Thursday, December 23, 2010

Common Questions (and Answers) While UGA is Closed

UGA will be closed from late afternoon on December 24 through January 3, and as such, we will not be available to answer many questions. Like many of you, I will also be unavailable at times during the break, so here are a few common questions and answers to hold you over during the time we are closed. Please be patient with me if you post any comments!

Deadlines and Materials
I have had several questions about when application materials need to be in, what happens if they are not in, etc. UGA Admissions works hard to complete a student's file, and we will work with students if things come in a little late. For paper documents, our deadlines are postmark deadlines, and we will keep the online school forms open after the deadline. This does not mean that a student should do things after the deadline though! Make sure you speak with your counselor and teacher early about getting in materials, and give them time to do their work! And if you choose to apply on the deadline, please understand that we will take you application, but you are setting yourself up to possibly have problems by not giving yourself any leeway with required materials. Do yourself a favor and take care of things before the deadline!

Mailed materials
My estimate is that from a person mailing out documents to it showing up in the system takes at least 6-8 business days, give or take (if your application is already in the system). If a counselor or teacher sent documents off on a Monday let's say, then 8 business days means Wednesday of the following week. Please also remember that UGA will be closed down from late afternoon on Friday, 12/24, until the morning of Jan. 4, so be patient with us during that span, as we will not be in the office or updating the myStatus page during that gap. Please remember that our deadlines are postmarked deadlines, so there is no reason to send something FedEx, UPS rush, two day postal delivery, etc., and at times these special deliveries can slow things down as they get held up due to non-delivery on weekends, routing things a non-traditional way, etc. Stick with online delivery (still the best by far!) or standard post office mailing.

January SAT exam
The last test score date UGA will be able to use is the Jan. 22 SAT. The Feb. ACT is too late, especially since it takes longer for ACT to get the scores back than SAT (which usually gets us scores in under three weeks).

First Semester Grades
Applicants are not required to send in first semester grades, but we do like to see them when reviewing a student’s file, so I would suggest having an updated transcript sent in to UGA. We will be accepting first semester grades through Feb. 1, but I would suggest having your school send them in as soon as possible after they are ready. Accepted EA applicants do not need to send in first semester grades unless requested to by Honors or the Foundation Fellows/Ramsey Scholarship Program.

UGA will be making scholarship decisions (along with out-of-state waivers) from mid-December through mid-April as we review files and finish receiving applications. In December, we will have awarded a small number of scholarships, but we are a long way from completing the process.

Honors needs time to review the admitted students, so please be patient with them during their review of admitted students. Only Honors would know when they will be releasing decisions, the criteria they use for review, etc.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Suggestions over the Holiday Break

Happy Holidays everyone, and I hope you are enjoying (or about to start enjoying) your holiday break. Our office is still open this week, but we will be shutting down late Friday, and we do not return until January 4. As such, our office will not be opening mail, responding to email, available on the phone, etc. during this time. This means that any material that comes into our office, whether online or by the mail, will not generally be updated until January 4 and beyond. So do not sit by your computer, checking your myStatus to see if that teacher recommendation has arrived, and please be patient with us during early January, as life gets very busy about that time. We have about 1,000 new students who will start in the Spring term, and we need to make sure they are prepared for orientation, signing up for classes, etc.

As well, we will be receiving a huge volume of materials over the next four weeks or so, as the January 15 deadline is quickly approaching. Please remember, treat a deadline not something to shoot for, but as a date by which you should have everything in to UGA. We will accept applications at midnight on the deadline, but if you choose to do this, you are putting yourself in a bad position about being able to make sure everything is in at UGA. In the same thought process, do not wait until the end to ask your counselor or teacher to submit their materials, as they will not be happy you procrastinated, their letters may be rushed, etc. Talk to them early, and give them time to get things in to UGA.

As for materials showing up at UGA, please make sure that your teacher/school uses your official name (so far today I have seen a school use a nickname on their transcript, and another teacher accidentally put in her own name as the student name in the form. In addition, please be patient as we match up materials, especially if your items were sent in the mail. If you do not see an item indicated as received by UGA, make sure to give us about 8-10 business days to process it (holiday days do not count), and then check with the counselor/teacher to make sure it was sent. Please note that when we receive a packet of materials for a student, we separate it into the type of material (transcript, counselor evaluation, etc., to more quickly scan and classify the documents. In other words, we can quickly scan in 500 high school transcripts and name them all "High School Transcript" very quickly, but this sometimes means that there may be a day or two difference when one item appears on myStatus vs. another.

Lastly, please remind your school NOT to fax any materials, and that staples are the bane of any scanning/imaging system.

Have a great holiday break, cheer on the UGA football team as they play in the Liberty Bowl, and Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Early Action Facts and Reality

In reviewing the chart to the left , which shows Early Action admitted freshman and their zodiac signs, some people would say "I knew it, they did not admit me because I was a Capricorn" or "I knew that they Libra's the best!", while others would just understand that the zodiac signs (of which I am not a believer) had nothing to do with admissions, and it was just randomness that made the admitted students fall into these groups.

