Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions during the admissions process. While many focus on the application process for admissions, we have included many that contain information about the TAMS experience in order to help you determine if TAMS is the right choice for you. Use the bookmarks listed below to take you to any area of interest. For questions about the TAMS application process, required supporting documents, or the interview process, please send your message to email@example.com.
- The Benefits of an Early University Experience
- Application and Admissions Process
- Academics: Curriculum Requirements and UNT Credit
- Student Life at TAMS/UNT
- Cost of TAMS/UNT, State Funding, and UNT
- Research, Internships, and the Transition from UNT to Other Institutions
- Attending University with a Safety Net
- UNT's National Merit Scholarship
The Benefits of an Early University Experience
What are the benefits of attending TAMS compared to completing regular high school and getting a “full-ride” at a highly respected state institution?
First, prospective students and their families need to examine what the term “full-ride” means at any university. Some universities use the term “full-ride” to refer only to tuition and fees, while others use the term to refer to tuition and fees plus a stipend that students can use for any purchase (including non-educational). Very few universities nation-wide offer “full-ride” scholarships that cover tuition, fees, housing, a meal plan, and course materials (e.g., textbooks and lab materials).
Second, at the end of their TAMS experience, students will have a minimum of 64 university credit hours and, if the students choose wisely, will be only two years away from obtaining their baccalaureate degree. Students who remain in their traditional high school will not have this opportunity.
Third, TAMS students have access to cutting-edge research professors who facilitate students’ work that usually results in academic conference presentations and/or journal publications. TAMS students can begin working in a research environment during their first semester and continue that research during the two years they spend at TAMS, provided they maintain a solid GPA in their courses. Students in a traditional high school do not have these opportunities.
Application and Admissions Process
May I apply as a non-U.S. citizen?
Students who have Permanent Resident Cards or the I-797 Notice of Action approving permanent residency are eligible to apply. Some students with select visa types are eligible for admissions consideration provided English proficiency can be demonstrated. For questions regarding these eligibility types, please contact the UNT Admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does a successful applicant to TAMS look like?
TAMS expects applicants to have (a) high grades in all academic subjects; (b) above average scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT/TAMS math assessment), especially in science and math; and, (c) extensive involvement in community service and/or STEM-related activities outside of school, including art and music hobbies.
Likewise, applicants must be mature, thoughtful, and deliberate, as described in the required educator recommendations. Finally, TAMS emphasizes honesty and integrity as set forth in our unofficial motto of developing students’ “head, heart, and hands.”
How should a student prepare to apply to TAMS? When can a student begin submitting documents and apply to TAMS?
A prospective applicant must have completed Algebra I and be enrolled in and/or have completed Geometry and Algebra II at the time of application. A student interested in TAMS should first complete and submit the residency questionnaire (RQ) and then submit the TAMS Application Profile. Students should NOT submit their Teacher Evaluation Request Form until they receive a report card—not a progress report—for the current year.
The TAMS application process opens August 1, 2022 and wil likely close April 1, 2023. Applicants who submit an Application Profile before April 1 can continue submitting supporting documents until their file is complete and ready for review, although TAMS fills all available spots as early as possible. Applicants who wait to apply late in Spring 2023 risk not having a completed file before TAMS completes its admissions process.
Students in the ninth grade have applied to and been accepted into TAMS based on their stellar academic and extra-curricular achievements, and TAMS now accepts applications from students in the 11th grade.
Exactly which test scores are required for admissions consideration? Can the PSAT be used in lieu of the SAT?
An applicant must submit an official SAT or ACT score to complete the application file. TAMS does not accept PSAT, Duke TIP or Baylor TIP SAT/ACT scores, or any other standardized assessment in lieu of the official SAT or ACT. An applicant’s test score is one of more than twenty variables TAMS considers when making admissions decisions, so a test score will NOT be the sole factor in whether or not an applicant earns admission to TAMS. Applicants do not need to take an SAT subject test or complete the SAT/ACT writing portion.
