Monday, February 12, 2018

Upcoming, Decision Dates for UGA Applicants

The final two decision dates for UGA freshman applicants are now set (unless some major issue impacts our office), and the smaller February wave of decisions will be released on Friday, February 23, while the final decisions in March will be released on Friday, March 16. In addition, transfer decisions will begin being released on Friday, February 23.

February Decisions - UGA will offer admission to over 2,000 freshman applicants on Friday, February 23. This group of decisions is made up of only offers of admission, and if you were admitted, you will be able to see the decision on your Admission Status page (so only admitted students will see a decision change on their status page) and these admits will receive an email communication. Additionally, an admissions packet will be sent out in the mail the following week. Our office is too busy reviewing files for me to run any mid-range academic averages at this time, but the academic information should be very similar to the Early Action admitted students (it will not be exactly the same, as we had a large number of EA admits who were applying for our top scholarships, which slightly skews EA stats a little higher). The press release about our Early Action decisions gives more details on the academic averages for this group. As we did in the November Early Action offers of admission, there will be some scholarship offers in this group, and those who have received them will see it on the status page. We will continue to offer scholarships through early April, so please be patient as we do these reviews. These admitted freshman, made up of mostly Regular Decision applicants, met the stringent academic criteria of Early Action admission that we used with our much larger wave of November admission offers. Do not panic if you were not admitted with the February group. We are still very much in the midst of carefully reviewing documents and data on a great many more files, and there are still lots of decisions to make. 

March Final Decisions - On Friday, March 16, all final freshman decisions will be released. There will be three decision groups (Admit, Deny and Wait-List), and I will try to post some information on all three of these decisions during the week leading up to the final decision release. We will also have a small group of freshman that we will admit for the Spring 2018 term. We are still deep in the holistic read process, and I do not have any numbers on how many final admits we will make, what the statistics will look like overall, or how many students will be put on the wait-list. When we do release final decisions, I will have statistics on the overall applicant pool and admitted group the following week, but not broken out into the different release dates. After we make final decisions, we will continue to offer scholarships through early April, so please be patient as we do these reviews as well. Thank you for your patience during this review process.

Transfer Applicants - We have begun reviewing the Summer and Fall transfer applicants, and we will release the first group of transfer decisions on Friday, February 23. We will then continue to release transfer decisions every Friday. All applicants with a decision will receive an email alerting them to a change in their status, so you do not need to constantly check your admission status page. We generally review transfer applicants by term first (so summer decisions before fall if possible), and then roughly by the date the file becomes complete. This is not exact, as some transfer files are more complicated than others to review. As such, please do not compare application date to release dates with others, as it might vary due to other factors (included days when several hundred applications were received/completed).

Go Dawgs!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Summer/Fall 2018 Transfer Application

The Summer/Fall transfer application will open today, January 22. While the application opens today, please take your time completing it. Make sure you are applying for the correct program, the correct campus, the correct term, etc. Here are a few suggestions and updates for transfer applicants. 

  • We project we will begin reviewing Summer transfers in early February, and we will start with Fall transfers in late February.
  • Review our transfer procedures and requirements, as well as our academic consideration levels.
  • Select the term you wish to attend, not one you have heard is easier to get in (this is a myth). If you select summer, for instance, we expect you to attend for summer, and if you do not, you cannot then attend in the fall.
  • Please send in all the required transcripts after you apply, not before. As well, we need all transcripts from colleges ever attended as an undergraduate, even if you attended a college during HS.
  • If a transcript has a different name than the one you applied with, please make sure to let us know so we can match up documents. The "other last name" filed is the place to put any other last names, and this will catch any transcripts.
  • If you started a freshman application earlier to set up an account, you will need to select the Freshman application you started on your admissions dashboard and change your application type to Transfer.
  • It is much better to get everything correct before applying rather than try to fix things after you submit an application, so triple check everything.
  • Once you apply, be patient. Review the timelines page on this blog, give us time to match up things, and relax. For document matching purposes, we suggest you give us 10 business days from when you apply or submit transcripts, whichever one comes last.
  • Make sure to monitor your myStatus after sending in transcripts, but give us time to complete your file.
Go Dawgs, and be patient!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Admissions, Russell Wilson and the NFL Draft

The NFL Combine - Four days set aside for potential pro football players to show their skills, and for team scouts and fans to drool over odd statistics such as the 3-cone drill, the Wonderlick IQ test and 40 yard dash times. For those of you who don't follow NFL football, the draft combine is where the NFL  invites prospective players to travel to Indianapolis, IN to showcase their talents for NFL scouts. They will be timed on how fast they can run the 40 yard dash, how high they jump, how many times they can bench press 225 lbs, among other things. In addition, they will be measured and weighed, interviewed, poked and prodded all to try and determine their strengths and weaknesses. The NFL teams will then take all this data, along with a wealth of film on how each player performed on the football field during their time in college, to try to determine who they should draft for their team.

