Automatic Injustice

Automatic acceptance unfair standard for admittance


Kaitlyn Hutchins / Legacy Media

Texas House Bill 588 was passed in 1997, making the top 10 percent of graduating class automatically admitted into public universities in Texas

A student’s performance in high school is defined by numbers. SAT scores, grades, GPA, and rank defines the next four years in a student’s life after high school. A handful of numbers is in no way capable of producing a full picture of a student’s academic career, yet Texas House Bill 588 uses only one of them to determine automatic acceptance into any public university in Texas.

However, applicants are not numbers. They are students.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, an Austin-based newspaper, in 2008 top 10 percent admits at the University of Texas at Austin made up 81 percent of the freshmen class. This is an absurdly high number of incoming freshmen that may or may not have deserved their space. Although being in the top 10 percent guarantees admission, it does not guarantee intelligence nor work ethic. It does not speak to a student’s life outside of school and their personal struggles the way essays do, nor does it provide an idea of what they do in school the way extracurricular activities and leadership positions do.

What rank does show is a student’s GPA in comparison to their peers, an already shaky foundation for judgment. Graduating class sizes vary wildly throughout the state. According to this year’s rank sheets, roughly 80 students will be considered top 10 percent for this year’s graduating class, whereas a highly competitive magnet school with a class of 100 students only has space for 10 students in their top decile. Additionally, taking easier classes can boost a student’s GPA over students who challenged themselves and suffered in GPA because of it. Whereas the latter took initiative and hard work over the easy way out, the former might be offered automatic acceptance while the other fights the uphill battle to snag a coveted acceptance letter.

While some students (probably about 10 percent of them) might argue that being in the top decile means that a student has already earned their spot, there are too many parts of the puzzle for percentage or rank to be the deciding factors.

It is an injustice to students everywhere, regardless of whether or not they are in the top 10 percent, for automatic admission to continue being the standard in Texas. Students are not numbers. Do not treat them as such.