Thursday, June 14, 2018

Spring 2019 Transfer Admission Update

This week, our office started reviewing Spring 2019 transfer applications. This is earlier than I expected, but we are progressing well with Summer/Fall transfer updates and final HS transcript reviews 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 Status page 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 2018 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.

Just like Summer and Fall transfer decisions, we will release our decisions every Friday in the late afternoon, and emails will go out to students roughly 20 minutes after a decision is released indicating a change to a student's status (no decision information is in the email, as it directs applicants to the status page for a decision). As such, there is no need to constantly check your status page or contact us by email or phone, as we only release decisions by the status page and by mail.

Generally, our office reviews transfer files chronologically based on when the file is complete (all materials are in), but this is not set in stone, as some file reviews might be delayed due to the complexity of the transcripts or due to our office not having past data on transferable work from certain colleges.

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


Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

DIY Admissions


For the last few weeks, my shower has suddenly started to drip water, even with the handle set at full off. I could live with a tiny leak, but this was becoming a steady leak, leading to other issues. So this weekend, I took on the task of repairing my shower in my house. I waited until my family was gone for the week, did some research on the internet on how to fix a leaky shower, and then built up my nerve to tackle the project. I am fine with fixing simple things around the house, even to the point of scaling the roof to fix a few torn shingles, but plumbing work terrifies me. I have nightmares about the entire shower suddenly falling into the kitchen due to my plumbing mistakes. But after looking at what was needed for a basic dripping shower, I figured I could take on the project. I watched the YouTube videos, read the package instructions, and I was ready.

It started out simple enough - Step 1, remove the handle. 20 minutes and a lot of WD-40 later, the handle was removed. Step 2, remove the metal shower sleeve - done in 20 seconds. Step 3, remove the bonnet nut - you guessed it, 30 minutes, one new wrench and a lot of WD-40 later, bonnet nut removed. Step 4, remove the cartridge and look at the rubber gasket washers. Step 5, notice there are no rubber gasket washers. Step 6, watch a lot of plumbers on YouTube fixing. Step 7, 45 minutes, one trip back to the hardware store to buy a new cartridge with the washers already built in, several times of asking myself why I am doing this, then pop the new cartridge in. I put the nut, sleeve and handle back on, said a small prayer, turned on the water and the shower worked. Now, I can still see a few minor imperfections, as the handle is not aligned perfectly and the there is a tiny gap that might or might not have been there before. But it works, it looks pretty good, and I learned a new skill (and I didn't have to pay a plumber $200+ for his work).

Now why in the world did I just tell you a story about me fixing a shower, and how does it even remotely relate to admissions? Well just like my minor plumbing job, applying to colleges can be a little scary, and you might hit a few speed bumps or need a little metaphorical WD-40, but you can handle this process. Unless you have a seriously unusual or challenging situation, you don't need a personal counselor, a test prep coach or an essay expert to get you through college admissions. This is a DIY project, and you can do it. Yes, you might need some advice from your parents, your counselor or Khan Academy (I don't think there is a perfect YouTube video on this subject yet), but you will make it through this process. I am not against students working with independent counselors or test prep programs, but I want to make sure people know that it is not a required part of the process or that "everyone else" is getting assistance.

As well, many times admissions offices can grasp whether a student has or has not been given assistance in the application process. It's a little like third grade science projects, where the range of parental assistance can clearly be seen in the finished work. Did eight year old Johnny really build a working scale model of the Mars rover climbing out of a crater on the red planet? We are looking for your voice in the essays, your interests in the co-curricular activities, and an overall view of what you are like in the application. For some applicants, the over-polishing of essays by third parties or activities added in senior year because someone suggested it would look good on a resume makes the application lose it's vitality. Again, I have no issue with students receiving advice on their admission application, but make sure you are the driver of this process, not the passenger. You know who you are, so you be you, and show us that in your application.

Good luck, and Go Dawgs!


