TIP Scholars FAQ

TIP Director

Monica R. Hall-Porter, PhD.
Flawn Academic Center (FAC)2.110


Mailing Address

2304 Whitis Avenue
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
T: 512-232-6493
F: 512-232-2800


What is TIP Scholars?

The TIP Scholars program is a small academic community for students admitted to the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. This two-year program provides the benefits of a small college atmosphere while challenging students to take advantage of the opportunities offered at a large research institution. Among its benefits, it offers highly trained peers who serve as mentors, course assistants, and academic advisors, reserved seats in the most popular entry-level courses, linked courses for a ready-made peer network, and a dedicated staff academic advisor for individualized guidance.

How do you join TIP Scholars?

Membership to the TIP Scholars community is by invitation only. UT Admissions and the Provost’s Office review applications from first-time freshmen admitted to the College of Natural Sciences and nominate students who would be a good fit for our community of scholars. The nomination committee uses a holistic review considering high school evidence of academic achievement, commitment to learning and intellectual challenge, resilience and potential for leadership and effective collaboration, and an appreciation for engagement in a strong academic and social community.

How much does it cost to be part of this program?

There is no cost to be a TIP Scholar!

As a TIP Scholar, what is expected of me?

The TIP staff have lots of experience in working with students and over the years we’ve learned a few things. We know that students who take responsibility for their own academic success are the most likely to excel at this University. The program is designed to provide experiences that have proven to propel students to academic excellence.

As a TIP Scholar, you are expected to:

  • Enroll in the TIP fall seminar: All UT undergraduates are required to take "experience flags" as a core requirement for their degree. TIP has an Ethics and Leadership flag course already lined up for its Scholars and the focus is exploring what it means to think critically in a very complex world. TIP’s Introduction to Applied Problem Solving (NSC 209) is closely connected to the mentor team and helps hone intellectual skills that will be valuable for your academic, professional, and personal futures. TIP has also partnered with the Freshman Research Initiative to reserve seats in a reasearch-based signature course supplemented by a faculty-led small seminar with your mentor team members to process the university experience in a safe space.
  • Be an active member of your mentor team: The core of the TIP Scholar community is your mentor team. Cultivating the community starts with cultivating your team. Being an engaged and responsible member of this team will seed your network at UT and make for an amazing first year experience.
  • Partner with your TIP advisor for academic planning: TIP has its own academic advisors that are experts in the freshman experience and what it takes to graduate on time. They are your go-to people for academic planning, celebrations of success, and concerns about personal or academic bumps. They have developed an innovative, student-centered system that adds a team of highly-trained peer academic advisors and online access to rich resources to their expert one-on-one guidance.  
  • Take advantage of your resources: Mentors and advisors are not your only resources in TIP. Our students are our strongest resource and we leverage their experience and perspective heavily in enriching the services we provide our TIP Scholars. All the TIP staff, faculty, and student leaders are eager to support your success and they know that doing well in your classes is just the beginning. The best way to make the most of your undergraduate career is by staying connected with the program to explore and participate in supplemental programming such as research, internships, study abroad experiences, community service, and a host of other opportunities.
How long will I be a TIP Scholar?

We have a saying, “Once a TIP Scholar, Always a TIP Scholar”. Although our TIP family extends to current graduated professionals, you are an “active” TIP Scholar for the first two years at UT.

  • Year 1 TIP Scholars have the benefits of linked courses, peer mentors, a dedicated academic advisor, reserved seating in courses, and access to the Collaborative Study Sessions for entry-level STEM courses typically taken by TIP Scholars.
  • Year 2 TIP Scholars continue to use the benefits of a dedicated academic advisor until they reach entry level requirements for their major. They continue to have access to select reserved seats in core entry-level STEM courses and faculty. Their peer mentor is now more a friend and their mentor team a circle of close friends who now meet informally for moral support. Some Year 2 TIP Scholars even go on to become peer mentors themselves.
  • Year 3 TIP Scholars and beyond progress to their home department for advising to further foster connections in their field, but are always welcome in our community space. At this point in their UT career, they are beyond the need for the courses reserved for TIP students and often have become mentors themselves for a variety of communities across campus. You can often see senior TIP Scholars socializing, studying, and providing informal advice on classes, professors, application and future planning with peers and active TIP Scholars in our student space. Once a TIP Scholar, Always a TIP Scholar.
Can I be a TIP Scholar and belong to another UT Community?

Academics should be your top priority especially your first year at UT. For that reason, we typically ask Scholars to avoid belonging to multiple academic communities if expectations and resources overlap and are redundant. This is in order to make the most effective use of their time. There are some communities, however, that complement the TIP Scholars program and we encourage Scholars to participate if interested.

Examples of communities that would be redundant with the TIP Scholars program in their first year

  • Women in Natural Sciences (WINS)
  • Biology Scholars Program (BSP)
  • Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs)
  • Honors Programs (like Dean’s Scholars, Health Science Honors, etc.)

Examples of communities that would complement the TIP Scholars program

  • Freshman Research Initiative (FRI)
  • University Leadership Network (ULN)
Do I have to join TIP Scholars if offered a position?

UT has dedicated itself to making sure all incoming UT freshman will belong to a small learning community. Taking advantage of the exclusive invitation to make TIP Scholars your community is a personal decision.

The TIP Scholars community is one of the most celebrated, resource-rich programs in the College of Natural Sciences and both students and staff recognize the significant perks and support provided by this program. Seldom do students choose not to accept a position in TIP Scholars but they certainly can make that decision.

Even if students have a good idea that they may not stay in the College of Natural Sciences, they typically remain officially a Natural Science student their first academic year. We welcome incoming Natural Science students in transition who feel the peer support, small community, and dedicated advising guidance would benefit them.

Students participating in the University Leadership Network (ULN) do need to be part of a Success Program to remain eligible for their scholarship. The TIP Scholars program serves as the Success Program for ULN students admitted to the College of Natural Sciences.

Whatever decision is made, we want to be sure you are making an informed decision, so please feel free to call us at (512) 232-6493 or email us at TIPdesk@austin.utexas.edu if you have any questions before making your decision.