Monday, February 8, 2010

File Reading, Part IV

Ara Parseghian: What's your problem, O'Hare, what's your problem?
Jamie O'Hara: Last practice of the season and this *****  thinks it's the Super Bowl!
Ara Parseghian: You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence! If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruettiger, you'd have made All-American by now! As it is, you just went from third team to the prep team! Get out of here!     Rudy

One area of admissions that is not always talked about, but which has a great impact over the entire file, is the idea of work ethic and maturity. When you watch the movie "Rudy", you see a young man that, while not possessing the greatest football skills, is able to translate sheer will and determination to get onto the football field and play at least one play for Notre Dame (although his academic drive is at times less than desired!). When I am reading a file, I am trying to get a sense of who this applicant is, what they do with their time, and the effort they put into the things they participate in, from class work to sports to activities. Do they put in the time and sweat equity to get the work done well, or just get done with the job? Do they put forth the effort to make an A, or are they happy to settle for a C?  I am looking for clues, be it in the recommendations, the essays, the commitment of time and/or the difference between potential and results, that will show me what a student's work ethic is like. I often see phrases such as "this student has a lot of untapped potential" or "this student is an overachiever". Personally, I prefer the overachiever, the one that has taken what they have been given and gone beyond everyone's expectations.

Tied in with this is the idea of personal maturity. When a student is faced with a dilemma, how do they handle themselves now, and how will they handle themselves at UGA? Do they take responsibility and handle issues in a mature fashion, or do they blame others? One telling item (though by no means the only one), is how a student deals with discipline/conduct issues. I have looked at the large majority of files where there is a conduct/criminal issue, and it is very telling as to how a student reacts. Some will take full responsibility, and focus on both making amends and getting back on track. On the other hand, I have seen student's make the same mistakes over and over, relying on someone else to get them out of their situation.

Maturity also shows up in a person's interaction with others, be it teachers, friends or classmates. Many of these applicants will be studying in UGA's classrooms, living in our residence halls, and being a part of our community. What will they be like when they are on our campus, and how will they interact with the rest of the UGA community?

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." Sam Ewing

Which one are you?

Go Dawgs!


  1. Concerning criminal/conduct issues, in what sort of situation would a convicted student be admitted? Have their been students with criminal records to be accepted into UGA? If so, what makes the admission staff forgive this type of behavior?

  2. Anon: Almost all of the conduct issues that we see are either something very minor (too many tardies, cell phone ringing in class), or something somewhat more serious but still not major (every year, I will see about 400 cases of minors in possession of alcohol). Almost all of these applicants show contrition, and a number of them show that they have truly learned from their mistake.

    Occasionally, though, we will see a much more serious situation involving harm to others, major criminal acts, etc (maybe 4 a year). If any of these applicants is determined to be admissible, we have a faculty group that will then review the conduct issue to make sure an admission decision is the correct one. Each case is looked at individually, focusing on both what occurred and what the student has done since the incident. I have only seen a few of these applicant's go forward in my 12+ years at UGA, and it is generally due to extenuating circumstances, atonement for the actions, and a true change of heart.

    It is a tough issue, but I hope this helps you understand it better.

  3. The application did not provide much room to discuss my incident. Can I (or should I) e-mail or mail Admissions additional information on how this has affected me and how I have responded since then?

  4. Anon: Right now, we are 40+ days beyond the deadline, and well into the reading process. You can email it to our office at, but you have waited a long time to take care of this, so I can not say if we will be able to look at the more detailed information or not.

  5. I'm sorry for the delay. I have sent a letter as an e-mail attachment to the office.

  6. Anon: We will take care of this tomorrow morning then, and place it in your file.