Thursday, April 29, 2010

Furlough Day!

Due to an elementary school chicken dinner late this afternoon ("winner, winner chicken dinner" as my co-worker and friend Charlie would say) and a furlough day tomorrow, I will not be back in the office until Monday. As such, I will not have any new information on deposits, transfer decisions, wait-list questions, or if a new Uga has been selected as mascot. I will try to answer any and all questions on my return (except for Uga, as I have no clue). Have a great weekend, and Go Dawgs!

Essay Examples from 2010

In continuing with the theme of working with rising juniors and seniors in high school, the question of admissions essays always comes up. In our file reading this year, our counselors read a lot of essays, from the great to the less-than-great (a kind way of saying bad), and we were given permission by two future UGA freshman to use one of their essays as an example of strong writing. I will post one today and one next week, and hopefully this will give you an idea of the level of writing that we sometimes see in the application. I hope you enjoy these essays, and thanks to the two students who allowed us to use them! Remember, we ask for four short essays (150-200 words each), and this is just one of their essays: 

I once caught an orange slice in my mouth. He was twenty feet away. I was on a bike. A perfect throw, a perfect catch.

There's a certain kind of adrenaline I get. An orange slice has an irregular shape, and thus an irregular trajectory. The wind never affects it in the same way. If you don't keep your eyes locked and your feet light you'll get popped straight in the nose.

The rush was unexpected the first time. The excitement first comes from the success, the achievement. Then the
taste of the orange factors in. Citrus invigorates you, refreshes you; food always tastes better when you have to
work for it. I understand how a seal feels.

Although nothing more than a particularly lucky catch, a memory revived from the multitude which deserve afterlife, this catch was representative of a much greater achievement. Through my studies and expectations I've held onto my quirks and hobbies. Catching an orange in my mouth will never land me a job, but it may keep me sane. Life would be too boring otherwise.
                                                                                    Spencer G.

Fall Transfer Update Part II

As I stated last week, I will try to post a weekly update about Fall transfers and how the process is going. Since tomorrow is a furlough day, I will be out of the office an unable to see what is going on with the numbers, and our evaluation team will also be out. As such, I am giving you an update today.

Our evaluation team is moving along at a very rapid pace, and we are almost at the same point in time decision wise as last year for transfer students. Over 700 admit decisions have gone out, and over 1,000 decisions as a whole have been made (admit and deny). Taking into account the overall numbers and the number of incomplete applicants, it looks like we have made decisions on just over half of the actionable applicants (files with all materials submitted to UGA). The evaluation team is averaging roughly 60-80 decisions a day, and I project that we will have almost all Fall transfer decisions out by the end of the third week of May.

Again, due to all of the different variables of each applicant, I cannot guess as to when a student will hear a decision, or what exact date we are working on at this time. Please be patient with us as we try to close out the decisions over the next several weeks.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Visiting Colleges

At this time of year, our office starts to move its focus from the incoming freshman class to the rising junior and senior classes in high school. We will still be doing a great deal of programs for incoming freshmen, but April/May is the beginning of the transition time for our office. As such, I had lunch with a good friend of mine, Eric Johnson, who is the Director of the UGA Visitors Center. Here are his suggestions for high school underclassmen on the most important things to do when you visit a college:

Remixing the college road trip: 
Make your college quest an excellent adventure.

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it's the journey that matters in the end." Ursula Leguin

So, you're planning to begin visiting college campuses on your quest to find your dream school. Certainly, you should visit before you make a decision and commit to attending a school. I assume that, but I know many students who have never set foot on a campus until they move in. That's not a good idea. You wouldn't buy a car without at least a brief test drive. So, look at your tour of colleges as your way of "kicking the tires" of schools so that you can make an educated decision about the school you choose. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your college road trip:

  • Visit multiple and varying schools. 
Don't be content to visit just the one school you think is your dream school. Even if you're certain of your choice, plan to visit at least another campus or two for comparison's sake. And try to visit schools that are different in nature. Visit a large state university and a small private college. Look at an urban campus and a rural campus. You might be surprised by what you find. Even if your expectations about a school are confirmed, you will at least be more confident in your decision and less likely to face regret halfway through your freshman year.

  • Talk to actual students. 
Admissions professionals and other campus administrators are great resources, but current students are the real deal. They are living the experience that you're only imagining. So, seek out every opportunity to talk with actual, living, breathing college students attending the schools you're considering. Understand that one student won't speak for all, so keep any generalizations in perspective.

Usually, campus tours are led by currently enrolled students. Don't be shy. Ask them whatever you're most curious about. Don't just stare blankly at your tour leader during your tour experience. Engage and interact with them. Tour leaders appreciate an audience that participates. Be a great audience member on the tour. Your attentiveness and interaction will bring out the best in those leading your tour. You may not be able to converse in detail during the tour, so plan to stick around after the tour if you want to have an indepth conversation.

