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FALL 2021 APPLICATION UPDATE

If you are offered a seat in BSP, please carefully consider our expectations before accepting:

1) You must be a biology or biochemistry major this fall. BSP students are NOT allowed to change their major prior to the fall semester. You're welcome to contact the BSP coordinator if you wish to discuss your options,

2) This fall all BSP freshmen are required to take BIO 311C or BIO 315H, CH 301, and NSC 109. Students will be encouraged to take a math class, but it is not required. BSP freshmen are NOT allowed to jump ahead to sophomore-level classes BIO 325 or CH 320M,

3) BSP freshmen are required to attend weekly meetings of their mentor group. They are allowed 3 absences in the fall semester,

4) All BSP students are required to attend 2 social or volunteer events in the fall semester,

5) BSP students may only be in one small community. The only exceptions are for Terry Scholars and ULN. Please contact the BSP coordinator if you have any questions about your situation.

Failure to meet these expectations will result in immediate removal from the program.

Contact BSP Coordinator Chris Connelly (chris.connelly@austin.utexas.edu) if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to welcoming you to our small community this fall!

 

OVERVIEW

1) who are biology scholars?

Biology Scholars have stellar high school records, are biology or biochemistry majors pursuing a career in the health professions, and want to participate in a small community with other like-minded individuals.  They welcome the opportunity to be mentored by a sophomore, and are excited to participate in the monthly events BSP offers. Incoming cohorts consist of 40 students. The program aims to serve students who are traditionally under-represented in the College of Natural Sciences, including racial minorities, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, first-generation college students, and students from small towns.  However, all students are welcome to apply.

1a) Yeah, but what is BSP?

It's a cohort of 40 students who share classes, are in small mentor groups and attend group events. BSP provides students an opportunity to get additional support; it helps make UT feel smaller and more manageable. Students have built-in study buddies and tend to make lifelong friendships with their peers.

 

2) what do you mean "pursuing a career in the health professions?"

Students who are hoping to become doctors, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, optometrists, or veterinarians. Sorry, students who want to become a nurse or chiropractor do not fall into this category.

 

APPLICATION

3) How do I apply to BSP?

Invites are anticipated to be emailed in mid-March 2021. Students who don't receive an invite are welcome to email the BSP coordinator (contact info at the bottom of this page) if they are interested in applying. The application deadline is anticipated to be April 5, 2021.

3a) how will i be notified of an admissions decision?

All incoming CNS students will be notified of their Cornerstones Community placement on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. This email will come from CNS and will inform students whether they've been admitted to BSP or placed into a different community.

3B) what happens if i am not admitted to BSP?

You will be placed in a different Cornerstones Community. The email you receive on April 21, 2021 will indicate your community placement. As a college we are committed to making UT Austin a welcoming and inclusive place for all students. We have a team of dedicated staff focused on supporting you, and we are actively working to match every incoming student with a small academic learning community of peers with similar academic interests.

 

4) Can I apply to BSP if I’m not interested in a health profession?           

No. BSP is intended for pre-health professions students.

 

5) I received an invite to bsp, but i'm not certain that i'll be attending ut. should i still apply to bsp?

Sure! If you are offered a BSP seat, and decide not to attend UT, your seat will be given to another student. No worries.

 

6) is admission to bsp competitive?

Yes. Last year's admissions cycle yielded 113 applicants for 40 seats.

 

PROGRAM DETAILS

7) How long is the program?

Two years (four semesters).

 

8) If I am accepted into BSP, am I guaranteed to be in the program for two years?

No. BSP students must meet specific attendance and participation requirements each semester in order to continue in the program. These requirements will be explained before students are admitted to the program, and will be reiterated each semester thereafter.

 

9) Is bsp an honors program?

No.

 

10) Is BSP a remedial program?

No.

 

11) is there a housing requirement associated with bsp?

No.  BSP students may live wherever they like and with whomever they want.

 

12) do bsp students have to pay dues or any fees to be in the program?

No.  

 

AP/IB/DUAL CREDITS

13) I have dual credit for biology and/or chemistry.  i do not want to retake these classes at UT and plan to take sophomore-level Biology and/or chemistry during my first year at ut.  Should i apply to BSP?

No. BSP students get the most out of the program if they are taking the same classes.  Since BSP freshmen will take introductory chemistry (CH 301) and intro or honors biology (BIO 311C or BIO 315H), students who plan to jump ahead to sophomore-level classes are NOT good candidates for BSP.  They are encouraged to apply to FRI or another program instead.  Want a second opinion about the idea of jumping ahead?  Feel free to email the BSP coordinator (contact info at the bottom of this page).

13A) i spent a lot of time and money on my dual credit biology and chemistry classes. I don't want to retake them at UT. additionally, my family doesn't want me to retake these classes.

That's understandable, but it doesn't sound like BSP is the best community for you. CNS will work to place you in a different community.

13b) i TOOK A LOT OF DUAL credit BECAUSE I WANT to graduate as fast as possible.

That's understandable, however, it doesn't sound like BSP is the best community for you. CNS will work to place you in a different community.

 

14) i have ap or IB credit i plan to claim for biology and/or chemistry.  i do not want to retake these classes and i plan to take sophomore-level Biology and/or chemistry during my first year at ut.  should i apply to bsp?

No.  See the answer above to the dual credit question.  Additionally, know that Texas health professions schools prefer that applicants complete their requirements at a four-year university, rather than claiming credit.  Earning a good grade in science classes at UT is more impressive than claiming AP/IB credit for the same subject.  Want a second opinion about the idea to claim credit for biology and/or chemistry?  Feel free to contact the BSP coordinator (contact info at the bottom of this page).