Every NFL team participates in the combine, but one in particular, the Oakland Raiders, has made it a habit of focusing a great deal on the numbers coming out of the combine. If a player had a great 40 yard dash time, you could bet that the Raiders would have them on their watch list. Jacoby Ford, Darrius Hayward-Bey and Bruce Campbell are all great examples of "workout warriors" with great combine stats whom the Raiders have drafted. Unfortunately (as many of their fans know), the Raiders have had limited success in their tunnel vision concerning combine statistics.

On the other end of the spectrum are teams like the Seattle Seahawks. In 2012, they drafted Russell Wilson, an "undersized" quarterback who was seen as the mid-range quarterback prospect at best, even though he started four years in college with outstanding passer ratings and leadership skills. Many draft write ups started with the phrase "if only he was three inches taller". All Wilson has done since 2012 is start every game since he was drafted, be named the NFL rookie of the year, go to 4 pro bowls, win a Super Bowl and win more games in his first six seasons than any other quarterback.

At times, people who have an interest in admissions, either as parents, applicants, or friends and family start to see Admissions more like the Raiders see things than the Seahawks. The look at key numbers such as a student's ACT score or the number of AP courses taken, and forget about how the student has done "on the field". Scoring a 33 or higher on the ACT is looked at the same way as running the 40 yard dash in under 4.30. Taking "X" amount of AP classes (without an understanding of the core areas or offerings) becomes the equivalent of benching the 225 weight 30 times.

UGA Admissions likes to look at applicants in a broader sense, with the understanding that what a student is like in the classroom over 4 years is the best indicator of how they will do at UGA for 4 years. The test scores and other numbers might match the skills in the classroom, but they do not in any way supersede a student's 4 year academic record. And similar to an NFL scout wondering why player with a 4.25 40 speed didn't do more on the playing field, admissions begins to wonder what happened when a student with a great SAT or ACT is making B's and C's in the classroom.

When UGA looks at the applicant pool, our goal is to admit students whom we feel will be successful in our classrooms. We are looking at students with a proven track record in the classroom, and not the applicant who is a "workout warrior" with a high test score but with a much lower level of success in their HS classes. While I can't say that the UGA Admissions Office is the Seahawks of the college admission world, I can say that we try to emulate their focus on work ethic and actual success on the field (or in the classroom).

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Holistic Review Process-Beyond the Numbers




It is December, which means our holistic file reading process will begin soon. Instead of giving you a nice "slice of life" story which then transitions into our reason for reading files, I will just go straight into the process (except for the Rudy clip). For a large group of our applicants (ones who are not admitted based on their academics alone in November and February), we spend almost three months diving into everything in a student's application to better understand them, look at them in comparison with the rest of the applicant pool, and ultimately make final decisions about our freshman class. I have had a number of comments on the blog asking what we look at in this process, so here are the areas we look at in our holistic review. I could probably write six pages worth of explanation about the process, but I have summarized each area to lessen the pain of exhaustion for the reader. There is more to our review process than just these brief descriptions though, but at least this gives you some details of the process.

