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University of Texas at Austin
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Academics Contact Info

Academics Director:
Dr. David Stevens

Department Email:
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Department Phone:

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State Champions

Tips on Recruiting Students

  • Have a network to identify bright, motivated students. Work through teachers, counselors and siblings. Get good students to recruit their friends.
  • Build from the ground up. Build an A+ Program program. Have successful high school participants recruit jr. high students
  • Recruit for UIL at "parent night" activities.
  • Mail fancy invitations.
  • Emphasize FUN!
  • We set aside three days about a week into the school year when all students may register by signing up on one of the event posters in the hallway. We make these posters very bright, visible and appealing. After three days of intense promotion and registering, all the posters come down, and we dispense the information to each sponsor, keeping a master copy on file with the UIL coordinator.
  • Our UIL academic program is a reflection and an extension of our classroom instruction. The Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) used by the TEA includes the TAKS scores along with other indicators. The TAKS test focuses on reading, math, writing, science and social studies skills. What are major areas covered in the UIL Academic Program? All that and more! Dollar for dollar, the UIL academic program is a "Blue Chip investment."
  • One of our middle school UIL academic coordinators holds a "UIL Fair" in the cafeteria to recruit new students. UIL academic coaches and last year's UIL students set up booths. They promote and encourage students to sign up. "Goodie Bags" help in promoting the event.
  • Good planning, support from administration, academic coaches with high expectations, last year's UIL students who encourage their friends to sign up, and a friendly note to parents explaining the benefits of the UIL academic program. All of these are ingredients for a successful recruitment program.
  • We limit the number of events that one kid can enter in any year. We allow each kid to enter only three events. This seems to add a bit of urgency to kids as they try to get involved in events. As well, it forces us to dip a little deeper into our talent pool, and we often find kids who are not involved in other things and will dedicate themselves more to their academic events.
  • Last year we had a pizza lunch at the beginning of school and invited all the students who had been recommended by teachers. We printed a pamphlet about all the contests and sponsors as well as information about former competitors and what UIL had done for them. We mentioned the number of recent National Merit Scholars, valedictorians and salutatorians who had competed in UIL academic events. We also mentioned that they had gone to Harvard, Harvard Law, Rice, Duke Medical, UT, A&M, etc., and that many of them had received scholarships that were probably made available to them because of their UIL participation.
  • We stress benefits such as out-of-town trips, improved academic achievement, learning to manage time, setting goals, becoming your own advocate, working with teachers, taking notes, learning to study, getting along with students from different schools and just having fun.
  • We emphasized that their participation in academic events made them more attractive to schools and scholarship committees. At the meetings, we reiterated that top students need to compete academically because they do not know what is out there until they do. You may be tops at little Brownwood High School, but that doesn't mean you can compete with the top kids from elsewhere. We were able to recruit several new kids this way, and we plan to do the same thing this fall. Incidentally, the pamphlet was prepared by UIL competitors, including our student who won first place at state in computer applications. Current students also submitted quotes about what UIL had meant to them.
  • I try to also emphasize the fun aspects of tournaments and practices. We meet in the evenings to practice and order pizza, so it's also social as well as work-oriented. Also, the kids like to get out of town and meet new people-so, that's a great plug for tournaments. I really think the best thing that gets them into it all is for you to build a team and guide them into having pride in competition.
  • We also set aside a day later in May to reward our UIL participants with a day-out picnic at the golf club in town. We set the guidelines for eligibility, but make it such that it's not just for the winners at district, etc.
  • At our Awards Day Ceremony, it has become a tradition to specifically honor all academic UIL participants with a special certificate and having them all on stage, whereupon the teachers lead in a standing ovation. Students who witness this honoring may be drawn to participate the next year, knowing their own potential strength/interest in one of the UIL events.