UT Austin’s published acceptance rate is 31.8% for the 2020 admissions cycle, but this number does not tell the full story. Due to their admissions policy, UT Austin’s actual acceptance rate is much, much lower for many students. Read on to learn about UT Austin’s true acceptance rate.
In this article, we’ll reveal UT Austin’s true acceptance rate for non-automatically admitted students, discuss how we calculated that number, and what you can do to maximize your odds of admission. We hope that by knowing UT Austin’s true admissions rate, you can make well-informed decisions in choosing which colleges to apply to.
Holistic & Automatic Admissions
In a process loved by some and hated by others, UT Austin automatically accepts students who are in the top 6% of their class in a Texas high school. These automatic acceptances heavily bias the overall admissions rate. In effect, a large portion of the applicant pool has a 100% acceptance rate.
In-state students who aren’t within the top 6% of their class (and therefore do not qualify for automatic admission) and all out-of-state students have their applications examined in a process called holistic admissions. This is the method most elite US universities use to evaluate undergraduate applications.
In 2020, 4,500 students were admitted to UT Austin through the holistic admissions process while 13,700 were automatically admitted. 39,500 students were rejected.
All figures are approximate for the UT Austin class of 2024. Source: UT Austin admissions office
Holistic admissions examine the student as a whole: weighing all parts of their application and background, not just their grades and SAT/ACT score. Specifically, UT Austin considers class rank, GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, natural talents, and essays in their holistic review. Additionally, UT Austin does consider race, ethnicity, and whether applicants are first-generation college students as part of their effort to build a demographically diverse class.
So what is UT Austin’s acceptance rate for students who are not automatically admitted?
Calculating UT’s True Acceptance Rate
Approximately 57,200 students applied to be a part of the UT Austin class of 2024.
These students were sorted into two separate pools (in-state and out-of-state residents) for admissions purposes. According to Texas state law, 90% of students attending UT Austin must be in-state residents.
Of the 57,200 applicants, 36,000 were in-state residents while 21,200 were out-of-state residents.
Of the 36,000 in-state students, 13,700 were automatically admitted. The remaining 22,300 were reviewed in holistic admissions. Of the 22,300 students who were holistically reviewed, 2,300 were accepted while 20,000 were rejected.
UT Austin’s acceptance rate is 10.3% for in-state students who are not automatically admitted.
All 21,200 out-of-state students were holistically reviewed regardless of class rank. Of these students, 1,700 were admitted while 19,500 were rejected.
UT Austin’s acceptance rate for out-of-state students is 8.0%
Additionally, 500 recruited athletes are given special admissions consideration regardless of their state of residence. These athletes are typically accepted at a very high rate. For this reason, we have removed them from normal consideration.
UT Austin’s true acceptance rate for non-athlete, non-automatically admitted students is 9.5%
In total, 18,290 students were admitted to UT Austin. Of these, 13,700 were automatically admitted, 2,300 were admitted from the in-state holistic admissions process, and 1,700 were admitted from the out-of-state holistic admissions process. Sadly, 39,500 students were rejected.
In our calculations, we removed recruited athletes from the holistic admissions pool because recruited athletes see a significant boost to their admissions chances at UT Austin, even if their grades may not be as high as others in the application pool.
This is not to imply that every student-athlete has sub-par grades; indeed, many are quite talented academically. They are, however, admitted at a much higher rate than non-recruited athletes, and thus should not be considered in the aggregate population. This is especially true since UT Austin recruits so many athletes to feed its strong athletics programs.
UT Austin does not consider legacy status or potential donor relationships when making admissions decisions, though this was not always the case.
Athletic recruitment is the only outside factor that impacts admissions decisions in a notable way. UT Austin does not consider legacy status or potential donor relationships when making admissions decisions, though this was not always the case. After admissions controversy and resultant reforms in the 2010s, there is a greater degree of separation between the admissions office and the rest of campus.
Out of State Admissions
By law, no more than 10% of students at UT Austin can come from outside Texas. This makes the admissions process for out-of-state students more competitive.
By law, no more than 10% of students at UT Austin can be out of state residents.
Students from outside Texas are kept in a separate admissions pool, meaning they are directly compared and compete only with one another. Overall, the grades and test scores of students from outside Texas are equivalent to those from within the state, but due to the limited number of spots, the out-of-state students who are admitted are, on average, slightly more accomplished than their peers from within Texas.
This dynamic is evinced by the makeup of the honors programs at UT Austin. As admission to these programs is not capped or constrained by residency, a disproportionate percentage of students in these programs are from outside of Texas.
Out of State, Non-Athletic Recruiting
While UT Austin is striving to grow as an institution, its primary mission is still to serve the students of Texas. Thus, they do not recruit non-athletic students from outside of Texas.
This means that if you are interested in UT Austin and are outside of the state of Texas, you will need to seek out information on them yourself. Their representatives won’t be at college fairs near you, so you should consider visiting or reaching out if this is a university you are interested in attending.
What This Means For You
The most notable impact of this information should be a reevaluation of your chances of admission at UT Austin. Instead of the published ~30% odds, your chances are either 100% or 10%.
Instead of the published ~30% odds, your chances are either 100% or 10%.
This may change where you place UT Austin on your college list, as it is a guaranteed safety school for some students and a long shot for others. Of course, automatic admissions still requires you to get your application in on time and for there to be enough seats left, so don’t miss important deadlines! This is a true automatic acceptance, although admission to your desired college is still based on the overall quality of your application.
Increasing Your Admissions Odds
If you wish to increase your odds of acceptance at UT Austin, there are several strategies you can employ depending on where you are in your academic career. If you are just starting high school, then working as hard as you can to be in the top 6% of your class rank is the best way to ensure acceptance to UT Austin.
Of course, some high schools are more competitive than others, and most colleges care about more than just your class rank. If you want to be competitive at institutions besides UT Austin, you should also develop your extracurricular activities, study for standardized tests, and work on growing as a person, all while maintaining a high GPA. It’s good that we don’t expect too much of high school students!
If you want to be competitive at schools besides UT Austin, you should also develop your extracurricular activities, study for standardized tests, and work on growing as a person, all while maintaining a high GPA.
If you are an upperclassman, then your class rank may be more solidified. That does not mean it is immutable, merely that you have a better idea whether or not guaranteed admission is a reasonable route for you by your junior year.
If your class rank is not where you want it to be, you can try to excel in your coursework, and raise your rank prior to your senior year. You can also focus on working on the other parts of your academic and personal profile that colleges care about: what your passions are and how you explore them, your performance on standardized tests, and how you contribute to your community.
If you apply to UT Austin and know you don’t meet the bar for automatic admission, then pay careful attention to your essays. UT Austin requires the personal statement, and three supplemental essays as well, and these are a major component of how applicants will be evaluated.
If all this seems a little overwhelming, you aren’t alone. Many students are daunted by the prospect of applying to colleges. You don’t have to do it alone, though. Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss your concerns, and learn how we can help you make your college dreams come true.