Yet every year after Early Action decisions are released, our office is hit with a swarm of emails, phone calls, and posts to this blog stating that the student/parent knows someone whose GPA/SAT/ACT/Rigor was not as strong as their own, yet the other student was admitted over themselves, and we hear about X GPA or X SAT/ACT. The believe is that somehow an applicants high school, gender, zip code, height or hair color has negatively impacted their students chances. As you may have guessed, this leads to our reply that you cannot really compare students, as you would not know everything about them, from core grades to individual test subscores to how UGA views a student's rigor, and that the rumors they hear are generally false. For fun, though, here are few odd facts that put a little different spin on our Early Action admits and facts that are just facts, nothing more.

The most popular name for admitted males was John, followed by William, Andrew, Michael and Matthew. For females, the most popular name was Sarah, followed by Emily, Elizabeth, Katherine and Mary. For last names, the most common one was Smith, followed by Patel, Williams, Lee and Davis. The most popular major was Biology, and the and the most common hometown was Atlanta. We received the most applications from Northview HS in Alpharetta, and as you can probably guess, we had the most admits, defers and denies from Northview HS. We admitted students from 38 different states in Early Action, with the most popular states (behind the big leader of GA) being NC, TX and FL.

Now, if your name is Sarah Smith, and you live in Atlanta and attend Northview HS and want to major in Biology (and you are a Libra), does this mean you are going to be admitted? I have no idea, as these are just random facts about the class, but have no bearing on the actual decision.

I hope you enjoyed this (hopefully) humorous post, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Summer/Fall 2011 Transfer Applicants

At this point in time, we have received approximately 100 Summer and 300 Fall transfer applications. The next two months or so will be tied up with several issues, from the update of Spring freshman and transfer files as Fall 2010 work comes in, to the review of the estimated 5,000-6,000 freshman applications that we still expect to apply by the Regular Decision application deadline of January 15. As you can guess, December and January are busy clean-up months, and there is not a great deal of down time.

I expect that by the end of January, our office will begin to review the transfer applications. We will begin with Summer transfers, as they are the first to enroll and need to have their decisions before the Fall applicants. As well, though, these go a little quicker as there are not as many Summer transfer applicants as compared to Fall (last year it was about 300 vs. 1,500), so these should go quickly. When that process is done, we should go straight into Fall transfers starting in mid-February, and go forward from there.

My suggestion to all transfer applicants is to make sure UGA has all transcripts from all colleges you have ever attended. If you did joint-enrollment work, get the transcript in! If you attended four colleges, get all four transcripts in! If you sent in a transcript in September, but have now completed the Fall semester, send in an updated transcript! As well, if a transcript has a different last name on it as compared to the application, send an email to about 2 weeks after it has been requested to be sent to UGA so we can match it easier. And please remember to review the transfer web page and the transfer equivalency site (and read the equivalency instructions!) to make sure you are on the right track as far as admissions consideration.

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Part II/The Essays

I am guessing that for a number of the deferred students, they are looking at part II of the application and wondering what they should write about in their essays. I am also guessing that most of you do not want a long post about how to write essays, so I will make this quick. First, do not rush the essays, as just like the application, you do not get a gold star for getting part II in first.

Second, I would suggest you look at my Suggestions for Writing Admissions Essays page, as it gives you some details about what we look for, and also what to avoid.

Third, here are links to posts from last year with real essays from students who applied (and were admitted) last Fall. These are extremely strong essays, so do not feel like your essays need to be this impressive. Just do your best, write what you think and feel, and do not write based on what you think I want to read.

Essay Sample 1

Essay Sample 2

Good luck, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Admissions - After the EA Decisions are Out

Now that Early Action decisions have been made, here are a few items of note of what will be going on over the next few weeks in Admissions:

Starting today (Monday, 12/6), we will begin to enter in the materials that came in late for EA applicants, and the materials that we could not load in late last week for RD applicants due to the volume of decisions that had to go out. Please be patient as we enter in this data, and know that we will get materials in ASAP.

On Wednesday (12/8), we will begin to load in SAT and ACT scores that we have been holding since just after the third week in Nov., when we had to halt the import of test scores in order to make EA admission decisions. Please be patient, as it takes a little while to get these into the system (there are a number score uploads with only a handful of scores each, so it takes more time to do it).

Later this week, we will also get back to looking at RD applicants and double checking their transcripts against their self-reported grades, and making sure everything is okay with their files.

Next week and the week folllowing, our office will begin to get in Fall semester college grades for students, both for Spring enrolling freshmen and transfers, and as well Summer/Fall transfers. Please bear with us on this, as they all seem to come at once and it takes a while to wade through them.