Do a few B's significantly decrease your chance of earning an interview?
In a word, yes. TAMS is an early college, residential program in which students complete university courses taught by world-class faculty. Applicants who do not earn high grades in a traditional high school will not be successful at TAMS/UNT. The preponderance of admits have grades averaging 95 and above.
Where are the TAMS teacher recommendation forms located, and how do we send in teacher recommendations? Do educator evaluations have to be from current teachers, or can an applicant use teachers from previous grades?
Once an applicant submits the residency questionnaire (RQ) and then the TAMS Application Profile, TAMS will send a link to applicants with instructions regarding teacher recommendations.
TAMS expects applicants to utilize current teachers to complete the recommendation forms, but TAMS will consider exceptions in certain circumstances. If applicants need to ask teachers from the previous school year for an evaluation, permission must be obtained from TAMS Admissions prior to those evaluations being submitted and approved.
When will my application materials be evaluated? What happens when my application file is complete?
First, TAMS will review an applicant’s materials ONLY when the applicant has a completed file, which consists of (1) an approved residency questionnaire (RQ), (2) a completed TAMS Application Profile, and (3) all supporting documents listed on the TAMS Admissions website.
Second, TAMS reviews complete files to determine whether or not an applicant qualifies to take a proctored Algebra test that covers topics from high school-level Algebra I and II. Third, if invited to take the algebra test, TAMS adds an applicant’s score on the test to the file, and then TAMS determines if the applicant is invited for an interview. (NOTE: TAMS does not release applicants’ scores on the algebra test, and applicants are not permitted to re-take the algebra test.)
What is the purpose of the interview process for applying to TAMS?
Students are more than grades and test scores, and TAMS wants to get to know applicants beyond their academic and extracurricular achievements. During the one-one-one interview with a TAMS staff member, students engage in conversation about the applicant’s goals and values as well as their reflections on events that affect their philosophy of education and interpersonal relationships. The interview, then, allows TAMS to evaluate each applicant holistically.
How often does TAMS administer the algebra test and conduct interviews?
As soon as TAMS has received and reviewed a significant number of completed application files, TAMS will invite selected applicants to take the Algebra test. Once TAMS evaluates applicants’ Algebra test scores, TAMS will invited select applicants for an interview. Thus, the scheduling of the Algebra test and interviews will depend on the number of completed applications TAMS receives at any one time. TAMS will communicate directly with applicants regarding the dates of these opportunities.
How many students apply to TAMS, how many students advance to the interview, and how many students does TAMS admit each year?
On average, 400-500 students apply to TAMS each year, and we interview approximately 300-350 of those applicants. The size of any incoming TAMS class varies from one year to the next and is dependent upon the number of students who graduated from the previous class as well as the attrition rate of the first-year students. TAMS sets an estimate of admitting 185-200 students each year.
Do you accept homeschool students and students who attend charter schools that do not offer honors or AP courses? How should these students prepare their applications to TAMS?
TAMS considers applications from all qualified students, regardless of the “type” of school they attend, and the Admissions team evaluates each applicant’s file holistically based on the quality and/or curriculum of the applicant’s educational experiences. TAMS recognizes that not all high schools are “equal” in their course offerings and extra-curricular opportunities.
Does TAMS accept students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, and how are they supported?
TAMS considers the applications of all qualified students, and TAMS will work with students/parents to connect them with UNT’s Office of Disability Awareness (ODA) where the student will provide documentation of his/her needs. If approved, the ODA will then notify professors of a student’s needs for various accommodations.
Does TAMS accept a certain number of applicants for each track?
No; TAMS analyzes and interviews the best candidates based on their application file, and then we offer admission to applicants who are a good “fit” for TAMS regardless of the track the students chose during the initial admission process. No quotas exist for each track.
Are applicants to the TAMS music track evaluated by the College of Music and TAMS using the same standards that apply to other TAMS applicants? If a student applies for the music track and is not accepted by the College of Music, can the student still be accepted on another track?
