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The centerpiece of THEOP is a two-cohort longitudinal survey of sophomores and seniors who were enrolled in Texas public schools as of spring, 2002.

Two-Cohort Longitudinal Design


  2002 2003 2004 2006
Senior Cohort    Wave 1


   Wave 2


     Wave 3


Sophomore Cohort    Wave 1


     Wave 2




The baseline surveys of seniors and sophomores (Wave 1) were conducted in spring, 2002, consisting of 13,803 seniors and 19,969 sophomores based on a stratified random sample of 105 public high schools in the state of Texas. The baseline surveys queried students about their course taking and grades, experiences with guidance counselors, knowledge and perceptions of college admissions process, college perceptions, future plans and demographic information, including race and ethnic origin, family background, and household structure. Seniors (but not sophomores) were asked a battery of questions about colleges applied to, their self-reported admission status, and plans to attend college.

A sample of 5,836 respondents from the senior cohort were re-interviewed (Wave 2) one year after graduating from high school to ascertain primary post-secondary school activity, military enlistment, labor force participation, etc. They are currently being re-interviewed (Wave 3) during spring, 2006, when a large majority of those who attended college are juniors and seniors.

A sample of 3,092 respondents from the sophomore cohort were re-interviewed (Wave 2) during their senior year to record their progress in high school, their college plans, and changes in other circumstances.

The Baseline Surveys and Senior Wave 2 public-use data sets are now accessible through the OPR Data Archive.

Click here to access THEOP survey instruments and reports.




The THEOP administrative data consists of applicant and enrollee term records obtained from nine Texas universities--seven public and two private institutions. For the public institutions, freshman applicant data spans several years prior to the implementation of the Texas Top 10% law in 1998, and extends until at least 2002.  Applicant data for the two private institutions is available only for the period after implementation of the automatic admission law.  

 Student record term files are available for applicants who were accepted and subsequently enrolled. These files register academic progress toward degree based on credit hours completed, as well as term and cumulative grade point averages (GPA).  For most institutions, student record data was obtained through at least 2004.

 The file sizes and years available for each institution are summarized below.

Applicant Data Student Record Data
Institution N Years N Years
Texas A&M 163,027 1992-2002 637,028 1992-2007
Texas A&M Kingsville* 18,872 1992-2002 93,748 1992-2004
UT Arlington 29,844 1994-2002 51,315 1994-2002
UT Austin 224,893 1990-2003 708,500 1990-2004
UT Pan American** 48,460 1995-2002 115,812 1995-2005
UT San Antonio# 61,221 1990-2004 151,180 1990-2004
Texas Tech 105,376 1991-2003 288,066 1991-2004
Rice 36,190 2000-2004 18,149 2000-2005
SMU 45,549 1998-2005 60,672 1998-2005


* Applicant data for enrollees only: 1992-1994

** Limited variables provided

# Applicant data for enrollees only: 1990-1997


For ease of analysis across institutions, THEOP administrative data has converted into a standard, machine-readable format, with consistent variable names and value labels across institutions. Additionally, several variables have been constructed for both the applicant and student record data sets. 

All nine baseline files provide data on personal applicants’ background, year of application, term for which admission is desired, sex, ethnicity, Texas residency, admission status, enrollment status, high school senior class size, high school class rank, SAT score, ACT score, and desired major. Some institutions also provided data on applicants’ US citizenship status, birthplace, disability status, high school GPA, number of AP tests taken and passed, SAT verbal and math scores, TOEFL score, years of specific high school subjects completed (e.g. math, English, science and social studies), participation in high school extracurricular activities (band, drama, government, sports, honor society, yearbook), and legacy status. Several additional high school characteristics were appended to the individual applicant records, including private high school status, Texas high school, feeder high school, Longhorn or Century Scholarship high school; and median College Board test score for test takers.

 Enrolled student term records provide data on year and term of application, hours earned, semester and cumulative GPA, major(s), college graduation date and, for some institutions, if a student was ever placed on academic probation. Total number of hours earned and total number of terms completed were constructed from the term files.

Public use files are not yet available, but interested researchers should contact for questions about data access




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