 

15) i have dual/ap/ib credit for calculus.  i may take calculus 2 in my first year at ut, or may not take calculus at all.  should i apply to bsp?

Yes.  It is okay if you already have calculus credit and don't plan to take it at UT.

 

CLASSES & REGISTRATION

16) What classes are reserved through BSP?

Semester 1 – NSC 109 (combined BSP & FRI seminar), Calculus 1, CH 301, BIO 311C or BIO 315H

Semester 2 – BIO 102C (BSP seminar), Calculus 2, CH 302, BIO 311D or BIO 325H

Semester 3 – BIO 102C, BIO 325, CH 320M

Semester 4 – BIO 102C, CH 320N

 

17) i don't want to take the "trifecta" (math, chemistry, biology) in my first semester.  should i apply to bsp?

No.  While BSP is not considered an honors program, it is a program for intelligent, highly-motivated students who want to challenge themselves academically.  Therefore students are expected to take the trifecta* during their first semester. The only exception is for students who already have math credit and won't be taking calculus.

    * Students who are not ready for calculus may take precalculus or statistics.

 

18) what if A student accepts a seat in bsp, but decides at summer orientation they do not want to take chemistry and biology in their first semester?

The student will lose their seat in BSP and will be placed in a First-Year Interest Group (FIG).

 

19) what if a student accepts a seat in bsp, but decides at summer orientation that they want to claim ap/ib/dual credit for chemistry and/or biology and jump ahead to sophomore-level science in the fall?

The student will lose their seat in BSP and will be placed in a FIG.

 

20) what if a student accepts a seat in bsp, but decides before the fall semester to change their major to something other than biology or biochemistry?

The student will lose their seat in BSP and will be placed in a FIG. However, the student should contact the BSP coordinator (contact info at the bottom of this page) first to discuss the situation.

 

21) Why are there fewer reserved classes in one’s sophomore year?

Students’ academic paths tend to differ after their first year so it’s more difficult to find common classes that benefit everyone.

 

22) Does being in BSP mean I’ll be in smaller classes?

No. Your math and science classes will be large and will include other UT students who are not in BSP. However, the BSP seminars will contain only the students in your BSP cohort.  The fall 2021 first-year cohort is expected to be 40 students.

 

23) What topics are covered during the BSP seminars?

Semester 1 – NSC 109: Critical thinking/community building/research methods

Semester 2 – BIO 102C: Analyzing research articles

Semester 3 – BIO 102C: Research design/post-graduate opportunities in life sciences

Semester 4 – BIO 102C: Healthcare field/applying to a health professions school

 

24) How do the BSP seminars count towards my degree?

NSC 109 and the BIO 102C seminars count towards electives.  Electives are used to help students reach the required total hours (between 120 and 127 depending on major/degree option) to complete their degree.

 

25) How many electives do I need to graduate?            

Most students need 6 to 12 elective hours, but ultimately it depends on the degree a student chooses and how other requirements are satisfied.

 

FRESHMAN RESEARCH INITIATIVE (FRI)

26) Can I be in both BSP and the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) in my first semester?

Essentially, BSP students get a seat in FRI simply by being in BSP. BSP freshmen get a taste of research methods in NSC 208 in their first semester. In their second semester, BSP students are eligible to join an FRI research stream. Since admission to BSP is not guaranteed, a student interested in research should also apply to FRI. If selected for BSP, be sure to let the BSP coordinator know if you already accepted an FRI seat.

26A) I received an invite to BSP and fri. should i apply to both?

Yes, if you're interested. There's no guarantee you'll be admitted to either so definitely apply to both if you're interested in both.

26B) the ability to be in fri is what attracts me most to bsp. should i still apply to bsp?

Probably not. Remember, BSP has more to it than a spot in FRI. BSP students have a mentor, they're required to attend socials and volunteer events, and they have a required weekly seminar. If you're not interested in these other perks and are most focused on research then it's probably better to apply to FRI ... and not BSP.

 

27) Will being in BSP hurt my chances of getting into a health professions school or completing my degree in four years?

No.  Take a look at the BSP Alumni link (to the left at the top of this page) for proof.  

 

MENTORING

28) Tell me more about BSP mentoring.

BSP freshmen (aka mentees) are separated into small mentor groups (usually six or seven students) led by a BSP sophomore. Mentors have weekly meetings with their groups to get to know mentees, build community, and help mentees address any issues that arise. Mentors are good resources because they have completed the same math/science courses that mentees take in their first year. Additionally, mentors can support and guide mentees in other areas, too (i.e. housing, adapting to college rigor, navigating campus and Austin, managing relationships and friendships, being away from home, getting to know professors, etc.).

 

29) What if i'm not interested in having a mentor and being part of a mentor group?

Please don't apply to BSP.  BSP freshmen are required to have a mentor and attend weekly mentor group meetings.

 

SUMMER ORIENTATION

30) how is summer orientation different for BSP students?

BSP students will attend a group meeting on orientation day 2 with the BSP coordinator.  This gives students the first opportunity to meet each other and the coordinator, as well as discussing logistics involving registration, claiming credit, and health profession schools' requirements.  The next morning (orientation day 3) students will have an individual meeting with the coordinator to get answers to any outstanding questions and to solidify the fall schedule.  Otherwise, BSP students attend the same orientation meetings and events as other freshmen who are not in the program.

 

CONTACTS

31) who is the bsp coordinator and how can he be contacted?

Senior Academic Advisor Chris Connelly has coordinated BSP since fall 2010.  He is located in the Center for First Year Advising; currently he is working remotely from home due to COVID-19.  Email: chris.connelly@austin.utexas.edu.  Be sure to include your name and UT EID in all emails.  Contact him directly if you are looking to schedule an appointment.