All applicants, regardless of track, are required to satisfy TAMS requirements and be recommended for admission by the TAMS Selection Committee, the TAMS Admissions team, and the Dean of TAMS. TAMS is a STEM program so applicants selecting the music track must meet the expectations of both the College of Music and TAMS in order to receive an offer of admission.
An applicant to TAMS who satisfies TAMS requirements but who is not approved by the College of Music may receive an offer of “conditional admission” from the TAMS Admissions office if the student is willing to pursue another TAMS track.
Can applicants to the TAMS music track specialize in any music field (e.g., piano, percussion, composing)?
All applicants to the music track must audition with the UNT College of Music in either voice or instrumental performance. TAMS and the College of Music then collaborate to determine if the applicant is a good “fit” for TAMS.
When will I know if I am accepted into TAMS?
Applicants who reach and complete the interview stage can expect notification of their admission status within three weeks. Applicants may be (1) admitted or (2) waitlisted, and students who are on the waitlist should remain attentive to their email account in case TAMS requests additional information. TAMS will maintain the waitlist through the month of June in case of enrollment fluctuations.
Academic Requirements, UNT Courses and Credit, and the Transition from UNT to Other Institutions
Does TAMS allow students to use Advanced Placement (AP) credit to satisfy TAMS requirements?
Each year, a few students entering TAMS present stellar scores on Advanced Placement exams in STEM subjects taken at their previous high schools. Because TAMS has no desire to “hold back” a student, TAMS devised policies that allow incoming students to “use” AP scores in very specific ways. First, as soon as College Board releases AP scores in July, incoming students MUST (a) download and email a PDF of their online score report to the TAMS Associate Dean for Academics and (b) request College Board to send an official score report to UNT (not TAMS). College Board charges a fee for this service. Second, TAMS recognizes ONLY scores of 5 on certain AP exams—see below—regardless of UNT’s policies and practices. Third, under no circumstances will AP scores and/or credit “exempt” students from TAMS STEM requirements. In other words, a student may “skip” courses due to AP credit, but the student MUST complete the same number of hours in the same subject for which they “use” AP credit (see below). Fourth, TAMS does not recognize AP exams and/or scores for courses in English, U.S. history, political science, and/or the fine arts or other humanities and social science courses.
NOTE: Students who accept AP credit need to consider that some universities do not recognize credit granted by exam. For example, private universities in the northeastern U.S. and on the West Coast of the U.S. do not award credit based on AP scores, so those institutions may require a student to complete a course even if the student received credit based on AP scores.
Students required to take biology courses who receive a score of 5 on the AP Biology exam may accept credit from UNT for BIOL 1710, 1720, and 1760, but these students ARE REQUIRED to complete TWO additional lab-based courses in biology that further a student’s investigation of the subject: BIOL 2301/2311 and 2302/2312 Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2. Incoming students who qualify for this option and choose this option must submit score reports as described above. TAMS and UNT will NOT waive prerequisite courses set by the Department of Biological Sciences so that students can take other biology courses. TAMS students who are required to take only one BIOL course CANNOT use AP credit to satisfy TAMS’s requirement.
Incoming TAMS students take math placement tests during Summer Orientation (each June) in order to determine students’ knowledge and skills related to precalculus and calculus. A student’s performance on the placement tests MAY BE evaluated jointly with her/his/their AP Calculus AB or BC score, but incoming students who qualify for this option and choose this option must submit score reports as described above. For example, incoming students who place into MATH 1650 Precalculus but who earn a 5 on AP Calculus AB may be enrolled in MATH 1710 Calculus 1. Likewise, incoming students who place into MATH 1710 Calculus 1 but who earn a 5 on AP Calculus BC may be enrolled into MATH 1720 Calculus 2. Please notice the “may be” conditions; these enrollments are NOT automatic based on AP scores.
