Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Online Committment Deposit now Available!

After years (and years and years) of only being able to submit the $200 Freshman Commitment Deposit by mail, I am proud to announce that admitted freshman can now submit the deposit online! While this may seem minor in some respects, this is exciting for us in that we hope it makes things easier for you, the students, and for the UGA Bursar's Office. As you know, the Admissions Office has tried to become as paperless as possible, and now we can take one more step in helping the Bursar's office go this direction. Admitted freshman can see the link to the Online Commitment Deposit from their myStatus page, and you can then move forward with reserving your spot at UGA.

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. May 1 is the official deposit date for most colleges, so if you still need time to review financial issues, visit campus one last time, or if you just don't want to make that decision yet, you are fine (at least until May 1!).

But 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. It will make life easier for everyone!

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Great Essays!

Yesterday, a recently admitted student and her parents visited the Admissions Office, and they asked to speak to me. It turned out that she was one of the students that I had mentioned in a previous post concerning the strength of her essays (see the Random Thoughts post from January 26, 2011), and they wanted to come by and say hello. They were a wonderful family, and I am glad I had the chance to speak with them about how things were going, her plans at UGA, etc.

We have so many wonderful stories about our applicants, from unique and amazing activities, interesting personal backgrounds, and amazing essays. This student, Jaynie, has given me permission to share any of her essays that I would like, so here is an example of one of her essays. Hopefully this will help future applicants in preparing their essays. We get a large number of essays about volunteer/mission trips, and my suggestion is to make the reader be able to almost feel the experience. I think Jaynie did a great job at this.

Hot, sticky air clung to my skin. Two little pairs of dirt-caked hands mercilessly pulled at my hair, fashioning sloppy braids. After trying unsuccessfully to communicate the pain my young stylists were inflicting, I decided to relish the remaining hours I had with these precious girls instead. During the nine days of my Dominican Republic mission trip, the three of us had bonded and become fast friends. The most effective Spanish teachers I have ever had, these tiny professors ushered me into a new realm of understanding, stretching me beyond my comfort zone. Immersed in a world without English, I was forced to take my 8+ years of classroom Spanish into the real world; my faithful little tutors never left my side.

On our final day, as the bus rolled in to sweep us back to homework and fast food, I promised myself that I would not forget what I had learned there. With one last goodbye hug, I tearfully climbed on board. A couple of days later I found myself walking into my all too familiar Spanish classroom, but this time-for the first time-truly eager to become fluent in the beautiful language of my new friends.

And to Jaynie and her parents, thanks for stopping by, thank you for the kind words, and our office looks forward to you being a part of the Bulldog Nation next year!

Go Dawgs!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stats on the Class of 2015

As I promised over the weekend, here are the statistics on the Admitted Class of 2015. I do not have the stats for the wait-list group ( just under 900 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.The wait-list letter will give you more details on past years for admission off the wait-list. 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.

  • Mid-50% range for GPA: 3.68-4.00 (please remember that this is not the GPA you see on your transcript, but the GPA that UGA calculates based on the core courses taken in HS, and looking at the actual grades on the transcript)
  • Mid-50% range for the SAT CR and M: 1170-1350
  • Mid-50% range for the  SAT Writing: 570-680
  • Mid-50% range for the ACT: 27-31
  • Average number of AP/IB courses: over 5.6
  • Almost 40% of the freshman admitted to UGA had their strongest test score from the ACT, and if their ACT was then translated to the SAT, the SAT mid-ranges increase by about 30 points for the combined CR/M.
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, summer programs, and a number of college courses taken through Joint Enrollment/Dual Enrollment programs.
Statistics can never show the other qualities that we have seen from our admitted group, from leadership capabilities to strong writing, being active in their schools and communities, to showing great growth from freshman to senior year.
Congratulations to the admitted class of 2015! 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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Your Responses

A quick thank you to all of you who have responded about your admissions decisions, as you have had great attitudes (only one post deleted!), have told some great stories, have made some great plan B's, and overall have made this process easy on me this weekend. I wish all of you well during the next stage in the college process, and make sure to keep up your good work during the last few months of school (I am sure all parents wanted me to say this!).

Go Dawgs!

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 Admitted Freshmen

Later today, we will be making decisions available to students.

For those of you who have been admitted to UGA, here is a post for you, and a chance to comment. Please remember that this is not a blog where you should post statistics, throw fellow classmates under the bus, etc. These types of comments will be deleted. As well, I will be away from a computer on Friday evening (at a wedding), so be patient as I may not be able to respond until the weekend.

Congratulations to all of the freshman who were admitted to UGA, and we look forward to you becoming a part of the Bulldog Nation. The next steps for a new student can be seen in the flyer in your admission packet titled Next Steps, so go ahead and review what you need to do next.

