Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Senioritis Downfall

Yesterday, I sent out two emails to incoming freshman (and I expect I will send out a few more before the end of summer) asking for more information on why their last semester grades had a serious decline. These are not fun emails, as these students are ones where there are serious issues with poor senior grades, and it is at a point where UGA might revoke the admissions offer. Generally, these are students with multiple D/F grades, and no stated issue concerning the grade decline.

We send out an initial communication to these students in case there are personal issues that occurred during the senior year of which we are unaware, with our goal being to understand what has happened before we take any action. Just so you know, we do this for two reasons. First, any admitted student must still show that they are ready for UGA, and have maintained the academic standing that brought about the admission offer in the first place. Secondly, though, is that a severe drop in grades senior year has historically led to very poor grades in the freshman year at UGA, and this is not what UGA or the student really wants in starting off their college years.

So, for all prospective students (especially rising seniors), please know that UGA looks at final grades, and "senioritis" is not an acceptable excuse for poor senior grades. I am not saying you need to make straight A's senior year, but please make sure to keep up the strong work you are hopefully doing now. Please don't make me send you an email next summer!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Test Scores and UGA

At this time of year, I start looking back at what I wrote last year to see if there are any big issues that need repeating for a new group of rising seniors. One of the more prevalent issues is the question about test scores and score choice. As such, here is a copy of last year's post, with a little extra information at the end.

"Should I send my SAT/ACT to UGA now, or wait until I see how I did?" Fear not, because this question is a non-issue at UGA.

UGA's policy on test scores is that we only look at the highest sub-scores of the SAT and the ACT, also known as "super-scoring". This means that we take the highest Critical Reading, Math and Writing SAT scores from all your SAT tests to get your best overall combination, and your best ACT scores from each section to make the highest composite score.

The one thing we do not do is overlap the SAT and ACT (we will not take your ACT English of 34 and match it with your 740 Math SAT). But remember, UGA will only look at your best scores for the SAT and ACT, and if you take both the SAT and ACT, we will use whichever test has the strongest overall best scores.

In other words, we are only focused on your best scores (I am trying to see how many different ways I can say this statement). So do not worry about which test scores to send (my best suggestion is to always request them to be sent when you sign up for the test), and enjoy your senior year!

Please make sure that you send us your SAT/ACT scores early enough so that we can use it to send you the appropriate materials for different programs, and make sure to have the scores sent in by the deadlines if you apply to UGA. We  will be able to use the October SAT and ACT scores for Early Action if you request the scores to be sent to UGA when you sign up for the test. For Regular Decision, we will be able to use test scores that are taken through January.

I hope this helps explain UGA's policies concerning the SAT and ACT exams!

Go Dawgs!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Camp Sunshine

It is that time of year again, when I will be away from the blog for a week while I volunteer at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer. This will be my 16th year volunteering for the summer camp part of Camp Sunshine, and I have enjoyed every moment at camp (okay, maybe not 95+degree weather at times, but most everything else)! This year, I will be a cabin counselor for eight 12 year old  (along with two other counselors), and I am guessing I will be involved in a great deal of mountain biking, fishing, tennis, gold panning, going up the climbing wall (or just watching as my campers go up), archery, and a lot of singing. If you have never heard 200+ campers and 150+ volunteers singing and dancing to "Peanut Butter Jelly Time", you are missing a great event.

So, for the next week or so, I will be out of communication with this blog. You can leave comments, but it will be a while before I can answer them. Once I am back, I will begin posting again!

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Electronic College Transcripts

I sat in on a very interesting meeting today involving transfer admissions and XML transcripts. While this might not seem exciting to talk about, it could lead to a dramatic change in the processing and review of files in the future. At this time, a college transcript is mailed to us, opened, scanned, and then moved into a student's file, which is then placed into a group of files the need to be reviewed for admission. Let's say we pull up a transfer application for review. We would look at the transcript(s) to determine what classes will transfer, how many hours will transfer, and determine the transfer GPA. If we admit the student, an evaluator must then manually enter in each class, credit hour and grade for each college course, and our articulation system that will translate the coursework into UGA courses (the system is what the Transfer Equivalency site is based off of).

With an XML transcript, the transcript will come in, and if it matches an admission file, it would be pushed into the articulation system on a course by course basis, calculate the GPA and hours, and wait for a review by an admissions evaluator. The evaluator will review the file for any oddities, review the grades and hours, and then move forward with an admission decision. In other words, it will take a lot of data entry out of the situation, and make the entire process more streamlined and efficient.

While we are still months (or more) away from making this process a reality, I am excited about our office taking these steps! Our hope is that in the near future, we will be able to make transfer decisions quicker, more efficiently, and with less data entry (and with greater accuracy). This will also help in entering dual enrollment work for freshmen students and transient work for current UGA students.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading Lists!

It is summertime, which means that the summer reading lists are out in full force. In my house (with a rising sixth and a rising eighth grader), there is now a great deal of moaning going on whenever I bring up the dreaded "reading" word. Yes, I understand that school is just now out for a lot of students, and the last thing you want to do is sit down and read a book. And my answer to both my two kids and to everyone else? "Too bad, now go and read!". Okay, I am not that harsh, but I do suggest (both to you and my kids) setting aside 20-30 minutes a day to read, whether it is a book off the reading list or one you just pick up at the local library. In looking at the two reading lists, I have gone through at least eight of the books in the last two years. One of them, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, is a great book that I just finished a week ago.

Why do I push reading? If you want to do better in your English classes, write better, have a stronger SAT Critical Reading, stronger SAT Writing, communicate better, etc, one great way to do this is to dig into books. Read across the spectrum, from non-fiction to thrillers to sci-fi, but no matter what, read!

As for me, I just finished re-reading one of my favorite books, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by R. Heinlein, and I am in the middle of two others (The Big Short by Michael Lewis and Watership Down by Richard Adams. My wife bugs me for reading more than one book at a time, but that is just the way I am.

So go grab those reading lists and start reading!

Enjoy, and Go Dawgs!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fall Transfer Updates Part VI

This will probably be the last update on Fall transfer decisions, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. As of late this afternoon, we had approximately 30 files left to evaluate for Fall transfer decisions (this is excluding students who have had an issue with a transcript, have an situation where we have made an deadline exception, etc.). In other words, we are at the tail end of the process!!!

We will still have a lot of work to do this summer as we work on enrolling students and their updated transcripts, final high school transcripts, etc, but we are all glad that we are almost finished. Please make sure that if you have been admitted as a transfer student, you need to get in any updated spring work on an official transcript so we can post this work in your file and have this information in before your orientation and scheduling of classes.

The 30 or so remaining files are generally the more difficult ones, either because of the number of classes transferring in from schools we do not have a history with, a wide range of schools/transcripts, or applicants who really pushed the deadline.

But hopefully everyone has made it through this challenging transfer cycle, and I wish you well in your college future.

Go Dawgs!!