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.

27 comments:

  1. On last year's class profile it does not list the number of AP classes on average they took. Is there anyway you have this number?

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  2. Overall, the average number of AP/IB classes that our admitted students took was roughly 5. But we also look at the AP courses taken, what is offered at your school, the other courses taken and if they were challenging, etc.

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  3. If an AP class is two semesters long how is that scored? For example if one receives a B first semester and an A second semester in the same class would the two grades be averaged or would they count separately for a 3.5 and a 4.5?

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  4. We add weight to all of the AP/IB classes, so for a semester system with the grades you mentioned above, it would have 2 grades with a 3.5 and a 4.5.

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  5. same Anon:
    Thank you, one more question: If I take an academic elective next year will it count towards my GPA as a core class, or will it not be considered since it is an elective?

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  6. Anon: If you take a core area class, either as a required course or as an elective, then it counts towards your GPA. So, any English, Math, Science, Soc. Studies, or For. Lang. course will count towards the GPA. As well, UGA uses any AP or IB classwork in the GPA, so AP Computer Science, AP Art History, etc. will count towards the GPA.

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  7. We are trying to make an informed decision on what classes my student should take his Junior year. He took gifted Chem, Gifted Wrld History, Acceler Math and Spanish II this year. He is confirmed to take Americ Lit, Us History, Acceler Math III and Honors Physics Junior year. We are torn on the last two classes...Spanish III, AP Envir, or Anatomy/Physiology.

    Is Spanish III consider a plus on a transcript since only 2 years are required at UGA? Since it is not an AP or honors class, I'm curious how you evaluate it. Would 3 sciences (honors physics, AP Environ and Anat/Physiology look better on his transcript versus honors physics, Spanish III and AP Environ? Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.

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  8. Soph. parent: First, I would not be the best one to say which classes he should take, as this is driven more by what his interests are, what he is looking at studying in the future, and what he can handle. Is he looking at the science fields, or some other area? Does his school counselor (or you as a parent) think he can handle three sciences, or will this be too much of an overload in this field?

    We do see a lot of students who will take advanced language classes, and if he is looking at doing a study abroad program, or working in a field where a second language is helpful (medicine, international business, etc.), then I would suggest looking at the Spanish class. But if his heart is set on the sciences, and everyone feels that he can handle it, then the three sciences would be good. In other words, there is no wrong choice, as he is challenging himself, and looking at taking courses that are strong and will be good for his academic future. Good luck!

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  9. Thank you so much for your quick reply. A few more sport related questions please...How much weight does participating in two Varsity Sports add to a student's application? If they participate on a club/travel team in off- season, does that carry any weight? Do you take into account the time commitment and how that affects the students ability to do "many" other club activites? Is sport participation embraced as highly as volunteering and club participation?

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  10. Anon: I can not really say how much "weight", as there is no set answer. What I can say is that we treat sports, volunteer work and other clubs for the most part the same, and yes, we do look at time commitment. A person on the swim team is going to have more time put in (generally) than someone who is involved in a club that meets once a week. But at the same time, a student who has to work 20+ hours a week at the family business just to keep it going is also seriously committed to an activity. We look at the whole within the context of the person to try and understand the overall situation. And yes, we look at all varieties of activities.

    One word of caution, though, is when a student starts to sacrifice academics for an activity like a sport or a club. While we want student's to enjoy their life and their activities, their primary focus, both in high school and college, should still be on their education!

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  11. As a senior, I am finishing the two year IB Diploma Program, the first class to do so at my high school. Before entering the program, I was told that IB is far more rigorous and colleges are more impressed with the IB Program rather than AP. However, while talking to colleges it seems as though they value AP courses more than the IB Program. What are your opinions? Should students continue to take IB rather than AP in the future if they want the most rigorous classes?

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  12. Anon: First, congratulations on completing the IB program. The reason that IB is not mentioned more is that it is not as prevelent as the AP program. But the IB program is one of the most rigorous options available. I can not say it is better or worse than a student taking a wide array of AP courses, or a student involved in a strong dual enrollment program, as it depends on the options available and what the student takes within these programs. Please remember, though, that UGA thinks highly of IB programs!

