This fall marks the biggest incoming Undergraduate Studies class ever: 1,400 students, up more than 50% from last year’s incoming class of 900. This brings the total number of undergraduates enrolled in the school to a record 2,900 students beginning in the fall 2012 semester. The initial concern, according to Associate Dean Larry Abraham, was whether the Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling had enough advisors to provide the in-depth major exploration process Undergraduate Studies advisors give students undecided on a direction. The school also serves students in any college or school who are exploring options, so the overall increase in UT’s fall enrollment has a particular impact on Undergraduate Studies. In response to these factors, the CSA&CC hired three new advisors who have just finished training and are ready to advise students.
All incoming UGS students were also directed to Wayfinder, a multifaceted online tool that assists prospective, admitted, and current students at UT Austin in choosing an academic major. Wayfinder is used to supplement academic advising, not as a replacement. Assistant Dean for Advising David Spight noted that the advisors are looking forward to welcoming all of the new UGS students at Gone to Texas on August 28.
Another response to increased enrollment came from the First-year Interest Group (FIG) program, which added nine new academic FIGs open only to UGS students. A FIG is a cohort of up to 25 first-year students who develop community by taking two to four classes together, and are generally within the same college or school. Students satisfy degree requirements while forging a link between academic and social experiences. Of the nine additional FIGs added to UGS, a few Natural-Sciences-oriented FIGS were added because a large number of students in UGS had selected the College of Natural Sciences as their first choice. “We tried to make sure the FIGs that we added addressed those areas of interest,” said Assistant Dean for Advising David Spight. “The courses that were associated with those FIGs, whether it be the signature course topics or the other courses in the FIG clusters, we made sure they were along those lines in the sciences.”