Remember that the Housing and myID pages may need a few business days before your information will be available, so be patient with these sites. 

You have until May 1 to submit a deposit to hold a spot in our freshman class, and we hope the next stage of the admission process is a little less nerve wracking than the decision process. As you celebrate this time, make sure to be considerate of others in your school who may not have been admitted. Good luck in the next stage of the college admissions process, and Go Dawgs!

2011 Freshman Wait-list Applicants

Later today, we will be making decisions available to students.

For those of you who have been wait-listed by UGA, here is a post for you and a chance to comment. Please remember that this is not a blog where you should post statistics, throw fellow classmates under the bus, etc. These types of comments will be deleted. As well, I will be away from a computer on Friday evening (at a wedding), so be patient as I may not be able to respond until the weekend.

Every year, our office has to predict approximately how many students we can admit in order to enroll our freshman class, but we can never be sure how many students will enroll until after the May 1 deposit deadline has passed. If the number of students who say they will be attending UGA is lower than we expect, we may need to go to our wait-list group in order to get the size that we want for our freshman class. Every year, we have about 1,000 students on the wait-list, and we carefully monitor the deposits coming into the University to see where we are in comparison to the predicted freshman numbers.

The Wait-List FAQ can answer some questions, but the most important thing you need to do is decide if you want to remain on the wait-list. Follow the instructions on the status check and/or the wait-list letter we mailed out, and let us know if you want to stay on the wait-list or if you want to decline this option and go forward with admission at another college. If you decide to stay on the wait-list, you still want to move forward with an alternate college plan, as we will not know about any wait-list options until May. If you select to stay on the wait-list, we then know you still want to attend UGA if an opportunity opens up.

This year, there are three options for the wait-list reply; You can say no, please do not consider me for the wait-list. The next option is to remain on the wait-list, but only if it is for the Fall term. The third option is to remain on the wait-list and be considered for both Fall and Spring term. This is so that if there is space available for the Fall term, we will look at all of the students who have asked to remain on the wait-list, but the only space available is Spring term, we will then work with only the students who said Fall or Spring.

We will not know details about the wait-list until May, so please be patient with our office, and read the FAQ before asking questions, as it can give you a great deal of information.

2011 Denied Freshman

Later today, we will be making decisions available to students.

For those of you who have been denied by UGA, here is a post for you and a chance to comment. Please remember that this is not a blog where you should post statistics, throw fellow classmates under the bus, etc. These types of comments will be deleted. As well, I will be away from a computer on Friday evening (at a wedding), so be patient as I may not be able to respond until the weekend.

Unfortunately, we were not able to admit a number of strong applicants, as we are limited in the size of our freshman class. We know that you have a number of other strong college options, and I suggest you focus not on a denial from UGA, but on the other great opportunities that are ahead. As well, if your ultimate goal is to graduate from Georgia, then I would suggest you look at transfer opportunities down the road. But for now, focus on your current college options, find the one that fits you best, and have a great freshman year there. I would also suggest you go to our Denied Student FAQ if you have questions.

Decision Day 2011

Yes, today is the day that final decisions are available to freshman applicants. My estimation is that the myStatus page will be open sometime around 4:30 pm EST today, but I will be out of the office this afternoon and will not be able to post the usual announcement right after it goes live. I will also not be available for most the evening to reply to any comments/questions, so be patient. Here are a few quick notes about today:

  • Please do no have everyone in your family try to log onto the site. It will only slow down our servers, so I suggest that just you, the student, log in. You can then share this information after you see it.
  • I do not have any statistics for the admitted or wait-listed group, but I will post them early next week (most likely just the mid 50% ranges). Please do not post any of your statistics on this blog, as that is not what this is site is about, and there are other places to do this (and many personal stats are not quite how we see them, ie. GPA's, balance of test scores, etc.).
  • I will put up three  posts this afternoon, one for each of the three decision possibilities, with details about each decision and some links to FAQ's. Please read everything about a decision before commenting.
  • Please remember that both the other students and the admissions counselors in my office are actual people, and treat them with respect. Before hitting submit on a comment, make sure you actually want to post it.
  • No matter what the decision, know that there a a number of college options, and UGA is just one of them. 
  • After decisions are out, the next steps are up to you, from depositing at a school, signing up for housing, etc. Make sure you take care of everything post-decision!
  • Go Dawgs!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Elephant Parable, 2011 version

After decisions last year, there were a wave of unhappy comments about specific decisions and comparisons to other applicants, and I decided to write a post about the importance of knowing everything about a situation before judging it. I thought that with decisions being released tomorrow, it would be good to re-post this message a little earlier.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived six blind men. Each of them was very wise. Each of them had gone to school and read lots of books in braille. They knew so much about so many things that people would often come from miles around to get their advice. They were happy to share whatever they knew with the people who asked them thoughtful questions.

