Monday, August 8, 2016

Getting Ready to Apply

The 2017 Freshman application will open up on September 1, so here are a few things to help prepare for this process.
  1. Always take care of things well before a deadline. A student who applies and submits all documents well before a deadline shows that they are the type of person who does not wait until the last moment to do things, from applying to studying to going to class. If X university is number one on your list of colleges, act like it. We do not make different decisions based on this, but it helps everyone involved.
  2. Be prepared when you sit down to start the application. Before you start your application, make sure you have the following items on hand; your correct Social Security Number (SSN), a copy of your transcript which shows grades from 9th through 11th grade, a copy of your resume, your SAT/ACT/AP scores (for entering in the score area, but if you have sent them to UGA already, they will show up on the app), and your counselor's contact information including email. As well, have your payment information handy (either a credit card number or a digital copy of a fee waiver). Our new application system has you enter in your counselor's contact info and email when you apply, so make sure to have it handy.
  3. Proofread your application before you submit it. I am not just talking about proofreading your essays, but instead checking your whole application to make sure you are giving us the information you want us to see. We receive hundreds of emails right after a student applies to UGA asking for us to add X to their file where they forgot something, correct Y where they made a mistake, etc. After you complete your application, go over it one more time to make sure your birth date is right, all the clubs/activities that you want us to know about are listed, and your information looks correct. We even have one section that just lists the 8-10 most important items with your responses, and we ask you to make sure these are accurate before you hit submit.
  4. Be kind to your counselors and teachers. Make sure to give your HS counselor and any teacher who will be writing recommendations for you time to do their part. Don't rush in the day before the deadline to ask them for help, but instead give them 2 or more weeks if possible.
  5. Don't listen to rumors/myths about college admissions. I have been over this many times, so I won't beat a dead horse. All I can say is that I have had three surgeries in my life, but going through the experience does not make me a doctor, just a good patient.
  6. Map out your college application plan. If you are like most students, you will apply to 3-5 colleges. If this is the case, you will have to track the deadlines, materials timelines and actions needed for all of these colleges. Get a calendar (electronic or paper) just for admissions timelines, and enter in the deadline dates, scholarship dates, campus programs, deposit dates, etc. for all these colleges. This is the best way to keep this process organized and to not miss out on something. The worst calls we handle are when a student did not do X by a certain deadline and we can't do anything for them except say sorry.
  7. Let your parents be involved in the admissions process, but only so much. It is okay to allow your parents to be a part of the college admissions process, but make sure that you are the one who completes the application, writes the essays, etc. Your parents can be great at helping you keep track of deadlines, make plans for visiting colleges, and giving you suggestions about your application. In the end, though, make sure you are the one driving/managing this process, as you are the one who will be at college next year.
I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Test Score Deadline for 2017 RD and Deferred EA applicants

It seems like everything is changing for the freshmen who will be applying for Summer/Fall of 2017. The FAFSA date is changing to take into account tax/financial information from two years prior to their entry term (some are calling this Prior-Prior Year FAFSA), the SAT has changed, the ACT essay has changed, and the Coalition Application is now a part of some college's application system (not ours). As far as the changes to the SAT and the ACT, we have seen some changes in the timing of the release of scores. For the SAT, it might now take in between 26 and 39 days for us to get a score report. In addition, the ACT (without the essay) is now taking about 10-14 days to get to us.

In light of these changes, and in trying to help out our applicants during a confusing year, we have changed the required date for taking AND requesting a test score be sent to UGA. We will take any SAT or ACT (without the essay) that is both taken AND requested to be sent to UGA by February 11th. This means that we will use the SAT that is offered on January 21 and the ACT that is offered on February 11. This does not mean wait until the last minute to send any scores though. Since we use only your best scores, and we superscore by using the best subscores within each test type (ACT, SAT 1, and SAT R).

My best suggestion right now is to send us your scores as of now, and make sure to list UGA as a score recipient when taking the SAT or ACT, and if you will be taking one a test during the last dates we allow, it is imperative to list UGA as a recipient (or we will not be able to use it).

We hope this helps our applicants during a year of change, and Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spring 2017 Transfer Reviews

Today, our office started reviewing Spring 2017 transfer applications. This is 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 2016 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 (8/11).

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!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Camp Sunshine 2016

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 21st 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 seven 12-year old boys  (along with one other counselor), 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!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Unofficial/Rough 2016 UGA Freshman Data

When you look at a college's Admission page, most of the time you will see a profile of the entering freshman class from the year prior. Many times, this data will have enrollment numbers, mid-50% ranges for GPA's and test scores, and at times ranges for an Honors Program and or Scholarship ranges. At UGA, specific data for the entering Class for 2016 will come out in September after we have exact data on who is enrolling at UGA for the Fall 2016 term. In addition, many colleges also post some information prior to this timeline based on the students who have been admitted so students/families can understand a little better the competitive nature of the applicant pool.

For the applicant pool of 2017, there are a number of changes (FAFSA timeline pushed forward, Coalition application for some, new SAT, etc.), and so I am going to post some rough, non-perfect data on the admitted 2016 class with some SAT R data based on the College Board concordance tables so future applicants can better understand what to expect next year. Caveat 1 -This is not the final data on the enrolling 2016 freshman class, so do not think that it is. Caveat 2 - Any SAT R numbers are projected out based on concordances from the SAT 1 scores, and as such are very, very projected and not actual! Everyone understand and agree on that? Good.
2016 Application Data
  • 23,000 Applications
  • 11,500 Accepted Students
  • Estimated 5,400 Enrolling Students
2016 Mid 50% Range Academic Data For Admitted Students
  • Core Re-Calculated GPA - 3.91-4.17 (weight added for AP/IB grades)
    • Since the best predictor of college success in HS core grades, expect this to be strong. Generally admitted students are A or A/B students in their core HS classes.
  • Average Number of AP/IB/DE courses - 5-10 over a four HS career.
    • UGA Admissions looks at the context of the school situation and understands that some schools offer a number of advanced classes, where other schools do not.
2016 Mid 50% Range Test Score Data for Admitted Students
  • SAT 1 Mid 50% -Range: 1200-1420 Total, with 600-710 CR, 600-710 M
  • ACT Mid 50% -Range: Composite 28-32, with similar mid-ranges for the ACT E and ACT M.
  • SAT R Projected Mid 50% -Range:  1270-1470 Total. 
    • The SAT R data is projected out based on the concordance tables provided by the College Board, but is in no way exact, as freshman entering in Fall 2016 did not take the SAT R.
  I hope this data helps a little, and again, please understand that this data is not official for the students enrolling in Summer/Fall 2016. Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Act 1, Scene 1 of Deciding on Dinner. Setting is the family kitchen. Father, Mother, Son and Daughter are standing around the kitchen island:

Dad:  "I have a great idea. Who wants to go out to eat tonight?"
Son (looking up from his phone): "Sorry, did you say something?"
Daughter (glaring at brother): "He said he wanted to go out to eat. That's great, but no Asian food. I had that yesterday."
Mother: "And no fast food. We don't need anymore fast food."
Son: "I need a cheeseburger. We can go wherever, as long as I can get a cheeseburger."
Dad: "Well it needs to be somewhere close. I want to watch the Red Sox's on TV tonight. How about (insert restaurant name here)."
Daughter: "I'm so tired of (insert restaurant name here). We always eat there. How about (insert 2nd restaurant name here)."
Mother: "No way. That place is too expensive, and the food isn't worth the cost."
Son: "I have a great idea. Let's go to (insert 2nd restaurant name here)."
Mother: "I said no fast food. What do not not get about 'no fast food' (using air quotes)."
Dad (looking exasperated): "How about I just pick up a pizza." 
Fade to black, dad walking out through kitchen door, shoulders slumped.

Every day, we all make choices. What to wear, where to eat, what comment/photo to like, what to do tonight, etc. We make choices all the time, based on our likes/dislikes, proximity, finances, friends, and a whole host of other factors. In the admissions process, potential applicants decide which colleges to visit, if they should apply, and if they are admitted to several colleges, which one to ultimately attend. If you are a recruited athlete, we sometimes get to see this decision played out on ESPN along with hats, animals and clothing used as props.

In the same vein, admissions offices make decisions every day. We decide what items and information gives us insight into an applicant, how much importance we should give to each item, how many people we can admit, and who we should admit, among other things. Just like every person is different and has different preferences, so do colleges. Georgia Tech, being a slightly smaller campus focused on technology and STEM academics located in downtown Atlanta is in many ways very different from UGA (which is good!). As such, UGA and GT will have different approaches to reviewing admission applications, and will make different decisions based on the makeup of both the institution and the applicant pool.

In this unique relationship between applicant (and the applicant's family) and college, both sides need to respect the choices that each one makes. Just like you would not want a restaurant owner to chase you down and demand to know why you did not choose his food over X restaurant or a rejected prom date to continue to hound you about not saying yes, the same holds true for both sides of the admission process. This morning, I received an email from a student who at the last minute said no to our admission offer. My response-I wish you well in your future college career at X. On the flip side, I remember the story of a former SEC football coach, who upon hearing that a recruit had decided upon another school, stated that the student would be "pumping gas for the rest of his life" like all the other former players at that college. That's just not right.

As such, make good decisions in your college search process, we will try our best to make good choices in our decisions, and I wish you well wherever you find the best fit. Good luck out there, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, June 13, 2016

2017 Short Essay Questions (for RD and Deferred EA applicants only)

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 who apply Regular Decision or are deferred Early Action (Early Action applicants do not submit essays unless they are deferred).  We were very pleased with the responses we received last year, so we are keeping the same essays for 2017 as we had for 2016. We require one short essay that all RD or deferred EA applicants must complete, and three additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to two of these. Essay 1 should be between 200-300 words, while essays 2-4 should be between 150 to 200 words, but 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 essays earlier than that date.

Here are the four essay questions as we now have them, with Essay 1 being required (200-300 words) and Essays 2-4 being three options from which the applicant can select two (150-200 words).
  1. (Required) The UGA faculty has defined the qualities that the student body should demonstrate in the Admissions Philosophy Statement.  After reviewing this, help us understand which of your qualities will add value to our community of scholars. (200-300 words)
  2. 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. (150-200 words)
  3. Tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself that you have not already shared in your application. (150-200 words)
  4. UGA’s First Year Odyssey Program offers more than 300 seminar courses for new freshmen. Some examples include “The History of Horseracing”, “Einstein and the Theories of Relativity” and “The Zombie Plague”. If you could create your own seminar course at UGA in any subject area that interested you, what would it be? What would the course be named and what would you hope to learn? Please write your response in the style of the UGA First Year Odyssey descriptions as seen on their website. (150-200 words)
Since I have been focused on getting a new recruitment system up and running this year, I was not able to review as many applications this past winter/spring, and thus I did not pull out any specific essays from this last application cycle. As such, here is a great essay from 2 years ago:

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.