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!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Application for UGA's Top Freshman Scholarship Program Available On September 15, 2015

The Foundation Fellowship and Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarships are the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship programs at the University, if not in the country.

The Foundation Fellowship currently provides an annual stipend of $11,372 for Georgia residents (in addition to the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship) and $18,892 for non-residents (plus an out-of-state tuition waiver). The Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarship provides $5,686 for Georgia residents (in addition to the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship) and $9,546 for non-residents (plus and out-of-state tuition waiver). Much more than financial support, program membership provides: Spring break travel-study programs, a May study abroad program at Oxford in England immediately following the first year, travel-study grants closely related to students’ academic and professional goals, which can be combined with study overseas for a full semester or academic year, grants to attend research and academic conferences, seminars and book discussions with UGA and visiting professors, and faculty and peer mentoring. For more information about the amazing opportunities for Foundation Fellows and Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholars, please visit the Honors Program website.

To be considered, all applicants must be current high school seniors with a minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.80 and a minimum combined, super-scored SAT total score of 2100 or ACT composite score of 31.

This separate scholarship application will be available next week on Tuesday, September 15 on the admissions website.  The deadline to submit the online application is November 2, 2015.

This year, two online recommendations will be required to complete the Foundation Fellowship application.  Students will be prompted to input the names and email addresses of a selected counselor and teacher recommender.  After the scholarship application is submitted, and email will be sent to the counselor and teacher with instructions to submit the recommendation. Applicants will be able to track the receipt of these recommendations on their online application status check.  The deadline to submit these two recommendations is November 11, 2015.

The online application contains sections where students will detail academic achievements and detail their involvement with their schools and communities. Two essays, containing no more than 500 words will also be required to complete the application. 
1.      If you could examine whatever you wanted for one year using methods of your choice, how would you direct your efforts and what would you hope to accomplish?  No time travel or fantasy elements, please.
2.      Personal Statement: Tell us about yourself.

We look forward to reading your applications! Feel free to email us if you have questions at

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2016 Freshman Application is Open

The 2016 Freshman application is now open! Here are a few key steps about what to do after you submit an application.

  1.  A day or so after you apply, we will load your application into our system.  You will then be able to log into the myStatus page. This is where you will be able to enter your counselor's email for the school/counselor evaluation and check on the status of your required supplemental items. We are okay if your counselor chooses to send in a counselor form through Parchment instead.
  2. Be patient as we load your application into our our system and match up test scores and supporting documents. Test scores are loaded on Tuesdays and Fridays, and are not always sent immediately by the testing agency. We suggest giving our office 5-10 business days to match up items, so you not need to send items multiple times.
  3. Documents (transcripts, counselor/school evaluations, etc.) that are sent prior to applying take a little while longer than items sent after applying, so we suggest sending in materials after you apply. We accept electronic documents such as GACollege411 transcripts, Parchment (an electronic document system) documents and our own counselor form, as these get to us much quicker than printed documents that are mailed. We are okay with mailed documents (but do not suggest this option), but it takes more time to get to us through the mail, opened, scanned and into a file than with electronic documents.
  4. Starting in 2016, we have given the option for students to upload their fee waiver and Permanent Residency card (Green card) through the myStatus page. This will expedite the review process for these documents, and we do not need an additional paper copy if you upload the document through the myStatus page.
  5. We will accept all nationally offered SAT/ACT scores that are both taken and sent by the Early Action10/15 deadline, so we are fine with the October SAT but we cannot accept the October ACT. As well, in order for us to use your ACT scores, we need at least one ACT Writing score. Make sure you send us scores on time so we can review your file.
  6. Use the myStatus page to keep track of your application and supporting documents/test scores. You (the applicant) are ultimately responsible for your application, but we will send some reminder emails/texts if your file is incomplete. I repeat, use the myStatus page to keep track of your application. In addition, review the Timelines page for more details on when to expect a decision.
  7. Remember, we need an application fee, an official transcript, a school/counselor evaluation and an SAT or ACT (with Writing) score to complete your file, and the supplemental items EA submission deadline is 10/22. We cannot review your application without all these items. See the Deadlines/Required Items page for more details.
I hope these suggestions help, and Go Dawgs!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Suggestions for Freshmen Applicants

Yesterday, I posted some advice on what questions most admissions officers will not answer, at least not in the way that most prospective families are looking for in a response. Today I am going to focus on our suggestions for how to put your best foot forward with an admissions office. We truly love reading the applications of students who are passionate about attending UGA, and we want your application (and the application process) to be the best it can be.

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Send in materials when colleges suggest you submit them. UGA heavily suggests that you send in SAT/ACT scores when you take them (since we only look at your best scores, there is no negative for sending all scores), but that you send in documents such as transcripts and recommendations after you have applied. The reason is simple; Test scores come in electronically and are matched by our back-end system, while document matching varies. If documents are sent electronically, we can almost always match them automatically (unless they are sent months before you apply), but paper documents must be scanned, hand matched, or saved in a "holding" file for later hand matching. I won't get into all the details, but you will see your documents much quicker on your application portal if you send things electronically after you apply.
  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!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Said No Admission Counselor Ever-2016 Version

In the UGA Admissions Office, there are some things we will never say no matter what. Some people will ask questions hoping for one of these answers, but you will not hear us give an answer (at least not the one some people expect). I sometimes feel like Dr. Seuss in "Green Eggs and Ham", (paraphrasing) "I will not say that in a house, I will not say that with a mouse. I will not say that here or there, I will not say that anywhere." Here are some of the top things we would never say:

  1. "Sure, go ahead and cut back on your academic schedule so that you can add another activity." Academics come first. Let me repeat, academics come first. If you are struggling with being overloaded, I suggest looking at cutting back on an extra-curricular activity, not academics. You will thank us sometime during your first semester in college.
  2. "Yes, you should completely trust the information your neighbors, friends, and online college forum people give you about college admissions." While there are a number of well meaning people who want to help you with the college admission process, most of them do not have a background in the admissions process. Just because I had the transmission changed in my car does not make me an expert how to do this mechanically. While many people have gone through the admissions process, they are not reading files, analyzing enrollment data, reading essays, etc. They might have knowledge about how to apply, but not on how decisions are made. Trust us when we tell you how we do things, and ignore the myths.
  3. "Of course I can tell you what classes to take for the next year (or the next four/eight/twelve years)." While we know a great deal about high school classes, we are not an expert on what your school offers, when the courses are available, what you want to take and/or your academic preparation for courses. This is best decided upon after the student and family speak with their HS counselor.
  4. "Take the easiest courses so you can make the best grades possible." We want you to challenge yourself to the best of your ability while still doing well in your classes. You need to prepare yourself for the UGA classroom experience, and the best way to do that is to take strong courses.
  5.  "Go ahead and skip some application sections such as activities, sports, etc., because those things don't matter to UGA." Actually, when we are reviewing files for a number of scholarships and when we are reading files in our holistic review process, we want to know how you spend your time outside of school hours. We want to know what you are like as a whole, so let us know!
  6. "The SAT/ACT scores are the most important thing to UGA Admissions." While test scores get the most publicity, our first focus is how you do in the classroom and the courses you are taking in high school (see #3 again). In addition, we look at a great deal more than academics for during our holistic read process.
  7. "Sure, I can tell you whether to apply Early Action or Regular Decision." This is a choice that needs to be made by the student, as it is a timing issue, not an issue that impacts the chances of admission.
  8. "You need to make XXXX on the SAT/ACT to get admitted to UGA." UGA does not have a required SAT or ACT score needed for admission, no matter what your neighbor/friend/family member says.
  9. "It is no problem if you wait until the last minute to do things." Waiting until the last minute to apply or send in materials is just asking for something to go wrong. Please give your counselors and teachers time to send in items, as they have enough stressful issues on their plates without this.
  10. "Yes, I can guess about whether you will be admitted or not." Here is the big one! We cannot guess about an admission decision, sorry. We just cannot predict what the overall applicant pool will be like year to year and how you fall into the group. P.S.-this applies for both freshman and transfers.
I hope this lists helps everyone understand why we will not say certain things or answer some specific questions, or why we redirect some questions back to the student for the best answer. If I think of any other things we would never say, I will add them to the list!

Go Dawgs!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Updated Spring 2016 Transfer Information

At this time of year, the review of the 2016 Spring transfer applications is our main focus, and we continue to diligently work on these files. At this time, we have made roughly 600 decisions of the 1,200 applications we received this year. Based on statistical data, we are averaging about 30-40 decisions being made per day when we are able to focus full-time on Spring files. The one exception to this timing is during the dates between August 3rd and August 14th, when our evaluation team works full force to review summer work for both incoming and current students. This step must be done ASAP to allow for prerequisite checks for fall courses for these students. As such, I expect that we will be able to focus on Spring applications full time on roughly August 17, and so we hope for the most part to be finished with reviews by about early to mid September, (with exceptions as we get into some of the more challenging files to review).

Please remember we cannot tell you when you will have a decision as this depends on many factors. Applications are generally processed in the order in which the file was completed, but this is not always the case, as some files are more challenging, are from colleges where we are having to build a catalog in the new system, or are just complex. We also have two new staff members who can handle the more basic transfer files, so they might review some later files that can be done easily but might be out of "completion order". As well, I am not able to look at each individual file to see why someone did nor did not receive a decision based on X date.

If you are transferring from an out-of-state college or a college we have not had many students apply from, your application may take a bit longer to review and thus the timeline would not be correct for your situation. Transfer decisions are updated daily on the status check, and the myStatus page is updated at about 5 am every morning.

If you have been admitted and want to see how your courses transferred, you can use the transfer equivalency site off the admissions website. If you have submitted a deposit (fall transfer and beyond requirement), you can log on to DegreeWorks to see how your courses apply towards the degree/major you have selected.  As well, go to the Next Steps brochure to learn about what you will need to do next to enroll at UGA (this is also sent in the acceptance packet).

I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs.