Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2016 Freshman Application FAQ

It’s mid summer, and questions are beginning to flood in about UGA’s First Year admission process. Here are answers to some of our more frequently asked ones.

  •  When can I apply?  There is early, and then there is late.  The 2016 First Year application first becomes available on September 2.  Please know that, while there is a HUGE penalty for missing our application and document deadlines, we give no admission benefit or prize for being among the first to submit the application.  Take your time.  (Just don’t wait until the week before the deadline when most mistakes are made!). All EA decisions will be released in late November or early December.  The file completion deadlines for EA and RD will be one week after the application deadlines.  
  • I plan to apply Early Action.  What is the last ACT/SAT exam date you will accept for Early Action (EA)?  We will only be able to use SAT/ACT scores for tests taken by the October 15 EA deadline.  For us to receive your scores in time, you must designate UGA as an automatic recipient when you register for the exam. We are fine with the SAT or ACT or both scores, and we superscore the individual exams, and use whichever test is strongest (see our post on UGA and test scores).
  • Do I have to complete the essays if I am applying for Fall 2016 as a First Year student?  It depends.  Are you applying Early Action or Regular Decision? Early Action applicants do not have to complete the short essays, but Regular Decision and deferred Early Action applications will need to complete the short essays for admission. Regular Decision/Deferred Early Action also requires a teacher recommendation and allows you to submit your first term senior grades. 
  • How long does it take to fill out the application?  Most students say it takes longer than they thought it would, so be encouraged by the fact that you don’t have to complete the application in one sitting.  Once you create your UGA “ApplicantID”, you can save your work and come back later to complete the application and make any corrections.  Warning: Once you agree to the UGA Honor Code and choose "submit" at the bottom of that final page, you cannot return to make changes or corrections to your application. As well, you need to complete a payment option (check/waiver or credit card) to finalize the submission of the application.
  • What will I need when I sit at my computer to I apply?  Great question!  We suggest you have four documents available:  (1) SSN card, (2) resume, (3) copy of your latest HS transcript, and (4) fee payment information. You absolutely must give us your correct Social Security Number (please proofread it). We ask you to list your honors, activities, leadership, and work experiences which you may have already collected for a resume.  You need to accurately report the college prep curriculum you’re taking and the grades you've earned.  And finally, to complete the application you must give us payment information, ideally from a credit card.    
  • Should I apply Early Action or Regular Decision?  We can’t tell you which decision plan is right for you.  That decision should be made by you with the help of your family and high school counselor.  Read our Regular Decision vs. Early Action page here.
  • Do my AP/IB grades count towards my GPA? When UGA recalculates your GPA from the self-reported grades on the application and a review of your transcript, we will add 1 point to each AP grade (so a B which is a 3.0 becomes a 4.0), unless your school already adds points to your actual teacher grade (for instance, an 85 becomes a 95 on the transcript). We do not look at the GPA calculated on the HS transcript, but instead focus on the actual grades. We calculate the GPA based on grades in the areas of English, Math, Science, Social Sciences and Foreign Languages, and as well any AP/IB courses that are non-core (such as AP Computer Science or IB Theory of Knowledge). Have your post junior year transcript available and review the self-reported grades section carefully, then fill in the information as best as you can.
  • What if I am from Out-of-State and am not taking a fourth year of science in HS? The state of Georgia, and therefore UGA, are flexible for out-of-state students when it comes to the fourth science requirement. We will use a science course from the 8th grade if is a HS course, and as well there are a number of HS courses that can be used aside from the standard science courses (please see the state's Staying on Course document). You also do not need to get us documentation of the 8th grade science course until you decide that you will enroll at UGA, and you would have it sent with a final HS transcript showing senior grades and a graduation date.
  • I have heard a number of rumors about UGA admissions. What is true and what is not? The best way to learn about the myths that surround UGA, and as well the actual truth, is to go to our Top 10 Admissions Urban Legends page.

We hope this FAQ helps.  Please post any questions you have, and I will try to answer them as best as possible and update this page if needed.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Camp Sunshine 2015

It is that time of year again, when I will be away from the blog for a week while I volunteer at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer. This will be my 20th year volunteering for the summer camp part of Camp Sunshine, and I have had a wonderful time over the years working with this program. This year, I will be a cabin counselor for nine 10-12 year old boys  (along with two other volunteers), and I am guessing I will be involved in a great deal of mountain biking, fishing, tennis, gold panning, going up the climbing wall (or just watching as my campers go up), archery, dodgeball, arts and crafts, and a lot of  singing. If you have never heard 200+ campers and 150+ volunteers singing and dancing to "Peanut Butter Jelly Time", you are missing a great event.

