Friday, May 28, 2010

Freshman Application Changes Part IV

The last change that we will be making to the freshman application has to do with your high school grades. Over the last 6 years, the number of freshman applicants has grown from roughly 12,000 in 2005 to over 18,000 in 2010. At the same time, the number of admissions staff that review transcripts (both freshman and transfer) has declined by almost 40% due to budget issues. We are at a point that if we do not change something, and if the application numbers continue to grow, we will have serious issues with getting decisions out in time.

As such, we will be adding a section to the freshman application for self-reported academic grades. This will be similar to what the University System of California and Georgia Tech use, and will hopefully speed up the review process for our office. We will ask students to complete a chart listing the number of individual letter grades (A-F) they have received in the academic areas of English, Math, Social Studies, Sciences and Foreign Language. We will also have a section that includes the additional courses that UGA uses for reviewing grades, such as AP art courses, AP Computer Science, IB Music, etc. We will only be asking for individual class grades, as we do not look at the overall average for the year for individual classes. We will also explain how to enter in grade totals if your school uses multiple types of academic terms, such as a school that has both semester and block schedule classes.

When completing our grade form, you do not have to worry about high school weighting or GPA. Your role will be to enter in the individual term letter grades that show up on your transcript. If your transcript shows an 88 for first semester freshman English, and an 88 is a B at your school, then this would be 1 B in the English courses area. The UGA admissions office has information on all the high schools we work with and their weighting policies, and we take care of that side of things. In addition, our office does a separate review of the academic rigor of your coursework (we have always done this), so the grade form is just focused on your academic grades.

We will stress to students that they must be honest in reporting their grades, and that any false information could result in UGA rescinding any offer of admission. In addition, our office will be doing checks of the self-reported grades throughout the admission process.

Our goal is to make the best decisions possible, and to do so in a timeframe that serves the applicants and the University. We hope that by making this change, we will be able to make decisions earlier for freshman, and as a result, move up the transfer timelines as well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Freshman Application Changes Part III

In reviewing the UGA admissions process and the information that we ask for on the application, we started looking at Part I and Part II of the application more closely. While the separation into two parts has worked well for UGA (and for the applicants), we want to make sure we have enough information from students during certain time periods in the admissions process. For instance, during the Early Action period, our focus is primarily on an applicant's academic areas (grades, rigor of classes, test scores, etc.), but occasionally we need to look at the entire applicant. In addition, UGA is starting to expand our process of reviewing files for scholarship to include more review of an applicant's extra-curricular activities.

As such, we will be shifting a section of Part II of the application to Part I. We will be moving the "Leadership and Activity Record" section to part I, which includes a student's school and community activities, athletics, honors and awards, work experience and summer activities. Part II will be primarily the four short essays, as well as a small section for any updated information for deferred students.

This will not change the way we review EA or RD applicants, but it gives us more information if needed, and will eliminate the issue of EA students wanting to send in a resume. I repeat, this will not change the way we review EA or RD applicants. We also hope that this will make life a little easier for deferred EA applicants, as it will give you more time to focus on just the short essays, and will be quicker for you to complete part II now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Freshman Application Changes Part II

As I said in an earlier post, there will be a few changes to the Freshman application this year. I will give you more information later this week on the other changes, but I want to go step by step on each to make sure everyone is comfortable with understanding the changes.

Starting with the Spring 2010 application cycle and beyond, UGA will only be accepting online applications (this applies to freshman and transfers), as we are shifting away from paper. Less than 4% of applicants applied by paper last year, but the delay in inputting information, scanning the documents and interpreting the handwriting proved a great challenge to our office. In order to streamline the process and allow for quicker timelines, we have shifted to the online application only policy. We will still have sample pdf copies of the application available for you to review, but they will have a large "SAMPLE" image across them.

We hope that this will ultimately make the process easier and quicker, and it will assist our office in obtaining more accurate information in an easier to read method. I will post about the other changes later on this week.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wait-List Update

At this time, we have offered a limited number of students admission for fall term off the wait-list, and a little larger number of students spring admission off the wait-list. I do not have an exact number for these groups, and we are still waiting to hear back from a small number of these students we have contacted about the wait-list. Based on the "Yes" responses we have received so far, we have determined that we are not able to offer admission to any further students off the wait-list. If you are one of the small group of students who have been contacted by us concerning the wait-list and have not responded yet,  you should do so as soon as possible, as we are still waiting on your response. The responses of these students will not impact any further offers, as we have been able to complete the class based upon the offers we have already made.

For the group of students where we were not able to offer admission off the wait-list, we are sorry that we could not do so, and we wish you well at the college you have chosen. You will receive an email with this notification within a few days. Please remember that there are a number of reasons why we have made the decisions we did, and I would not be able to answer any comments asking why someone did or did not get admitted off the wait-list.

Fall Transfer Update Part V

It is that time of week to update you on how the fall transfer process is going. Please excuse me if the updates look fairly similar, but I figure a consistent style is the best way to convey what is going on.

At this time, we have reviewed and made decisions on approximately 1900 applications (rough average of 50 decisions a day), and if we subtract the approximately 350 or so incomplete files, I expect that we have about 200-250 or so decisions left to go. The average per day has gone down a little, as some of the files we are now reviewing are very difficult cases that take much longer. A majority of the applicants that are still waiting applied after March 22 (or completed their files after that date), and we are finishing them off now. It has been a long and challenging process for both you, the applicants, but also for our evaluation team, as it is not a quick process. We must review every class, and if admissible, key in how each class comes into UGA, when it was taken, the number of HOPE hours, etc. Everyone will be glad when this process is done!

Please remember that if you make comments, please give me enough information to actually give accurate feedback, and try to not comment as Anonymous. It helps me keep my responses straight, and may make more sense to people following the comments at a later time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

SEC Admissions!

For the last four years, the senior admissions people from all 12 of the SEC universities have gathered together to talk about admissions policies, recruiting, best policies in higher education, and other topics related to student enrollment. This year, we are lucky enough to be visiting the University of Alabama, and they have been a great host (except for all of the crimson and cream color schemes!). While we are rivals on the athletic fields, we all have the same focus in admissions - trying to help students find the right college fit. We try to get an understanding of what each college does best in trying to work with their prospective and current students, and see if their ideas can help us in our interaction with parents and students.

As such, I will be out of the office until Thursday morning, so any wait-list and/or transfer information will have to wait until the end of the week, but hopefully a majority of your questions might be answered just by patience and a little time. And by the way, this post marks my 100th post on this blog!

Go Dawgs!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fall Transfer Update part IV

It is Friday, so it is time to once again give you an update on fall transfers. At this time, we have reviewed and made decisions on approximately 1700 applications (rough average of 60 decisions a day), and if we subtract the approximately 400 or so incomplete files, I expect that we have about 400 or so decisions left to go. Some of these are very difficult files that take much longer, but a majority of these are applicants that applied after March 1 and we are just getting to them. It has been a long and challenging process for both you, the applicants, but also for our evaluation team, as it is not a quick process. We must review every class, and if admissible, key in how each class comes into UGA, when it was taken, the number of HOPE hours, etc. Everyone will be glad when this process is done!

Please remember that if you make comments, please give me enough information to actually give accurate feedback, and try to not comment as Anonymous. It helps me keep my responses straight, and may make more sense to people following the comments at a later time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Admission Deadline Changed to Sept. 1

Every May, a small group of UGA admissions people gather to discuss the past year's admission cycle, and to look at the next year in order to plan out the admissions process for the future. We talk about what worked, what needs to be tweaked (or changed altogether!), and how we can make the next year an even better year for both admissions and the applicants. Over the next month or so, I will talk about the changes that are in store for the application process, but I thought I would start with the easiest one.

For the Spring 2011 term, the deadline for both applying and submitting all required materials is shifting from September 15 to September 1. This might not seem like a big deal, but we hope that this will give us more lead time for freshman and transfer application review for the Summer/Fall 2011 terms, while still allowing Spring applicants enough time to get in all the necessary materials. Two weeks saved in September means two possible weeks saved later in the process. Applicants should have no problem getting in Spring work, and if they are attending summer school, they should still have almost a month to get in that work.

So it is official, the Spring deadline is now September 1!

Go Dawgs!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fall Transfer Update Part III

Here is my weekly update on the Fall Transfer process, and how the general timeline is looking for this group.

Our evaluation team is moving along at a very strong pace, as almost 900 admit decisions have gone out, and almost 1,400 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 about 70% of the actionable applicants (files with all materials submitted to UGA). The evaluation team is still averaging roughly 60-80 decisions a day, and I still project that we will have almost all Fall transfer decisions out by the end of the third week of May. There may be a few very difficult files (4+ different colleges that we have not dealt with before, etc.) that will still need to be reviewed at the end of my projection, but we still seem to be on track with things.

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.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Now reviewing the Wait-List

We are now at the time of year where we can begin to review the wait-list, although we are just in the initial stages of the process, as we are still waiting on the last of the deposits to roll in. The wait-list is not ranked, although it is not "random" (as an earlier post referred to) in the sense that we are just going to throw darts at the list and see who to pick. After we have a sense of what the overall deposits looks like, we will then look at the group of students who have said yes to the wait-list to determine how best to round out our freshman class. It will not be based upon one single item, but instead we will look at a wide range of things in making our decision. I ask that you not call, write, email or send anything by messenger pigeon about your chances of admission off the wait-list, or how to better your chances, as we will be making decisions based upon what we have now, and we will not have any keen insight to give you about the process. I expect that we will admit a fair number of students for the Spring 2011 term, but I will not know about Fall until after the deposit numbers are clearer.

We have made a small number of wait-list decisions over the past few days (a majority of which were Spring admits), but a majority of the wait-list decisions will not be released until later in the process. Please be patient as we go through the wait-list process, as when we do make offers, it is always in small groups and we will then have to wait for a response from the student. Again, when we make wait-list decisions, we are looking at the overall freshman class who has deposited, and then try to look at how we can fill out the class based upon the overall profile of each wait-list student.

Thanks for being patient as we move forward with this process!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Essay Examples from 2010, part II

For part II of the essay examples, we have actually included two essays from a particularly strong writer who will be here next fall. All of her essays were great, making it too difficult to choose just one. I hope these samples give everyone a little insight into the strength of our applicants, and as well serve as praiseworthy representations of high quality writing.

Essay 1

During football season, "Banner Thursday" is a bear.
As an aspiring artist who also happens to be cheer captain, it's my job to rally the seventeen girls on my cheerleading squad, put them to work, and translate the illustrations in my mind to paper that stretches roughly thirty yards.
"Micaela!" I hear. "Now what do I do?"
It's draining, but fun. Because at the end of that four hours of chaos, questions and organization, we always manage to produce a beautiful banner that no other high school can match. Then comes Friday night, when we raise the banner to kick off the football game and welcome the Marist War Eagles onto the field in style. I always look at our banners with pride, right up to the moment that the players tromp through my masterpiece and leave forgotten artwork beneath their cleats.
The War Eagles lost this year in the playoffs in overtime. But producing that banner will remain my lasting impression as a senior cheerleader. It's four hours of work for a short-lived moment in the spotlight, but it's a moment I would never substitute.
In fact, I save pictures of the banners, each conveying more memories than words could ever express.

 Essay 2

 No single song can fully embody every element of my complex personality. My IPod has 1072 tunes, each one a theme song that conveys a memory, a feeling, or a moment.
But as I read Essay D's requirements, one particular memory of music instantly flooded my thoughts and took me back in time.
I was standing eye level to the counter in my parent's bathroom, searching for trinkets to satisfy my short attention span. My father, a man who wears vintage suits and dances to funky beats, entered the bathroom with a Boombox belting "Pretty Young Thing," a classic Michael Jackson hit.
I was four years old and swept away by my dad's spontaneity and his array of goofy dance moves; I tried to imitate him, and he laughed and then we laughed.
I am currently listening to "Pretty Young Thing" and for four minutes and one second, the videotape in my mind replays and I relive that exact moment in the bathroom. By playing that song, I experience the past while living in the present.
My IPod serves as my diary of sounds, including the first moment when a daughter remembers her father saying, "I want to love you, (P.Y.T.), pretty young thing."
                                                                            Micaela L.