Monday, December 28, 2009

Congratulations Bulldogs!

Congratulations to the Georgia Bulldog football team for a great win in the Independence Bowl! After a tough season,  a big win over GA Tech and then the bowl win over Texas A&M was a great way to close out the year. Congratulations to Coach Richt, the entire athletic staff, and of course, the players!!! Seniors, we thank you for your time at UGA, and underclassmen, we look forward to cheering you on next year!

Go Dawgs!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

The University will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4, with limited exceptions on Jan. 4 such as orientation and a skeleton staff in Admissions. As such, I will be limited in my postings on this blog during this time. This does not mean that I do not care, only that I enjoy sleeping in, opening presents, and enjoying time with my family.

I wish all of you a happy and safe holiday season, and good luck for all of you who are completing your applications, or part II's for deferred students. Remember to review my suggestions about writing admissions essays, and make sure to try and get things in before a deadline, not on it!

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Responsibility is a serious word, and while it is not usually something I would leave you with for the holiday break, it is something that needs to be shared with all applicants. There is an expected level of responsibility when a student applies to college, in that it is now your obligation to make sure all required materials are submitted. The responsibility does not fall to your parents, your counselor, your siblings, or the college, but instead rests with you.

Colleges have the responsibility to let you know what is going on with your application, and to update you on the above mentioned materials. If you submit all the materials within the set deadlines, the college is responsible for reviewing your application and making a decision on your file in a reasonable time frame (although the definition of a reasonable time frame varies depending upon who you ask!).

But remember, the duty of getting in all information falls to you, the applicant. For 6+ years, UGA has had the status check, and last year we added a status check for high school counselors as well. We also send out between 2-4 emails to incomplete applicants to alert them to any missing information. In addition, we suggest not waiting until a deadline to apply, as this puts you in a bad position when trying to make sure all materials are received by a college.

In other words, if you apply, get your stuff in at least by the deadline if not hopefully before, and make sure it is received by the college. You, the applicant, control the time line, and if you wait until the last minute to apply and submit materials, you are the one putting your application at risk of being incomplete.

I don't want to be completely negative, as our EA applicant pool had about 97% of the students get all materials in on time! Our office hates to have incomplete applications, and we do our best to get them completed. But ultimately, it is up to you, the applicant, to make sure you have taken care of everything, thus allowing us to make a decision.

Responsibility is a strong word, but one that is important as you make the change from high school to college. We look for this quality in our applicants, and we expect it from our students at UGA.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Honors Program and Scholarships

Every year, right after we release Early Action decisions, two questions are certain to follow; When will Honors start making admission decisions, and when we will hear something about scholarships? These are not bad questions to ask, and I will try to give you a little insight into the time lines for both. Please remember, though, that the Honors program has their own application and their own process, so that office is the best one to answer Honors questions. I will just be passing on information that our office has received.

1) About one to two weeks after our Early Action decisions go out, Honors will generally send out a first wave of decisions, sometimes referred to as "auto-admit" decisions, and these will be based upon an admitted student's academic information. These will only make up a part of the Honors admission offers, as a number of students will also be invited to apply to Honors based upon their academic information, and other students will move forward on their own with the application process. The deadline for applying for the Honors program is February 1, and the Honors Program site can give you more information about this process. The Honors Program will then be able to review the submitted applications and make decisions, with a time line of having Honors decisions out by mid-April.

2) Scholarships follow along a similar path, and are mostly done by the Admissions Office. Within the next week or so, our office expects to release our first wave of scholarship offers, and these will be based on the overall academic information of the applicants. From January all the way through March, we will be reviewing admissions applications both for admission and for scholarship possibilities. We expect that by late March, all of our scholarships will be awarded. We have now made it so the scholarship offers are posted on the status check (for the admitted students who have been offered one),  as well as being sent by snail mail. Please remember, though, that we can only offer a limited number of scholarships, and if no scholarship is posted on your status check, it means that one has not been offered to you (at least at this time). Remember, we will continue to review files and make scholarship offers through March, so you do not need to contact us if you do not see one on your status check.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Defer Is Not A Four Letter Word

What about the word 'defer' could possibly mean deny? Seriously? What about the word 'defer' means 'deny'? Nothing, right? Exactly, nothing.

My name is Joe Carlos, and I am one of the Admissions Counselors at UGA. Working in Undergraduate Admissions for the University of Georgia, I have fielded countless calls of nervous prospective students who have been deferred, and they all seem to have the same tone of defeatism in their questions. A decision of deferral is by no means a decision of denial here at the University of Georgia.

In Undergraduate Admissions at UGA, there are three answers that one can receive from the office of admissions; Accept (which is self-explanatory), Deny (which is self-explanatory) and Defer (which seems to need some more explanation).

When our office 'defers' a student, it means that we find the applicant academically sound, but based on the information that we have received from the student in the early action application, we need additional info to make a final admissions decision. If a student is denied, barring a successful appeal, a student has no chance of attending UGA the following fall. If a student is deferred, we are saying that we are very interested in that student attending UGA, but we want to know more about the student than simply their grades, classes and standardized test scores before a decision can be made.

Think of it this way...wouldn't you rather submit an application that was stronger? In other words, don't you find that it would be more beneficial to you to have an application that showcases your talents outside of the classroom, your myriad of accomplishments and your involvement in diverse areas of extra-curriculars and service? When we ask a student to complete part II of the application we are essentially asking for an application that gives us a better idea or understanding of the student themselves, and not simply their numbers. So tell us about playing lacrosse, or being a part of Interact, or that mission trip you went on last summer, because when you are deferred, you now have the space to do so. You also have the opportunity to take an additional SAT or ACT if you want to as well. In addition to all of those other things, we also require a teacher recommendation (more space for someone to speak highly of you),  part II with four short essays (to give us an even better understanding of how you think and who you are), snd we suggest you send in your fall semester grades (because we know you're finishing senior year strong).

When a student applies Early Action to UGA and they are deferred, it's not to be seen as an end, but rather a beginning. That deferral is an opportunity to learn more about said student than we ever could have in the Early Action application. That deferral gives us a keen insight into the mind and personality of the applicant in ways we often times didn't know existed before.

Last year, 50% of the students who were deferred in Early Action AND completed Part II of the application were later admitted to UGA. 0% of the students who decide not to complete Part II of the application are accepted.

Deferral is not a four letter word no more than it is a final decision. Make the choice and embrace the opportunity. Embrace the opportunity to continue your pursuit of an education at UGA and turn it into a reality.

Deferral is not a four letter word. Deny though, for most people, is.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Early Action Decisions are Out!

The status check is now back and open for viewing, and the Early Action Decisions are now available to students! Good luck, I hope your weekend goes well, and remember, I can not comment/discuss on specific decisions on this blog.

P.S. Please remember to follow my advice on EA Decisions and How to React.

Go Dawgs!

Early Action Decision Day is Here!

Early Action decisions will be released today (as of Friday, Dec. 11 in the late afternoon/early evening), and the applicant pool is very strong! Approximately 6,000 students were admitted, and here is the link to the 2010 EA admitted student press release. We are thrilled to have such a strong group of admitted students, but please also know that we will still be admitting a substantial number of students over the next 3-4 months.

If you have questions about your decision, I ask that you not post them on this blog, as I truly cannot answer specific questions about individual students here (both because I generally do not have the actual student's information, and because I cannot disclose individual student information in a comment). My best suggestion is to talk with both your family and your HS counselor, review my suggestions about how to react to EA decisions, and if you still think you need to communicate with our office, either call or email.

Have a great weekend, and Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

EA Decisions and How to React

Early Action decisions will be later this week, so here are my suggestions on how to react to the decision you may receive.

Admit: Celebrate with family, buy a lot of UGA gear to wear for the holiday season, but remember that not everyone has received a decision of admission, and so be a little more low key with friends and classmates. In other words, do not run up to you best friend during English class and scream "I got into Georgia" while 10-15 of your classmates are mentally throwing daggers into your back.

Deny: While this is not a fun situation at all, the reality is that if you have been denied Early Action, you are truly not competitive for admission at UGA. It is not easy to write that, and it is very difficult to tell this to a student or parent, but when we look at this student's application in comparison with the other 11,600 EA applicants (and remember, we will get about 7,000 RD applicants as well), they do not match up academically with the others. It is better to tell you now instead of waiting until late March, as this gives you time to make other plans. Unless there seems to be a serious error (your are in the top of your class, take a very challenging course load, and have a strong test score), my suggestion is to not contact us about the decision, but instead move forward with plan B. While we do not mind talking with you at all, the reality is that an Early Action denial means an offer of admission from UGA is not a reality.

Defer: This is the most challenging one, as these are applicants who are truly strong students, but we want to see more about them (as well as the rest of the applicant pool) before making a final decision.  Please remember, this is not a denial at all, but instead a way for us to be able to review you in full, from your co-curricular activities, your essays, and your recommendations. This is your chance to let us know what you are like as an overall applicant. While this is probably not the answer you would like, I would suggest you treat it as a call-back for a second audition. Some roles have already been cast (or admitted), and we now want to look at you in more detail to see how you compare to the rest of the people auditioning (or applying). One of the worst things you can do is give up and not do part II. The second worst thing is to call us up and berate us for not admitting you. We will be happy to talk to people, but make sure to communicate in a positive tone, understand that we cannot talk about other applicants, and please remember that defer does not mean denial. At the end of last year (after all decisions, both during March and Wait List offers in May), just  under half of the deferred applicants who completed part II were later admitted. About 1300 deferred students did not complete part II, so we never even had a chance to even review them! If you are serious about UGA, take the time to complete your application, and then be patient as we review all of these files throughout Jan., Feb. and March.

I hope this helps!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Early Action Timelines

As we have just posted on our Status Check page, we plan on releasing Early Action decisions on Dec. 11 in the early-evening/late-afternoon time period (unless some random act of nature strikes!). As such, you do not need to pull up the status check every day next week, hoping and praying that it will show up early, as it will not. In fact, we have to shut the Status Check down, starting today, so we can move forward with the EA decisions for Dec. 11.

I will publish a new post next week about the EA decisions and how you should react, but for now, just be patient for one more week. I also plan on posting the stats for the EA applicants that we send out in a press release every year, just so you know what the group looks like.

Remember, overall decisions for Early Action applicants are not easier or harder than for Regular Decision applicants. The only difference is time lines and when you hear, and many times (deferred EA students), these two factors still end up being the same. As I have said before, though, admission decisions that are made in December are more competitive (as seen by the strength of the deferred group), but the overall or final decisions are equal. In other words, an EA deferred applicant is treated the same (no better, no worse) that an RD applicant, and a number of RD applicants are admitted in February based upon meeting EA criteria. So EA and RD are truly treated the same, just with different time lines (and for those EA admits, I know you love not having to do part II).

I would suggest reviewing one of my earlier EA posts, and then looking at my posts next week, so you can  feel comfortable with how the admissions process works at UGA.

Have a great weekend and be patient, as the EA release date is almost here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How Would You Change UGA's Application?

Since we still have a short window of time before EA decisions go out, and I cannot give you anything specific about this group (still looking at the complete applicant pool and making decision plans), I thought I would turn the tables on you. I will be silent (although exactly how can you be silent on a blog that you type?), and let you the reader take center stage. Most of you have now either submitted the application or reviewed it for use down the line. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me what changes you would make to our application for the future.

This should not be about the admission process, but instead, the actual application (including recommendations, transcripts, test scores, etc.). What would you add/remove/alter? What do you love or hate? What would you like to see us ask applicants?

Please remember, it really helps if you do not use "anonymous" as your name for the posts, as it makes it hard to let you know who I am answering if everyone is anonymous. You can make up a name if needed!

Ready, Set, GO!