Friday, November 20, 2015

Early Action Decisions are Now Available

Early Action decisions are now available online!  You can view the press release with some statistics about EA students who were admitted here.  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.

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 myStatus page.

Please be patient, be nice and be courteous.

Have a great weekend and go Dawgs!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Admissions-The Long Road

In the past, I have used the image of a long cross country trip when looking at the Admissions process, and how we would not know the exact arrival time until we were almost to the destination. Now picture the Admissions process as a road trip with three legs to the journey. The first leg is Early Action, and we are now right at the end of that part of the trip. The second leg is a little shorter, and finishes up in late February when we review all Regular Decision and deferred EA applicants to see if they now meet Early Action admission standards (some EA defers will have a jump in their SAT/ACT scores that could shift them to admit). The last leg is the hardest, as it is the file reading part of the trip, and it does not finish up until mid-late March when final decisions are released.

So please know that UGA will not be done with the entire freshman admission decisions after we make our Early Action decisions. We will be done with the Early Action leg of the trip, but we are still a long way from being done with final decisions! We will still be receiving a large number of RD applications, deferred EA students will be completing their part II sections, we will be reviewing transcripts, reading essays, doing holistic reviews, etc. So if you are deferred, please know that we still have a lot of admission decisions to make! My rough estimate based on prior years is that will still be admitting a large number of freshmen after EA decisions. As well, please know that UGA will be treating deferred EA and RD applicants the same during the next steps of the process. The rumor always hits that deferred applicants will now be "put at the back of the line behind RD applicants", so let me just cut that off now and let you know that is incorrect. Again, in the next stages of the admission process, we will look at deferred EA (who get in part II and a teacher rec) and RD applicants in the same way.

In addition,  I heavily suggest that any deferred applicants that start comparing themselves to people who were admitted and questioning the decisions remember that UGA has a full view of everything in an applicant's file, from the various SAT/ACT subscores, and problem areas such as a D/F grade, lower grades that are out of balance with strong test scores, an applicant's overall curriculum, and more detailed information about their overall information, while others only have a partial and sometimes inaccurate view of things. This is just my suggestion, and you do not have to follow it, but it comes from 20+ years of talking with families about decisions.

Go Dawgs!

P.S. To quote Forrest Gump, "I'm pretty tired...I think I'll go home now".

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2016 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 myStatus page on Friday, November 20 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 myStatus page, letters will go out in the mail for Accepted, Deferred and Incomplete 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 your chance to let us know what you are like as an overall applicant. 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 you can do is give up and not do the essays. The second worst thing 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 please remember that defer does not mean denial. In past years, just under half of the deferred applicants who completed part II were later admitted. Each year, about 1,400 deferred students do not complete part II, so we never even have a chance to even review them! If you are serious about UGA, take the time to complete your application, and then be patient as we review all of these files throughout Jan., Feb. and March. When completing part II/the essays, you do NOT need to do an entirely new application, and there is no new/additional application fee. You just need to go to your myStatus page after decisions are out, complete part II/the essays, and hit submit. As well, get a teacher from an academic area to write your teacher recommendation. 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 make sure you do your best to show UGA what you are like as an overall student/citizen.

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 14,515 EA applicants (and remember, we expect to get over 9,000 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, and also submit part II of the application and a teacher recommendation. 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 myStatus 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. When completing part II/the essays, you do NOT need/want to do an entirely new application, and there is no new/additional application fee. You just need to go to your myStatus page after decisions are out, complete part II/the essays, and hit submit.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Random Admission Thoughts-October 2016 edition

We are about a week out from the Early Action application deadline, and one day past the document deadline. As such, there are a wide range of questions that are hitting us right now. Here are a few thoughts on the issues that we are seeing most often.

