Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UGA Admissions and Personal Issues


Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with 40-50 people at a college night program for Camp Sunshine, a non-profit organization that offers support and opportunities to children with cancer and their families. I believe this is my eighth time doing this evening program, and I always have a great evening. I have known some of these campers for 10+ years, while others recently diagnosed and are going through treatment right now.

Every year, the one question I am always asked is "Should I tell the colleges I am applying to about my cancer, and if so, what should I say?" My suggestion is always that they should let colleges know about their medical situation (if they feel comfortable sharing this), how it has impacted their lives, but more importantly, how they have both faced this obstacle and overcome it. As the quote from Vince Lombardi states, "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." And it is amazing how well these students have done getting back up on their feet and being active after being knocked down so hard by cancer! I have seen former campers who are now Paralympic Cycling medalists, founders of non-profits, and medical professionals now fighting cancer.

Most every applicant has had some personal issue, from divorce to sickness/injuries to family challenges. These range from the rather minor (I was sick for three days) to the more life changing events (see above). The important thing when applying to UGA is first to tell us about it, but more importantly to show us how you have gotten back up off the ground and gotten over your personal hurdle. While I can not say how this information will impact a decision, it helps us to know what has occurred in your life. there are plenty of places to share this, from the "Special Circumstances" section on the application, the admissions essays, or from your recommendation letter(s). UGA can then have a better look at who you are overall as a student and a person, and see the connections between your academics, activities and personal events in your life.

11 comments:

  1. What impact would it make for a child that had to live through their parent's divorce during early high school years? Would the admissions office think more of that student than a student with similar academic credentials that did not have such a bad family history?

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  2. Anonymous: As I said in the last paragraph, almost every applicant has something that has occured that has had a major impact on their life. As well, there are never two identical students, so I could not answer if we would think more of one student vs another based upon one item.

    What we would want to know is what has happened in a student's life, and how they have handled any setbacks. Personal situations are just one of the things we might look at, and this would only come into play during our file reading during the January-March timeline.

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  3. My mom is undergoing a stem cell transplant in a couple of months, and as of now I am taking Ap chemistry and Ap calculus. If I get accepted and then i decide to drop Ap chem, would that revoke my application?

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  4. Anon: No, we would not revoke your decision if you had to drop a class due to such a serious personal issue. I suggest you contact us if you do have to drop the class and let us know the reason.

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  5. Is it possible to meet with an admissions counselor to insure that updates that were sent to my application at different times are reviewed together to give an accurate interpretation of a situation

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  6. Concerned: I would suggest that you call first and ask to speak with the primary counselor of the day to talk about your situation. It may be a little easier on you to do this, and we have a counselor available every day unless there is an on campus program going on for admissions (and then they would get a message to call you back).

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  7. If I have a special circumstance that I do not think can be fully explained within the 300 characters given on the application, is it okay if I attach an email instead?

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  8. Anon: If you feel like you need more space to give us this information, then you can send us an email with the details.

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  9. Is adm-tech@uga.edu the best email to address it to?

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  10. Anon: The adm-tech email is to our technical department, so no, use admproc@uga.edu, which goes to our processing team.

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  11. Okay thanks so much!!!

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