22 January 2015

A step back for UTRGV grad programs

Well, this is frustrating.

Currently, both The University of Texas-Pan American and University of Texas Brownsville handle graduate applications using a externally provided specialty system called Embark. Having used it for a few years, I can say it works well.

I learned yesterday that the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will use a completely new system for processing student applications to graduate programs. Actually, it’s already in place. It’s called ApplyTexas. It was intended to let students apply to any public university in Texas. Its sounds like a nice, simple idea: one system for students to deal with instead of many.

So, existing system that universities already have replaces subscription service, money saved, what’s the problem?

The problem is that ApplyTexas was designed to handle undergraduate admissions. It does not support attachments like personal statements or recommendation letters. To deal with this, it looks like applicants will have to go to ApplyTexas to enter their demographic data, then go to another website to upload documents, and then a third website to deal with recommendations. So instead of one common site, grad applicants will actually be interacting with three. The, they are “hoping” that all of the documents generated in these three systems can be combined into a single document.

And this decision was made after some UTRGV graduate programs had already started taking applicants.

It’s a mess.

Who decided this? The University of Texas System. Thanks a bunch, people.

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