  • ACT Scores -The ACT has announced that the September ACT scores with Writing are being reviewed and sent out slower than expected, but they still project having all scores sent to colleges within 3-8 weeks of the test being taken. Our office knew this timeline going into our Early Action planning, and so we will continue to import ACT scores through the projected 8 week out delivery date. Please be patient, as we do not control the sending of the scores, only the uploading of the scores once we receive them. Our office uploads test scores on Tuesdays and Fridays, so be patient.
  • ACT Screen Shot of Scores - While the ACT has suggested that colleges might accept a screen shot of the ACT scores, we do not want these sent to us. As I stated above, we have planned for the long timeline that ACT has in sending out scores, so we will continue to import scores for EA (and RD). Again, do not send a screen shot of your scores, as we will not use it.
  • SAT Scores - The SAT recently modified their test score format and delivery method, so for the week of 10/19-10/23, they did not send out any scores as they changed over to the new system. They expect that they will be back to normal sending SAT scores (which include the October 3rd scores) on 10/26 (update-College Board sent these scores late on 10/27, so we loaded them on 10/28. SAT scores requested on 10/15 or after have not been sent yet.). Again, please be patient, as we need time to then receive the scores and upload them. We will be accepting scores for a little while longer to take into account the delays in the SAT and ACT delivery issues.
  • Incomplete EA Applications -If for some reason your file is incomplete when we stop accepting test scores and documents, your application will be deferred and you will then have until 1/15 to complete part II and submit any missing items. You should not cancel your application, and you do not need to request a change to Regular Decision, as we will just defer your application so you can take the next steps.
  • Strong Applicant Pool - We have 14,515 Early Action applicants (about a 10% increase over last year), and all indications are that this group is stronger academically than last year. What does this mean? It means that it will most likely be a little more challenging to be admitted Early Action this year. No data or facts on the applicant pool to release at this time, but it is a strong group of students.
  • Prepare Yourself - Early Action applicants have self selected to apply EA because they feel comfortable with our office reviewing their academic credentials now, so these are generally very strong students. As such, we will be admitting, deferring and denying a large number of students. While you may know your academic information, and somewhat the academic profile of your peers/HS friends, we are dealing with 14,515 students from all over the globe. You only know a small slice of the applicant pie, while we are looking at the overall group. As such, hope for an admission offer, but also know that if you are deferred, know that this is not a deny. A deferral is simply our office asking for more time and more information so we can do a more detailed review.
  • Patience - Right now, just be patient as our office continues to match up documents and test scores, reviews files, and plans out our Early Action decisions. Read a book, see a movie, take a nap. Just be calm and wait for the next step in the Early Action process.
I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Friday, October 16, 2015

2016 Early Action Update

With the Early Action deadline of yesterday, here are a few updates about the process:

  • Total EA Applications (10% increase over last year):  14,514
  • Complete Early Action Applications as of today: 8,200
  • # of EA Applicants Applying within 4 days of Deadline: 4,973
As you can see, a large number of the Early Action applications are complete, and for EA applicants who have sent in test scores (the one item they truly control), 70% of these applicants are complete. Additionally, approximately 34% of the total applicant pool for EA applied right around the deadline.  This means our office still digging out from under the thousands of documents, test scores, etc. we have received. We appreciate your patience as we work as quickly as possible to match documents with files.

It takes our office about 5 to 10 business days to match a document with an applicant's file, and with the document/materials submission deadline of 10/22, we are still receiving a large number of items.  If your documents were submitted by this deadline, it will be considered for Early Action.  We are accepting the October 3 SAT for Early Action as long as you designated UGA as a school to automatically receive your scores, and we will import those near the end of October (10/22 is when you can see them, but they will trickle out to us the week after that), as the College Board is in the middle of changing their delivery process. As such, please make sure to give us time to receive these scores and load them into the system.

Your Steps
Be sure to check your myStatus to make sure you are complete!  If material you have sent is not showing up on your myStatus, double-check with your counselor, College Board, ACT, etc. to make sure that it was sent.  If a document was sent and it has been more than 10 business days (business days do not include weekends or holidays), I would suggest either resending the document(s) or contacting us. We do not accept faxed documents, so make sure to send it electronically or by mail. Remember, we are okay with test scores both taken and requested by 10/15, even if they are not in our system yet.

Now that you have submitted your application (and it is hopefully complete), take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the fall weather and some UGA football!

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

2016 EA Deadline is Approaching

The Early Action deadline is almost here, and the two weeks surrounding the deadline are similar to Atlanta during 5:00 p.m. rush hour traffic (on a Friday).  Our office typically receives 4,000+ applications within the last few days, has a drastic increase in mail, and deals with a great deal of emails and phone calls in the few days both before and after the deadline.  The best thing an applicant can do is be patient and make sure you have requested your test scores, transcript and school evaluation.  We will be working as quickly as possible to match documents with files, but we are dealing with a large number of applications and supplemental material, so things do not happen immediately. Remember, the supporting document submission deadline is October 22, so you do not need to panic if it is October 16 and your file is not complete.