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  13. DGraves: You do not know how much I appreciate you replying back about this. The IB Program has been quite the struggle and sometimes I wonder whether it was worth it. However, your assurance helps me and will help future prospective IB students in the future. Thank you for your time and helpful advice!!

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  14. Does UGA use AP scores in the admissions process?

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  15. Anon: At times during File Reading, we are able to look at AP and SAT II exam scores during the review, but remember that a large % of AP exams are taken in May of the senior year, so we are limited in what we have available in this area.

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  16. So you guys do use scores for admissions?

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  17. Anon: I am guessing you mean the AP scores, and if you see my last comment stating "At times during File Reading, we are able to look at AP and SAT II exam scores during the review", it means that at times we do use them. If the AP/IB SAT II scores are available during the review of a freshman file, then we take that as part of the overall application during a review. But since these scores are not required, and we do not get AP/IB/SAT II scores from everyone, they are not a factor for all of the files. I hope this is clearer to you.

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  18. Would you consider taking 6 honors courses out 11 and 6 ap classes out of 8, as well as a dual curriculum as challenging yourself? Also, lets say a student took 1 honors course Freshman year, but then ended up challenging himself a lot Sophomore and Junior year as good or bad?

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  19. Anon: It certainly looks like you will have challenged yourself in HS, although I would still look at the academic areas of your advanced classes to see how broad your challenging coursework is spanning the overall academic areas.

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  20. So for instance, Ap world, Ap Us, Ap Biology, Ap calculus, AP Chemistry, and AP European are all the ones that I will end up taking by the end of Senior year. Do you guys look dual curriculum for rigor?

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  21. Anon: We look at all courses in determining the rigor of a student's curriculum.

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  22. DGraves: I know that college dual enrollment classes can add to the rigor of a student's curriculum, but does UGA add any curve to these grades? I know that 0.5 is given for AP classes (I've taken two), but is there any for college courses? I will have taken four separate courses by the end of this year, and an extra curve would really help my GPA (3.93 academic, on a 4.0 scale with AP curve).
    Also, on an unrelated note, do you think that, perhaps due to our economy and a higher number of students applying to UGA, that fewer students will be accepted than last year? I believe that a little over 50% were accepted last year...
    One last question. I've seen plenty of first-year profiles for UGA, but would you be able to give me a profile of all students who apply to UGA, not just those admitted? I've been curious about this for a while.
    Thanks in advance!

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  23. MG: UGA does not add any weight to dual enrollment grades. As well, since you will not have completed the courses before Early Action decisions, and only half of them before the Regular Decision deadlines, it would not really make any impact on your GPA, as we calculate that prior to decisions going out.

    As for how many students we will admit, I have no clue at this time.

    I do not have access to overall applicant information right now, but I believe I covered this when I wrote last spring about admitted, denied and wait-listed decisions.

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  24. I'm curious to how UGA will view a applicant taking a limited number of AP's in order to take a higher amount of college classes offered through dual enrollment programs. My application for UGA early action will only have 4 AP's (Language, World History, U.S History, and Environmental Science), but I will have completed 10 college core classes on my application. Will I be penalized for not taking more AP's then other applicants, or will the AP classes and college classes have equal merit?
    Thank you in advance for any information you can give.

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  25. Anon: When we review a file, we are looking at how a student challenged themselves in comparison to what is offered in their school/community. We do not "penalize" students for not taking more AP courses than other applicants, as we need to look at their overall record and what they have taken. We also look at the breadth and depth of a student's curriculum, so we would look at what courses you have taken at the local college. That is how we would look at the rigor of your curriculum.

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  26. Do you consider it good if you see grades on a students transcript get better through high school and then the student starts to take harder classes later in high school?

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  27. Mitchell: In our holistic review process, we do look at the progress that a student makes, both in the class and outside, from 9th to 12th grade. This could be growth in grades and rigor, growth in leadership, etc.

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