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.

32 comments:

  1. P.S: I just checked back on the initial post for this blog, and today marks the first year anniversary to the date (5/28/2009) of the start of this blog! I hope it has been of some use to you, the readers.

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  2. Happy Anniversary! Job well done.
    This blog has been a tremendous help the last 9 months. My daughter applied last September and was accepted for Spring of 2011. So needless to say it's been a stressful year of anticipation.
    She's thrilled to death about being accepted for the Spring - see ya then and good luck with the "101 Bulldog" questions that you receive daily!with the upcoming freshman

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  3. Happy anniversary! I have a rising senior at UGA, and an incoming fall freshman. I have loved having this resource during my second daughter's application process. It was great to have a place to go for up to date information, and you have been awesome (and patient!) at answering any and all questions. Keep up the good work, and GO DAWGS!

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  4. will the status check show if you have received our final high school transcript? i just want to make sure that my school has sent it

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  5. Anon and MamaDawg: Thanks for the kind words.

    Anon II: Yes, the transcript date will change for the final HS transcript (generally to a May or June date once we receive it).

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  6. DGraves,

    I want to apply to transfer to UGA for the Spring 2011. I just finished my first year of college (30 hours) about a month ago and I think I want to be a pharmacist. Would I still be able to get in if I didn't take many science classes my first year? I know that is pretty much all pre-pharm is minus the core classes. Would UGA just put me in those classes I needed? I do have a 3.9 GPA, but some of my classes weren't the most challenging (ex. Freshman Experience). However, I still tried very hard and made A's in English 1101 and 1102, and some other core classes like that. Any info is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

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  7. My daughter will be applying EA to UGA for Fall 2011. Can she still send in her official high school transcript electronically at the time she sends her application in or does this change prohibit her from sending it in at that time? For the scholarship changes mentioned in your previous post, will UGA still offer any purely academic merit scholarships during the admissions process or will they all be a combination of grades/extracurricular activities? Thanks for your time!

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  8. In reference to the self reporting of grades: some schools add 5 points to AP grades on the transcript because the school uses a 4.0 scale only. So a student might have four AP classes where the student made an 86,87,85, and 89. All these would be "A"s on their transcript (91,92,90, and 94) and will be reported to UGA as an "A" (AP).
    At my child's school, those same grades would be "B"s on the transcript, because no points are added to their numerical grade.

    How will UGA determine a true "A" at the first school without seeing the numerical average?

    For example, a 90 at the first school would mean that the child really had a 85. A 99 would mean that the child had a 94 (true A).
    Seems that every child should include their numerical average next to their grade, so there will be no confusion as to their accomplishments.

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  9. Chasi: There is a difference between applying to UGA as a transfer student and applying to the Pharm. School. For transfer admission, we are looking at your grades and hours, while the Pharmacy program will be looking at a broader scope of courses, grades, exam results, etc. If you are admitted into UGA as a transfer student, you would then work with your advisor to get ready for Pharmacy.

    Anon I: We will still require the official transcript, but this will speed up the process of review. And yes, there will still be some academic only scholarships, but the addition of the activities gives us more flexibility in other reviews.

    Anon II: UGA has information on every high school we work with, including the grading scale and the "weighting", and we already have this built into our system. We also will still require the transcript, so if there is any confusion, we will go straight to the transcript. But for all schools that "weight" individual courses, UGA will not add any weight. I would suggest you do a search of GPA on this blog to further understand how UGA looks at grades and calculates GPAs. We have a long history of working with different grading scales, and feel that we have a clear understanding of the situation.

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  10. From Anon I: Thanks for answering my previous questions!One more quick question...will the time line for getting the transcripts in remain the same?

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  11. Anon: Yes, the deadlines will remain the same for EA and RD.

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  12. DGraves,

    Would I come in with a pre-pharm major then?

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  13. DGraves,

    Would you recommend the Undergraduate Transfer Info Sessions at 1 on Fridays? I want to attend, but my dad will have to take off work for the entire day if we go so I want to make sure it is worthwhile. Also, I know a tour isn't included in the session, but could we tour the campus alone by ourselves?

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  14. Chasi: Pre-Pharmacy is a pre-professional area, not a major (as is pre-law, pre-med, etc.). You would select a major, and then select (if desired) a pre-professional area, and the advisor for your major would also advise you on your pre-prof. area.

    Anon: If you do not know much about transferring, and want to speak with one of our evaluators, then yes, the transfer session is a good resource. You can come alone or with a parent, and you can contact the visitor center to get on a tour before or after the transfer session.

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  15. I've been looking on the Orientation info pages and some have said that we need to bring our own sheets and linens for the night and some have said they're provided. Can you clear this up?

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  16. Anon: On the main page of orientation (http://www.admissions.uga.edu/article/orientation_read_before_proceeding.html), it states that linens are not provided (this was done to keep the price down for orientation this year), so I would go with bringing your own linens.

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  17. Housing sent me an email (i'm out of state) saying linens will be available to rent for a nominal fee of $10. you might want to contact housing for this information.

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  18. DGraves,

    Thank you for your response. I believe my dad and I are coming down on the 11th for the transfer info session. So I can talk to a person there who can tell me if all my hours would transfer or not? I have 30 hours, so I would need all of them to transfer

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  19. Anon I: Last year, linens were provided and the cost was built into the orientation fee. What we found is that a majority of students brought their own linens, thus making this inclusion of linens wasteful to the student and orientation. When you asked if the linens are provided, I thought you were asking if they were an included part of orientation. What you really meant to ask is if linens could be rented along with the option to bring them (two very different questions). I am sorry I did not understand your question. Yes, linens can be rented, but you can also bring them.

    Anon II: An evaluator will be able to sit down and talk with you individually, but you would also want to go over the transfer equivalency website beforehand to see about how your classes transfer.

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  20. The question of how GPA's are calculated or re-calculated once the UGA Admissions office receives the official transcripts from the various high schools has been an often debated topic. I think I finally "got it" when I attended a Scholars Day session one fall with my 1st child to attend UGA. I think it would put many people at ease if throughout the application process, the re-calculated GPA being used for consideration could simply be posted on the status check once calculated so that if there was any discrepancy in the mind of the applicant they could submit an inquiry. It is my recollection that the GPA that was my child's overall weighted GPA listed on her transcript was posted on her status which made me question the process - just a friendly suggestion.

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  21. Tamara: While we have looked at this before, we have never posted the high school GPA on our status check page. While it seems like an interesting thought, we worry that we would then have 18,000 applicants contacting us to discuss exact GPA's, why it is X, Y, or Z, etc. We may shift to this at some time, but not right now, especially when we will be trying to get the self-reported grade chart off the ground.

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  22. Hi David,

    I understand the challenge and assumed this would be the response. I think everyone just wants to feel confident that their GPA's are calculated correctly and with no feedback it is difficult. Does the new self-reported grade chart implementation process provide for any automation? Also, one other question - does the number of AP classes reported in the Freshman Class Profile numbers (i.e. 5.5 for 2014) include work in progress for the Senior year or only the number of classes completed at the time of application? Thanks - I think this BLOG is extremely helpful and definitely needed.

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  23. Tamara: The self-reported grade chart means that what the student inputs into the chart will route into our system and be used to calculate the GPA. If a student puts 3 A's and 1 B (let's keep it simple and not have any AP or IB), then the system will take this information (A=4, B=3, etc), and will calculate 12 quality points for the A's (3 A grades X 4.00=12), and 3 quality points for the B (1 B grade X 3.00=3). This means 15 overall quality points/4 grades, which equals a 3.75 GPA. So what the student gives us on the grade chart goes into our system to determine the GPA, and the student and parent can now determine the GPA easily.

    As for the AP classes on the profile, this is for 9-12 grade classes, and is through the entire HS career (both completed and in progress/future HS classes).

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  24. I have just completed my junior year of high school and would like to apply to begin at UGA for spring 2011. I read somewhere on this blog that there are only 200 spaces for freshman to begin in the spring. I do not want to jepordize my chanes of getting accepted. Would the odds be better if I waited for fall admission? Thanks so much!

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  25. Will UGA still add 1/2 point for each academic area AP class? So if you get an A, it will be worth 4.5?

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  26. JZP: We will enroll roughly 200 spring students, but we are not going to suddenly cut it off at exactly 200. You will face the same standards if applying for Spring as you would Summer or Fall, so the odds will not be different.

    Anon: Yes, we will be calculating the high school grades the same as before, but we are asking the applicants to give us their grades to help move the process forward and have a quicker response time. So we will be asking for AP information from each student as well, and apply this to the grades.

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  27. Since the State of Georgia finalized its budget, I have not been able to find information regarding the proposed reduction of the future freshman classes at UGA or the reduction of transfer students accepted. Can you tell me how all of that was resolved?

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  28. Several months ago my daughter took the SAT exam (and scored over 2100) but did not request scores to be sent to colleges when she took it. If she decides not to take the exam again,
    when is the best time for her to send her scores to UGA if she plans to apply Early Action? Should she send them in now or wait until she applies so her scores can be matched to her application? Does UGA purge or archive SAT scores sent individually when there is no application on file?

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  29. Tamara: For the freshman class, we had to make decisions before the State Legislature determined our budget, so we did not make any reductions. In May, we learning that while the University would still be facing a budget reduction, it would not be as drastic as first proposed. As such, UGA was able to admit transfer students without a reduction in numbers.

    Anon: I would suggest you go ahead and have the SAT scores sent to the colleges she is interested in attending, as this will be stored in a recruitment database, and will start the process of informational mailings that fit her academic promise (based upon a strong SAT score). Colleges can't begin to recruit a student until they know about you, and they really cannot narrow down what to send you until they know more about you academically. UGA will hold onto the scores and there is an automatic matching system for when she applies.

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  30. Thanks so much for your quick reply! I will advise her to go ahead and send them in.

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  31. When reporting our grades this fall should we use a conversion given to us by our school or do you have a specific conversion? I ask this because my school does not use letter grades and grades on a scale of numbers, so I don't know the equivalent in letter score.

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  32. Anon: When a student submits their self-reported grades, they need to use the grading scale that their school uses. A large number of schools use numerical grades, but they also have a grading scale to show what the equivalent letter grades go with specific number grade ranges.

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