The fastest way to get material to us is to send it electronically.  Schools can submit transcripts online through Docufide/Parchment, through GaCollege411, or through our High School Counselor Portal transcript upload process.  The high school evaluation can be submitted online from the High School Counselor Portal or by Naviance/Parchment, and we are fine if the school submits the Secondary School Report (SSR) in place of our form. If an SSR is sent, please give us time to log it into the system, as it takes a little longer than a transcript to input. Remember, no faxes!

For SAT/ACT test scores, we will accept any scores that have been both taken and requested by the 10/15 deadline. As such, we can use the October 3rd SAT, but not the October 24 ACT. We do not control when the scores are sent in, only the receiving of the scores, so you want to work with the testing agency to make sure these are sent. As well, we import test scores on Tuesdays and Fridays, so be patient as we load these into our system. If you request a score on 10/15, it will not show up on the myStatus on 10/16. It will depend on when the testing agency sends it to us, and then give us a little time to load it.

Please do not call our office to ask if we have received a document, test score, etc. if it was just sent.  It takes about 5 to 10 business days from the time something is mailed for it to be matched with your file.  It takes 2 to 5 business days for something submitted online to show up on your myStatus. By business I mean that any weekend or holidays when the admissions office is not working, we are not matching up materials.

Be sure to check your myStatus to see what we have received and what we are missing.  This is updated 1-2 times every business day, so you do not need to check it several times a day.  Documents do not need to show up in your myStatus by October 15 to be in by the deadline, and remember that we are giving school officials until October 22 to get in their materials (the school evaluation and transcript).  Know that if you have submitted something to us by the deadline, we will post it in our system and your myStatus shortly.  We appreciate your patience as we work vigorously to match all of the material we are receiving with applications.

Have a great day, and Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Random Thoughts, September 2015 edition

It's mid-September, which means we are at the tail end of our Spring 2016 transfer review process, and we are 2 weeks into the 2016 freshman application process. As such, here are a few random thoughts about the issues that have been most pressing over the past few weeks.

  • Spring transfers-The end is in sight! I expect that by the end of this week, all spring transfer decisions will be done (unless there is an unusual circumstance involving your application). Anytime I can say we are down to the last 30 or so files, you know it is close.
  • Freshmen-As of this morning, we had over 2,700 Early Action applications in, with 40 states (plus Washington DC) and 877 high schools represented. Not bad for two weeks in!
  • Remember, your role in the application process is not done once you submit your application. You need to make sure you have sent in your official SAT/ACT scores from the testing agency and have alerted your counselor that you now need an official transcript and a school/counselor evaluation to be submitted. One business day after you apply, you will be able to log into your myStatus site and enter in your counselor's email into a text box to alert them to send these items.
  • When entering in your self-reported grades, get a copy of your transcript first! If you are relying on your memory for your grades, stop right now. Get a copy of your transcript so you can see what we will see, and then enter in the completed core area grades from your 9th grade on (no 8th grade grades, even if they are HS classes).
  • We would rather have you take your time and complete your application correctly as opposed to rushing through it to get it in quickly.
  • Once you submit your application, you cannot change from Early Action (EA) to Regular Decision (RD) or the reverse, so choose wisely.
  • If you are unsure about whether to apply EA or RD, ask yourself one question-Are you okay with our office looking at your overall academics on October 16th, or do you need more time/want fall grades to be in/want one more SAT/ACT score? That should drive your decision.
  • If the only ACT you have only sent us is an ACT without Writing, we can't use it. We need at least one ACT Writing score in order to use your ACT scores. We are fine with one or more ACT scores without Writing if you have at least one with Writing.
  • We are fine if you send in just an SAT or just an ACT (with Writing), but we need at least one.
  • If your neighbor/best friend/person you met at Kroger starts sharing the latest rumor about UGA Admissions, leave the store immediately. Avoid them at all costs!
  • Find a few colleges that fit you well, and don't put all your eggs in one big UGA admissions basket.
  • Stop by and say thanks to your high school counselor. They deserve it.
  • Interesting statistic: If you apply within a few days of the deadline, your chances of admission decrease greatly. This is not due to any preference on our end (we treat an application sent in 9/2 the same as 1/15), but instead is an indicator of preparedness/procrastination. In other words, don't wait until the deadline to apply! If you are a procrastinator, change your habits now.
  • Give your mom and dad a hug. Before you know it, you are going to be away at college, and they will really miss you.
  • Remember, senior year counts. We always have a few students where sadly, we have to rescind their offer of admission. Don't let this happen to you!
Go Dawgs, and may the odds be in your favor!