The U.S. News & World Report recently ranked The University of Texas at Austin’s First-Year Experience (FYE) program as 25 in the nation and only second in universities with over 30,000 students enrolled. UT Austin was also ranked 42 among national universities, the highest the university has ranked since 1985. The First-Year Experience rankings were a new category introduced last year, and the university was commended both years in various categories including Learning Communities, Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects, and Writing in the Disciplines.
The FYE program, part of the School of Undergraduate Studies, supports first-year students as they transition to making the Forty Acres their new home. First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs), Signature Courses, and the University Lecture Series are a few of the programs that facilitate peer and staff interactions, encourage new students to adapt to higher-level thinking and learning, and promote community among first-year students.
Michael Pontikes, a senior from Plano, Texas, began his undergraduate career at UT Austin as an undeclared student in the School of Undergraduate Studies. He credits his participation in FYE programs as the essential determinant that led him to major in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in economics, all while engaging in a supportive community.
“The First-Year Experience office helped me explore the resources and possible paths that I could take while at UT Austin,” Pontikes said. “By being in a FIG my first semester, I was able to instantly have a support group from the moment I stepped on campus. Having the same classes, we were able to bond through studying and solving the challenges we faced. I also participated in a Signature Course during my first semester at UT with Dr. Jo Worthy. She was extremely passionate about her field, and this shined through when she was teaching the class. The class helped convince me to explore the social sciences by getting a minor outside my regular STEM field.”
Read “The Daily Texan’s coverage”: https://thedailytexan.com/2020/10/01/us-news-and-world-report-ranks-uts-first-year-experience-program-no-25-in-nation of the U.S. News & World Report’s new ranking.