely legislature, which looked up from their periodic feedings at the lobby trough and IMHO unlawful redistricting activities to abolish affirmative action admissions and replace it with the top 10% criterion. Maybe if the old system had been in place there’d have been a spot for you at your first choice.

Arlington, eh? You can always head over to Deep Ellum for the music scene if you need to. Quit yer whining.

Or maybe there wouldn’t be.


You know, I sorta understand where you’re coming from.

I transferred to UT from - believe me - a lesser university because I had no idea where to go initially, and the school I came from was a bad choice. I often wish I had gone to UT right off the bat, because I would’ve had a different experience.

But that doesn’t guarantee it would’ve been BETTER, just different.

I know it’s hard to have to delay the experience that you really desire, but Austin, the parties, 6th Street, football, stimulating students, the classes, the profs, etc. will all still be there when ou get there. And you aren’t alone by any stretch. Keep your chin up, get the silly-ass freshman year basics out of the way at the community school, and don’t make the mistake of letting your college GPA falter.

You don’t mention volunteer activities or extracirriculars, and that may have been the deciding factor between you and someone else with equally outstanding test scores and class placement.

But, overall, I think that you’ve learned a valuable lessen that will serve you well. And one that alot of your age group won’t figure out til much later: that is, don’t make the mistake of taking your eyes off the prize, even if the grunt work that gets you there sucks. Cuz as you now know, the temporary pain of having to do what you don’t want to do is lesser than the regret of screwing yourself because you did the stuff you didn’t want to do poorly. (Does that make sense?)

In the end, this will all work out fine, and you will love UT that much more.

Oh, and there’s stupid, insipid, boring people at UT, too. So don’t be thinking it’s ALL nirvana!!! :smiley:

Heh, thanks for the input, and good job on figuring out exactly where I had in mind, although it’s not that difficult.

…well I could have been talking about A&M… HAH! :rolleyes:

You complained about a music scene. You obviously weren’t talking about College Station.


I’m not sure that the law was written as a way to get around Affirmative Action admissions (which I’m in favor of, BTW).

If I recall, the 10% rule was an attempt to limit UT @ Austin admissions, in general. UT, as you know, is HUGE. IIRC, this law was a way to limit admissions to Texas’ premiere school. (And, I’m sure, control the number of applications and the associated costs of processing them.) UT can’t possibly accept everyone who applies, even though it’s a public university. And kids in Texas can still attend any number of other public there, they just can’t ALL go to UT at Austin. Hell, when I was there, it was 50,000 students, and that was in 1989!

And, again IIRC, this law went into effect before the outcome of the UT Law School admissions lawsuit that ended affirmative action admissions in Texas.

Now you have a year to learn how to apply yourself.

Are there January admissions? A lot of students drop out of university after their first term, so many universities let in a few more students in January.

I don’t know. Those weren’t the terms that were offered to me, though. It was a clear-cut Coordinated Admissions Program that apparently provides an indirect channel for quite a lot of applicants. But its only guaranteed after a full year (30 hours) of study at the other school.

niblet_head, whether or not the law was intended to be used as an alternative to AA is moot; the policy is OFTEN trumpeted as a valid alternative to AA.

I always thought the policy was a good one, but CaptBushido’s plight is making me cringe. The fact that the admissions office seems so bound by the 10% rule is troubling.

I can see how the 10% rule would be a shaft to students at small schools, but I can also see how it would shaft kids at large schools. The difference between the students right above and right below the top 10% cutoff could be as small as a hundreth of a point. Also, there is no room for differentiating kids taking all AP courses from kids whizzing through regular courses.

The policy seems noble on the surface, and I suppose it is good. No admissions program is going to seem fair to everyone. But I can definitely sympathize with you, CaptBushido.

Did you apply to liberal arts or natty sci as a back-up. Both those schools are easier to get into, education as well. The top ten percent is a joke. I’m actually hoping they drop it for aa. Its stupid that they let in people with 800’s (Yes I’ve seen it even in the Business school) on their SAT’s only to have them fail out, but a lot of bright people are denied admission because they went to a better HS with higher standards. I know two people from the same border town, one had a 930 SAT from the local highschool and was in the 8% when she graduated, the other went to the magnet (i’m not sure its spelled the same way) school and made a 1350 but was only in the top 15% of his school. They both applied for the business school. Guess who had to go to ACC for a year and guess who made it into B school?Its insane.

I managed to slip in to UT with slightly better SAT scores and a 312th (Out of 800 in class) ranking, but it was a bit easier in 00. I also did a lot of extracurricular stuff. Every college I applied to at UT rejected me exept Lib. Arts. But I managed to transfer out of it to business after 2 years.

Moral of the story: Next time you graduate from HS, make sure it is unchallangeing and full of stupid people .

And don’t kid yourself about the college where you are now. You can get a damn good education at a smaller college. It doesn’t matter what the motivation of your classmates is; you’re there for your own reasons, and you need to keep your reasons in mind. There are opportunities to get involved, you just have to look for them. See if there’s a student activities office or some such.


I think I applied to the Liberal Arts college. Ignoring appalled looks people give me when I tell them this (“Are you insane!?!” - someone actually said this to my face), I’m seriously considering being an English major.

I was an English major. It was a terrific degree. If I had to do it again, I’d choose English all over again. It provided an excellent combination of liberal arts education with practical skill development.

I studied under Frye and McLuhan at a large university, I studied at a weenie little bit of a university that isn’t even a blip on the academic map, and I studied at couple in between (one techincal and one professional). I found all of them to be hugely enjoyable, although each for different reasons.

The trick is to go balls to the wall in whatever program and school you find yourself. All Boethius needed was a cell. Anything beyond that is a bonus. Don’t depend on the courses or the professors or the community to motivate you. Come unversity, it’s up to you to make your own fun, and your own success.

A year at a junior college? That’s a year in which you can get your academic sea legs without being bowled over, so that you will be better prepared when you hit the big time. Competition can be fierce, so use this year to your advantage.

I have to agree with the advice here. Use the year at CC to get your General Education requirements (math, history…see what your school requires outside of your major), learn how to get through college, how to study, how to talk to professors, and keep your GPA up. Then next year, go and knock em out!

(And when you get out of school and consider the difference in student loans, you’ll be glad!)

I know this because I finished applying a few days ago: the january admissions deadline is Oct. 1. Its doable if you wanted to bother.