So, for the next week or so, I will be out of communication with this blog.  Once I am back, I will begin posting/commenting/replying again!

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spring 2016 Decisions

Next week, our office started reviewing Spring 2016 transfer applications. This is much earlier than I expected, but we are way ahead of the timelines we have predicted for Fall transfers files and final HS transcripts for freshmen. The 8/15 application deadline for spring has not passed and we are still receiving applications and documents, so we cannot say how long it will take us to finish or guess when you will hear a decision.  If you applied for the spring term, please be sure to check your myStatus to see if we have your most up-to-date transcript(s).  If you were enrolled in coursework this summer and have not sent a transcript with your summer grades, you should have one sent as soon as possible.  To be complete and ready to review, we must have a transcript from each college/university you have previously attended.  If you are attending a new college starting in the Fall 2015 semester, we do not need a transcript, as there will not be any grades on the transcript. If you are admitted, we will need a transcript when fall term is done, though, as we will need to post these grades.

Transfer decisions are made on a daily basis Monday through Friday, and it varies on how many decisions we can make in a day due to the complexity of some transfer files. The myStatus page is updated in the early a.m. every business morning, and decisions are posted on the myStatus page and are mailed to transfer applicants.We generally try to review files based on when a file is complete (earliest to latest), but this is not an exact science due to complexities within the transfer process. During the first few weeks of August, decisions might be a bit slower than normal due to also having to input summer work for incoming/returning students, but that should slow down by the start of class (8/17).

We will be reviewing Spring Freshmen applicants sometime in mid-late September after the deadline has passed and all files are ready for review.


Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Updated AP/IB grade Weighting for 2016

Ever since I have been at UGA (18 years or so), we have added .5 to every AP or IB grade during the calculation of the UGA GPA (excluding schools who add points to actual teacher grades on the transcript). In a review of the weighting practices of a large number of high schools with which we work, we have seen a growing trend of schools adding 7 to 10 points to every AP/IB teacher grade, so that an 85 in AP Biology becomes a 92 or 95 on the actual transcript. In light of these changing high school policies, UGA is changing the weighting policy for the applicant pool for 2016 and beyond and will be adding 1 point to each AP/IB grade in our calculation of a GPA. In practice, this means that if a student makes a B in AP Biology, this would count as a 4.0 (3.0 + 1.0) in our GPA calculation process.

The University of Georgia values students challenging themselves in rigorous high school courses, as the best way to prepare yourself for college courses is to challenge yourself in the high school classroom. We encourage students to take the strongest courses possible in which they can still be successful, and we want to recognize this in how we calculate a GPA. We will continue to add weight only to AP or IB grades, as these are nationally and internationally standardized. We will also continue to review the strength of every applicant's curriculum within the context of their school's offerings separate from our GPA calculation, where we will review all core courses a student takes, be they AP, IB, Honors, DE, Accelerated, CP, etc.

While this is not a huge change, and the past policy of adding .5 for every AP/IB grade worked very well, we felt making this change would help address the growing shift in grade policies by a number of high schools.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, June 1, 2015

2016 Redesigned SAT

In the Spring of 2016, the College Board will release their newly redesigned SAT test, and the Essay portion will be optional. This will not have an impact on freshmen starting in Summer/Fall of 2016 (due to our freshman deadlines), but this will impact students starting in the Summer/Fall of 2017 and beyond. As such, we can only use the old SAT for students applying for Summer/Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. UGA will continue to accept both the SAT and the ACT, but with the change in the new 2016 SAT, we will not  require the Essay/Writing component for either the SAT or ACT for students beginning in 2017 terms.

UGA will continue to superscore the SAT and the ACT (we do not superscore across SAT and ACT exams though), and we will use the SAT subscores for both the current and new SAT in the superscore calculation. In our review of SAT and ACT scores, we will continue to look at all scores, but we will focus on the Critical Reading/Writing and Math Sections on the new SAT and the English and Math sections on the ACT.

We also suggest that you review what steps other colleges will be taking concerning the new SAT to better understand your options.

Go Dawgs!

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.