Wednesday, July 1, 2009

GPA's, Grades and Reality


Every year about this time, the GPA question arises, starting with a low rumble and ending in April with a chorus of voices all wondering, "How does UGA calculate GPA's". Because there are so many school systems using such a wide variety of grading scales, my best answer is always that we start everyone out on a level playing field. To give you an idea of the range of grading scales, here is a small sample; 10 point grading scales, 7 point grading scales, E/S/U grades, narrative grade reports, 6 point GPA scales (to include AP weighting), 4 point GPA scales, plus/minus grades, numerical only grades, etc. As you can see, the GPA on one HS transcript could vary greatly from another GPA.

As such, UGA re-calculates all high school GPA's, and it is based upon the individual grades (be it semester, trimester, full year, etc.) in all the academic classes based upon the grading scale at that school. In addition, we add .5 weight to every individual AP or IB grade (unless a weight has already been added to the individual grade), and calculate a GPA based upon a 4.00 scale. Every A is worth 4 points, every B is 3 points, etc. As I said before, our goal is to review everyone on a level playing field.

As you can guess, this issue causes some serious discussions for everyone involved. Admissions offices across the country deal with questions about fairness and GPA calculation throughout the year, and many school systems have changed their grading scales in response to perceived problems. But the reality is that where we have seen grading scale changes, we have not seen a measurable change in grades from one scale to the other. In addition, no one can truly determine what grade they might have made in another school (in response to the argument "If I was at X school, I would have a 4.00 now"), as the only sure way would be to have them actually take classes at that school.

My best suggestion for everyone is to get a copy of your transcript and calculate your own academic GPA. Every college calculates GPA's in a slightly different method, but at least you will start out with a common academic GPA. One of the worst things you can do is go into the college admissions process with inaccurate information about your GPA.

Overall, the debate over GPA's and differing grading scales reminds me of a scene from the movie "This is Spinal Tap", where the main characters are discussing their band's amplifiers;

" Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven."

Thank goodness I do not have to deal with any GPA scales that go to eleven, or with any member of Spinal Tap!

116 comments:

  1. Funny addition to the above post; In a post from this weekend on a college discussion board, a student asked about his chances for admission to UGA, and under his GPA wrote "GPA: 10.833 CumNoWtGPA which is a 3.611, 11.217 CumWtGPA which is a 3.739." I am guessing the initial GPA is based upon a 12 point scale? If you have any questions about this issue, please send me a comment.

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  2. Academic electives (that are not considered to be academic core classes by the state of Georgia) like AP Computer Science, Humanities, AP European History, World Geography, etc. are included in UGA's GPA calculation right?

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  3. Anonymous: The academic electives you listed will be considered in the UGA GPA calculation. Any AP or IB class will be used, even if it falls into a non-core area. As well, any class that we see as falling into a core area, such as World Geography, history classes or the like will also be used. The types of courses not used are PE classes, most art/music/theater classes, tech. classes, yearbook, etc. I hope this helps!

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  4. Great, thanks. Computer classes like Programming, Computer Applications, Computing in the Modern World, Web Page Design - are they considered "tech" or do they count for the UGA GPA.

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  5. Those computer classes are considered technical classes, so they would not be included in the GPA. When our office is reading files for admission, though, we look at everything on the transcript (as well as everything in the file) to get a better understanding of the overall applicant.

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  6. So in the unweighted GPA they add .5 for all AP courses? Wouldn't that mean it's weighted? Or do you mean they add .5 for all AP courses that are weighted.

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  7. I want to know this because I want to be competitive for UGA Honors. My SAT is 2170, so that may be OK, but I'm not so sure about GPA. The way it is calculated could really effect me by a couple of hundredths digits.

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  8. Anonymous: As a said in the original post, UGA recalculates a student's GPA, and it is based upon specific grades. So, we would look at your individual grades to come up with a GPA (based upon a 4.00 grading scale), and we would add .5 for every AP/IB grade (so a B would be a 3.00, and if it is an AP/IB grade, it would be a 3.50). This would then be the re-weighted GPA based upon our requirements. The only time we would not add any weight is in a case like a Gwinnett County school, where the school already adds 10 points to any AP/IB course grade (an 88 grade becomes a 98 on the transcript). I hope this is clear now.

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  9. Thank you very much, so does that mean when when they say that gpa must be great than 3.8 to apply for uga honors it's the reweighted gpa? Because my reweighted gpa is arround 4. something, but my unweighted gpa is very close to the 3.8 mark. (I am/have taken 10AP classes)I am in the columbia county school zone (lakeside High school evans) and I noticed that they added a .5 to all AP classes and stated that it was my unweighted GPA. This is what is causing me so much confusion, because that .5 makes me believe that it is weighted, but apparently the counselor wrote it into the unweighted section. Was that mistake an error on my counselor's part or is that how it is suppose to be calculated?

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  10. I also have a question on the application process to UGA Honors. Some of my friends did not apply for Honors, but got into the program early admission. Others wrote the essay for the scholarship and got in. Is there a greater possibility of getting into UGA honors by writing the essay? Early admission friends got in without writing a single essay, while those that got in through the scholarship process were asked to write 2 essays... Anyways, to get back to my question, should I spend the time on the essays (most likely my parents will make me do so anyway)or should I just sit back. (I know that you aren't exactly the party to ask, but please be neutral in your answer)

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  11. Anonymous and Robert: While I am comfortable talking about admissions, grades, etc., I can not go into great detail about Honors, as that office makes its own decisions. For both Honors and Admissions, though, the GPA we state is the GPA we calculate. As I stated earlier, we do not care about the GPA that a HS calculates, as there are so many methods of calculating GPA's. UGA calculates a GPA based upon what I have already gone over. Columbia County GA Schools add weight to individual AP/IB semester grades, so we would not add any weight to your AP/IB grades. Anonymous: get a copy of your transcript and calculate your GPA on your own, without adding any weight for AP classes.

