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Parents Moving School Districts to Help with Admissions

sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,373 Senior Member

I just saw an interesting article about the UT automatic admissions policy. It appears that the top 10% of students from each of the state's high schools are automatically guaranteed acceptance into the UT system. In recent years, this has been changed to top 7%.

In the article, the author states that some parents have gone so far as to move to lower performing school districts to help tip the scales in favor of their child:
That has led some families to game the system, by moving their kids to lower-achieving schools where they have a better chance.

This brings up a whole host of issues. Wondering what others think of this practice?

Replies to: Parents Moving School Districts to Help with Admissions

  • gettingschooledgettingschooled Registered User Posts: 1,951 Senior Member
    I live in Texas and I have never met or heard of an actual person with a name who moved their kid to a lower performing district to get into UT. When you look at houses, is it a strike against a very high performing district? For some.

    I don't know any parents who think putting their kids in an underperforming school is a good idea.

    While the top 7 percent is guaranteed admission to the university, a whole host of factors including test scores and ECs are factored in for admission to your major.

    UT's four year graduation rate is rising. Greater focus on advising seems to be helping that. But McRaven and now Governor Abbott have come out against the law, so 2017 will be an interesting legislative session.
  • beyondtxbeyondtx Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    I do personally know families in our area who have taken this into consideration when buying/moving. The competition to be at the top in one of our local schools in particular is so fierce that some parents figure moving gives their kid a fighting chance for auto admit. It's not like they are considering switching to a school that is awful, just maybe one that is a notch down in competetiveness.
  • fauvefauve Registered User Posts: 3,525 Senior Member
    If a family prefers a less-competitive high school which still has excellent teachers, more power to them. Having a school full of overachievers can be frustrating to students who spend a lot of time on their ECs or sports. The students whose parents are paying for multiple private tutors and test-prep tutors could also be accused of "gaming the system".

    Because of an employment transfer, our DDs went from a highly competitive district to a more values-based school, and they were able to rise to the top quickly, develop great self-confidence, enjoyed very good academics, thriving ECs and top-Ivy admissions. Who knows what the results would have been in the previous environment? They were able to succeed at their colleges, and top grad programs despite the slightly less rigorous HS.

  • 2019hope2019hope Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    I haven't heard of changing districts....since ISD's are usually huge. I have heard of parents placing their kids in less competitive schools inside the district. I also have spoken with many parents who have bought houses in the "one notch down" high school areas expressly for the 7% rule.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 39,276 Super Moderator
    I don't like the rule. My dad is a professor at UT, and he said the problem is that kids in very poor school districts who qualify automatically often are not able to succeed at the university.

    On a more personal level, three generations of my family have been Longhorns - my grandmother attended graduate school at UT in the 1920s. But it looks as if none of my sister's three kids will be able to get in. The older two were not in the top 7% at their competitive high school. I don't think my younger nephew will make it, either. It's a shame, because they would done well at UT. My niece is graduating this year. She's in the top 10%, but not the top 7%. My older nephew appealed his rejection without success.

  • gettingschooledgettingschooled Registered User Posts: 1,951 Senior Member
    Since UT does not meet full need, I wonder how many top 7 percenters from poor backgrounds actually attend.
  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    I'm a bit confused as to why UT decided on a top 7 percent auto admit as opposed to a SAT/GPA cutoff instead.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 39,276 Super Moderator
    ^The thinking is that it gives kids in small, poorer schools more opportunity to attend college.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,442 Senior Member
    Given that there is a very high correlation between SAT/ACT scores and family income, using a percentage for the auto admit is a way of leveling the playing field for students from lower income neighborhoods and somewhat lower performing high schools. As MainLonghorn points out above, this does pose risks for those students from the lower performing schools. If the university is not prepared to provide the supports necessary for their successful transition, many will struggle and eventually drop out.
  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 Registered User Posts: 3,769 Senior Member
    This is definitely happening in North Texas. The parents aren't moving to underperforming districts just less competitive districts. It's a very unfortunate situation and the rankings game being played by students is not to the students' development.
  • ScienceGirlMomScienceGirlMom Registered User Posts: 423 Member
    I personally knew one student who said he was attending a very small, pretty much unknown private high school for the advantage of graduating at the top of his class. Last I heard, he was enrolled at UT. I thought it was sad that he missed out on the usual high school activities just for the sake of being admitted to one particular college.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 39,276 Super Moderator
    ^Well, the one particular college IS highly rated and affordable, so I can understand why someone might do that.
  • 2019hope2019hope Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    That is true. Hard to look OOS when you have such a good, affordable option at home.
  • piesquaredpiesquared Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    edited May 2016
    @gettingschooled I can answer for the quite low SES school where I work: two out of fifteen admitted can afford to go to our Texas flagship. One has a lot of outside scholarships; one lives with his mother who is a housecleaner but has a noncustodial father who owns a business and he can afford to bridge his son's gap.

    Many of my students would have been happy to go to UT-Austin (and wanted to), but were gapped too much to afford to go. So that little canard about low income students at lower ranked schools (which mine definitely is) taking up all the spots has just not been borne out in my experience.

    The money at Texas A&M has in recent years been better so more of my top 10% students have been able to go there. This year was NOT a good year financial-aid wise for A&M, so most of my top 10% students are going to our local state school.

    Edited to add: We'd be happy if people chose our school based on the fact that their motivated student could finish in the top 7%. I don't see anything wrong with taking that into consideration as one data point in your high school evaluations. I'd honestly tell you that the preparation at our school is uneven, and compared to the education my own children have received at a different high school in our district, definitely less rigorous.
  • EarlVanDornEarlVanDorn Registered User Posts: 1,283 Senior Member
    @Qwerty568 The Fifth Circuit outlawed racial discrimination in colleges within that district briefly, and so the Texas legislature responded by ordering that the top ten percent from each high school be admitted. Without racial discrimination very few minorities would be admitted. The Supreme Court later said that racial discrimination was okay in order to promote "diversity," so it was relaxed to seven percent, with the understanding that UT would discriminate like mad against students from affluent districts.
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