The University of Texas at Austin’s Explore UT, known as “the biggest open house in Texas,” is expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors of all ages from throughout the state March 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., when more than 400 free activities in six realms of discovery will be featured on the university’s main campus.
The public event has proved to be an effective means of recruiting bright, talented prospective students to the university in past years. It also has inspired excitement in learning among younger children who attend and experience the intellectual life, technological advances and rich natural and cultural resources of a world-class university.
More than 400 buses filled with children from school districts throughout Texas are scheduled to arrive on campus to participate in Explore UT. Many of the students will travel hundreds of miles to have access to an academic setting that encourages them to continue their education beyond high school.
Activities at Explore UT are organized into six realms of discovery:
- Arts Adventures — Embrace a culture of innovation found in the arts, architecture and communication.
- Cultural Crossroads — Harness the creativity and critical thinking found in business, information, education and the liberal arts.
- Engineering Expeditions — Chart a journey to solve global problems, expand knowledge and improve lives.
- Public Service Passageway — Learn how your world is enriched through the law, social work and public service.
- Science Safari — Experience new technologies in the sciences, and see the innovative fun in pharmacy, nursing, geosciences and more.
- Longhorn Trail — Discover our Longhorn community, and see firsthand the many ways The University of Texas at Austin is changing the world.
Some of the activities will give students an opportunity to design and create paper flying machines, learn about robotics and automation, create a magazine cover, and learn how tiny worms are helping to solve mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.
While the students are exploring activities on campus, dozens of their teachers will participate in free continuing education courses, which will count toward their required professional development credit hours.
Explore UT has been held since 1999. It allows the community, especially children, an inside look at the university and provides an opportunity for prospective students and their families to see the university’s literary and art collections, learn about its cutting-edge research, experience its history and traditions, and interact with faculty members, staffers and students.
A significant recruiting aspect of Explore UT is the UT VIP program, which was launched in 2011 to provide targeted programs during Explore UT to the state’s most promising prospective students. The students who are invited to participate have already been admitted to the university, and their academic qualifications suggest they will have multiple offers from high-caliber institutions.
Among those attending in 2011 were more than 17,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade who attended Explore UT with their teachers, representing 302 schools in 106 school districts. Three-quarters of the schools are classified as Title 1, representing a significant proportion of students from low-socioeconomic-status households. This outreach effort has grown far beyond Central Texas to include schools from Laredo, Corpus Christi, Houston, Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley.
The University Co-op, cooperatively owned by the faculty, students and staff of The University of Texas at Austin, is a major sponsor of Explore UT. Additional support is provided by the University Federal Credit Union, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and the Office of the President.