AP Computer Science
Students required to take computer science courses who receive a score of 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam may accept credit from UNT for CSCE 1030+lab, but these students ARE REQUIRED to complete ONE additional computer science course that furthers a student’s investigation of the subject following the student’s completion of CSCE 1040, 2100, and 2110. Incoming students who qualify for this option and choose this option must submit score reports as described above. TAMS and UNT will NOT waive prerequisite courses set by the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering so that students can take other computer science courses. TAMS students who are required to take only one CSCE course CANNOT use AP credit to satisfy TAMS’s requirement.
Students who receive scores of 5 on BOTH the AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism can opt to receive credit from UNT for PHYS 1710/1730 and 2220/2240, but these students MUST enroll in two advanced lab-based Physics courses during their second year at TAMS/UNT. The usual courses are PHYS 3010/3030 Modern Physics (lab) and PHYS 3310 Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences. Incoming students who qualify for this option and choose this option must submit score reports as described above. TAMS students who are required to take only PHYS course CANNOT use AP credit to satisfy TAMS’s requirement.
Do students pick their own classes? What elective courses can TAMS students take after their first semester?
Using the information from the curricular requirements of each TAMS track (see the URL above), TAMS enrolls all first-semester students based on their math and chemistry placement test scores and class availability. With guidance and approval from their Academic Counselor(s), students choose the sections of courses they need for the second semester; this process repeats for the third and fourth semesters. As UNT students, TAMS students can enroll in nearly any course offered by the university provided the student has satisfied the prerequisite(s) for the course. TAMS students must earn and maintain a GPA of 3.25 in order to enroll in elective courses, and TAMS limits the number of elective courses a student may take in a semester based on the student’s cumulative GPA and UNT’s limit of 19 hours per semester.
What math course does a student take during the first semester at TAMS?
Please click on the URL for a complete description of placement testing that occurs during Summer Orientation: https://tams.unt.edu/summer-orientation-2023-testing. The math placement test will determine which math course an incoming TAMS student will take; a student’s previous math courses, AP/IB courses and test scores, and dual credit courses completed will not be utilized in determining a student’s first-semester enrollment. TAMS may utilize an AP score in conjunction with the TAMS math placement score to finalize a student’s enrollment in a math.
If students start in one track but find passion in another area, can they switch?
Students must choose a track by June 15 following Summer Orientation in order for TAMS to enroll the student in appropriate courses by July 1. However, students can decide to switch tracks at the end of the first semester—but before the first day of class of the second semester—but switching tracks may put a student “behind” in the track to which they transfer. Students should visit with their Academic Counselor to discuss the possibility of changing tracks and the impact a change would have on a student’s future semester requirements. A student CANNOT change tracks once the second semester begins.
What are the student populations by track for the present TAMS students?
At present, approximately 60% of TAMS students are in the Traditional Science track, with approximately 30% in the Computer Science track and the remainder of students in the Music and Arts tracks.
Given the workload of university courses, do TAMS students receive guidance or dedicated time for SAT preparation?
Please keep in mind that TAMS is a university program—that is, an early entrance, residential university program for advanced high school-aged students. Parents and students should not view TAMS as merely an “advanced high school.” Students must score well on the SAT or ACT just to be considered for a spot in the TAMS program—the TAMS average SAT score is approximately 1350, while the average ACT score is 31—so TAMS students usually do not need SAT preparation. And, because TAMS students are UNT students, students should consider UNT as a destination institution and not simply a “springboard” to other institutions.
What is the minimum GPA for students to remain in good standing at TAMS? How hard is it for students to maintain a 3.0 GPA at TAMS compared to a traditional high school?
Again, please keep in mind that TAMS is a university program—that is, an early entrance, residential university program for advanced high school-aged students. Parents and students should not view TAMS as merely an “advanced high school.” Overall, TAMS students must achieve a GPA of 3.0 each semester, as well as maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0. The only exception to this policy is a student’s first semester when the student must earn a GPA of 2.7 in order to be invited back to TAMS for the second semester. First-year students with a GPA of 2.7-2.99 are placed on Academic Alert and are required to do several things in order to improve their class preparation. At the end of the second semester, these students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing.
