Meet the Director of Admissions for UT

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro

Dr. Kedra Ishop has been UT’s vice provost and director of admissions for four years, previously serving as associate director of admissions beginning in 2003. With an academic background in educational administration, she epitomizes what it is like to be a Longhorn, having earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree as well as her doctorate at UT Austin.

Longhorn Life: Can you take us through your average workday?
Dr. Kedra Ishop: No day is the same. But my days are often filled with meetings with admissions staff and colleagues across campus engaged in the enrollment process. I interact with media, students and families, and colleagues across the country. I could spend all day on email and responding to vendors, but I try not to.

LL: What are your responsibilities as director of admissions?
KI: I oversee a team of nearly 150 staff members responsible for the recruitment and admission of undergraduate students and admissions processing for the graduate school. I’m also a senior member of the enrollment management team engaged in strategic planning and initiatives for the enrollment and retention of students who can benefit from what the university has to offer.

LL: How does your department get through so many applications?
KI: During the peak season, we all work tremendously long hours to get through more than 40,000 freshman and transfer applications and to process more than 27,000 graduate school applications. Technology, good communication and a team dedicated to doing our best for our applicants make it possible. We work on improving our processes all the time, but getting it all done each year is a tremendous feat by admissions staff.

LL: After having spent time as an undergrad, grad, doctoral student and administrator at UT, does Austin or UT ever get old for you?
KI: Life on the Forty Acres is never boring and never the same from one day to the next. This campus has an amazing capacity to remain true to itself while constantly evolving. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it.

LL: What is your take on Fisher v. UT-Austin being sent back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by the Supreme Court, and what role (if any) will the admissions office potentially play in the future regarding the case?
KI: Fisher is one of many priorities for the university and the Office of Admissions. We will continue to work with legal affairs and our attorneys to do what's necessary to defend our position. As we begin to recruit the class of 2018, we continue to believe that our policies meet the constitutional standard, and we’re committed to assembling a diverse student body to benefit our entire campus, to recruit the class of 2018.

LL: With auto-admission set at top 7 percent for 2014 applicants, do you predict that the bar for automatic admission will continue to rise? Do you feel this benefits or hurts the admissions process?
KI: Unlike most states in the country, Texas is growing [with the number of] high school graduates. While there’s no guarantee that our application numbers will continue to rise with that growth, demographics suggest that the trend will continue. The 75 percent cap on automatic admissions does provide some consistency although the competition for a place in the class is tied to application numbers. The automatic admission law is part of the admissions process, so it’s neither a hindrance nor a benefit. It provides admission to students at the top of their class, and the 75 percent cap ensures that all other students also have access to the university through a competitive process. All in all, our ever-evolving process keeps us busy, challenged and never bored.