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!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2018 Early Action Update

With the Early Action deadline having just passed, here are a few updates about the process:

  • Total EA Applications:  14, 979 applications submitted
  • Complete Early Action Applications as of today: 10, 577 (72% of the group)
  • # of EA Applicants Applying within 2 days of Deadline: 5,802
As you can see, a large number of the Early Action applications are complete. The biggest item that is missing right now are official test scores, and as long as they were both taken and UGA was marked as a score recipient by 10/16, we can use them. They do not need to be in by 10/22, only requested by 10/16. You can see if your SAT scores have been sent by looking at the Score Sends option on your online score report. For ACT scores, you should be able to track things by looking under the Orders and Returns tab to see when the order number was processed. If you took the 10/7 SAT, we expect that those scores will be sent to us by late October. When we receive new scores, we add them to your file and automatically update your information.

We are caught up completely on importing documents, sent both electronically and by mail. If a document has been mailed to us, we are entering it into our system the day we receive it. If a document is not in by 10/22, we suggest you make sure it has been sent. One key item: A school report is not a school profile! It is a Secondary School report or Counselor letter that tells us more about you.

Your Steps

Be sure to check your Status Page to make sure you are complete!  If items you have sent are not showing up on your Status Page, 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, I would suggest either re-sending the document(s) or contacting us. We do not accept faxed documents, so make sure to send it electronically or by mail.

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

Go Dawgs!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sharks, Test Scores and Fear

Sharks are terrifying. They are big, they have huge pointy teeth, and and they like to eat. But the chances of you dying from a shark attack are pretty small. I mean one in eight million or so small. So while sharks are big and scary, in reality, you shouldn't worry about them too much. In the same way, two words, three little letters each, cause an overwhelming amount of stress and angst. The SAT and ACT. They also seem big and scary, just without the pointy teeth. But in the same way that people overestimate the chances of a shark attack, they also overestimate the importance of the SAT and/or ACT tests.

While a wide range of colleges use the SAT and/or ACT in the admissions review, the importance of these tests is generally overblown, and a number of colleges are test optional. Almost all (if not all) colleges, including UGA, state in their admissions review information that what a student does in the classroom is much more important than what a student does on a standardized test. At UGA, we give a rough estimate of 75+% of the academic portion of our review is focused on core grades and curriculum, with a much smaller percentage being the test score information. During our holistic file review where we look at everything, the importance of test scores becomes even smaller. Yet even with this information, the panic over test scores still runs wild.

Here are some lifetime odds on the chances of different methods of dying:


  • Motor Vehicle accident -1 in 113
  • Falling - 1 in 133
  • Motorcycle accident - 1 in 949
  • Any Force of Nature - 1 in 3,122
  • Airplane/Spaceship - 1 in 9,738
  • Tornado - 1 in 60,000
  • Lightning - 1 in 174,443
  • Bee/Wasp Stings - 1 in 308,629
  • Shark Attack - 1 in 8,000,000
People get very worried about a shark attack, but less so about lightning, and falling down the stairs is rarely ever a concern. But the reality is that you should be really careful going down the stairs, and not as worried about death by sharks or bees. In the same vein, I suggest students focus much more on their grades in their core classes and the rigor of their curriculum, and less on standardized tests. I can never give exact percentages on how important each specific item is in our overall review (I get a huge number of questions about how important essays are for instance), but hopefully this helps a little in understanding this issue. 

By the way, death by a sharp objects accident is 1 in 30,863, so don't run with scissors.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Parents-Inspire Adventure!

My son is a junior at Georgia Tech (yes, a UGA admissions person has a child at GT), where he is studying Aerospace Engineering with a Certificate in Astrophysics. My wife and I have trouble even comprehending his courses now, such as Jet and Rocket Propulsion, much less being able to help him with any coursework. On the plus side, we do get to say "Well yes, my son is a rocket scientist". We still like to give him our wonderful parental words of advice though, with one of the key ones being "Go to all of your classes".

It was challenging, therefore, when he told us in August that he would be missing the first day of class for the Fall 2017 term so he could travel with a group of friends to see solar eclipse in the "path of totality" in South Carolina. As parents, our first thought was to tell him no way. It's bad enough to miss class, much less miss the first day of class. But being good parents (at lease as good as we can be), we told him that it was his decision to make, and we would be okay with his choice. He let his professors know his plans, sent out texts and group invites planning out the trip, and then caravanned up to Clemson, SC with nine friends to experience the total eclipse.

Being parents, we tracked his progress up to SC on our iPhone, hoping that they would not get caught up in traffic and that the trip would go well. It was wonderful when he texted us after the eclipse saying "It was the most amazing thing ever!". This is high praise coming from a person where the majority of his responses to his parents are "Okay" and "Yup". We spent too much time worrying about him missing class and too little time thinking about the amazing adventure he would experience. As a future Aerospace Engineer, his passion is space, and how much more thrilling an event can you get than a total eclipse surrounded by friends. We focused too much on the "correct" thing to do and too little on the overall impact of the actual experience.

Sometimes parents of prospective college students focus so much on the process, they forget to look at the adventure. Yes, the college process is about admission, finding the right fit, and focusing on a degree/job. But it is also about the smaller, more meaningful events that occur within that span of four years. I personally don't believe that college will always be the proverbial "best years of your life", as students will encounter joys and challenges during there college time. But what I do believe is that some of the most amazing adventures in your life will occur during your college time. The biggest thing for students is to learn to look for these potential events, and for parents to foster this mindset.

So parents, help your kids with the day to day things, but don't forget to inspire them to seek out those amazing adventures that come along.

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Coalition Application and Pizza

For those of you who don't know (or who have not read many of my blog posts), I am a great believer in analogies. I find that most times, the easiest way to explain the sometimes complicated world of admissions is to make it relatable to their own lives. As such, I am going to somehow tie together the new Coalition Application with Pizza. Yes, pizza, that wonderful meal/snack/superfood we all know and love.

Most all of us love pizza, both because of the great taste but also because we generally know what to expect no matter who makes it. Most every pizza is going to have a crust, a layer of sauce and cheese. This is the base of almost all pizzas, and you can be sure that everyone from Papa Johns to your local hometown pizza joint starts with this. In the same way, there are a set of standard questions that most all admissions applications use as a base. Everyone asks for your name, your birth date, your high school, etc. Generally, these questions make up about 75-80% of the questions on the Coalition application.

On the other hand, the thing that makes each pizza unique are the toppings. Everybody has their own favorites, with mine being pepperoni and bacon (don't judge, bacon is great on everything). Yours could be banana peppers, olives and pineapple for all I know, as everyone has their own unique taste. Similarly, each college has unique questions that they need, many times due to their institutional needs or state requirements. Public colleges need data on your state residency, while private schools have less of a need for this information. Some colleges will not ask for essays, others will use the Coalition essay questions, while some (like UGA) will have their own short essay questions. Different universities also have different majors, different admission decision plans, etc. Each college, just like each pizza-loving person, has different tastes. These are the questions which will be displayed on each institutions college-specific pages in the Coalition application.

UGA will continue to use both our own application and the Coalition application, and we have no preference on which you should use. The only issue we will have is if you submit both applications, which will cause problems (like Ghostbusters "don't cross the streams" problems). In other words, submit one or the other application, but not both! I suggest you look at the other colleges using the Coalition application to see if there is any overlap, and then make a decision from there. The Coalition application will allow you to enter a little less data, but if you have already been interacting with our office (you sent test scores, visited campus, etc.), a large amount of this data will pre-populate when using the UGA based application. As stated in a previous blog post, all freshman applicants must write 2 short essays, with one being mandatory and the second giving you the option of selecting one out of four topics (with one coming from the Coalition list of essay topics).

For either application, we will not open up the Fall 2018 option until September 1. We generally wait until early September to give both you and your school counselors time to get back into the swing of things before the transcript/recommendation requests start. As well, all applicants will use the UGA admission status page to check on receipt of test scores, admission materials and admission decisions. If you do submit the Coalition application, you will then receive an email which will direct you on how to set up your admission status page.Prior to Sept. 1, you can get ready to apply by looking at my earlier post of Are You Ready so that when the application opens up, you will be prepared to start the process. FYI: UGA will not be using the Coalition Locker or Collaboration Space, as we will just be using the application.

So go out, eat some pizza and start planning out your application. I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!