All courses required in each of the TAMS tracks are university courses taught by UNT professors, so the curriculum moves much faster than classes in a traditional high school. For students with good study habits and time management, a 3.0 GPA is not difficult to maintain. The average GPA for first-semester students in Fall 2019 was 3.757, while the average cumulative GPA for TAMS graduates is near a 3.8.
How difficult are UNT classes compared to high school? Are classes interactive or are they mostly lecture-based? Are professors at UNT approachable?
Again, TAMS is a university program—that is, an early entrance, residential university program for advanced high school-aged students—and parents and students should not view TAMS as merely an “advanced high school.” Since TAMS students are university students, courses are considerably more difficult than classes in a traditional high school. At TAMS, students learn time management skills in order to keep up with reading requirements and plan ahead to prepare well in advance of due dates for writing assignments and exam dates.
University science and math courses tend to be lecture-based since professors need to deliver content information to the students, but students have ample opportunities to apply their in-lecture learning during their recitation and lab classes. Non-STEM courses vary from professor to professor but are, by and large, more interactive and engaging.
Despite the portrayals by media and Hollywood sources, most professors actually enjoy interacting with students; in fact, these professors love when students—TAMS or otherwise—come to their office hours for additional questions and help in understanding the course content.
What is the attrition rate for any given TAMS class, and how many students graduate from TAMS every year?
Approximately 5-10% of any given TAMS class leaves the program due to insufficient grades, behavioral violations, and/or external factors (e.g., family discord). Based on this attrition, the typical TAMS graduating class ranges from 175-185.
What happens if a student in good standing decides to leave TAMS?
The TAMS Academics team works with any student and their parent/guardian to ensure a smooth transition to the student’s former high school (or other institution). Although the student is responsible for obtaining an official copy of his/her UNT transcript for their high school/other institution to evaluate, TAMS provides an explanation of the student’s courses and how they count in the TAMS program. Ultimately, the student’s next educational institution determines what a student will need to complete in order to graduate or finish their program.
Does TAMS have a graduation ceremony separate from UNT events?
Yes. Please reference the URL to read about TAMS graduation: https://tams.unt.edu/tams-graduation-2020.
Does TAMS rank students and how does this affect college admissions after TAMS? How does TAMS assist students during the college application process, and where do the majority of TAMS students go after completing the TAMS program?
Like some traditional high schools, TAMS does not rank students. In fact, trying to rank students who earn high GPAs in university courses taught by UNT faculty would be inherently unfair to students. (How could we rank 48 students who complete the TAMS program with a 4.0 GPA?) TAMS understands that many students are interested in attending a Texas public university that may acknowledge class rank, and TAMS is proud that more TAMS students are admitted to Texas public institutions disproportionately when compared to students in traditional high schools. Students and families should be aware that “automatic admission” refers only to a university’s liberal arts or general studies programs and NOT to a student’s first-choice major.
University admissions committees review a student’s grades, but most colleges and universities place more emphasis on a student’s written responses that accompany the admission application and a student’s involvement in non-academic activities. Schools want well-rounded students who demonstrate a level of self-awareness, humility, and purpose, but grades do not convey those characteristics.
Many TAMS students are admitted to Ivy League and peer institutions, but about two-thirds of TAMS graduates attend Texas universities. The remaining one-third attend the aforementioned Ivy League and peer institutions, although TAMS has had some students elect to attend small, liberal arts colleges that offer more scholarship money than Ivy League and peer schools.
The TAMS College Advisor has an extensive website and social media presence and updates and meets with students regarding their college applications. https://tams.unt.edu/academics/college-advising
How do UNT credits transfer to other institutions, in and outside of Texas?
In its original purpose, TAMS was designed to help talented students in Texas move through the Texas university system faster to fill needs in the Texas workforce. TAMS students withdraw from high school and become university students at UNT where they complete as many as 64+ credit hours that are documented on a UNT transcript. By law, in-state public universities must accept all credit from UNT, but UNT credits may or may not apply to a student's major depending on what s/he chooses. Out-of-state public universities generally accept most or all of the UNT credit.