  1. Activities/Involvement/Leadership The first thing you should know about activities is that we value quality over quantity. What we are looking for is somewhat about the range of what a person does, but more so the depth of their involvement. It is not about how many clubs/sports/activities you can join, but instead looking at is what things you have committed to during your high school years, both in time and in consistency. In addition, another area we look at a student's dedication to family and work. At times, a student may have limited involvement in clubs, but that might be due to a dedication to their family and/or job. 
  2. Writing/Creativity/Expression - In the review of an applicant's writing, our focus is more the writer's voice, how well they communicate their ideas, and how well they "show" us their information, and less focus is put on grammar and structure. Yes, we still want a student to write clearly and spell check their work, but that is not the key. The other area within this part looks at a student's creative side. While we see some of these items within the activities section, we want to see how a student shows their creativity. We look at their involvement in the arts, but also in the "non-artistic" side of things such as robotics, design, newspaper, etc. We try to get an understanding of their aesthetic side of life. We will focus more on the writing part during this review, but a student's passion for creativity does come into play.
  3. Academic Review - When we look at a student's transcript during the holistic review process, we are trying to understand how a student has progressed over their 3+ years in high school. Have they been consistently strong throughout the years, did they start slow and then jump up to all A's, did they have a tough time in a specific subject, are all their B's low or high B's, etc. We are looking at core grades, we are focused on the actual grades, not a GPA on a transcript, and we are looking at trends and how you have done in your most challenging classes.
  4. Strength of Curriculum/Intellectual Challenges - First,there is no magic number of AP/IB/Honors/Advanced/Dual Enrollment/Post-AP classes needed for admission, because there is no right answer. Instead, we look at the academic opportunities both at your school and in your community for the answer. What I mean is, most competitive colleges are going to look at what academic options are available to you as a student, and what you have then chosen to take. What have you done within the context of what is available? We also look at summer programs (Governor's Honors programs, Girls State, etc), activities which focus on developing your academic side, and how you are preparing yourself for the academic challenges at UGA.
  5. Integrity/Work Ethic/Maturity - One area of admissions that is not always talked about, but which has a great impact over the entire file, is the idea of work ethic and maturity. I often refer people to a scene from the movie Rudy, where the main character never lets up, even on the last play of the last day of practice. UGA recognizes the overachiever, the one that has taken what they have been given and gone beyond everyone's expectations.
  6. Respect for Others - In looking at applicants, we are looking at future members of the UGA community.  They will be living in the residence halls together, studying together, dating, hanging out, and generally interacting with the people in the UGA community 24/7. In light of this, I want to know how they interact with other people in their own community right now. Which students step outside their comfort zone to grow and understand others? Who reaches out to people in their community in need, using their time and effort to give back to other people? What students actively learn about other cultures and other people, and share a bit of themselves as well?
It takes a while for our team to review the large number of applications, and to dig into everything within the file. These files are given multiple "reads", and we are looking at everything in the application, including activities/sports/summer events/employment sections, transcripts, test scores, recommendations, resumes, essays, etc. We expect final decisions to go out sometime in mid-late March, but that is based on moderate growth projections of how many total applications we will receive this year, so that could change.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, December 8, 2017

ACT Site Closings and Test Scores

As sometimes happens in Georgia, we are hit by a snowstorm, which means people flock to the grocery store for break and milk, schools are cancelled for a period of time, and testing centers for the SAT and ACT have to postpone the exams. UGA Admissions has been tracking the school closings for December 8, 2017, and we also know that some ACT sites for the 12/9 ACT exam will be postponing this testing date.

In light of this, we have heard that the most likely make-up exam date will be the weekend of January 6-7, 2018. If a student has an ACT exam that is postponed from 12/9 to 1/6 or 1/7, we will use the ACT from this make-up ACT exam. Two provisions do apply to this extension of the deadline:

  1. If you are taking the ACT make-up exam, make sure that UGA is a score recipient prior to you taking the test. Do not wait until after you see the scores to determine if you should send the results, as this will delay things. Since UGA is a "best score" institution and we superscore test scores, sending us the scores before knowing the results will not hurt an applicant in any way.
  2. If there are unusual situations surrounding your scores for the 1/6 date which causes the scores to extremely delayed in being sent (late February or March as an example), this will cause us problems in accepting these scores for 2018 applicants. We do not expect any unusual situations, but that is why the oddities are referred to as unusual. At a certain point, UGA has to stop importing scores and documents so we can move forward with decisions.
For anyone sending in test scores, know that we upload scores the morning after we receive them from the testing agency, and you can track the scores both on your application status page and on the student portal of the testing agency. If a score shows up on an applicants status page prior to final decisions, it means we imported it in time and are able to use it.

I hope this helps! Now run out and buy eggs, milk, bread and water. It's going fast.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Early Action Decisions are Available

Early Action decisions are now available online! For students who were deferred, please understand that this is not a denial decision.  We want to be able to have a more in-depth review of you, including short essays, activities, recommendations, etc.  Please be sure to read the deferred student FAQ page before commenting on here.

The 2018 Early Action Decision press release gives more details on the class, but here are a few numbers from it.

Quick Early Action Numbers*

Applications Received: 14,989
Offers of Admission: 8,060
Mid 50% Admitted Average GPA: 4.00-4.27
Mid 50% Admitted Average SAT (EBRW+M): 1320-1470
Mid 50% Admitted Average ACT: 30-32
Mid 50% Admitted AP/IB/MOWR courses (over 4 years: 7-11) 
    -Academic Rigor is based on an overall core course review, but this gives a good glance at the challenge of our admitted student's curriculum.

* Please Remember that these numbers are mid-ranges, not minimums.

