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!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Are You Ready?


Summer is a time for vacations, part-time jobs, and relaxation. But for rising HS seniors, it is also time to prepare for the college application process. I am not suggesting you have everything ready to submit an application on opening day of the UGA application (September 1 by the way), but only that you have some things laid out in order to be on top of the process. In our research concerning last year's applicant pool, there was a dramatic dip in both admission rates and strength of essays for students who either waited until the last minute to apply or who spent only a few days working on the application. In saying this, here are a few suggestions on steps to take get ready to apply to UGA.
  1. 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 time lines and actions needed for all of these colleges. Get a calendar (electronic or paper) just for admissions time lines, 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.
  2. Get prepared. Before you start your application, you will need to 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 and your counselor's contact information including email. As well, have your payment information on hand (either a credit card number or a digital copy of a fee waiver). It is key to have the correct SSN when you apply, as all financial aid offices use this as a matching field for all financial aid. I heavily suggest going ahead and sending us your SAT/ACT scores, as this will take care of this step, will pre-populate the test score section of the application, and will possibly allow us to communicate with you about certain events.
  3. Start working on your essays. Starting this year (students applying for Fall of 2018), both Early Action (EA) and Regular Decision (RD) applicants must submit 2 short essays, as compared to previous years when only RD and deferred EA applicants submitted them. Summer is the perfect time to start thinking about the UGA admission essays, and to begin the writing process. Make sure to proofread the essays, have someone review them for you, as you do not want to wait until the last minute to start on these.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Out of the Office

I will be out of the office for the next two weeks, so I will not be able to reply to any comment until after I return. If you are not able to wait until then for an answer to your question, I suggest you reach out to our office directly.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Spring 2018 Transfer Update

Today, our office started reviewing Spring 2018 transfer applications. This is earlier than I expected, but we are way ahead of the timelines we have predicted for Summer/Fall transfers 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 2017 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 15 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-late September after the deadline has passed and all files are ready for review.


Go Dawgs!