Friday, May 11, 2018

2019 Freshman Essay Topics

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants. Based on our review of the essays from last year, we are keeping the essay prompts the same as last year. We require one short essay that all applicants must complete, and four additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to one of these. These two essays should be between 200-300 words and remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 1, but we thought that some people would want to know the essay prompts earlier than that date. Based on the essays we read last year, we do have one suggestion - Please remember your audience. For some reason, we had a large number of essays about bodily functions this year, and while these might be good stories for late night gatherings with friends, they might not be the best admission essays.

Here are the five essay questions, with Essay 1 being required and Essays 2-5 being four options from which the applicant selects one.  
  • (Required) The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

Essays 2-5, Choose one of the following four:
  • UGA’s 2017 Commencement speaker Ernie Johnson (Class of ’79) told a story from his youth about what he refers to as blackberry moments. He has described these as “the sweet moments that are right there to be had but we’re just too focused on what we’re doing …, and we see things that are right there within our reach and we neglect them. Blackberry moments can be anything that makes somebody else’s day, that makes your day, that are just sweet moments that you always remember.” Tell us about one of your “blackberry moments” from the past five years.
  • Creativity is found in many forms including artistic avenues, intellectual pursuits, social interactions, innovative solutions, et cetera. Tell us how you express your creativity.
  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a problem, possibly related to your area of study, which you would like to solve. Explain its importance to you and what actions you would take to solve this issue.

I have also included a sample essay from this past application cycle to give you an example of what we consider a strong essay, and it is from the "character" essay prompt. 


It’s unassuming, the tiled top square table with mismatched chairs, its lacquer wearing thin from dishes being passed back and forth, room for four but always crowded by eleven. It may be unassuming but its power is undeniable.


As I grew older, the after-dinner conversations grew more intriguing to me. I began to stay and listen, to the politics I didn’t understand and the adult gossip I shouldn’t have been privy to. The dynamic of the debate shifted almost every time the topic changed, but the one thing that was consistent was that after all the plates were cleared and the chairs were pushed back in, everyone came together for dessert; pizzelles and biscotti. No afterthoughts, no bitterness.

I admire my family's ability to embrace each other for their differences, instead of letting it break us apart. There was no greater example of the lesson in acceptance than when my family learned of the change in sexuality of one of our relatives. After the dissolution of a marriage and a traditional family, the initial resentment towards her for the challenge to our family values was difficult to digest, yet unavoidable. It was the first dispute that ever brought tears to that weathered table with the peeling laquer. Instead of allowing differing lifestyles to drive a wedge between us, our family challenged each other's misconceptions, we discussed, we cried and we accepted.

Being raised in such a racially, economically and religiously diverse community, I am lucky to have developed the skill set to empathize with the people around me and understand that not everyone thinks the same way. In fact life would be pretty boring if everyone acted in uniformity; in a more harmonious world, everyone should be able to voice their opinions and speak their minds, and still come together for dessert.   - Micaela B., Gaithersburg, MD

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

2018 Wait List Update

Starting this past Monday (5/7) and ending in the late afternoon today, we will finalize our decisions for all students on the Wait List. Due to the fact that our deposit numbers are slightly above the level that we predicted for next year, we are very limited in the number of offers we are able to make. We will be making all Wait List decisions in the same manner as our other admission decisions, where a decision will be displayed on the status page and an email will be sent shortly after a decision is made to alert the applicant that a status change has occurred. Admitted students have a  two-week Commitment Deposit deadline from the acceptance date. We will not be calling students about the Wait List, but instead will be using the status page for the decision release.

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.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Freshman Denies - A Post Mortem

My wife loves Grey's Anatomy. She is a nurse, and can handle seeing blood spurt out, people impaled on poles, and limbs sticking out at seriously wrong angles. Me, I can't even handle the site of the scalpel cutting into a body. But some of the most interesting scenes for me are when they do post mortems. The doctors look at what went wrong, either with the person's health or the medical treatment, to determine the cause of death. While doctors can never tell you exactly how to live to be 100, many times they can tell you what to avoid so you can have a good chance of a long life.

One thing we cannot do in admissions is tell students/parents the exact path to getting admitted. Life in admissions changes too much for this, with shifting application numbers, academic strengths, etc.
But what I can do is take a closer look at the denied students (an admissions post mortem so to speak), and give out some information on trends in our denied group. FYI-This is not a post about data on the overall denied applicant group, but only a view on some data which stands out within that subset. I apologize up front for the somewhat gruesome medical comparison, but if nothing else, it catches your attention.

  • Core Course Rigor: One of the biggest correlation factors for applicants being denied was their course preparation for UGA, and for college as a whole. If you were going to prepare yourself to bat against a college baseball pitcher, you would probably not go the batting cage and dial that machine up to 40 MPH. The average college pitcher is going to throw a fastball in the 85-90 MPH range, so you need to prepare for it by setting that pitching machine dial on high. When we look at applicants at UGA, we are looking at every student's academic rigor. For the applicants whose course selection was average or above average (as opposed to very rigorous or most rigorous), the chance of denial was over 96%. We know that some applicants have health and personal issues which cause some challenges to their academic rigor, and we take that into account, but most students do not have these limitations. Remember, we review course rigor by looking at what is taken in the five core academic areas over four years of high school in relation to what is offered at the school or in the community. As such, for those students/parents who think the best path to admission at UGA is to take the easiest courses, think again.
  • Grades-Specifically core course grades: High school grades are the best factor in predicting college grades. UGA knows that applicants at times will face a challenge in certain courses, or trip up early in their HS career. But in looking at applicants with grades in the lower range (C, D and F grades), the chance of admission drops down. For students with C/D/F grades, the chance of denial is over 85%. On an even lower note, students with D/F grades chances of denial drop to about 96%. If a student has several C/D/F grades, they need to make sure and show that in their overall academic performance, these low grades are the exception, not the rule. This does not mean that we negatively focus on students just because they have C/D/F grades, but instead that the overwhelming majority of applicants and accepted students have extremely strong grades where the high majority are A's.
  • Depth/Dedication to Activities: This one is less about data and more about internal discussions both during and after our holistic review process. When UGA is looking at a student's clubs, sports, work, volunteer service and other co-curricular activities, we are looking at how the student chooses to use their time and how in-depth their activities have been. We see a little bit of everything in our review of a students activities, and that is okay. But we at times will see some less active students who decide to pad their resumes with a number of one year only activities, usually in the 12th grade. While we understand students try new clubs and activities (and we are fine with that!), please know that our review of co-curricular activities is as much (or more) about depth of the involvement as breadth. When we see a sudden flurry of activities added to a student's resume after 3 years of somewhat limited involvement, it makes us wonder why. Having a resume with a a range of activities which have depth and breadth does not mean admission, but the reverse can pose challenges.
I hope this post helps a little more with looking at our decision process. Go Dawgs!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Swipe Left or Swipe Right?

I will admit it, I have never used an online dating app. I am old. But there has always been one constant in the world of dating: Accentuate your strengths and de-emphasize your weaknesses. Athletic? Show some pictures of you competing on the court or hiking up a mountain. Brains? Highlight that amazing degree, the books you read and your passion for Shakespeare comedies. Sense of humor? Dazzle them with a few witty comments in your profile. And as for those weaknesses? Bury them. Bury them deep. By the time they get to know you, they will happily ignore obsession with the toilet paper having to go over instead of under, or your slight obsession with The Bachelor or Rick and Morty.

The same thought process seems to holds true for students and parents posting college admission data on blogs, ChanceMe sites, and social media. Accentuate strengths and de-emphasize weaknesses. Have a strong GPA? Highlight the grades you made and the overall trends. Have a strong test score? Post the best SAT and ACT your child made, and emphasize how few make these scores nationwide. Active in School? List all the clubs, sports and volunteer work to far off lands. And if there are areas that are not so strong, then just leave off that part.

The only difference is that while outside viewers only see the positives that are posted, Admissions Offices already have all the details on the students, and are able to see both the strengths and limitations of each applicant. This difference in the information is generally what causes so much confusion between the viewpoint online and the actual review and decision.

Sometimes, data is just left out of the online post, such as lower test scores, C/D/F grades in the academic history, or a lack of academic rigor. In addition, sometimes the profile information does not always give the full information. Here are some common themes where an online profile does not always match the full details of the application:

  1. At times, the photo posted on a dating app might be several years old or have been re-touched in order to look a little better. Many times, a GPA posted on a forum is straight off the HS transcript, and could be very different from the UGA GPA we calculate. We have seen drastic differences in GPA's we calculated as compared to the one on a HS transcript, especially if the school uses an odd grading scale/system and includes non core work. 
  2. If you have gone mountain biking twice in the last few years, listing it as one of your favorite activities is probably not a completely accurate picture of things. The same could be said for activities/clubs where you have only put in a limited amount of time and energy. There are more than a few students who suddenly become active in multiple new activities in 12th grade only, or list an activity which involved 3 hours of time for the year from 9th grade. We are looking at the depth and time commitment of your co-curricular involvement.
  3. The numbers given in certain things are not always the numbers that are most important. Yes, you might be 27 years old, but if you have the maturity level of a 14 year old like me, then this could be an issue when dating. Same with admissions numbers. Yes, you might have a 32 Composite ACT, but since UGA just looks at the ACT English and Math, that Composite data is suddenly not a relevant. The same goes with AP/IB/DE course numbers. If you took 6 AP classes but they were all in Social Studies, and if UGA is looking at the overall rigor in all five core areas, then that number is not always a good barometer of the challenge of your curriculum.
In admissions, we are looking at more than the Tinder-like profile of an applicant. We look at everything in the file, warts and all. As such, decisions are not as simple as swiping left or right, but instead are full reviews of the entire application, as a brief profile never tells the whole story.

I hope this helps you understand our process a little better, and Go Dawgs!



Friday, March 16, 2018

2018 Freshman Final Admits


We plan to make the final wave of freshman decisions available today, March 16th, in the late afternoon timeframe. For those of you who have been admitted to UGA, here is a post for you and a chance to comment.  Please remember that this is not a blog where you should post statistics or throw fellow students under the bus. These types of comments will be deleted.

Congratulations to all of the freshman who were admitted and we look forward to you becoming part of the Bulldog Nation.  The next steps for a new student can be seen in the flyer in your admission packet, so please go ahead and review what you need to do next.  In addition, there will be a great deal of information you can access off of your Status page.  When you have the time, please review this, as there is key information in the Next Step materials.  Please remember a small number of students will be admitted to start in January 2019.  You will find specific information on your Status page and in your admissions packet.

Here are some rough statistics on the Entire Freshman Admitted Class for 2018-November, February and March waves, where we admitted approximately 12,600 students total (I do not have separate data on just the final group, sorry):

UGA Calculated Grade Point Average mid-range/average:  3.99 - 4.22, with a 4.08 average
  • 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. Roughly 86% of the HS grades received by our admitted students were A's.
AP/IB/Dual Enrollment course mid-range/average: 6-11 courses, average of 8
  • We determine academic rigor based on all core classes a student has taken (CP, Honors, Advanced, AP, IB, DE, etc.) as compared to what is offered in the school/community, but this information is the most specific data I can give on it.
SAT Best Score SAT Total (Using SAT or converted ACT) mid-range: 1320-1490

  • Best score data is the strongest of the SAT or the converted ACT for each admit

ACT Best Score Composite (Using ACT or converted SAT mid-range):  29-33
  • Remember, UGA focuses on ACT E and M

The Housing and myID pages may need a few business days before your information will be available.  Please be patient with these sites.

You have until May 1 to submit a commitment deposit in order to hold a spot in our freshman class.  We hope the next stage of the admission process is a little less nerve wracking than the decision process.  As you celebrate, make sure to be considerate of others in your school who may not have been admitted.

Good luck in the next stage of the college admissions process.  Go Dawgs!