In-state private universities vary in their credit acceptance. Credit is often transferred on an individual basis and may depend on what classes the student completed at their previous high school. In many cases, even if the school does not accept credit, the student can request advanced standing so that they do not have to repeat a course but can take higher-level courses in the subject to fulfill specific requirements.
Out-of-state private universities vary quite a bit. Ivy League schools do not accept large amounts of transfer credit from ANY source, including AP and IB credits. Plan to pay four years tuition for most of these schools. Some schools will accept a maximum of 12 credit hours, while some schools will only accept transfer of credit for elective courses NOT required for graduation. Some do not accept any credit at all. Again, some schools will award advanced standing so that a student does not have to repeat classes.
Where do TAMS graduates go on to college, specifically in the field of engineering?
TAMS students pursuing engineering fields regularly gain admission to top-tier universities, including but not limited to Cornell University, MIT, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M University.
Do TAMS students pursue master’s degrees and/or doctoral degrees at a higher rate, and where do they typically attend?
TAMS students typically pursue graduate and/or professional programs of all kinds, from medical and law school to doctoral programs in a variety of STEM fields. These TAMS graduates attend institutions across the U.S. based on their preferred areas of research as well as the funding provided by the institutions to which they apply.
Student Life at TAMS/UNT
How does residential life operate and who is responsible for TAMS’s student safety? Can a TAMS student work off-campus?
TAMS students live in McConnell Hall in the heart of the UNT campus. Students typically select a roommate during Summer Orientation—held the first weekend in June—but TAMS Student Life will assist in assigning roommates if students do not find a roommate at Orientation. McConnell Hall has a kitchenette for students to cook items and students are allowed to have microwave ovens in their rooms in order to cook snacks or small meals. The Hall is divided, with male students on one side of the building and the female students on the opposite side, and Hall staff conduct room and curfew checks each night to ensure student safety. McConnell doors remain locked from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am each day, and since students are usually in class or labs during the normal school day, club activities or various performances begin after 6:00 pm and can run until 11:00 pm when students must be in their rooms.
More than 20 UNT/TAMS staff live and work in McConnell Hall, and TAMS students have unfettered access to those staff at all hours. Ultimately, though, TAMS expects students to make good decisions and follow the UNT Student Code of Conduct and the policies described in the TAMS Handbook. For more information on McConnell Hall and extra-curricular activities, please click on the URL https://tams.unt.edu/current-students.
TAMS discourages students from obtaining any job while in the program, but the administration understands that some students may need to earn money to supplement their family’s income and/or to pay for TAMS. TAMS students, therefore, may obtain on-campus jobs if they are of age and if the job expectations do not interfere with the student’s academic commitments—that is, missing class to work is unacceptable.
If a TAMS student lives in Denton or near UNT, does s/he have to live in the residence hall? Can TAMS students go home for the weekends? Are they allowed to have a car on campus?
By law, TAMS is a residential program so all TAMS students must live on campus in the residence hall; commuting daily to and from UNT is not an option for students in the TAMS program. TAMS students become involved in TAMS/UNT campus clubs and organizations and do not (and cannot) remain involved with activities at their former high school. TAMS students are not permitted to return home each weekend, as they need to focus on their studies and may need access to campus resources during the weekend. TAMS, however, has four closed weekends each semester when students return home. Additionally, students have a certain number of “travel weekends” they can use with the approval of Student Life.
First-year students are prohibited from having an automobile on campus, while second-year students may have an automobile on campus if the student’s family is willing to purchase a UNT parking permit. TAMS discourages students from having an automobile on campus given the price of a parking permit ($250-400 for the year), the lack of available parking space on campus, and the amount of traffic in and around the UNT campus due to proximity to Interstate 35.
How much interaction do TAMS students have with UNT students?
