Monday, October 5, 2009

This One Is For The Parents!

Dear Parents: We know that this is a tough time for you, as colleges seem to focus most of their attention on your child, while leaving you a little bit out of the conversation. The dynamic has shifted, and instead hearing "Oh, you must be Richard and Sharon's son!", it is now "Oh, you must be Jeffrey's parents!" (Yes, these are real names of a great student and his family last week, and I hope you don't mind Jeffrey).

Colleges have a tough balancing act, where we want to work with the student/applicant and get an understanding about their level of responsibility, yet still work with the parents, as you play a major part in the college process. Yes, through all the stories about Helicopter Parents and "Meet the Parents" images, the truth is, colleges value their interaction with an applicant's parents (and not just because you pay the bills!). Many colleges will have special mailings, send out targeted emails, or have special programs or break out sessions during programs for parents. We really do want to connect with you!

So here is your chance, parents. What questions do you have that you are dying to ask? You can post as Anonymous, ask whatever questions you would like through the comment option, and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. Fire Away!

54 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interesting and helpful blog! I have a few questions as a parent of a nontraditional home educated student...

    1.) How many AP and/or SAT II scores would you like to see to validate completion of CPC requirements? Is one preferred over the other? Does he need to take one for each course or just a sampling from each subject area? I believe his SAT I score will be high enough to satisfy the English and mathematics portions.

    2.) He took the AP US History exam last spring as a sophomore and received a 5. Would his US history grade be weighted as an AP course with this score, even though he did not take an official AP course?

    3.) Will he need to submit a counselor/school evaluation form?

    Thanks for your help!

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  2. Anonymous: I am glad that this blog is helpful, and I will try to answer your question as best as possible. By nontraditional home educated, I am guessing you mean you are not working with an accredited home school program (which is fine).

    First, there is no preference of one AP or SAT II exam, and I would want to see at least one for each area, although it will not be needed in math or English if the SAT I scores fall within the top 5% of the nation (as set forth by the state for home educated students). As for his AP US Hist. exam, tell him congratulations on a great score. We will not use an exam score as a grade, but we will use it in reviewing the challenge of his curriculum.

    Lastly, we will need a school evaluation form, and that should be done by the person or parent that oversees his education. It looks like your family has done the needed research and put in the work to do well in the academic areas, so you are on the right track!

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  3. Good afternoon. I too appreciate this blog site. My daughter has decided to do early action and has the GPA and the rigor of classes. She will have a total of 6 AP classes in different subjects. Her highest SAT score falls below the average for incoming freshman though. She has taken the SAT three times but is taking it again next week. Her writing score though was 700 and is that taken into consideration at all during any of the admission process and does UGA automatically know, since her scores are reported there, that she will be taking it this October 10th again to try to improve? Or do we need to tell you by email?

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  4. Anonymous: Your daughter is on the right track by taking challenging courses and doing well in them, and she should continue with the good work. While her test scores may not be at the average of UGA's class last year (although a 700 writing is impressive!), please remember that this is not as important as what she does in the class.

    We do use all three parts of the SAT, as well as all sections of the ACT if taken. We can only use it, though, if it is sent directly to UGA by the testing agency. The Oct. scores will get to UGA in time if you requested the scores to be sent to us, so as you can guess, we can not use any self-reported scores as official.

    Again, tell her to keep up the good work, keep track of her application using the status check, and she will hear an EA decision in mid-December.

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  5. We have submitted the early action application about a week in advance and my daughters high school has been informed so that they can send electronically the counsellor form and official transcript. Do these two forms have to be sumbitted by the October 15th deadline or do the high schools have more time to get these in? I don't want to assume they have done this, however I do not want to bother them either???

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  6. Anonymous: Almost all colleges (but check each one your student applies to) have postmark deadlines, and our EA postmark deadline is 10/15. In addition, almost all colleges have a window of time after the deadline for materials to come in without any penalty, and UGA is the same. We want students to complete their applications, so we give them every opportunity to do this.

    If you have asked the counselor to send it, then give at least 10 business days from the material leaving the HS to go through the postal service, get to the college, and get into their system. If the materials still are not showing up on the status check after 15 business days, first make sure of when the materials were sent, then contact the admissions office.

    UGA has given both the student and the counseling offices the ability to track materials that have been received by our Admissions Office. The best thing now is to be patient and allow for the materials to get to UGA. The worst thing is to give things only a few days and then resend materials, as this causes duplication on both the HS and the college sides.

    For now, just relax and check the status check once a day for the items (our status check is not updated in real time, but is instead updated nightly with the previous days information).

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  7. Hello. I have submitted all parts of the EA application that I can on my own. I sent the previous SAT scores as well as the SAT scores from the test this October. I have also completely filled out and submitted the online application part I.

    One problem I have ran into is the counselor recommendation form. I submitted the printed form to my counselors a few weeks ago, but the counselors let it sit in their office for weeks. They told me they finally sent off but I am worried it may not be sent in time. If the counselors do not send off their portion in time, how can I do something to get it there?

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  8. Anonymous: The 10/15 deadline is a postmark deadline, so if the counselor sent it off already, then you are fine. Just be patient as it takes a little while to go from the HS to our office.

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  9. Thank you for this blog. I am still trying to make a decision if I should apply EA or RD. I have a 3.8 GPA and have taken all honors along with 5 AP classes. I have always worked very hard in school and have taken the most challenging courses offered. Unfortunately, my SAT score is very low (1100) and my ACT is 24. I did take the Oct. SAT hoping to improve. I have never done well with these tests. I have read all I can on EA vs. RD and I want to make the right decision. Any advise you can offer will be appreciated especially at this late date.
    Thank you

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  10. Anonymous: As you have seen me write before, I can't really say if you should apply EA or RD, but I have a few questions that might direct you.

    1) When I see a true 3.80 GPA, this means you have 4 A's for every B. If this is the case, then you have strong enough grades to be in consideration for EA.

    2) With your Honors and AP classes, are you challenging yourself in a wide variety of core areas? There is a difference between Honors/AP courses in English/Math/Science/S. Studies, etc., than in just 1 or 2 areas. If your challenging coursework is diverse, then you are competitive for EA.

    3) While your SAT/ACT scorea are not as high as you may like, these are still solid scores. These are not at a level where I would have major concerns.

    Now look at your situation in light of these questions, and you should be able to determine your path. Remeber, though, that EA is not easier or harder than RD, just a different time frame. Good luck!

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  11. If my son wants to apply for EA, but also wants to apply for the Honors program and possible academic shcolarships, when does everything need to be sent in? For example, it looks as though besides the Foundation Fellowship and Ramsey, there are other scholarships available but that you must apply for the Foundation to be considered. The deadline there is November 15 as opposed to the Oct. 15 EA deadline. So my question is would he just meet the 2 separate deadlines, or just send all in by November 15? My head is spinning, and I'm not attending High School and playing football.

    thank you so much-
    confused parent

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  12. Lynn: If your son is applying for EA, then he needs to get in his admission application and the required materials by 10/15 (this is a postmark deadline).

    If he then applies for the Foundation Fellowship/Ramsey scholarship, he needs to get that application in by 11/15 and get in any other documents not covered by the admissions materials.

    We will use the admission application and/or the Foundation Fellowship/Ramsay application for any other academic scholarships offered by undergraduate admissions. As for applying to the Honors program, I suggest your son wait until shortly after EA decisions go out, as Honors will release some offers then.

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  13. So if my son, who is out of state is solidly in the middle 50% of last years GPA, AP total, and SAT range, he would have a pretty good chance? I know that you don't know about the applicant pool, but based on last year's numbers he would have an equal shot as the in-state students? There is no cap on the number of out of state students that can be accepted, right?

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  14. If your son is in the middle of last year's range on all areas (and remember that UGA calculates GPA differently than a number of HS's), then he should be in solid contention for EA review. But that is all I could say, as I do not know everything about him and the EA applicant pool.

    As for out of state students, there is no cap, and they are not looked at any differently than in state students. We treat all students in the same way.

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  15. We submitted our Early application and the status page shows current SAT and ACT scores. My son has taken the October 10 SAT and October 24 ACT tests for the 2nd time, will these scores be used in the decision process for EA? Will the status page update when these are received?
    Thank you.

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  16. Anon: Yes, we will use the October SAT and/or ACT scores for EA, as long as you requested that they be sent to UGA when you signed up for the exam. The will post on the status check when we receive them.

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  17. My son applied EA and selected "undecided" as his major. Within the past week, he has decided to study Math as an undergrad. Is it too late to change his major as he has already submitted his application? Also, if he is denied admission and attends school out of state, will he lose his Hope Scholarship if he decides to transfer to UGA his sophomore year? I am grateful for this blog. It is very helpful for a first time freshman mom!

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  18. Anon: Your son can go to our information change form at https://www.admissions.uga.edu/apps/infochange/ , and make a change to his intended major. This will not affect a decision, as this does not come into play when making an admission decision.

    As for the HOPE scholarship, my understanding is that if he is eligible for HOPE as a HS graduate and then attends an out-of-state(OOS) college, he would be eligible for HOPE as a transfer (as long as he then keeps up the 3.00 HOPE GPA needed at the OOS college. But this would be a good question for the HOPE office, as that is run by the state, not by UGA.

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  19. I understand it will not affect an admission decision at UGA,but with a goal in mind, it will help him select the school and program that it is best for him. Thank you for the quick response and I will definitely email the HOPE office for an answer to my second question.

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  20. Before I ask a teacher for a recommendation, does it matter (for the admission process) if they teach a core subject (math) or an elective subject (art) which is closest to my intended major, Journalism & Mass Communication?

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  21. Anon: We suggest a teacher in your core area, because in the course work we are looking at, we focus mainly on the core areas. We will no throw out the other one, but it is better to submit the rec. from a core subject teacher.

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  22. As I am encouraging my son to apply for the Foundation Fellowship I realize a deadline is approaching. I was reviewing the requirements and am a little confused. He applied EA and you have received all of his materials. My question is, since he did not write any essays for admission, does he not have to write any for Foundation Fellows either? All he needs to add to his EA application materials are the 2 recommendations and the school profile? I don't know why I was under the impression he had essays to write.

    thank you,
    Lynn

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  23. Lynn: I am going to have a fellow admission guru, Cindy, answer this question, as she is in charge of the processing side of the Foundation Fellows/Ramsey scholarship program. I expect she will respond shortly.

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  24. Your blog is super helpful...thank you so much. Questions: For EA, does UGA look at the AP courses the student is currently enrolled in as well as the ones he/she is signed up for in the spring? Also, are certain majors more likely to be accepted due to the number of students/overcrowding in that major or the difficulty of being admitted into that school (say, College of Business)?

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Anonymous: In reviewing students for EA or RD, our office looks at the challenge of your curriculum for all four years (senior year included) in making a decision. Of course we will not be able to look at senior year grades for EA, but we are looking at senior year classes.

    As for decisions and majors, the most recent survey was about the most prevalent myths, and one of them was the myth that certain majors are easier for admission purposes. Our office allows applicants to change their major up through orientation, so it would make no sense to admit a student based upon a major if we then allowed them to change it the next day. No, applying to certain majors does not have an impact on admission.

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  27. Lynn: I'm glad to hear your son is applying for the Foundation Fellowship and Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarships. His scholarship and admissions application needs to be completed by the November 16 deadline. The separate scholarship application is quite extensive and does include essays. This application is found by clicking on the "scholarships" tab from the admissions web site. We will be able to use his test scores, transcript and high school evaluation from his early action application. Be sure that he also submits letters of recommendation from a teacher and his counselor. He will also need to submit a school profile to my attention. I hope this helps to answer your questions. Feel free to email me at cboyles@uga.edu if you have more questions and I'll be glad to help!

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  28. Thank you for your blog. Is there a way to follow up on the FF Scholarship application to see if all the documents have been received?

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  29. Anon: Most of the information is on the status check for the admission application, and the rest will be communicated by email from the people that oversee the FF processing.

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  30. My son has a 3.3 GPA and a 1170(out of 1600)SAT. From what I see, his gpa is a little low and his Sat is in range, does he stand a chance of being accepted?

    Also, he lives with his dad in New York but I have been living and paying taxes in Atlanta for six years, will he have in-state tuition?

    Lastly, my son is undecided about his major, on the online application how can he select undecided? Should he just pick any school from the dropdown, leave the major blank and type undecided under "explain your choice of major"?

    Thank you very much.

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  31. Anonymous: Wow, you packed a lot of questions into one comment! Let's take it one step at a time. First, it does look like he is on the low side in the academic areas you noted (although I do not have any idea about the classes he is taking), so he has put himself a little in the hole. I am not saying he would be admitted or denied, just that he is starting off on the lower side of our mid-ranges. It will depend upon what else there is to his application.

    Secondly, it sounds like he MAY be eligible for either a waiver of the out-of-state tuition or in-state residency (as one parent is a GA resident and pays income tax as a GA resident), but we would need a great deal more information after he applies before we could move forward with that.

    As for the major, my best suggestion is for him to select undecided as a major and then write why he is undecided. He needs to select a major, but undecided is an option for incoming students.

    Hope this helps!

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  32. Good morning. My daughter was happy to receive her admission packet on Saturday. She now plans to apply for the Honors program. Last year a few students from our school were notified in their EA acceptance that they'd been automatically enrolled in the Honors program. My daughter's grades, scores and AP course load are on par with theirs, but she did not receive such a notification. Have the applications this year been that much stronger?

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  33. Dave: For the past several years, Honors has sent out some early auto-admits, but from my recollection, they generally did not occur until the week after decisions. Since EA decisions only went out last Friday, I would suggest being patient for a little while on this. As well, you would want to speak with Honors about this issue, as they handle their own decisions.

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  34. Thanks for the helpful blog!! My son has been deferred. His stats: ACT 30, SAT 1900, GPA 3.75 with 3 AP courses completed. He really wants to go to UGA. He is planning to complete part II of the application and submit his fall semester grades. He is currently taking 6 AP courses his senior year with (hopefully) a final GPA for this semester of 4.0. This will put him at 9 AP courses completed during H.S. He is trying to do everything he can to give himself the best opportunity for consideration for enrollment. Is there anything else he should consider? Retake SAT/ACT? His extracurricular activities are sparse during his high school years which I have concerns about. We moved from CA to GA after his freshmen year which took some adjusting. Any other suggestions would be appreciated? Thanks!!!

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  35. Anon mom: First, I would suggest you get a copy of his transcript after his fall grades come out. One, I want you and your son want to make sure you have an accurate understanding of his grades (mark off non-core classes, then tally the number of A's, B's, etc). This is how we calculate his GPA, and you want to make sure your information matches our office's info.

    Second, you and your son would want to look at how he has progressed from freshman to senior year, as we will look at it during the reading process. If there were issues when he moved to GA (tough adaptation, course issues, etc.), he would want to mention this. As well, since you say his extra-curr. activities are sparse, you would want to review how he spends his non-school time, and let us know what and why. For instance, a part-time job is still an activity, but some applicants do not list it because they thing these should only be clubs, sports, etc. We want to know what he is active in as a whole, from community groups, youth groups, sports, school clubs, and so on.

    I would also suggest he may want to take the SAT in January (the last test we will be able to use), but it depends upon his situation. For instance, when we look at the ACT, we are not only looking at the composite, but all sub-scores, with a serious focus on the English, Math, and the English/Writing scores, as those sub-scores match up with the SAT CR, Math, and Writing scores.

    The only other thing is to tell him to take his time on part II, get things in ahead of the deadline, and be patient.

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  36. We will be sending my son's official sealed transcript tomorrow along with the teacher recommendation. Grades for this first semester just came out today and he got All A's with one B. Two of the A's are AP classes. This should boost his GPA. The school says they might not be loaded into the system until Jan. 14th. Should we just mail it to you then? I am worried it won't get to you in time! Is there a way to send transcripts to you electronically? Thanks for all the helpful information in your blog!

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  37. In reference to the above post, I need to clarify that I will send his transcript tomorrow but it will not be the newest one. The one I have now doesn't have any senior grades.

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  38. Anon: Once you can get the updated transcript, send it in. If you are in GA, you can send the transcript via GA411. If it comes in a week or two after the deadline, we will still be fine, as we are somewhat flexible with documents that are provided by the school officials. The deadline is a postmark deadline of 1/15, so you are fine.

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  39. I'm the one who posted the first comment in this entry, about my home educated student. Would the CLEP tests also be acceptable for validating CPC requirements and/or demonstrating rigor of curriculum? Thanks again for your help.

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  40. Anon: I strongly do not suggest the CLEP test, as they are not a strong indicator of how prepared an 18 year old is in an academic field. I would suggest the AP exams, SAT II tests, accredited online HS course or college course for home educated students.

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  41. My daughter was deferred in December. She has completed part 2 of the application. We only had her submit her ACT scores because after 3 tries they were considerably higher than the SAT scores. She took the SAT twice and actually went down on the second try. My question is, should she bother to take it again? Or since the ACT is already in the profile range, just leave it at that? She really seems to have a better grasp on the ACT and I cannot imagine her improving on the SAT at all. Also, if she does decide to take it and we send her scores automatically, if the score is still much lower that the ACT, will it be held against her?

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  42. There is no problem if she sends in the SAT scores, as UGA only looks at the strongest scores. It sounds like both you and her do not want to take the SAT again, so I would go with what you think on this situation (as I do not have much to go on and it seems like she would not be going into any future SAT with a positive mindset). Do a search of score choice in the upper right for our view on test scores.

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  43. Thanks for the response.... following are the numbers exactly so you can give me an answer as to whether sending them will help or not make a difference.... ACT composite 28 writing 9, SAT 1100 (out of 1600), writing 670, so 1770 out of 2400. I know you will focus on the 28 since it translates to a higher SAT but I was thinking the SAT writing score might help her overall. So, the questions is, will sending the SAT help her application or not make a difference?

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  44. Anon: I am writing this from home, so I am not able to look at any score equivalencies, but it really would not matter in this case for two reasons: first, since it will not hurt her application in any way, why not go ahead and send the scores? Second, overall scores are nice, but we look at subscores in comparing ACT and SAT results, (CR SAT with English ACT, Math SAT with Math ACT, etc.), and even with that I would not be able to easily give you an answer. So, the best answer is to send it, as it can not hurt the situation at all, and could only help!

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  45. Hi, it's the homeschool mom from the first comment again. My son (a junior) is just now taking Spanish I, and would like to wait until the mid-October date to take the SAT subject area test in Spanish, which would allow him to study Spanish II over the summer. Would he still be able to apply EA, even though his score for that would be arriving a little late?

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  46. Anon: Yes, that would be fine, as we do not have a set score for the SAT sub. test for a home school student, but instead need to see that he is in the process of taking it. As well, we generally will get the Oct. SAT before EA decisions are made.

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  47. Does UGA want AP/Honors classes in every area (math, science, english, and social studies) I have taken those level courses in every subject except math because it is not my best subject. However I have made two Bs and one A in math classes so far (I am a rising senior). Would this concern you?

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  48. Also, is a score of 1150 (Math and Reading) good enough for UGA? I am concerned.

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  49. Sherry: UGA has never stated that we want AP/Honors courses in every academic area. What we look at is what options a student has, and what they have decided to take. The more a student challenges themselves in the academic areas, the more we recognize the level of rigor that the student has taken. UGA would recognize that you challenged yourself in a number of academic areas, and we would also note what the level of challenge in your math courses. I am not sure if this totally answered your question, but it is the best way I can answer it.

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  50. Sherry: In looking at an applicant, we do not stop and make a determination of a student being "good enough" based on a test score. I would suggest reviewing more of this blog to learn about what UGA looks at in a file, as we focus on a great deal more than just an SAT/ACT score. As well, we look at things in the context of the situation, so an applicant with an 1150 could be either a strong or a weak applicant, depending on the rest of the application and the overall applicant pool. A student with all A's in challenging courses who has an 1150 is of course a great deal stronger than a C student in a limited-rigor academic path. And this does not even go into the other factors (leadership, writing, activities, etc.) we look at!

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  51. Thank you for answering my first question, but I am taking the SAT over again just to make sure.

    Also, because I have not taken a higher level course in the math area, will UGA not want me to be apart of their school? I am just genuinely concerned that because math is not my best subject and I tend to struggle more with it. I do not want to set myself up for failure so to speak.

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  52. Sherry: UGA will not take a look at a file and say that we do not want you just because you did not take the highest math courses possible. But admissions at UGA is not a mark that you either meet or do not, as it is based upon who applies that year, what they are like, and how many students we can admit.

    It is like trying out for the basketball team where there are 30 people trying out, and 15 can make the team. The decision on who makes the team is going to focus on who the strongest 15 players are overall. The coach is not going to focus just on height, speed, or scoring, but on all the factors that come into play. So if you asked the coach before tryouts if you were going to make the team because you are 6 feet tall and can run fast, he would not be able to answer the question until he saw what everyone, including you, showed in the tryouts.

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  53. This is more of a activity question, but wanted to get your opinion about this. My daughter applied under the regular decision program and we are still waiting! We are praying for addmitance however. My concern that was somewhat addressed in one of her essays is that she cheered basketball in 9th & in 10 & 11th she was on the comp/football cheer team. Well the end of her junior yr, they had try outs again with brand new coaching staff. They were young new coaches and have never couched. In the past they have always had football only girls "just a few with the 'Comp" girls, well apparently the new coaches decided that they only wanted "comp" girls for this years team and no football only girls, needless to say she was not accepted. We were in shock & were told that decided to change this. The past coach apparently did tell them that how couild you do this to a rising senior whom has always supported the 'Comp girls with funraising and many activities. They did nothing to rectify and she did move on. I found it comforting that even the principal of our school came up to her and said he wa sorry. I suppose it was a learing and growing experience. She was able to focus on her studies more and she had a part time job which she was promoted in so all in all sh was fine. I on the other hand had a hard time at the games after not having my girl on the field. I had wrote the coaches and said it was not about winning for her, but about supporting her school. Meant nothing to them. Moved forward. I was concerned that they would look at her file and go, why would she not cheer her senior yr?? She of course did not want to put in the special circumstances and whine about it, even though her heart was breaking. She does have many extra activities along with volunteering abroad with children in 3rd world country teaching with them. I truley hope they do look at the whole file. She is under in the test scores, but did take them several times and a subject test "I know the subject test was not required" Sorry so long, Thanks!!

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  54. Anon: If it was somewhat described in one of the essays, or mentioned by the counselor or in any other part of the application, then we will be able to understand the issue. I am glad she was able to move on and able to turn this negative into a positive. Right now, she just has to be patient, and we will have decisions out by late March.

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