Admission to the University of Texas at Austin has become notoriously difficult for Texas students graduating outside of the top 7% of their high school class. If you are not familiar with the policies and laws governing automatic admission to the University of Texas, essentially 75% of every incoming freshman class at UT is admitted automatically because of class rank. This has made obtaining a spot in the remaining 25% of each class extremely competitive; after all, this quarter of the class accounts for competitive international and out of state students as well as deserving students who simply did not graduate with a high enough class rank to be automatically admitted.
In an effort to make admission to UT’s main campus more accessible, the university has established the Coordinated Admission Program, otherwise known as CAP. So, what is the CAP?
The Coordinated Admission Program allows select students who were not admitted to UT as first-time freshman to enroll at a University of Texas satellite school (satellite schools include UT San Antonio, UT El Paso, UT Arlington, UT Brownsville, UT Pan Am, UT Permian Basin and UT Tyler). CAP students who complete 30 hours of coursework and maintain a 3.2 GPA or higher, among other requirements, are automatically accepted as transfer students to the University of Texas at Austin.
Requirements to join the CAP vary from satellite school to satellite school; so, for example, a student who is eligible to attend UT Brownsville as a CAP student may not be eligible to attend UT Tyler. Additionally, students can only be invited to enroll as a CAP student after applying as a first-time freshman to the University of Texas at Austin. This means, for example, that you cannot apply directly to UTSA to enroll as a CAP student. The schools that a student may attend are determined solely by that student’s class rank and SAT or ACT score. You can find the exact requirements for each satellite university here.
For many students the Coordinated Admission Program will not be a first or preferred option; however, as the university succinctly writes on their website, “Some Texas residents … see participation in the Coordinated Admission Program (CAP) as a viable option.” The truth is that the CAP is a viable option for many students. The University of Texas is one of the best schools in the country. In terms of the value of your degree, it doesn’t matter where you start – it matters where you finish.
So, if you are still interested in the CAP, what else do you need to know?
The credit you receive as a CAP student at a UT satellite school is transferable, but the grades you receive are not. This means you will still receive credit towards your degree for the coursework you complete at a satellite school, but your graduating cumulative GPA will essentially restart after transferring to UT.
You will want to very, very carefully select your schedule for your yearlong sojourn at whatever satellite school you enroll at. You need to complete a minimum of 30 hours to be eligible to transfer. All 30 hours of your coursework must be earned in the fall and spring semester, meaning you cannot count summer classes towards your 30 hours minimum. Additionally, all of your coursework must come from a pre-approved list of potential classes. When selecting your courses, you should adjust for difficulty (remember, you will need to maintain a 3.2 GPA or higher) and try to select core courses that satisfy requirements for multiple degree paths. This will help you maintain flexibility in terms of choosing and following through with a degree choice after you transfer.
As a CAP student you are guaranteed admission to University of Texas, provided you meet the requirements outlined above; however, this does not mean you are guaranteed admission to the department or program of your choice. CAP students are automatically guaranteed admission into UT’s College of Liberal Arts or School of Undergraduate Studies. Taken from the university website, “If you select a major other than the ones guaranteed to CAP students, you will compete for admission with other transfer applicants to the major you select. If you aren’t admitted to your selected major, you will still be offered admission to a major of your choice in Liberal Arts or Undergraduate Studies.”
You should also be aware that the number of students who do eventually transfer to the University of Texas’s Austin campus through the CAP program is relatively low. Whether it’s because they are reluctant to leave behind new made friends, missed the transfer deadline (don’t miss the deadlines!), or simply did not earn the necessary grades, most CAP students do not end up at the University of Texas Austin.
Finally, if you are planning to receive financial aid via the FAFSA, remember that although you won’t have to apply separately to the satellite school you end up attending, you will be responsible for sending your financial aid application and paperwork directly to that institution. Learn more about the CAP and financial aid here.
If you have more questions about the CAP, feel free to comment below or Ask Test Masters. You might also do well to consult this University of Texas CAP Frequently Asked Questions Guide.