    As for applying to Honors, there will be a group of students that will be admitted shortly after Early Action decisions go out in December, and their Honors decisions are based upon the strength of their academic profile as determined by admissions and then reviewed by Honors. If a student is not offered a place in Honors at that time, they should then complete the Honors application. I would suggest students do a detailed review of their academic standing compared to Honors middle 50%, and if they fall comfortably into the range, they should wait to see if they are admitted to Honors in that first wave. If you are not among this group, complete the Honors application. As well, senior year is a good time to talk to Honors, attend an Honors Information session, etc.

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  12. I have a question about early vrs regular as far as effecting admission. My son will have taken 5 AP courses, has a 3.81 (realize this may not be your calculation), but only a 1080 sat 23 act. In a case like this, would he have a better admissions chance if he DID NOT go the early sddmissions route so that his fall semester senior courses would be looked at along with his extra-curricular activities (Beta Club, NHS, Varsity basketball, varsity soccer ...)and his essays and teacher recommendations? Also, when are the last sat/act scores you will consider for students applying for Fall 2010?

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  13. data overload: Instead of answering your question specifically, I have written a new post to try and answer the EA/RD question. I hope this helps.

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  14. Since I live in SC and the grading scale for As is 100 to 93, is the recalculated gpa done by making As 100 to 90 or does it stay how it is?

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  15. Anonymous: UGA uses the grading scale from the high school attended to calculate a GPA. Since both the student and the teacher know what it takes to make an A/B/C, that is what we use.

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  16. I actually have a question. For my first two years of high school, I went to a school outside of Georgia and I took AP classes and wasn't given any extra points. The grade on my transcript is my natural grade. Now I am in a high school in Georgia and they give 10 points to all every AP classes you take. Of course I wasn't given 10 points on the AP classes I took before I came to Georgia. That made my GPA a little off because all the AP classes I take from now on will have the 10 points on them. How would UGA approach that? Will they recalculate my GPA with the 10 points added to my AP classes from out-of-state or just brush it off like my bad luck?

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  17. Unfortunately, we are going to get the grades from your current school, and we will generally only be able to evaluate your work based upon your current school's system. We generally see the current school translate the old work to the new system's grades, but I guess in this case they did not. I would suggest you send a note to go along with your application so we can at least understand the situation.

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  18. does health calculate into the GPA?

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  19. does film (LIT TYP/COMP) calculate into the GPA?

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  20. Anonymous: Health does not get calculated into the GPA, but a Film/Lit class would. Remember, we look at the core academic classes to calculate GPA, so PE or Health or Food Science grades will not go into the GPA.

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  21. Would Economics count in the GPA. Also, I applied regular admission, but was hoping to qualify for the Fellowship Scholarships application that is due 11/15/09. I have 3.7419 through Junior year. I will easily have the 3.75 with Fall 2009 grades. If I submit a transcript right away in December can I still be considered for the Fellowships?

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  22. Anonymous: Economics is generally labeled as a Soc. Studies class, so yes, it would go into the GPA. In order to be considered for the FF program, you need to have everything in by the deadline (11/1), so you need to get a transcript in by then.

    As well, while your classes might be done in December, an official transcript with fall grades generally will not be ready until mid-January. My suggestion is to just get all the materials in by the deadline and go from there.

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  23. In determing a GPA if a class goes an entire year and there are two grades on the report card (1st sem, 2nd sem) are they seen seperate and averaged to get a grade or is the end of the year average used? Confusing I know. Ex. Alg grade - 1st sem = 87 (B+) 2nd sem 96 (A+) Year end average 91 (A-)

    Would the GPA for that class be 4.0 or 3.5?

    Also are overall GPA's calculated on the whole number (4,3,2) or do actual averages determine partial points (3.5, 2.5)? So is an 86 a 3.5 or a 3?

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  24. Anon: We calculate the GPA on the most actual grades possible, so we would look at the two semester grades (or three trimester or four quarter grades), as long as they are actual grades. We do not look at mid-term grades, though, as these are not official grades, only mid-term updates leading towards an actual grade. Therefore, the answer would be a 3.50, which also the more acurate grade.

    As well, we calculate GPA's on the actual number assigned to the grade (4,3,2,1,0). Remember, though, that any AP/IB addition would add .5 to the grade.

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  25. So does that mean that if on my high school transcript are only the final grades then I need to get every quarter and semester grade I've ever gotten throughout high school sent in along with the transcript?

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  26. Anon: No. As I said, we calculate GPA's on the grades posted on the transcript. If your school only lists final grades, then that is what we will use. If the use semester grades, then that is what we will use.

    If they send us a first quarter report that is an unofficial grade report (we get a lot around this time of year), then it is not an actual grade on a transcript, and we can not use it.

    We use what is on the transcript, and you should only send us a transcript, not grade reports/report cards/ 9 week updates/etc.

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  27. i have been in the usa for 3 years and i have a 3.84 gpa but i got a low score on the sat due to the fact that it is mostly english, so do i have any chance for admission. Also i am ranked #24 at my school , and i am ranked in the top 5% among black males in my school. Inaddition, I do live in georgia (Rockdale county.

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  28. Steven: The fact that you have strong grades, as seen by your GPA and your #24 ranking at a strong magnet program, is more important that the SAT scores. In addition, since you have been in the US for only 3 years and you have stated that English is not your native language, UGA would then be better able to understand a low test score in balance with an overall strong profile.

    As for being a student in GA and in the top 5% among black males in your school, this would not have an impact on an admission decision.

    Good luck!

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  29. Also i wanted to know if sending 4-5 letters of recommendation is to much. should i also mention in my essay that i took some nursing/medical classes. How much does the essay counts for UGA.
    THANK YOU

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  30. Steven: Yes, 4-5 letters is too much, and the phrase "can't see the forest through the trees" comes to mind. It would be fine to mention your medical courses in one of your essays if it works with the question, but only if it fits.

    As for how much the essays count, there is no exact way to say how much impact they have on the admission decision. It is like asking exactly how much the brown sugar counts in the flavor of a choc. chip cookie. It is a part of the overall flavor, but you can't really break it down to a specific percentage of the flavor.

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  31. i have heard that UGA was once sued because of their position on race being a factor for admission, so could race play a slight part in admission this year, also is 3 recommendation still to much, finally do i really stand a chance because i saw the stats for last year and the average gpa and everything else, I think that I do not have a chance due to my low tests score.

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  32. Steven: Back in the early 90's, we were sued, and this is why, as I said before, neither ethnicity nor gender play a part in the review process. Please look at the "urban legends" post for other myths. I suggest 1-2 teacher rec's, but you will have to make up your own mind on this.

    As for whether you have a chance, I will not answer this (see a number of other comments where I say I do not guess on an applicants chances). The only way to see if you have a chance is to apply and wait for the results. Sorry, but that is the best I can do.

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  33. I took some technical (health care, general medicine) classes but i do not know where to put them on the application (under science or under other academic courses), also my school have something called advance which is the same as honors but it is not under the honers status so what do i do with my advance classes.


    Thank you for answering all my question, and helping me with my application.

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  34. Steven: The UGA application only asks for senior year classes, and you would just lst them (if you are doing the GA411 application, put them under other academic classes). As well, You would just state "advanced", as we would know what this is.

    I would also suggest you attend a UGA admissions information session, as this may answer more of your questions.

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  35. Do many freshman applicants apply for the "Freshman Summer Challenge" program?

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  36. Anon: We have a number of students who apply to the Freshman College Summer Experience program, which is a unique summer program for students who want to challenge themselves the summer before their freshman year, and make connections with other students and faculty during this time.

    Any freshman who is admitted to UGA, either for the summer or fall, can then apply to be a part of this program (in other words, it is not a backdoor admissions program). The program would then review the applicants and make a selection, and the students would then make a decision on whether or not they will attend. If they do attend, they are in for a great time. If not, that is okay as well.

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  37. I know your SAT and ACT average but what SAT or ACT should i at least make to be considered for admission.

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  38. Steven: While I would like to give you a direct answer, I really cannot, not because I do not want to, but because there is not a specific answer. For instance, for Early Action this year, we will have a few admits with below 1000 on the SAT, and a few deferred students with above 1500. This is not by design, but instead due to the fact that the SAT/ACT is only one factor of several. It cannot be looked at in isolation for UGA Admissions, but instead is a part of the review.

    What is more important are your grades and the challenge of your curriculum, and even this does not have a minimum. Admission is based upon the combination of factors, not upon specific levels of the individual factors.

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  39. I apologize if you have already addressed this issue, but I did not see it addressed. If a weight has been added to an honors level class for example, 1 extra point where a 4.0 would be a 5.0, do you recalulate that grade?

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  40. Anonymous: If a high school adds weight to an individual class grade, we will not remove that weight, but we would not then double dip and add .5 to this grade as well.

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  41. So, if an A in my child's high school is a 4.0,but a 5.0 in an honors class, and so on, than you use the 5.0 in your GPA recalculation, and not make it a 4.5? Also, to clarify, you do not use Fine Arts requirements like dance or photography in your GPA, even the student received an A in these classes?
    Also, my child's school uses the +,- system. Am I correct in that you, for example, if it is a B+ or B-, you make it a B, and calculate it as a 3.0 for both the plus and minus?

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  42. Anonymous: I will try to be a little clearer, although I would suggest you review the tags that say GPA to really understand this, as well as why this practice actually might not help a student.

    First, we are looking at grades, not GPA, on a student's transcript. When you say 5.0 in an honors course, what are you (or the school) really saying? Since I generally do not see a grade of 5.0, I am guessing you might mean something else.

    If there is a letter grade, such as an A, B, etc, then we would use that letter grade. If that letter grade has added weight, then we would use it, but then not add the UGA .5 weight. I am guessing, though, that your school gives out letter grades, and does not weight these letter grades. You are probably talking about quality points for the high school's GPA, such as is done in North Carolina. Remember, at UGA, we calculate grades ourselves, and do not look at the high school's GPA. We take the actual grade or mark (as some schools call it), and calculate a core GPA from there.

    If it was a numerical grade (let's say an 83), and the school added 5 points of weight to to this grade (it went from a 79 to an 84, and all UGA sees is the 84), then we would say it is a B grade (if that is a B at the school), but then not add the UGA .5 weight.

    In the end, what UGA is trying to do is have everyone's grades reviewed using the same method (or at least as close as possible).

    Clear?

    And no, fine arts classes are not used in GPA's, as it is just a core course GPA (thus why we do our own GPA calculation). It does not matter if it is an A, B or C, we still would not use it. Lastly, a B-, B and B+ are all considered a B grade (3.0), although in reading files, we will look at the +/- trends.

    Long response, but I hope this helps.

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  43. I went back to the GPA tag and read the posts there-thank you.However, the issue has not been addressed to Honors Classes. My child's classes does not add points to their final numberical average, but adds a point to the letter grade. For example a 4.0-A would be a 5.0. A 3.5 would be a 4.5. This applies to all Honors and AP classes.AP's have been addressed over and over, but do you do the same with Honors? And with these classes already being weighted by the school, do you take the weight away, and then add the .5, or leave it as it is? Thank you.

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  44. Anonymous: Can you tell me how the school adds a point to their letter grade? And if so, what is the initial letter grade, and what does it then become? If possible, please give me an example of this situation (and what is on the transcript), as well as at least the state where the school is located and if it is a private or public school. This will better help me understand your question, as right now I am confused.

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  45. An A in an AP or Honors class is still an A. But when calculating the GPA the A is worth 5 points in AP or Honors, and a 4 in non-honors.
    It is a private school.

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  46. Anon: Okay, this helps me somewhat. As I have said before, UGA does not care how the high school calculates the GPA, as we are not looking at the GPA on the transcript. We are looking at the grades, and only the grades (and only the grades in the core classes).

    So, if the letter grade remains the same, then the actual grade (A, B, C, etc.) is not weighted by the school. UGA would then take all of the grades (in your case the letter grades) in the core classes to calculate our own UGA GPA, and since there is no weight added to the actual grades, we would then add a .5 to every AP or IB class.

    Again, UGA's focus is on the actual grades, not on the high school GPA or how the high school even calculates the GPA. The grades are what count.

    Hopefully this clears up things!

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  47. Thank you for the explanation. So, you do not add the .5 to Honors Classes? If so, then the student does not get any credit for the honors classes they take.Thanks.

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  48. Anon: As I have said in previous posts, Honors/Advanced/Accelerated classes are not weighted due to not being standard throughout the country (I have seen some PE classes that are Honors). That does not mean that students do not get "credit" for taking a challenging course load, as UGA reviews a student's curriculum very closely, and this is a serious part of our review both for Early Action and Regular Decision.

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  49. I have a 3.9 GPA and have taken 4 honors classes and 1 AP. I have senior year left. Does UGA care about the classes taken your senior year when reviewing early admission and if so, should I take more APs. Plus I have not taken the sat. What should I do if I cant do well on it.

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  50. Anon: Yes, UGA does look at your senior schedule (for both EA and RD), and we evaluate the rigor of your curriculum based upon all four years of HS. I cannot say whether you should take more AP's or not, as I do not know what your school offers, or how prepared your are for specific classes. I do suggest you should challenge yourself to the level you can handle.

    You and your parents should sit down with your HS counselor and talk about senior year. As for the SAT, it is one factor we look at, but not the most important factor. As well, when you say "What should I do if I cant do well on it", that statement means different things to different people. Some people will be thrilled with a 1250, while others will think they did not do well. You should just focus on doing will in the classroom, challenging yourself, and see how the test scores play out.

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  51. English is not my first language and i really struggled on the sat and i only took 2 ap classes. might a low SAT be a deal breaker

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  52. Anon: We will look at this factor when trying to understand the context of your application (how long have you been in an English speaking school system, etc.). I can not say what will happen with your application, but since the SAT/ACT is the least important academic factor, I would not see it as a "deal-breaker" as you put it.

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  53. do uga offers need base scholarship, or grant. Also i am consider as an independent

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  54. Anon: UGA offers mostly merit based scholarships, but we also have a few scholarships that are focused on need. I would also suggest looking at our Student Financial Aid office, and completing the FAFSA forms, as this is the office that works with need based assistance.

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  55. Several questions:

    1. My school grants 7 points for each honors and AP class. When UGA recalculates the grades, do you take the weighted grade for both honors and AP? OR - do you strip the honors course of the points but leave the 7 points on the AP class?

    2. Does Speech/Forensics and/or Computer Applications count toward GPA?

    3. Do you recalculate GPA as an A = 4 points, B = 3 points, etc? OR - is the process more specific, such as A- = 3.7?

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  56. Conner:
    1) Please review http://ugaadmissions.blogspot.com/2009/11/grades-gpa-and-confusion.html, as it explains the issue of schools who add weights to actual grades.

    2) Computer courses (unless AP) are not core classes, and generally Speech classes are not, unless indicated as English courses.

    3) See answer 1.

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  57. i have a small question about the essay. I am applying to uga through GA 411, and i saw that the essays are different from the ones posted on your website. I am done with my essays so what am i suppose to do?

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  58. Anon: Yes, we are having problems with GA411 having our updated questions, but do not worry. We will use the older essay questions and it will not hurt you in any way during the review. Just go forward with the application.

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  59. i wanted to know if the sat and act counted more then your actual gpa. or in what order do you guys put them

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  60. Anon: Grades and rigor of curriculum come first before SAT/ACT scores, and I would suggest you also review some of the the other posts under the key words of admission, GPA and SAT for more details.

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  61. how do i use my application fee waiver for uga also do you guys except fee waivers

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  62. Anon: You should apply by going through the UGA Admissions online application, and when the payment section comes up, select the check/fee waiver option. Then have your high school counselor send in the fee waiver form from the SAT or ACT. That will take care of the issue!

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  63. i am writing my essays and i went over the 200 words limit. should i trim it down to 200 words or leave it at 254 words

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  64. Anon: I would suggest you stay within the 200 word limit.

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  65. ok you told me to stay in the 200 word limit but i got to 202 words and i can't cut it more so is it ok to go owver the 200 word limit by 2 words. Also i want to know if i can get college credit because i took us history and i made a 3 in it so can i have some college credit.

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  66. Anon: I am guessing you are asking about AP credit, and what you would get for a score of 3 on the AP US Hist. exam. You would look at http://www.reg.uga.edu/or.nsf/html/uga_ap_credit_equivalencies for more details of all AP exams and the credit given by UGA.

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  67. How long should the UGA honors program essay be?

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  68. Anon: The Honors application says it should be a one page essay, so that is what I would suggest you shoot for.

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  69. DGraves,

    I love you. You are so patient.

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  70. If my high school adds 10 points to my final AP grade, will UGA take the ten points off and then add a .5 or leave the ten points on? For example, if I finish with an 86, my high school makes it an 96 leading to a 4 on the GPA scale. Will UGA strip off the 10 points making it a 3.5 on the GPA scale?

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  71. Anonymous: As a said in the original post, and quoting from one of he above comments, "UGA recalculates a student's GPA, and it is based upon specific grades. So, we would look at your individual grades to come up with a GPA (based upon a 4.00 grading scale), and we would add .5 for every AP/IB grade (so a B would be a 3.00, and if it is an AP/IB grade, it would be a 3.50). This would then be the re-weighted GPA based upon our requirements. The only time we would not add any weight is in a case like a Gwinnett County school, where the school already adds 10 points to any AP/IB course grade (an 88 grade becomes a 98 on the transcript). I hope this is clear now." Does that help?

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  72. Yes, that helps...so if it is a made a 98 by Gwinnett County, it stays a 4 when UGA calculates the GPA?

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  73. Anon: Yes, a 98 is considered an A, and since your school has decided to already add weight to this grade to make it a 98 (88 plus 10 points equals a 98), UGA would not add any additional weight. Again, if your school decides to add weight to an actual teacher's grade, then we would not add even more, as that would not be a fair and balanced way to do things.

    Everyone, please remember that when UGA looks at your high school transcript, we are looking at your grades, not whatever GPA is on the transcript. We focus on the actual grades you received from the teacher as to how you did in the class, as that helps us understand how you will do in our classrooms.

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  74. How is dual enrollment handled? Shouldn't those course be weighted. A high school student taking Calculus at Georgia Tech or Physics at UofG should be weighted as high or higher than an AP class in high school. Yet I see no mention of how dual enrollment courses are handled.

    There is already a grading discrimination. A dual enrolled student who makes a '100' in Calculus only receives a '95' on their high school transcript, but an AP student that makes an '88' sees a '98' placed on their transcript.

    How does UGA handle this?

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  75. Anon: AP and IB programs are standardized nationally and internationally. Dual enrollment courses are not. While we look at dual enrollment courses very highly, there are wide variations in the coursework. That is why UGA does not add a .5 to dual enrollment work. As for the "grade discrimination" you mention, this would be a discussion between you/your family and the high school, not with UGA.

    Understand, though, if you are taking a strong Calc class at GT, I am very impressed when I see this on a transcript during our file reading process.

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  76. One of my friends had a 3.8 gpa, UGA GPA calculated, but he had an 1160 and he got deffered. I thought GPA comes first? And he was in the range of 560-650 on both Math and English. So how does admissions work at UGA?

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  77. Anon: One, I would suggest that you look in more detail at some of the posts I have written about the review process. Second, a 3.80 GPA, while strong, was lower than the average for admitted students this year. Third, we say that grades and rigor of curriculum come first, so we would pair the review of the grades with the review of the choice of classes. Add a lower than average SAT, and then we would look at the overall application, and we would then balance out what he is like as compared to the other applicants.

    You have given me two pieces of information, but the review process looks at a much wider range of things than just GPA and test scores. I would suggest you search for file reading and review the 6 part series I did on our file review process.

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  78. Thanks for answering my previous question, but what if a dual enrolled student also takes the AP exam and makes a 5? You don't have to take an AP class to take an AP exam. So is College
    Calculus as dual enrolled from Georgia Tech plus a "5" on the AP exam weighted less than an AP student who took an High School AP class and got a 3 or 4 on the AP exam? My duaghter wants to go for a Foundation Scholarship but it looks like things are already stacked against her. She can take a whole bunch of AP tests to go with her college dual enrollment (44 credits).

    Anonymous said...
    How is dual enrollment handled? Shouldn't those course be weighted. A high school student taking Calculus at Georgia Tech or Physics at UofG should be weighted as high or higher than an AP class in high school. Yet I see no mention of how dual enrollment courses are handled.

    There is already a grading discrimination. A dual enrolled student who makes a '100' in Calculus only receives a '95' on their high school transcript, but an AP student that makes an '88' sees a '98' placed on their transcript.

    How does UGA handle this?

    March 1, 2010 10:45 AM
    DGraves said...
    Anon: AP and IB programs are standardized nationally and internationally. Dual enrollment courses are not. While we look at dual enrollment courses very highly, there are wide variations in the coursework. That is why UGA does not add a .5 to dual enrollment work. As for the "grade discrimination" you mention, this would be a discussion between you/your family and the high school, not with UGA.

    Understand, though, if you are taking a strong Calc class at GT, I am very impressed when I see this on a transcript during our file reading process.

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  79. Anon: I think you are confusing AP exams with the AP class. We are not weighting an AP exam, as that does not show up on the transcript, and what I am talking about the grades, not the overall review of the file. If a student takes a GT calc. class and also scores a 5 on the AP calc exam, we would see that as a very strong indicator of the student's math skills. Nothing is "stacked" against her as far as I can tell.

    But in the post, I am talking specifically about grades and how UGA looks at them. Every high school system has their own way of determining grades, and if they choose to weight these grades. If you do not like the way that your school weights AP vs dual enrollment courses, I would suggest you speak with the high school. But please understand, an A grade on a dual enrollment class is seen as an A, whether it is a 95 or a 100 (and the school profile should state if dual enrollment courses are given grades only in the center of the grade scale, ie 75/85/95). As well, if your school adds weight to the AP course grade, then UGA will not add .5.

    As for AP exam scores, we generally do not have many to work with during our review, as a majority of AP exams we see are taken after the senior year (not all, but a majority). When reviewing files for the FF program, AP/IB exams are reviewed a little closer, as this group of the strongest students would be the ones to have early AP exam scores. But the FF review would also look carefully at the dual enrollment course and the challenge offered, and try to get an overall understanding of the applicant.

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  80. Here is a post that had trouble loading, so I am cut/pasting it from the email:

    Example: Our high school does not give any weight on Honor classes. On AP classes they give an extra 5 points on the semester grade. If your grade is in an AP Class is 95 or above then how does this work. Example if you made a 98 in an AP Class and they give you 5 pts that would be 103. Since they will only post up to 100 then you are only getting an exta 2pt benefit. How would UGA handle this? The student would have a 4 without the 5 extra pts. So would they get the .5 added to their 4 to make it 4.5 for that class or because their school automatically adds the 5pts for AP classes will UGA not give them the .5 pts. It sounds like if you make a 95 or above without any extra points then you are possibly penalized.

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  81. Anon: As I have said before, we go by what the high school decides to do with adding weight. In this example, the school adds weight to teacher grades, so UGA would not add a .5 to any grades. Your school has decided to take this avenue, so for better and/or worse, that is what we have to go by (see http://ugaadmissions.blogspot.com/2009/11/grades-gpa-and-confusion.html).

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  82. DGraves,

    I have a question concerning the GPA calculation difference of a 5.0 scale versus a 4.0 scale. I attend Camden County High School in Georgia, and we use a 5.0 scale. Right now, I have a cumulative GPA of 4.17. How would UGA recalcuate my score to fit it in the 4.0 scale it uses. Would my GPA be lowered?

    Also, does UGA deduct points given for Honors courses? I am aware that HOPE does that. I have taken honors courses at my school and they added 3 points to my scores (that was before they changed the system, currently they add .3 to Honors and .5 to AP classes, but they still left my 3 points on because it was done before the changes were made). What is UGAs policy concerning this?

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  83. Anon: UGA calculates all GPA's to a 4.00 scale, so every applicant is on the same page. I have no idea what your GPA would be based upon having a 4.17 on a 5.00 scale, as we would recalculate the GPA based on academic classes only. All A's are 4.00, B's are 3.00, etc.

    Since your school adds points to individual teacher grades for Honors/AP classes, UGA would not. But we would not deduct any weight added by your school. When completing the new self-reported grade form, you would enter in the number of academic A grades, B grades, etc. (based upon the Camden Co. HS grading scale of 90/80/70), and UGA would use this to calculate a GPA.

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  84. Thank you for your response!

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  85. Thanks for your answer, you earlier stated that AP course were national standards but dual enrollment wasn't. But then all AP courses can't be considered standard or consistent between high schools if you don't take into account the exam grade.

    A person that makes a 5 on an AP exam from "abc" high school where the average exam grade was a 3 for the school and makes a "B" in the class; a person at "xyz" high school makes a "1" on the exam where the class average was "2" and made an "A" in the class... Doesn't seem to be a way to standardize the score unless you take into account the national exam scores as there are rotten AP teachers and curriculums at certain schools just like anything else. They are "supposed" to teach the college board recommended curriculum but that doesn't mean they do it or do it well.

    That brings up the point of how would you weigh dual enrollment courses taken at UGA. Surely UGA has some idea how their own courses stacks against an AP class, do they get the weight?

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  86. Anon: The AP standards I mentioned are based upon what is taught, and is not based upon what the student has or has not learned. That, along with other reasons (when we receive the AP scores for instance), is why we add weight to AP/IB classes, because of the high quality standards that are in place in the information being taught. Your argument about their being "rotten AP teachers" does not hold weight, as there will always be some strengths and weaknesses in the teaching arena, from K-12, CP to AP, including dual enrollment. But there is a national/internation focus on consistency in AP/IB courses and the information that is taught, which is not seen in the other areas (Honors, dual enrollment, advanced, etc.). I am not praising or cutting down a specific teacher or student, but am instead looking at a detailed, well planned, broad based academic program.

    Based upon your multiple posts (which I do not mind) and your statements regarding dual enrollment, I get the feeling that you are trying to convince me to change the method in which UGA looks at dual enrollment courses. Unfortunately, that will not occur, but please understand (as I have mentioned before), we do consider dual enrollment coursework within the review of a student's rigor, and we look at the specific courses and where it is taken. But when adding specific weight to a grade, we look at programs that have a national/international, consistent academic plan. Dual enrollment courses are too diverse in nature to fit this bill.

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  87. How does UGA admissions determine the students who are automatically admitted into the Honors Program? I have heard it is the top 2%, but which is more important in this calculation, GPA or rigor? In this group of students most will have made all A's in their classes and have many AP courses. But how do you determine the value of taking 5 years of honors foreign language classes as electives (and receiving A's) versus the student who who has taken the required 2, and takes 3 non-academic courses as electives? All other things being equal (SAT scores etc), the second student's GPA will be higher because his electives are not calculated into the UGA GPA. The first student has more rigor, same grades, same # of AP classes, but a lower GPA because there are more classes calculated in determining his UGA GPA.

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  88. Anon: The admissions office does not determine who is admitted into the Honors program, as we leave that to the Honors program to determine. It is not the top 2%, as we enroll approximately 480-500 new Honors freshman each year, and the size of the freshman class is about 4,800.

    As for the balance of grades vs. rigor, they are both important. It is sort of like asking which of your children do you like best.

    As for the sample grade question you asked about, I ran three simulations. Student A has 30 A grades (semester grades), with 8 of those grades being AP grades. Student B has 36 A grades, with 8 being AP grades. I also ran one for student C, as a student that has taken 5 years of a foreign language class (let's say Spanish) is generally is taking AP Spanish by the last one. This student is like student B with 36 A grades, but has 10 AP grades (adding the 2 semesters of A's in AP Spanish).

    The difference in GPA is very minor, with Student A having a 4.13, Student B having a 4.11, and student C having a 4.14. As such, I do not think that the difference in the three GPA's is enough to make a difference in the review. But a student taking the hardest foreign language courses vs. the one who only takes the bare minimum may have an impact when the file is reviewed by the Honors program if everything is is equal. It may also be that both students are admitted to the Honors program, or both are asked to complete the Honors application where the files are reviewed in even more detail.

    What I would say is that the student who takes the minimum in foreign language courses would not have an advantage, all else being equal.

    I hope this helps.

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  89. Thanks for the response. It does help!

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  90. Thanks for all your answers on the dual enrollment. You may not change your mind, but and admissions persons frame of mind is the purpose of discussion, and someone higher may change your mind for you. Florida has enacted in their law against discrimination in weighting and class ranking for dual enrolled students; the same amendment is being presented to the Georgia legislature this next legislative session. We like to have an idea about all opposing arguments before testifying at the committee meetings. Thanks!

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  91. Anon: You are right that the GA legislature may change how GA colleges do a great deal of things, but please refrain from using language that is less than accurate such as "discrimination". As well, I am guessing that just because another state takes an action, it does not mean that GA should then do the same thing.

    My suggestion for you would be that a more important issue would be the idea of having a common grading scale for all GA high schools (see SC), as that it a much larger issue. In fact, some school systems do add weight to dual enrollment courses, so that might be a better way to move forward. In addition, since UGA does not focus on class ranking, this is a non-issue for our office.

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  92. Are Latin, speech/Forensics, organic and biochemistry, and Human Anatomy considered core classes? Also, my school adds 7 points for any honors and AP classes. I understand that you remove the 7 points for AP's and recalculate by adding .5 for the AP classes but what is the case for honors classes? Do the 7 points stay on or do you take them out and calculate those according to UGA scale also?

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  93. Also, if a school already adds points, UGA does not deduct those points to rescale right?

    ex. 76 in AP world, would become an 83 in my school. Does UGA instead make this a 2.5 or leave it as a 3.0?

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  94. Anon: Latin (a foreign language), organic, Human Anat., and biochem. (all three are science classes) are considered core and the grades will be used for calculating GPA. Speech is not a core class and will not be used.

    As for how we deal with schools that add points to a teacher's term grade, I would suggest you re-review the original post and some of the following comments. Specifically, the quote "In addition, we add .5 weight to every individual AP or IB grade (unless a weight has already been added to the individual grade), and calculate a GPA based upon a 4.00 scale. " We do not remove any added weight to a teacher grade, but that means we will not then add a .5 weight to any grade (so there is no double dipping). What your school transcript says the grade is for that term is what the grade is for that term, and what we will use. I hope this helps.

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  95. Anon II: If a school adds weight or points to a teacher grade, we will not take it away. So a B, if an 83 is a B at your school, would be a 3.0, but since your school adds weight to their grades, we would not add weight, and so it would remain as a 3.0. In addition, I suggest you read my post http://ugaadmissions.blogspot.com/2009/11/grades-gpa-and-confusion.html to see both the positives and negatives of a school adding weight to individual teacher grades.

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  96. Hi there,

    If my school gives a 1.0 extra point for an AP class, will that be downgraded to a 0.5 extra point?

    Ex. B in an AP class = 3.0 + 1.0 extra point
    So... that's a 4.0

    But for UGA's standard, would that be considered as a 3.5?

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  97. Hello there,

    I read that once you're denied in early action application admissions, you CANNOT apply for regular admissions?

    So, would I be better off applying for regular admission or should I try the early action?

    I have a 3.7 GPA (as UGA's gpa calculations). I have been in the magnet program, have taken all honors + 4 AP classes. However, my SAT is a bit lower. I have a 1780 SAT score (including the writing); only the Math and Critical Reading = 1160 SAT score.

    Is the early action admissions worth it? I do not want to get denied at all.
    Thank you for your time and your response/ advice would be great.

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  98. Anon: We do not take off any added weight that a high school adds to their own teacher grades. But what it looks like is that you are talking about your school adding 1 point when they calculate their own GPA, not the actual teacher grade that shows up on the transcript. Remember, UGA is not looking at the GPA on your transcript at all. We are looking at the actual teacher grades. So, if your transcript shows a teacher grade of a B, then it is a B. If it shows an A (due to the adding of some weight), then it is an A. But it is all about the actual grade, and nothing to do with the GPA on a high school transcript.

    Anon II: You are asking me to guess about a decision, which I do not do. Generally, if a student is denied EA, they would be denied RD, and the reverse as well. What you need to do is ask yourself if you are comfortable with your academic profile by Oct. 15. If you think you need updated fall grades, new test scores, etc. before you want UGA to review your file, then wait for RD. If you are comfortable with your profile now, then apply EA.

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  99. Hi DGraves.

    Thank you for your blog articles! They are very helpful.

    Just to clarify, if a student's transcript states that they made a yearly average of 90 on an AP course (real grade was 85 and school added 5 to make 90), then their 5 points would not be stripped and .5 added. Instead, UGA would see this grade as a 4.0, not a 3.5. Is that correct?

    Thank you.

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  100. Anon: If a transcript shows that the actual course grade is a 90 on an AP course, and if a 90 is an A grade at that school, then it would be an A, which is a 4.0 grade. But you used the term "yearly average", which means that I do not know if this is an actual term grade, or a overall average of the term grades. For example, does your school only give year long grades? If so, then we would use this grade, and it would be an A. If you school gives out semester grades on the transcript, then we would look at the two semester grades, and this "yearly average" grade, which is an average of the two terms but not an actual grade, would not even be looked at. Confusing, but when you start using the term "average", I have no idea if it is an actual grade or an average of multiple grades. Again, though, UGA does not strip off weight that a school adds to specific grades!

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  101. Sorry that I wasn't more clear. Our school gives a semester 1 and a semester 2 average, then a yearly average is stated which is the average of the semester1 &2 grades. All 3 grades are on the transcript for each class.. So, I will go back and look at each semester grade, not the yearly average when figuring GPA.

    Thank you for your help.

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  102. Unable to save--- reasons for choosing major onto the application using cut and paste from Word--any suggestions

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  103. Anon: Two things; One, there is a limit of 300 characters, so make sure it is not too long of a response. Second, if you have any non-standard characters (",%,!), after you have pasted, then delete and retype them. Cutting and pasting from Word carries over some unusual formatting, especially with non-letter characters. But my guess is that it is the 300 character limit.

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  104. I have checked and I am withn the 300 word limit and I have completely eliminated characters like ",!. I have commas , and period in the write up--hope that is not a problem.

    When I hit Save and Quit or Save and Logout, I am frozen on that page i.e.it appears that I am not able save and exit the application, although it says done at the bottom

    When I go back to my saved application, I don't find the write up on my saved application. Can u help ?

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  105. Is the 300 characer limit with spaces or without spaces ?

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  106. Anon: First, it is a character limit, not a word limit, and it is 300 total characters (and I believe spaces are characters). Second, you do not need to go into in-depth detail about your choice of major, we just want to know a little bit about why you are looking at this area of study. We do not make decisions based upon majors, so do not worry too much over this area.

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  107. I'm sure a few have already brought this topic up, but I was just curious. Let's say throughout high school, I make an 89 in every one of my classes. Would y'all use the numeric grade in re-calculating the GPA or would you simply mark it down as a B when determining the new GPA?

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  108. Anon: Is an 89 a B at your school? If so, I am assuming you had knowledge for most of your high school career about what number grades equaled the letter grades. As such, you would have made all B grades, and in calculating a GPA, UGA looks at the letter grade. When we are in the middle of the holistic read process, we will notice high and low letter grades, but for a GPA, it is based on an A = 4.00, B = 3.00, etc.

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  109. When applying for early action, is the counselor evaluation form done online or do you have to print and mail it to UGA?

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  110. Anon: The counselor form can be done either online (the counselor would go to our high school portal, enter in their security information, and then submit it), or by paper. Either one is fine, although it is at times easier and quicker to do it online if the school has accessed our HS portal before.

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  111. I attend a Fulton County School. Fulton County adds 7 points towards every Honors and AP courses. Will UGA keep the added 7 points or will UGA remove the 7 points and add .5 to just AP courses. I have had one B in one class throughout high school and that was from one semester of AP Physics. I was wondering if my 85 in that class will turn into a 92 and give me a 4.0. Also I took Algebra 1, a high school class, in 8th grade. This will not me counted since I took this in middle school right?

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  112. Alex: Here is a quote from one of the above responses; "Anonymous: If a high school adds weight to an individual class grade, we will not remove that weight, but we would not then double dip and add .5 to this grade as well." So, if your school lists your AP Physics class as a 92 on the transcript, and a 92 is an A, then that is an A grade. But also understand that no additional weight will be added by UGA, which might actually have a negative impact on your UGA calculated GPA. If all your grades are an A except for the one, and if you have a more than 2 AP grades, then overall your GPA will be lower due to Fulton County's grading system. You will have a 4.00 now since all your grades are seen as A's, but If you had 29 A's and 1 B, and 6 of the grades were AP grades (just an example), then your GPA would have been a 4.07 (4.0 for each A, 3.0 for each B, and .5 for each AP grade).

    As for the self-reported grades, we do not count 8th grade work in this area, as we no longer use middle school grades in our evaluation.

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  113. Alex: For more details on the use of different weighting by schools and the impact on a students GPA, please see http://ugaadmissions.blogspot.com/2009/11/grades-gpa-and-confusion.html.

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  114. Just read your post and I have a question:
    My school adds 10 points for AP classes, but our GPA system is unweighted. So, I could get a 105 in my AP Biology class, but my GPA would still be a 4.0. Since UGA recalculates GPA but DOESN'T ADD WEIGHT if our school already does, this would mean I wouldn't be able to get above a 4.0 according to UGA's GPA, even with AP classes. Since I want to get into UGA Honors, this would pretty much eliminate all chances, since the average GPA is a 4.2. Is this right, or am i misunderstanding something?

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  115. Joshua: The Honors program does not require a specific GPA to be admitted, as you are most likely looking at their average GPA, not the mid-range (and even the range does not give you every student admitted). Your chance for admission to the Honors program is based on your overall academics as well as your application to the Honors program.

    You are reading things correctly about how we calculate our GPA, as we care about your actual grades on the transcript (not the GPA on the transcript) and how your school determines the individual grades.

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