The Longhorn Link Program
The program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students towards the successful completion of their post-secondary education.
The goal of the Longhorn Link Program is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next.
Individuals must be admitted to The University of Texas at Austin and meet one or more of the following requirements. Students also need to demonstrate an academic need for assistance.
- Low-income student (Meet the income criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.)
- First-generation student (Neither parent has received a four-year degree.)
- Student with a disability (Must be registered with Services for Students with Disabilities.)
By the numbers
- The Longhorn Link program serves 165 students total every year.
- First-year Longhorn Link participants achieved a 3.16 GPA for the 2017-2018 academic year and had 97% retention rate.
- 12 Longhorn Link participants studied abroad this past academic year in locations such as China, London, South Africa and other countries.
Quynh-Nhi Nguyen Sophomore, Biochemistry Sachse, TX
“As a first generation college student, the Longhorn Link Program has opened a door for me to countless opportunities for success at the University of Texas. Transitioning from high school to college was reassuring after meeting many students like myself in the program. From the educational UGS 303 course, to free tutoring, and priority registration, to name a few, LLP is always supporting its students. Not only has LLP provided me with resources to succeed but has also given me the opportunity to gain leadership experience as a mentor. I am also thankful for the LLP staff for their knowledge, advice, and for making the Longhorn Link Program possible. It is a privilege to be a part of the LLP family and I am truly grateful.”
Jaylen Miller Sophomore, Electrical Engineering Georgetown, TX
“The Longhorn Link Program has been a great support for me in my transition into The University of Texas. LLP advisors are always available to talk to and ask questions, creating a comforting environment that allows students to benefit from their guidance, experience, and resources. Making it through college requires hard work and determination, and it certainly helps to have support along the way. Providing me with numerous opportunities and student services, LLP has given me many tools that ensure the success of my college career.”
Juanye Brown Freshman, Economics Houston, TX
“By providing informative workshops, a friendly atmosphere, lifelong lessons and great relationships, the Longhorn Link Program has made my transition to college a very successful and comfortable one. I’ve learned so much from the people here about college and life in general through Dr. Moore’s lectures in the UGS course and the impactful volunteer work I was able to do. This program has a staff that is always willing to help no matter what it is and has played a key role in the success of my first year at UT.”
Kyle Ray Sophomore, Undergraduate Studies Dallas, TX
“My experience with the Longhorn Link Program has been nothing less than fantastic. The LLP staff is by far the most supportive and caring people. Each one of them has impacted me in a different yet positive way. The services they offer are extremely beneficial and are always improving since my time with them. This program makes the transition from high school to college relatively smooth. If I ever had a question I would always ask my cohort who has been the greatest comfort I have communicated with.”
Q: What is the 360 Connections Initiative?
A: 360 Connections are UT’s campus-wide effort to promote and support on-time graduation for all students. Every student is connected to a program when they first enter college. Each program’s goal is to set students on a path to graduate in four years. Each program offers assistance and resources to help students achieve that goal. Participation in 360 Connections is mandatory.
Q: What is the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE)?
A: The Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence is one of the 360 Connections. LCAE provides academic, personal, and professional supports to students from colleges and majors across campus. Each year, LCAE supports over two thousand students with over a dozen programs, including Gateway Scholars and Longhorn Link. LCAE is part of UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE), and is part of the DDCE’s PreK-to-PhD Pathways. For more, please visit diversity.utexas.edu/academiccenter.
Q: What are Gateway Scholars (GWS) and Longhorn Link (LLP)?
A: Gateway Scholars is a student-success program that facilitates the transition to and through college, and into a career. GWS focuses on supporting first-year students, but offers four years of guidance and mentorship.
Longhorn Link is also a student-success program that provides opportunities for academic development, assists with college requirements, and serves to motivate students toward the completion of their postsecondary education.
Both GWS and LLP are effective programs. Over the last five years, the retention for students in these programs is 95% or higher. The average GPA of participants—3.0 or higher—matches or exceeds the University as a whole.
Q: How are students picked for Gateway and Longhorn Link?
A: LLP follows federal regulations to select students who meet one or more criteria relating to low income, first-generation college status, and individual disability. Most LLP students are referred via their high school pre-college programs, including programs like Upward Bound and Talent Search. GWS selects the majority of its students from Fine Arts, Nursing, and Social Work. Also, GWS often supports students who are part of the DDCE’s educational pathways, especially those who have been served by pre-college programs in the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships, including Advise Texas, Dual Enrollment Initiatives, Neighborhood Longhorns, and UT Outreach. Additionally, both GWS and LLP recruit students based on exceptional motivation and persistence in high school. Participating students have demonstrated strong academics, extracurricular accomplishment, career preparation, community leadership, etc.
Q: Is there a cost to participate in Gateway and Longhorn Link?
A: No. Participating in GWS and LLP is entirely free for students the entire time they are enrolled.
Q: What is an academic advisor?
A: Your academic advisor helps you stay on track toward graduation. Advisors are experts housed within the academic departments who guide you through your major’s expectations and degree plan. So, English majors are served by advisors who specialize in the requirements and courses found in the College of Liberal Arts, etc. Since LCAE is housed in the DDCE and not an academic department, it does not offer academic advising.
GWS and LLP staff do advise students—think of it as success coaching—in all sorts of ways: building resumes and networking skills, developing professionally, finding mentorship and internship opportunities, studying abroad, gaining soft skills, etc. Additionally, GWS and LLP staff do help review guidance from academic advisors in ways that are complimentary. An academic advisor helps students select which classes are needed in a semester, for instance, and GWS/LLP help students design a calendar with those classes that work for them. LCAE stays in persistent contact with students in ways that are interactive, personalized, and hands-on.
Q: How do the UGS 303 and ALD 118C fit into my degree plan?
Students participating in GWS and LLP are expected to take two courses: the three-hour UGS 303 in the fall, and the one-hour ALD 118C in the spring. Every student on campus is required to take a “signature course” during their first year, usually their first semester. UGS 303 is the signature course designated for GWS and LLP students. Because of their participation in GWS and LLP, students are guaranteed a spot in this popular course that builds students’ critical thinking skills and cultural intelligence. The course introduces students to the habits central to success in college and careers. Plus, UGS 303 counts toward the core class requirements that all students need to take to graduate.
ALD 118C is an elective speaker series that does not interfere with students’ degree plans. It showcases how students can use their time in college to explore and prepare for their eventual careers. Each week students get the chance to learn from experts in their field, with expertise ranging from nonprofits to business, healthcare to law. Students discuss how to think entrepreneurially about their academic and professional development. Occasionally, unavoidable scheduling conflicts occur. When there is a conflict between UGS 303, ALD 118C, and a course required for their major, LCAE advises students to take the course within their academic department. We will work with them to find a suitable signature course replacement.
Q: Are students part of Gateway and Longhorn Link all four years?
A: They don’t have to be, but it is highly encouraged. Again, students who remain engaged in learning communities and with student support services stay in college at a higher rate, typically earn a higher GPA, and are more likely to graduate on-time. Plus, they are connected to a wider, deeper set of resources and opportunities.
Q: Besides GWS and LLP, what resources and opportunities does LCAE provide?
A: A partial list of resources and opportunities provided by LCAE include: STEM tutoring, writing consultations, research guidance, success coaching, interview practice, resume building, networking events, financial literacy lessons, paid internships, longterm mentorships, work-study positions, service leadership experiences, community service experiences, study abroad experiences and support, college-to-career experiences and support (law, healthcare, business), the Fearless Leaders Institute, the Heman Sweatt Center, Monarch Scholars, McNair Scholars (for students seeking Ph.D.’s), dedicated study space, scholarships, and much more. LCAE can also work with students to develop individualized supports as needed. Students just need to ask for help, and we will provide it. For more, visit diversity.utexas.edu/academiccenter.
Q: Where is LCAE, including Gateway and Longhorn Link located on campus?
A: You can find us in the Student Services Building (SSB). SSB is at 100 W. Dean Keeton Street 78712. For a map, visit utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/campus/buildings/nlogon/maps/UTM/SSB. LCAE is in suite 4.400. Take the elevator to the fourth floor, and turn right once you step off. You can call LCAE’s main line—512 471 1205—weekdays from 8A to 5P for assistance.
Q: What is the Texas One Stop?
A: The Texas One Stop is the single resource students need to handle everything related to registering for classes, financial aid, paying your bill, ordering transcripts, and more. For more, visit onestop.utexas.edu, where you can get many questions easily answered by chatting with the 24/7 Bevo Bot. You can also email the One Stop at email@example.com, call at 512 232 6988, and follow them online at twitter.com/onestoptexas.
Q: What is the School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS)?
A: The School of Undergraduate Studies oversees the components of the college education shared by all undergraduates at the University. UGS maintains the core curriculum and other first-year academic experiences. UGS offers advising, career counseling, academic assistance, and research opportunities. LCAE is not part of UGS, but it is important for incoming students to know what resources UGS offers to all students. For more, visit ugs.utexas.edu.
Q: When is orientation? How do I sign up?
A: Freshman Orientation is required for students admitted to the fall semester. For Freshman Orientation, different sessions are offered depending on your college or school. Space is limited, so register early as sessions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration for each orientation session closes at 11:59P ten days before the start of each session. For more, and to register, visit orientation.utexas.edu/freshman/orientation-dates.
Q: What should I take care of before school starts in the fall?
A: Make sure you complete all required tasks before the end of summer and the start of the semester, including:
- Submit Dual Enrollment/ECHS (Associates) /AP/IB Transcripts
- Take Assessment and Placement Tests
- Submit Immunization Records
- Arrange Disability Accommodations
For guidance on how to complete the admissions process, especially submitting transcripts for credit transfer, visit: admissions.utexas.edu/apply/freshman-admission, and search for “transcripts.” For additional guidance on placement and assessment testing, visit: testingservices.utexas.edu/credit.
For guidance on preparing for your online summer orientation, including downloading the orientation app, accessing Canvas, Duo, and Zoom, submitting proof of immunization, and taking placement tests, visit the extensive pre-orientation checklist: orientation.utexas.edu/freshman/pre-orientation-checklist.
After your orientation, for guidance on all the final tasks needed to prepare for the start of the semester, visit the extensive post-orientation checklist: orientation.utexas.edu/freshman/post-orientation-checklist.
If you need to arrange accommodations for disabilities, please visit: orientation.utexas.edu/students-with-disabilities and diversity.utexas.edu/disability.
Q: When is tuition due?
A: For students who register either on or before the last day of orientation—Wednesday, 22 July—the Fall 2020 tuition payment is due no later than 14 August, 5:00P. For more about tuition bills and payment deadlines, visit.
Q: How is the current public health crisis impacting campus?
A: For the most up-to-date information about the University’s response to COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.utexas.edu.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in educational records. This includes items such as the student’s name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student’s identity easily traceable. At UT Austin, FERPA rights apply to students. A student is a person who is or has been in attendance at the institution, regardless of the person’s age. According to FERPA, nondirectory information may not be released without prior written consent from the student. For students, direct general questions to the Office of the Registrar at registrar.utexas.edu/about/contact. For more, visit registrar.utexas.edu/staff/ferpa and ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco.