Monday, May 18, 2015

Writing Great Short Response Essays

As most college students and HS seniors can attest to, one of the most stressful times of the admission process is writing admissions essays. While UGA's "essays" are actually short responses, we still see a great deal of angst and worry about them. Every year, I try to calm these fears by writing about the admission essay writing process. UGA is not looking for the perfect essay or an amazing adventure, but instead we try to focus on how your short answers can tell us more about you.  In my Suggestions for Writing Admissions Essays page, I try to give future UGA applicants some insight into how to communicate best with admission offices in this part of the application.  To summarize, make the essays unique to your experiences, show us details and don't just tell us, and avoid the thesaurus at all costs (please read the page and review my blog post video about Jokes and Essays to get more details).

As well, each year we select an essay from an accepted freshman that gives insight into what we view as a great short response. One of the great things about this essay is that we get a richly detailed picture of the event, and that after reading it we have gained a great deal of insight into the life of this student. This is not an essay with overdone language or some grand adventure to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but instead is a beautiful snapshot of a family event and what it means to this student.

It's Christmas morning. I'm asleep in a beautiful princess bed adorned with flowers and puffy pink pillows. I've always slept with Weez on Christmas Eve.

Now let me make a little sense of all of this. Weez is my little sister (her nickname) and we always have a slumber party in her room on Christmas Eve. Seeing her experience the magic of Christmas never gets old... even when she's kicking me and stealing the sheets at two in the morning.


I can't help but feel the same things she does when she first wakes up and realizes what day it is. Then comes the mad dash downstairs to see what fun toys Santa left under the tree. Once all of the presents are opened, Weez always seems to have more fun playing with the boxes than the toys that came out of them. Sitting there, building a box fort with her, I realize that she's the present I'm most thankful for. She's taught me how to be more appreciative of the people around me than the things around me. Wow. Here I am with one of the greatest presents of all, my adopted sister.


Griffin H., thank you for letting us share your essay with future applicants to UGA.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2015 Wait List Decisions

Today we  offered admission to about 90 or so students from the Wait List.  We admitted a small number of students for Fall admission, but the majority of students admitted off the Wait List were offered admission for the Spring 2016 term. We will email this news to the students and give information about their two-week Commitment Deposit deadline, campus housing, Orientation and other pre-enrollment steps. In addition, the myStatus page will be updated after about 5:30 p.m. EST today to show these decisions, and a decision letter will be mailed soon. Over the next few days, we plan to email the rest of the wait-listed students to inform them that we cannot offer them admission off the Wait List, and we will then update their Status Check one final time. If your myStatus decision has not changed, it means that no offer of admission was able to be made due to projected enrollment numbers being met.

In reviewing the students who we admitted off the Wait List, there were a variety of individual reasons for the offers that were made. As such, I cannot give an overarching reason for the decisions. We did take into account our earlier reviews of the files, along with a wide range of information that we had on hand.

For those many strong students we were not able to admit from the Wait List, we thank you for choosing us as one of the options for your higher education.  We wish you the very best of college success.  We understand that this is not the news you were hoping for, and we very much appreciate your patience “waiting on the Wait List.”  Please remember that there are a number of complex reasons why the University made the final decisions it did, and we respectfully remind all that this blog cannot be used for comments about why you or other individuals did or did not get admitted in the Wait list process.

We hope that our quick turn around of the Wait List situation has allowed you and your family to make plans on a much earlier time frame that initially projected.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 Wait List Information

For the next few weeks, the group that will be the most anxious about our process will be the students who are on the Wait List. Right now, we cannot give out any specific information, as we will not know about deposits until over a week past the May 1 deposit deadline, as we must wait for any deposits that are sent by mail and postmarked by the May 1 timeline. As I have said before, the Wait List process is not a fast process, but instead takes a while for us to both see what our yield rate is on accepted freshmen (the number of admitted freshmen who send in a deposit). We then need to also take into account how the percentage of deposited freshmen who change their mind post May 1, either due to being taken off another college's Wait List, a change of plans, a gap year opportunity, etc. Only after this analysis occurs can we then look at what we will do concerning the Fall and Spring Wait List options. As such, I cannot list a specific date for Wait List decisions.

As I have said before (and as the Wait List FAQ states), there is no one specific thing that we are looking for when making a decision about who we might offer acceptance off the Wait List, but instead we would look at a variety of factors, both academic and non-academic. I can say that, based on responses, we project that roughly 570-600 students have requested to stay on the Wait List (online response deadline is 5/1), but that is the only number I can share at this time.

Right now, there is no need to call, email, post to the blog or tweet about the Wait List, as we just need time to see what everything is looking like with deposits and then see where we can go from there. I know that patience is not easy, but right now, it is key. Make sure you have a Plan B college option in place, and then be patient and hope for the best.

When we do make any decisions about the Wait List, we will make our decisions on one day and I will alert everyone by both the blog and twitter about the decisions. We will then send out any offers by mail and the myStatus page, and we will then communicate by mail or electronic communication with those who we could not offer admission soon afterward.

Thanks for your patience, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Updated Fall 2015 Transfer Information

The review of the 2015 Fall transfer applications is our key focus at this time, and we continue to diligently work on these files.  At this time, we have made roughly 1,500 decisions of the 2700 applications we received this year. In addition, roughly 350-400 of the 2,700 files are incomplete and thus will not be reviewed. Based on statistical data, we are averaging about 50 decisions being made per day. As such, I expect that we be be complete for the most part by about mid-May, although,we will have a few slowdowns as we get into some of the more challenging files to review.

Please remember we cannot tell you when you will have a decision as this depends on many factors. Applications are generally processed in the order in which the file was completed, but this is not always the case, as some files are more challenging, are from colleges where we are having to build a catalog in the new system, or are just complex. We also have two new staff members who can handle the more basic transfer files, so they might review some later files that can be done easily but might be out of "completion order". As well, I am not able to look at each individual file to see why someone did nor did not receive a decision based on X date.

Most applications completed by roughly the 20th of February or earlier have been reviewed with some exceptions.  If you are transferring from an out-of-state college or a college we have not had many students apply from, your application may take a bit longer to review and thus the timeline would not be correct for your situation. Transfer decisions are updated daily on the status check, and the myStatus page is updated at about 5 am every morning.

If you have been admitted and want to see how your courses transferred, you can use the transfer equivalency site off the admissions website. If you have submitted a deposit (fall transfer and beyond requirement), you can log on to DegreeWorks to see how your courses apply towards the degree/major you have selected.  As well, go to the Next Steps brochure to learn about what you will need to do next to enroll at UGA (this is also sent in the acceptance packet).

I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 Fall Transfer Update

We are continuing to focus as much time as possible to review the 2015 Fall transfer applications.  At this time, we have made roughly 750 decisions of the 2550 applications we received so far this year (I project about 2,700 applicants total after the 4/1 deadline).  Based on last weeks numbers, we are averaging about 60-70 decisions being made per day. As such, I expect for a large volume of decisions to go out in the next four weeks. At some point in time, though, this will slow down a little bit due when we get deeper into the tougher transfer applications.

Please remember we cannot tell you when you will have a decision as this depends on many factors. Applications are generally processed in the order in which the file was completed, but this is not always the case, as some files are more challenging, are from colleges where we are having to build a catalog in the new system, or are just complex. We also have two new staff members who can handle the more basic transfer files, so they might review some later files that can be done easily but might be out of "completion order". As well, I am not able to look at each individual file to see why someone did nor did not receive a decision based on X date.

Most applications completed by the start of February or earlier have been reviewed with some exceptions.  If you are transferring from an out-of-state college or a college we have not had many students apply from, your application may take a bit longer to review and thus the timeline would not be correct for your situation. Transfer decisions are updated daily on the status check, and the myStatus page is updated at about 5 am every morning.

If you have been admitted and want to see how your courses transferred, you can use the transfer equivalency site off the admissions website. If you have submitted a deposit (fall transfer and beyond requirement), you can log on to DegreeWorks to see how your courses apply towards the degree/major you have selected.  As well, go to the Next Steps brochure to learn about what you will need to do next to enroll at UGA (this is also sent in the acceptance packet).

I hope this helps, and I will try to keep everyone updated.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Unofficial 2015 Admitted Freshman Stats


UGA once again attracted an exceptionally strong applicant pool this year.  Competition for admission was stronger than ever.  Over 22,200 applications made for an increase over last year's numbers, and our target goal for the freshman class is 5,200 students.  This goal still allowed us to offer admission to about 11,600 students. Here are a few middle 50% statistics about the accepted group. As these are the middle 50% range, there were admitted students with academic information both above and below these ranges.