And for the freshman who have or will apply to UGA through GA411, then you would have received (or will receive) an email (sent to the email on the GA411 app) the day after we pushed your application into our system. It would have given you a method to gain access to our myStatus page, and it would have given you a link to confirm your situation. If your email client pushed this email to Spam, or if you did not confirm the myStatus connection, then you would not have been able to then connect to your myStatus account. Please make sure that you have emails on your email white list (allowable emails), and review the email account you gave us on your application. Hopefully our tech dept. has taken care of the few GA411 applicants who had trouble accessing their myStatus page, and that this will not be a problem in the future.

Thank you for all your comments, and I hope I was able to answer a majority of your questions.

Go Dawgs!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Half Baked Reactions

Last night, my son wanted his favorite meal for dinner, fettucini alfredo with chicken. We pulled together to boil the noodles, cook the chicken and blend the sauce, along with making a salad, garlic bread and dessert. We had to put some time and effort into it, making sure not to burn anything while having every part come together to be ready at the same time. We all finally able to sit down together for a great meal that everyone had a part in, and it was great.

When we judged how good the food was, we based it on the finished product. We did not taste the pasta after only four minutes of boiling and decide to throw it out. In addition, we did not look at the chicken half way through cooking and throw it out because it was still pink inside. We based our decision on how the meal was after is was all prepared and sitting on the table.

In the same way, UGA is not done with freshman admissions decisions. We are done with the Early Action part of the process, but we are still a long way from being done with final decisions! We will still be receiving a great deal of RD applications, reviewing transcripts, reading essays, doing holistic reviews, etc. So if you were deferred, please know that we still have a lot of admission decisions to make! We will still be admitting 3,500-4,000 more freshman, but you can only be considered if you complete part II.

So please do not judge the UGA admission decisions half way through the process when only EA decisions have been released. Right now, UGA is still in that middle period of the cooking process, and the overall meal is still not fully done. It will not be until late March when decisions are made that we can look at the overall class and see what it is like. Again, please be patient, know that there is still a lot to be done in the review process, and put your best foot forward in the next stage of the process.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Deferred Applicants

I wrote this a short while ago as a comment to my latest post, but I thought I would also make it a new post, so here you go:

 I think I have responded to all your questions as of right now, but I will continue to do so as we move forward. Remember to read the FAQ's, read the blog, and do not compare yourself against another applicant unless you know everything about them (and I mean everything!). In addition, please remember that if you contact our office, conduct yourself in a manner that shows why you (or your child) should be considered as a strong candidate for admission.

In the past, I have handled calls from people who screamed, cursed, threatened, and lied. As you can guess, these are not the best steps to take. I am sure you will conduct yourself  in the appropriate fashion if you do contact us, but I thought I would alert you to these issues. As well, review the Urban Legends/Myths web page, as I would not want you to bring up an issue that is not true only to have us tell you the real situation.

Remember not to pay attention to rumors, as rumors are not reality. I have tried to give you insight into the UGA admissions process, and this is coming from 20 years of admissions and a great deal of experience in this process. Rumors are generally the product of an individual who is unhappy with a decision an lacks the correct data, but who is trying to guess about the reason for a non-admission decision. These rumors are generally the product of a lack of knowledge.

Lastly, know that a deferral decision is not the final decision (unless you do not complete part II), as we still have a long way to go before all decisions are made. EA decisions look at the academic side of a student as compared to the entire EA applicant pool, while the holistic read process looks at everything about a student in comparison with the overall pool. So keep hope (even though I know that deferral is not what you desired), stay strong, and finish up the Fall term well!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Early Action Decisions are Available!

Early Action decisions are now available online, and the applicant pool was very strong! Approximately 6,100 students were admitted, and here is the link to the 2011 EA admitted student press release with some statistics included. We are thrilled to have such a strong group of admitted students, but please also know that we will still be admitting a substantial number of students over the next 3-4 months.

For those of you who were deferred, please understand that this is not a denial decision, but just a situation where we wanted to look more in-depth at you as student and a person, and we want to be able to take the time to review everything in detail about you, from your short essays to activities to recommendations. Also, make sure you read the deferred student FAQ, especially before commenting on here please.

If you have questions about your specific decision, I ask that you not post them on this blog, as I truly cannot answer specific questions about individual students here (both because I generally do not have the actual student's information, and because I cannot disclose individual student information in a comment). My best suggestion is to talk with both your family and your HS counselor, review my suggestions about how to react to EA decisions, review the FAQ's that are available off your myStatus page, and if you still think you need to communicate with our office, either call or email.

Also, please be aware that I will be helping my daughter out tonight with a volunteer program, my son has a tennis tournament this weekend, I am teaching Sunday School on Sunday morning, and we have a Christmas Party on Sunday night, so I might not be able to answer every comment right away. Please be patient, as I am only one person!

Have a great weekend, and Go Dawgs!