Community Connect

Office of the Vice President for Community Services

Left to Right: Bryan O'Tani, High school senior, current UTSA Ready student and Brandi Fuentes, UTSA Junior, former UTSA Ready student

P-20 Initiatives

Ready for UTSA

Assessment and preparation program focuses on math and reading skills, allows participants to earn university credit hours

Bryan O’Tani, 18, doesn’t get to sleep in on Saturdays. Instead, he works on his math skills. Joined by other ambitious high school seniors from across San Antonio, O’Tani attends academic enrichment seminars at UTSA every Saturday at 8 a.m.

“I want to go to UTSA, and this helps me to be prepared for it,” he says.

O’Tani is part of UTSA Ready, an early assessment and academic preparation program conducted in collaboration with six San Antonio school districts and a total of 23 participating campuses. The goal of this unprecedented partnership is to ensure that high school students have the English and mathematics college readiness skills required by UTSA

There is a lot of one-on-one tutoring.
–Bryan O'Tani
High school senior, current UTSA Ready student

The study modules helped us avoid expensive remedial classes.
–Brandi Fuentes
UTSA Junior, former UTSA Ready student

“It’s not an easy transition from high school to an aspiring four-year university such as UTSA,” explains Joseph Kulhanek, interim assistant vice president of P-20 initiatives. ”For most students, mathematics is the main challenge. But, we also have kids that are brilliant in math, while their English is not college-ready, because it’s their second language. In both cases, UTSA Ready can prove invaluable. It is hard work though. The program is very rigorous.”

Each year approximately 120 UTSA Ready candidates, high school seniors ranking in the top 25 percent of their graduating class, submit their SAT or ACT scores to UTSA and apply for admission before taking a diagnostic test to determine their skill level. The program is designed as a hybrid, consisting of an online component allowing students to work on their own, and face-to-face tutoring with UTSA faculty. Instructors Sean Beatty, a lecturer in the UTSA Department of Mathematics, and Dixie Shaw-Tillmon, an instructor at the UTSA writing program, assist students with their individually tailored learning paths and lead the academic enrichment seminars on Saturdays. “I like that it’s very different,” Bryan O’Tani says. “And there is a lot of one-on-one tutoring, which helps to learn quicker.”

At the end of the program, which differs in length for each student depending on the initial skill level and personal learning curve, participants can reward themselves for their extra work by taking a test that, if passed, grants three UTSA credit hours. The test is optional and the only cost-based component of UTSA Ready. “But the fee of $125 is significantly lower than a university course, which costs roughly $1,300 on average,” Kulhanek points out.

Brandi Fuentes, 19, went through UTSA Ready in 2013. Now a freshman at UTSA, she recalls, “I did both math and reading and it made a huge difference for me. Also, the study modules that we were given helped us avoid expensive remedial classes. I would really recommend UTSA Ready to ”


–Jean Luc Mette