UGA Calculated Grade Point Average mid-range:  3.84 - 4.09
Please remember this is not the GPA students see on their high school transcript, but rather the GPA that UGA recalculates for everyone based on the core academic courses taken in high school and looking at the actual grades posted on the transcripts. Another way of looking at this is to know that roughly 82% of the core grades received by admitted students were A's, 17% were B's, and less that 1% were below that. In addition, we estimate that, on average, at least 6-10 of these core grades were AP/IB grades (depending on semester or block terms). GPA's above a 4.00 include added weight for AP/IB grades 

SAT Critical Reading + SAT Mathematics mid-range: 1210 - 1380

SAT Writing mid-range:  590-690 

ACT Composite mid-range:  28 – 32

  • If you converted the ACT scores received to the SAT equivalents, the mid-range SAT averages would go up by approximately 50 to 60 points.

 In addition, our average admitted student had taken approximately 7 Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate courses.  Over 1,000 of these students are also enrolled in dual enrollment courses. While we consider AP and IB courses as factors indicative of a student’s curriculum difficulty, we also look at the entire course selection in light of each student’s chances for academic challenges.  To that end accepted UGA students have taken a wide range of Honors, Accelerated and Advanced courses, summer academic programs, and dual enrollment work.

Statistics, of course, cannot describe other crucial non-quantifiable qualities.  Our UGA accepted applicants have exceptional high school records and undoubted potential for continued success in college.  That was also true for the vast majority of the students to whom we were not able to offer admission.  Leadership capabilities, strong writing, being an active member of their school and community and showing growth from freshman to senior year were all looked at, especially as our Admissions professional staff read and re-read the final decision applications.

The above numbers will change slightly when we are able to give out the academic averages for enrolled freshmen in September, as we will then know who out of this accepted group has decided to enroll. These are all the unofficial statistics I have available right now, as we are also focused on trying to get out transfer decisions, work with rising HS juniors/seniors who are visiting campus, and working with admitted students.

Congratulations to everyone in the college graduation class of 2019!  For those of you admitted and ready to commit to UGA, don’t forget to send your University of Georgia commitment deposit no later than May 1.

 Go Dawgs!

Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 Final Freshman Decisions are Now Available

Final freshman decisions are now available online.  We had a very strong applicant pool this year! We had just over 22,200 applications, which was our largest applicant pool ever.  Here are a few notes about decisions:

  • Please do not have multiple family members try to log onto the myStatus.  This will slow down our serves.  We suggest that only the student log in as multiple people logging in could lock down your myStatus. You can always share this information with family members after you see it. Remember, the myStatus page might be a little slow when it first opens due to high traffic volume-Just be patient.
  • No matter what your decision is, remember that there are a number of college options and UGA is just one of them. An admissions decision is not a judgement about your worth. A majority of our applicants are strong, qualified applicants, but our freshman class is not big enough to accommodate everyone.
  • When trying to comprehend your decision, please understand that our office is looking at your file individually, then in comparison with the rest of the 22,200+ applicants. That is a very large, very strong applicant pool, and we are limited in how many students we can admit and enroll.
  • We posted three blog posts this morning, one for each of the three decision possibilities, with details about each decision and links to FAQs.  Please review everything about a decision before commenting.
  • Please remember that other students and the admissions representatives in our office are people too and treat everyone with respect.  Before hitting submit on a comment, make sure you actually want to post it.
  • As in past years, we have admitted a small group of freshman to start in the Spring 2016 term. Please make sure to look at the term of acceptance if you are admitted. An offer of Spring will not be shifted to Fall or Summer, as we made a decision to admit this small group for Spring 2016.
  • We will post limited statistics about the overall applicant group next week, once that information is available and I have time to share them. I will not be able to give out statistics in the days following the release of decisions as I do not have them, and we are more focused on getting the decisions out the door.
  • We will delete any comments that are offensive, ask for personal information/stats from others, or that fall into the unacceptable comment category (Comments that bully, intimidate, or harass any user; Content that is hateful or threatening.  Please see the New Visitors information posted on the right side of the blog).
  • After decisions are out, the next steps are up to you.  Whether you are depositing at UGA or another school, signing up for Housing, or registering for Orientation.  Make sure you take care of everything you need to post-decision.
Go Dawgs!