And don't be reluctant to strike up conversations with random students you encounter on the campus. Some tour leaders may only share the positives or the official script endorsed by officials at their school. Other students might be more frank. Ask for directions of anyone carrying a book bag on campus, and they're most likely eager to help and may be just as eager to answer your questions about campus life in general. I was touring a campus once when a random student walked by and yelled out to the tour group, "Don't come to this school." I was surprised by this and thought it was a prank pulled on the tour guide. Later, I talked to another student on that campus who told me that was a normal, sincere occurence at that school. It was such a challenging atmosphere academically and socially there that it had become a tradition among many current students to warn passing tour groups. This is information that definitely was not part of the tour script.
  • The student, not the parents, should take the lead.
As a former Admissions professional, I sat in countless meetings with families where the prospective student barely said a word. Parents often said things like, "We are in interested in pre-medicine." Or, "We don't test well." Whose college experience is this going to be? Yours or your parents'? Conversely, I was always impressed by a student who walked into my office with questions they clearly had considered carefully before arriving and whose family allowed them to take the lead in the conversation. Your family should want to be involved in the search process and they most likely will be paying the bills, but ultimately you have to live with the decision that you make. So, take ownership of the search process. Take the lead in planning which schools to visit. I'm encouraged when I find that it's the student who actually has made the tour reservation and scouted out the logistics of their college search. Be the first to ask questions of those you meet with on campus. It's great for your family members to care about this process and support you however they can, but you need to be the one to own this decision. Talk with your family members before a campus visit and let them know you value their input, but you want to be the one to take the initiative in the search to find a good match for your college experience.

  • Eat the food.
Almost every campus tour you experience will include praise of the campus meal plan. Don't take their word for it. Go eat in a campus dining hall during your visit if you can. If you're going to eat three meals a day there or more throughout your college career, make sure you like the food. It's also a great place to encounter current, unscripted students who can give you more insight about that school.

  • Consider the community beyond the campus.
Make sure you get a sense of the kind of community that will become your home away from home beyond just the college campus. Check out the town the college is in and ask students what it's like to live there. Some want to live in a place with a wide variety of social and cultural opportunities. Others may prefer a quiet community with minimal distractions. Determine what's important to you in the place that will be your home for four years or more.

  • Listen to your head, but trust your heart.
Weigh the logical factors you should consider: cost of attendance, academic programs offered, opportunities beyond the classroom, academic caliber of the student body, etc. But, ultimately, I think you have to just feel right about the school you choose. I've heard many students say, "I just walked on campus and knew this was the place for me." I think there's something to that. Now, don't ignore reason and logic or your family's budget. But do trust your instincts about the place that you hope will be your future alma mater. You want to find a place where you can own the choice you made. And you want to find a place where you can come alive and become the student and person you aspire to be.

Make the college search a fun quest. Go with family. Go with friends. Seek out unique experiences and get off the beaten path a bit as you explore your options and plan your future. You will not regret the time and effort you put into this adventure. 

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  Mark Twain

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fall Transfer Update

Although I cannot give daily updates on what is happening with Fall transfer decisions, I will try to post a weekly update either on Thursday or Friday about the progress our office has made in reviewing Fall files. I will not be able to tell you when your file will be reviewed, what date is being reviewed (because it depends upon when a student applied, when the initial transcript was received, when the last transcript was received, and if we have all needed materials, etc.), or why an applicant has or has not heard yet. Our focus is on reviewing files, and we generally can make about 50-75 decisions a day, depending on how complicated the files are.

As of this morning, we have roughly 2,500 fall transfer applications, and my estimate is that about 400 of these applications are incomplete (no transcript, missing transcript, out of date transcript, etc.). We have made decisions on about 750-800 files so far, and fall transfer decisions are our main focus at this time. At times, we may be pulled away for a day or so due to other issues, such as updated summer transfer materials right before summer orientation, or a furlough day (one is scheduled for 4/30).

Please bear with us as we move forward with these applications, as we are working as quickly as possible to make decisions on these files.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy 225!

Later this week, UGA will be celebrating the 225 anniversary of the founding of the university, with a focus on both the history of UGA and the future for our institution. On Thursday, April 22, the focus will be on the past 225 years of UGA, with discussions about the evolution of the physical space on campus, desegregation, and a reception and concert featuring the music of UGA. On Friday, April 23, the focus will be on what lies ahead for UGA, and will close with a rededication of the Fine Arts Theatre. As the nation's first chartered public institution of higher education, UGA has a great deal to celebrate!

