573 rising high school seniors spent a summer weekend on campus, getting a taste of college classes and culture at the Honors Colloquium. The recruitment event, under the leadership of School of Undergraduate Studies staff, invites Texas high school students to explore the unique academic and social sides of campus: classes, research, and exploring UT’s gems during the day, and staying at Jester Center for two nights. This was the 31st year the university has been hosting the Colloquium.
The three-day event helps students make personal connections to the university. Visiting colloquists experience the university in cohorts led by current UT student mentors. Mentors are available to students 24 hours a day, and provide perspective on campus and academic life, lead discussions, and make sure students are happy, healthy, and safe throughout their stays. One mentor commented, “Before I attended Honors Colloquium, I hadn’t even considered UT Austin as a college choice. Three years later, it is the best experience of my life. I want to give back.”
Taking college-level courses is one of the foundations of Colloquium. Students experience true intellectual engagement in classes and tours of the university’s world-class laboratories, libraries, and museums. This year, faculty led 70 lectures and seminars on a wide variety of topics. One student explained, “I enjoyed the opportunity to experience both large and small classroom settings and to receive a sample of the style and feel of some college courses, and also the chance to interact with professors on a level that may not normally be accessible.”
Surveys from this year’s Colloquium show that over 60% of those students rate themselves as being extremely interested in UT after Colloquium. By comparison, before arriving on campus, only 28% rate themselves as being extremely interested in UT. In the last four years, over 88% of all Colloquium attendees apply to the university, and of those admitted, 96% enroll.