UT vs. Texas Tech: How Do They Compare?

Learn how the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University compare in terms of academic rigor, athletics, diversity, and campus life.
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Juliann Scholl, Ph.D.
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Juliann Scholl, Ph.D., was a tenured professor at Texas Tech University for several years, where she taught undergraduates and graduate students and served as a graduate admissions director. She also worked as a social scientist for the CDC. Juliann ...
Updated on September 18, 2023
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Kelly Thomas is an editor with BestColleges and specializes in alternative education. She covers topics like coding bootcamps and the tech industry, as well as skilled trades and certifications. She holds a BA in political science from the University...
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The University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University are two of the most prestigious schools in the Lone Star State. Both public institutions offer unique experiences in academic programs, athletics, local culture, and campus life.

Founded in 1883, the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin or UT) is the flagship school of the multi-campus University of Texas system. Over 52,000 UT students earn degrees in one or more than 170 fields of study.

Texas Tech University, known among students, alumni, and locals as TTU or Texas Tech, offers modern research centers, enriched learning environments, and strong athletic programs. The main campus in Lubbock stretches out over 1,800 acres.

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What Should You Know About the University of Texas at Austin?

You may find UT Austin's graduation rate and the wide variety of academic offerings attractive. UT has a global reputation for its research in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, technology, and other fields. The Carnegie Foundation identifies UT as a tier-one research institution.

If you appreciate architecture and landscapes, you might enjoy UT's iconic structures like the Tower and the gardens on campus. You can also venture off-campus and take in the culture, history, and commercial offerings of Austin, one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S. The UT community fosters an environment of diversity and inclusion, welcoming students from all backgrounds and parts of the world.

Known as the Longhorns, UT athletes represent some of the top athletic programs in the country. Texas football typically has a significant following, and you might become one of the many fans in the state and across the country.

UT claims notable alumni, some of whom are prominent contributors to their fields. Many famous politicians, entertainers, tech innovators, and business leaders call themselves UT graduates.

What Should You Know About Texas Tech University?

Home of the Red Raiders, TTU is located in Lubbock, a significant commercial and medical hub for surrounding communities in west Texas and eastern New Mexico. TTU's student body reflects the diversity of individuals who come from all over the world to make Texas Tech their academic home. Among TTU alums are prominent business leaders, professional athletes, political figures, entertainers, and other notable individuals.

Texas Tech is a research institution that offers high-quality academic programs culminating in bachelor's, master's, doctorate, and professional degrees. You may feel especially at home if you want to pursue a degree in agriculture, engineering, healthcare, or environmental sciences.

When you're not studying, you can enjoy Lubbock's cultural events, art, local music, and entertainment. You might also follow and root for TTU's athletic teams. In particular, football and basketball represent the school well in NCAA Division I competitions.

UT vs. Texas Tech: 5 Key Differences

If you've narrowed your college search to these two institutions, you may take stock of how they differ in admissions selectivity, student body size, location, tuition and fees, and graduation rate.

1. Admissions Selectivity

If you're concerned about your grades or entrance exam scores, you'll likely find UT admissions more selective. UT reports a significantly lower acceptance rate than TTU. Only about 32% of UT Austin applicants get accepted, compared to about 70% of individuals applying to Texas Tech.

Students who get into UT also tend to have higher ACT or SAT scores than individuals applying to TTU. The average UT enrollee has an ACT of 26-33 and SAT scores between 1210 and 1470, compared to 22-27 on the ACT and 1070-1240 on the SAT for TTU students.

2. Student Body Size

If you're planning to attend college on-campus, you'll find that UT has more students, with over 40,000 undergraduates enrolled, compared to over 33,000 undergraduates at Texas Tech. This often means a larger class size for some courses at the larger school.

Comparing the number of online students presents a slightly different picture. About 20% of TTU's programs are online, compared to just 1% of UT's programs. If you plan on pursuing your degree online at least part of the time, TTU might offer more choices academically.

3. Location

What you want from your prospective college town may significantly influence your choice between UT vs. TTU. If you like the feel of small-town living, Lubbock may feel more comfortable to you with its more than 255,000 residents. By comparison, Austin has almost one million people who experience more of the hustle and progressive feel of metropolitan life.

Texas is one of the most diverse states in geography and climate. Lubbock is located on the Llano Estacado, a high-altitude plateau known for its flat terrain, hot and dry summers, and mild winters. If you don't care for dry heat and flat land, Austin, with its hills and humid subtropical temperatures, might be more to your liking.

4. Cost of Attendance

Price is one of the most significant differences between UT Austin and Texas Tech. When comparing the two schools, the cost of attendance can make TTU seem more attractive to individuals with a smaller budget. Here's a breakdown of the average annual tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate students at both institutions:

UT Austin vs. Texas Tech, Cost of Attendance
School Undergraduate, in-state Undergraduate, out-of-state Graduate, in-state Graduate, out-of-state
UT Austin $11,450 $40,030 $12,030 $22,890
TTU $8,680 $20,950 $6,790 $14,970

5. Graduation Rate

Considering graduation rates, UT Austin is more competitive. For instance, about 88% of UT's students complete their degrees, which is relatively high by academic standards. Compare this figure to TTU's graduation rate of 63%.

These graduation rates reflect individuals who enrolled full-time as first-time students. Keep in mind that at both schools, many students are adult learners, reducing the number of first-time attendees.

UT vs. Texas Tech: Which Is Right for You?

Choosing which college to attend is a personal decision, and there are no absolutes to deciding which school is the best for you. If you compare UT vs. Texas Tech, you'll probably uncover notable differences. Choosing between these universities depends on scholarly interests, personal preferences, and your desired on-campus experience.

Cost should be a significant factor in your decision, especially if you're trying to find a way to pay for school. Other factors to consider include program offerings, academic rigor, student-to-faculty ratio, and location. Talk to current students and try to visit each campus, but also pay attention to which environment resonates with you the most.

Frequently Asked Questions About UT vs. Texas Tech

Is UT or Texas Tech better?

Which school is better depends on your past academic performance, personal preferences, or capacity to pay for college. For example, if you have a stellar academic record and prefer living in a larger city, UT Austin may be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you feel more comfortable in a smaller community and want a more affordable education, you might feel more at home at TTU.

What makes UT Austin different?

With its beautiful campus, culturally diverse student body, Longhorn tradition, and research reputation, UT Austin holds a special place in the hearts of current students, faculty, and alums. Being in one of the nation's most dynamic state capitals also makes UT stand out from other institutions.

What makes Texas Tech unique?

Many students and faculty view Texas Tech University as the go-to institution for agricultural studies, engineering, and environmental sciences. Also, Lubbock is rich in history, culture, sports, and art, reflected in the strong relationship between the campus and the greater community.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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