One day these six wise blind men went for a walk in the zoo. That day the zoo-keeper was worrying about all of her many troubles. The night before she had had an argument with her husband, and her children had been misbehaving all day long. She had so much on her mind that she forgot to lock the gate of the elephant cage as she was leaving it. Now, elephants are naturally very curious animals. They quickly tried to push the gate to the cage to see if it might open. To their great surprise, the gate swung freely on its hinge. Two of the more daring elephants walked over to the gate. They looked left and right, and then quietly tip-toed out of the cage.
Just at that moment the six blind men walked by. One of them heard a twig snap, and went over to see what it was that was walking by.

"Hi there !" said the first blind man to the first elephant. "Could you please tell us the way to the zoo restaurant ?" The elephant couldn't think of anything intelligent to say, so he sort of shifted his weight from left to right to left to right. The first blind man walked over to see if this big silent person needed any help. Then, with a big bump, he walked right into the side of the elephant. He put out his arms to either side, but all he could feel was the big body of the elephant.  "Boy," said the first blind man. "I think I must have walked into a wall. "

The second blind man was becoming more and more curious about what was happening. He walked over to the front of the elephant and grabbed hold of the animal's trunk. He quickly let go and shouted, "This isn't a wall. This is a snake! We should step back in case it's poisonous."

The third man quickly decided to find out what was going on, and to tell his friends what they had walked into. He walked over to the back of the elephant and touched the animal's tail. "This is no wall, and this is no snake. You are both wrong once again. I know for sure that this is a rope."

The fourth man sighed as he knew how stubborn his friends could be. The fourth blind man decided that someone should really get to the bottom of this thing. So he crouched down on all fours and felt around the elephant's legs. (Luckily for the fourth man, this elephant was very tame and wouldn't think of stepping on a human being.) "My dear friends," explained the fourth man. "This is no wall and this is no snake. This is no rope either. What we have here, gentlemen, is four tree trunks. That's it. Case closed."

The fifth blind man was not so quick to jump to conclusions. He walked up to the front of the elephant and felt the animal's two long tusks. "It seems to me that this object is made up of two swords," said the fifth man. "What I am holding is long and curved and sharp at the end. I am not sure what this could be, but maybe our sixth friend could help us."
The sixth blind man scratched his head and thought and thought. He was the one who really was the wisest of all of them. He was the one who really knew what he knew, and knew what he didn't know. Just then the worried zoo-keeper walked by. "Hi there ! How are you enjoying the zoo today ?" she asked them all. "The zoo is very nice," replied the sixth blind man. "Perhaps you could help us figure out the answer to a question that's been puzzling us." "Sure thing," said the zoo-keeper, as she firmly grabbed the elephant's collar.
"My friends and I can't seem to figure out what this thing in front of us is. One of us thinks it's a wall; one thinks it's a snake; one thinks it's a rope, and one thinks it's four tree trunks. How can one thing seem so different to five different people?"

"Well," said the zoo-keeper. "You are all right. This elephant seems like something different to each one of you. And the only way to know what this thing really is, is to do exactly what you have done. Only by sharing what each of you knows can you possibly reach a true understanding."
The six wise men had to agree with the wisdom of the zoo-keeper. The first five of them had been too quick to form an opinion without listening to what the others had to say. So they all went off to the zoo restaurant and had a really hearty lunch.

Remember, when admissions is looking at an application, we are reviewing the whole applicant in the context of their individual situation. While people might know or read of one aspect of a student, they do know know the whole of an applicant's life.

So when commenting here or looking at other applicants, please do not be blind to the fact that you might know one thing about a student, but you do not know the whole of the person. Open your eyes to the fact that admissions offices are looking at everything within the file, seeing connections, understanding strengths and weaknesses, and trying to see the overall person. You might think that you know a situation because you know of one aspect (or score) of an applicant, but you might just be holding an elephant's tail and thinking it is a rope.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Final Freshman Decisions

Yes, the question that all freshmen applicants (and their parents) have been asking again and again can finally be answered. Final decisions for freshmen applicants are scheduled to be released on Friday, March 25 (unless something catastrophic occurs). As normal, we will open up the status check late afternoon on Friday (please do not ask what time late Friday afternoon is, as I am saying late Friday afternoon for a reason), and applicants will be able to view their decisions. As well, decision letters will be sent out by mail.

There will be three decision groups (Admit, Deny and Wait-List), and I will try to post some information on all three of these decisions. No matter what your decision, please make sure to think before commenting, as this is an emotional time, and you probably do not want to write something you may regret later.