If you have questions about your specific decision, please do not post them on this blog.  As well, do not give out or request personal academic information in your post, as we would then need to delete these posts. We are not able to answer questions about individual students here because we will generally not have your information in front of us and we cannot disclose individual student information in a comment.  I would recommend talking with both your family and high school counselor first, then reviewing this previous post on suggestions about how to react to an EA decision, and finally reading the FAQ's available from your Status page.

Please be patient, be nice and be courteous.


Have a great weekend and go Dawgs!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2018 Early Action Decision Timeline

For all of you who are waiting anxiously by your computer/mailbox, nervous about your Early Action decision, here is some good news. UGA is planning on releasing the EA decisions on the Status page on Friday, November 17 in the late afternoon unless some serious problem arises, which I do not expect. If this changes, we will let you know, but this is the plan at this time. If there are issues, the release date and time would then be a little later, either over the weekend or the early part of the next week.  Do not call/email/text/message/tweet asking for the exact time of "late afternoon", as I cannot give an exact time. We will post a message here when it opens up. We are excited about this, and I am guessing you are as well, and hopefully it will allow for a little less nerve-wracking Thanksgiving break for some of you.

In addition to the decisions being available on the Status page, letters will go out in the mail for Accepted students. Freshman denial letters will not be mailed out, as almost all applicants see their decisions online, and we, along with a number of colleges, did not want to have a letter that only served to reinforce the negative feelings they might already have.

Here are a few suggestions on how to react to the four different decisions:

Admit: Celebrate with family, buy a lot of UGA gear to wear for the Thanksgiving break, but remember that not everyone has received a decision of admission, and so be a little more low key with friends and classmates. In other words, do not run up to you best friend during English class and scream "I got into Georgia" while 10-15 of your classmates are mentally creating new and painful ways for you to meet your doom. In addition, be patient with the other parts of campus (commitment deposit, housing, the UGA myID system, etc.), as they might need a few days to take in your information. Remember, it takes a little while for information to flow to other offices. Read the materials we give you online and in an acceptance packet as it will instruct you on what to do next.

Defer: This is the most challenging one, as these are applicants who are truly strong students, but we want to see more about them, as well as the rest of the applicant pool, before making a final decision.  Please remember, this is not a denial at all, but instead a way for us to be able to review you in full, from your co-curricular activities, your essays, and your recommendations. As I usually state, defer is not a four letter word (even though you might feel this way), only a delay in an admission decision. This is the time in which we are able to look at your overall application, as we have time to do holistic reads from December through mid-March. While this is probably not the answer you would like, I would suggest you treat it as a call-back for a second audition. Some roles have already been cast (or admitted), and we now want to look at you in more detail to see how you compare to the rest of the people auditioning (or applying). One of the worst things is to call us up and berate us for not admitting you. We will be happy to talk to people, but make sure to communicate in a positive tone, understand that we cannot talk about other applicants, and again please remember that defer does not mean denial.  One step you can take is to make sure we have received a recommendation from a teacher in an academic area (it is optional but we suggest having one sent in). A second step is to give us any updates through an update form you will see on your status page. This could be fall grades (when you know them), a new activity, job or leadership role, or anything you want to add to your file. Remember, UGA is in no way done with the overall freshman admission process. We still have a long way to go, with a great deal of files to read and admission offers to make, so just be patient.

Deny: While this is not a fun situation at all, the reality is that if you have been denied Early Action, you are truly not competitive for admission at UGA as compared to the rest of the applicant pool. It is not easy to write that, and it is very difficult to tell this to a student or parent, but when we look at this  student's application in comparison with the other 14,500+ EA applicants (and remember, we expect to get over 10,000 RD applicants as well), they do not match up academically with the others. It is better to tell you now instead of waiting until late March, as this gives you time to make other plans. Unless there seems to be a serious error (you are in the top of your class, take a very challenging course load, and have a strong test score), my suggestion is to not contact us about the decision, but instead move forward with plan B. While we do not mind talking with you at all, the reality is that an Early Action denial means that the admission to UGA is not possible as a freshman.

Incomplete: For the small number of students who did not complete your EA file, you are now automatically deferred to the next step, and so you will need to get in the missing materials from EA, (remember the teacher recommendation is optional but we suggest also having one sent in). We went three plus weeks beyond the deadline allowing you to get in the missing documents, sending reminder emails, indicating what was missing through the Status page, and it was your responsibility to get in the required materials. So I do not suggest contacting us to see if we can take items late, as that time has passed. Focus instead on sending in what is needed to be reviewed in the next round.

Go Dawgs!