Monday, June 29, 2009

Back from Camp!

I am back from Camp Sunshine, which is always one of the best weeks of the year. It does not matter if it is raining or 100 degrees, it is always a good time! Even though I am exhausted at the end of the week, it is great to be with my campers and see them grow throughout the week and the year. Over the years, I have seen one of my boys who is legally blind ride a bike through camp (it took a lot of work, but he did great!), helped one camper who spent all week in a wheelchair get half way up the climbing wall, and have seen so many campers who have grown because they have been a part of an amazing experience.

When looking at applications, part of what we want to know is what things have changed you, and what you are doing now to help others. I am not saying that volunteer work is mandatory at all (so please do not rush out to sign up for any and all camps!), but if you do give back to your community, let us know. This can tell us more about who you are as a person, and how you might impact the UGA campus.

Have a great rest of the summer, and I will get back to admissions issues for the next few weeks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Time for Camp

I wanted to give everyone a heads-up that this blog will be idle for the next week, as I am headed to summer camp. For the last 15 years, I have been volunteering at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp for children with cancer. I will be heading out on Saturday for a week of sports, fishing, rock wall climbing, pottery, and an amazing amount of other activities with a group of 11 year old boys in Cabin 13! It is a wonderful (but exhausting) week, and I will most likely come back with some words of wisdom that emanated from a camper's brain.

On a side note, I just reviewed the two web pages I had created on suggestions for writing essays and hints on admissions. A co-worker of mine had reviewed the pages, and noticed 3-4 grammatical errors. It is pretty bad when your words of advice on how to write contain grammar errors! Luckily, I did follow my own advice and had someone review my work for mistakes. This just goes to show you that even the people that review applications are human.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Challenge Yourself!

I was at a swim meet last night watching my son and daughter compete, and I had a chance to watch some amazing athletes. In one 11-12 year old heat, my son was up against a young man whose times were better than some 18 year old swimmers. While it was tough knowing that my son would not win, I also knew that could only improve from this challenge. Would I rather have him race against the 8 year old group and crush them? No way. The way to improve, be motivated and get ready for the future is to challenge yourself.

I am guessing you can see where I am going with this. UGA puts a great deal of emphasis on the rigor of a students course work, and wants students who will rise to the challenge and be ready for the level of work in our classrooms. I am not saying go out and take 14 AP classes and make all C's. My statement has always been to challenge yourself to the level of difficulty you can handle. This is important to UGA applicants because rigor is a major factor in our evaluation, and because overall, it will benefit you in your UGA classes.

So go out there and challenge yourself with Honors classes, IB programs, AP course work, and dual enrollment college courses! Do it for admissions, but more importantly, do it for yourself.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Make Time to Read

I returned home from a trip to NC to visit family this weekend, and I had a chance to talk with my soon to be HS sophomore niece, Lauren. She has a busy summer ahead, and was not looking forward to her summer reading assignment. As it turns out, her assigned book is "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, which just happens to be one of my all-time favorite books. After warning her that I would be checking up on her progress all summer, I then told her what I tell both of my own children; make time to read books!

I am known for two things in my office, puzzles and reading. I generally can be found reading two to three books at once (current selections are "The Alienist" and "Fooled by Randomness"). In addition, I just finished the fifth book of The Lightning Thief series because my 12 year old son told me I would love it. And being the father of a 10 year old as well, I read a lot of young adult books.

When student's visit UGA and ask how they can improve themselves in the eyes of admissions offices, one of the key messages I leave them with is to learn how to love reading books. Want to have a better chance at increasing your SAT Critical Reading or ACT English? Read! Want to learn how to write better? Read! Want to have a better understanding of themes, vocabulary, etc? You get the picture.

Now it is your turn. What books have you loved reading, or what books has your English teacher told you you would love? Let me know, and I will keep you updated on my reading. And don't forget, read this summer!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mythbusters Admissions Style

It is summertime, and all around the country, admissions offices start the process of working with a new group of prospective students. This means an increase in visitors, planning for fall college fairs and school visits, and last but not least, the flood of phone calls beginning with "I heard that UGA ... (insert myth here)". At times, the counselors in our office feel like they should be on an episode of Mythbusters, stomping out Urban Legends left and right. It has become so prevelent that we have compiled a top ten list of Urban Legends for UGA Admissions.

So let me give you the inside scoop right now; admissions standards are the same for all freshmen applicants. In-State vs. Out-of-State, north GA vs. south GA, by zip code, county, school district, male vs. female, alumni relation vs. non alumni, gender, race/ethnicity, summer vs. fall, choice of major, planet of origin, and so on. I think I hit all of them, but you get the idea. In other words, all applicants are dealt with in the same way, and anytime you hear a neighbor or friend say "Well I heard that UGA ...", run away, quickly.

Here are two examples of how silly certain admissions myths have become. If a freshman applies to UGA for summer admission and then wants to change to fall, all they would have to do is contact our office. Since there is no difference in admission standards, we would just change the term and bam, they are a fall student. In the same way, if a freshman applies as a Wildlife major and then wants to change to Pre-Business (either before or after an admission decision), all they have to do is go online to our Information Change form, select Pre-Business, and the next day their major is changed.

As Adam and Jamie say on Mythbusters, this myth is definitely busted! If you have heard of any myths you would like to share (and that I can bust), please let me know!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tate 2, the Sequel

I needed to get out of the office today, and walked down to the center of campus to clear my mind. I went inside the Tate Student Center for a snack, and noticed that the walkway to the new wing of the Tate Center, known at this time as Tate 2, was open. Yes, as big as this construction project is, I still missed the actual grand opening!

If you are visiting campus in the near future, this is one place you have to visit. It is in the center of campus, right next to the Miller Learning Center, and it looks amazing. For a better view, take a look at the Tate 2 website. And while I do not recommend any restaurant over another in Athens, a good friend of the family, Davis Fleming, would eat every meal at Barberito's if he could, and now he has one when he visits campus.