Please visit the 225 celebration site for more information about the event and the history of UGA.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Commitment Deposit Time!

We are coming up on May 1, the date by which most freshman applicants need to make a commitment to attend their chosen college. UGA, along with all the other colleges, wants you to take your time and make sure you make the best choice for your future education. You may still be waiting on financial information, taking one last visit, or just trying to make up your mind. If you are still unsure, take the time to make a good decision.

But if you know that you will be attending a specific college, I would suggest that you move forward with sending in your commitment deposit (or whatever action your college of choice asks for), and then let the other colleges that you are considering know this decision. These actions let the colleges know who to focus their attention on, who to now stop mailing materials to (this is probably the highlight for some of you!), and at some point, it will allow the colleges to know more about the wait-list possibilities and overall enrollment numbers.

So if you know where you will be going to college next year, go ahead and let all of the colleges you are working with know this fact. Don't just be involved, be committed!

Go Dawgs!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fall Transfer Decisions!

After a review of the application numbers, the projected enrollment numbers for the overall student body next year, along with discussions about future budget issues, the University of Georgia will move forward with Fall transfer admission decisions based upon the review criteria that is already in place. Please remember that this is not a quick process, as transfer application evaluation takes a while for each file. UGA has a rolling transfer admission decision process, so we will review files and make decisions on a day to day basis, with the decisions showing up on the status check the next business day. Please make sure that all transcripts have been sent to UGA, and all transcripts are up-to-date based upon the dates that are shown on the status check. I am sure that everyone is very excited about this (including our office), and please be patient as we review these files.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Summer Transfer Decisions

The UGA Admissions Office has just been given the approval to make admission decisions on all summer transfer applicants. The University has been waiting for more information on the overall budget situation for UGA for next year, but understands the issue of timing for summer students, and has decided to move forward with these decisions. Once the Admissions Office has completed the review of all summer transfers, the University will then review the overall budget situation, the information from the state legislature and the fall transfer applicant pool to determine the next steps for fall admission. Thank you for your patience during this time.


Every year, UGA works with between 60,000 and 70,000 potential applicants to UGA. These students come to our attention through college fairs, emails and letters asking for information, SAT or ACT scores sent to UGA, visits to campus, etc. We receive information from students as early as 6th grade, but with a majority of the students being either a sophomore or junior. One of the first things you should know, though, is that we have to know about you before we can start to send you information about UGA! If you are not on our radar screen, there is nothing we can do. As well, the information a prospective student give us determines what information UGA will send out. For instance, if your SAT/ACT meets a certain level, we will send out information on Honors/Scholarship programs. In addition, UGA Admissions utilizes electronic communications, high school visits, on and off campus programs, and a large amount of mailings to communicate with students. Here is a short list of what happened during the 2008-2009 recruiting cycle:

489 High School visits
325 College Fairs
52,000 students seen on the road by UGA counselors
51,000 miles driven on personal vehicles
600 Information Sessions
38 on campus recruiting programs (by invitation)
27 special events off-campus (by invitation)
4,000 walk-in students seen by counselors at admissions
170 phone calls on average per day
18,000 email requests from prospective students
300,000+ pieces of mail sent out
Over 500,000 emails sent out to students and counselors
15 very exhausted UGA Admission Counselors

I hope this gives you at least a small glimpse into what our office does during the recruitment side of things during the year, and we hope to give you even more insight into the recruitment side of things at a later date.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stats on the Admitted Class of 2014

As I promised earlier in the week, here are the statistics on the Admitted Class of 2014. I do not have the stats for the wait-list group ( 1,120 were offered wait-list) at this time as we do not know who will remain on the WL, so you will have to be happy with this information for now. We are thrilled that we had such a strong applicant pool, and the admitted group is very impressive. Remember, the statistics I give out are the middle 50% ranges, so please take that into consideration when viewing the information.

Total number of applicants:  17,659
Total number of Accepted Freshmen: 9,965
Mid-50% range for GPA: 3.72-4.03
Mid-50% range for the SAT CR and M: 1220-1400
Mid-50% range for the  SAT Writing: 580-680
Mid-50% range for the ACT: 27-31
Average number of AP/IB courses: over 5.5
While we show the average number of AP/IB courses, we look at the entire course selection, and the accepted students have challenged themselves with a wide range of Honors and Advanced courses, and a number of college courses taken through Joint Enrollment/Dual Enrollment programs.

Congratulations to the admitted class of 2014! Now we just have to wait and see who chooses to attend, so send in your deposit if UGA is your school of choice.

These are all the stats I can give you right now, so please do not ask for other data, as I will just have to say no. Our office is focused on phone calls, emails, WL information and transfer reviews, so I cannot always slog through the data.