TAMS students are UNT students, so TAMS students regularly and in a variety of environments interact with UNT students. TAMS students inevitably take courses with UNT students; TAMS students conducting research regularly work with UNT undergraduate and graduate students; and TAMS students participate in UNT’s Student Government Association and other UNT student organizations.
Do TAMS students attend cultural events in the Dallas/Ft Worth area?
TAMS student clubs, with tremendous support from TAMS Student Life staff, often take trips to various events and competitions in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Additionally, TAMS regularly invites guest speakers from organizations in the DFW area to come to UNT to talk to TAMS students about their organizations.
Is a TAMS student able to participate in sports outside of TAMS if they currently play select or Olympic sports? Can TAMS students join the UNT marching band or sports teams?
Since TAMS is a residential university program, students are limited in participating in off-campus activities, and students cannot commute to and from UNT while in the TAMS program. A prospective and/or incoming student will need to visit with the Assistant Dean for Student Life to inquire about what is possible regarding a student’s participation in external activities. On the other hand, UNT and TAMS have intramural sports programs in which many TAMS students participate, so there is no shortage of athletic competition available to TAMS students at UNT.
Since the Green Brigade (UNT’s marching band) travels extensively and has irregular practice schedules, TAMS students are prohibited from joining the Green Brigade. TAMS students can audition for any of the UNT ensembles—even if the student is not on the music track—and TAMS students can enroll in private music lesson courses as electives if their schedules permit. Likewise, NCAA rules prohibit minors from participating in intercollegiate athletic competition.
Cost of TAMS/UNT, State Funding, and UNT
Can the cost of TAMS/UNT change from the first year to the second year?
UNT has the ability to raise tuition, fees, and housing meal plan costs each year so those increases will affect TAMS students since they are UNT students. However, the TAMS scholarship is fixed for a student for the two-year duration of the TAMS program.
Does TAMS offer scholarships and does TAMS require students/families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
In order to receive any scholarship from TAMS, students and families MUST complete the FAFSA. Regardless of funding levels, however, TAMS students are “locked in” to the value of the TAMS scholarship for their full time at TAMS—that is, TAMS will not reduce a student’s scholarship for the second year, provided the student/family submits the FAFSA for both years of the TAMS program. Additionally, TAMS utilizes the FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) to award supplemental scholarship funds to students/families with demonstrated need, which means students who have low EFC values are likely to receive more scholarships from TAMS.
Although not considered financial aid, TAMS provides students with required course materials, including digital access codes, books, lab manuals, and other non-consumable materials. Students are required to go to a book store to obtain some books and materials, and TAMS provides detailed instructions each semester.
What is the maximum amount of scholarships a student can receive to cover remaining expenses?
The total amount of all financial aid may not exceed the cost of attendance (COA). Beyond the TAMS standard scholarship, the maximum aid—from TAMS and other sources—for any individual student is the COA minus the estimated family contribution (EFC). If that amount is greater than our standard scholarship, students may receive further aid.
Is the tuition discount for UNT faculty applicable? Can parents use 529 accounts, college tuition 561 plans, the Texas Tomorrow Fund, the Legacy Hazelwood Act to pay for TAMS?
Students have used all of these sources to pay for TAMS in the past since all TAMS students are bona fide full-time university students. Nevertheless, parents need to direct specific questions to your family’s financial planner/representative because each individual plan may have unique nuances associated with how the funds can be applied.
Is there a discount for a student if a parent is attending UNT?
No. UNT does not offer a discount to families who have multiple students attending the university.
Please elaborate on the funding issues related to TAMS and UNT.
TAMS receives funding from a variety of sources and actually received more money from the Texas Legislature and the Texas Education Agency during the 2019 biennium. UNT professors teach courses taken by TAMS students, and UNT professors mentor approximately 65% of the TAMS population in some sort of research environment. TAMS students are eligible for UNT scholarship programs, including the Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the nationally competitive scholarships directed by an Associate Dean housed within the TAMS and Honors College unit. Moreover, the TAMS residence hall and administrative offices reside on the UNT campus.
Is TAMS able to receive funds from private sources?
TAMS has always accepted donations from a variety of sources, including corporate monies. Historically, these amounts funded small initiatives and scholarships, but the amounts have never been sufficient to build a significant endowment. In recent years, however, TAMS has increased its outreach and fund-raising efforts, resulting in the endowment or near-endowment of several scholarships. These endowments and scholarships can mitigate fluctuations in funding by the Legislature in the future. Individuals can give to TAMS online (https://one.unt.edu/giving/texas-academy-of-mathematics-science), and can get further information about other opportunities from TAMS Assistant Dean of Student Life, Russ Stukel (Russ.Stukel@unt.edu).
Research and Internships
What factors are involved in being accepted into the Early Summer Research Program?
During the early portion of the each year’s admissions cycle, an applicant who receives an admission offer to TAMS may apply for the Early Summer Research Scholarship. Dr. Jim Duban, Associate Dean for Research and Director of UNT’s Nationally Competitive Scholarships Program, will analyze a candidate’s overall TAMS application file as well as the candidate’s application to the Early Summer Research program. Dr. Duban will then select certain applicants to interview to discuss the student’s research interests and to gauge the student’s maturity. Then, Dr. Duban will recommend deserving applicants to interview with UNT faculty research mentors who will ultimately notify Dr. Duban if the applicant is a good “fit” for the faculty member’s research environment. Once Dr. Duban has placed a small number of incoming TAMS students into research environments, he stops interviewing for the program.
How do students get involved with research? What competitions are available to TAMS students?
Approximately 70% of TAMS students conduct some type of research during their time at TAMS, and most students connect with professors they have in class to request research opportunities or to get recommendations for opportunities with other faculty. TAMS also requires students to attend a weekly Seminar during which professors from a variety of STEM and health profession fields describe their research and invite students to contact them if students are interested in conducting research in those fields. All in all, UNT professors love working with TAMS students.
TAMS students have a tremendous advantage because they can compete in traditional high school competitions—regional, state, national, and international science fairs, as well as the Regeneron Science Talent Search—and in nationally competitive scholarship programs, including the Goldwater and Gates competitions.
Do TAMS students have internship opportunities? Can students participate in summer programs at other schools?
TAMS students typically find internship opportunities during the summer, outside of TAMS and UNT schedules because students need to be focused on attending and studying for their classes and participating in TAMS/UNT social activities during the school year. TAMS students are eligible to participate in any summer program for which they qualify, but many students conducting research apply for and receive the TAMS Summer Research scholarship, which requires them to live on campus and perform their research each day.
Attending University with a Safety Net
Does TAMS offer academic and/or psychological support for students who need assistance in adjusting to the rigors of TAMS/UNT, including time management and study skills?
Each TAMS class has two Academic Counselors dedicated to helping students develop study skills, reading comprehension, and time management skills. The Academic Counselors also serve as a conduit between TAMS/UNT and TAMS parents, ensuring that parents are aware of their students’ academic progress, class attendance, and overall general behavior. A student who is admitted to TAMS will sign a waiver so that the Academic Counselors can communicate with parents.
Additionally, TAMS has vast psychological counseling resources to help students adjust to the structure and rigor of living away from home and attending university. https://tams.unt.edu/counseling
TAMS students also have access to all UNT resources, including but not limited to the Learning Center, the Writing Center, the Math Lab, the Chemistry Resource Center, and the Physics Instructional Center.
UNT’s National Merit Scholarship
Are TAMS students eligible for National Merit scholarships?
Yes. First-year TAMS students sit for the PSAT in October and are eligible for the National Merit scholarship competition. Additionally, TAMS students who become National Merit winners are eligible for UNT’s National Merit scholarship, which covers the entire cost of a student’s attendance while the student completes a baccalaureate degree. TAMS typically has 50-65 students who qualify for National Merit consideration, and nearly all of these students become Finalists.