Please do not have multiple people in your family try to log into the myStatus page on Friday, as this will slow everything down. Just have one person (hopefully yourself) log into myStatus, be patient as it may be slower than normal (do not keep hitting enter or refresh), and tell family members who want to see your myStatus page to wait until Saturday.

Remember, we cannot and will not give out any decisions by phone or by email, and we are as happy as you are to have decision day finally get here.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Transfer Update

We are finally at the finish line for Summer Transfers! While we have about 15 or so left, generally extremely challenging files with a great deal of coursework from colleges we have not worked with before, we are now starting on Fall transfer applicants. I know that this is a little later than expected, but a few things came up that pushed back our timeline. Please know that there are about 75 or so summer transfers that were incomplete, and some of these applicants will be receiving emails concerning the fact that we have old transcripts that do not have the most up-to-date work on them, and these students should get in a new transcript ASAP.

As for Fall transfers, we will begin with applicants that sent in their applications and materials first, and then work from there. I cannot give you a time estimate right now, as we still have not hit the Fall transfer deadline, so I have no idea how many overall applications there will be this year. As well, the people on the phones cannot guess about a decision timeline, so please do not call us if that is your only question.

We receive a large number of emails, calls, posts, etc. saying that applicant X needs to sign a lease in Athens, so they need to know now if they are admitted. I have good and bad news on this issue; first, there are a large number of available places to live in Athens (a buyers/renters market), so do not panic about this issue. The bad news is that stating this situation in an email, phone call, post, etc. will not change our timeline for reviewing your file, so my best answer is to just be patient.

I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Alternative Spring Break

While a large number of college students are headed to the beach, the open seas, or some other vacation destination, over 350 UGA students are traveling throughout the country to participate in Alternative Spring Break. They will be helping to build affordable housing, interacting with children, serving the homeless, and working with various community centers. This is a great chance for our students to give back, and to also learn more about themselves. To learn more about this program, visit the UGA Alternative Spring Break site, which is under the UGA Center for Leadership and Service. In addition, there is a UGA press release that gives even more details about the program. They will be joining thousands of college students across the country who are giving their time and effort to help out those in need.

Way to go ASB Dawgs!

Friday, March 11, 2011

myStatus Page Down

In preparation for the Freshmen decisions that will be sent out in late March, the myStatus page will be temporarily closed to allow our office to begin the final stages of the decision process. We will still be making transfer decisions during this time, and these applicants will still be notified by mail. Please bear with us as we move forward with decisions, and when I have a date of the release of freshmen decisions, I will post it here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Predicting the Future

I am able to do a lot things easily; I can juggle with one hand or two, I can read admissions files like nobody's business, I can make a great meatloaf (the secret is in the sour cream and dijon mustard),  I can figure out most puzzles when given the time, I am very good at utilizing technology with admissions, I can throw a pretty good curve ball when my shoulder allows it. But there is one thing I cannot do, predict the future!

No matter how many times you ask me when you will hear a transfer decision, when summer transfer files will be done, what your chances are as a freshman applicant, or when fall transfers will start hearing decisions, I cannot predict the unknown. Sometimes, you just have to wait! So please, for my sanity and for yours, do not ask when or if, as I will not know until I know. As Yogi Berra was quoted, "I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question."

When I know details, I will post them, from when we start on Fall transfers to when freshman decisions will go out. Until then, just be patient.

P.S. Here are a few other things I am bad at:  I just cannot ride a ripstick at all, my wife has to re-wash most of the dishes/pans that I hand-wash, my daughter says I cannot sing to save my life, and I cannot dance (among other things). But first on the list is predicting the future!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Majors and Admissions

An academic advisor has made a request that I write a post about majors, and I think it is a great idea! I have dealt with the issue of academic majors before and how they relate to admissions in comments, but having a more detailed post seems like the best next step.

Freshman Applicants
When you apply to UGA, what you select as a major is a non- issue during the admission process. Occasionally when we are reading a file, we will see that X applicant has done a great deal of outside work towards the major of their choice (I remember the Entomology applicant who traveled to several different countries doing insect research and collection). So, for almost every applicant, your choice of major has no impact on a decision. Why? Well first, any freshman applicant can go into their myStatus page, select the Settings option, and change their intended major. Second, a large number of freshman will change their major prior to enrolling at UGA, and then again sometime during their first two years at UGA. So when you apply to UGA, select a major that interests you (or select Undecided), but do not select a major just because a cousin, a friend, or the aunt of your mom's best friend's hair stylist said that applying as (insert major name here) major would get you admitted. Once you decide to enroll at UGA, though, make sure that the major you have selected is the one you really want, especially prior to orientation. Why? Because at orientation, you will be meeting with an academic advisor, planning out your next year's classes, and getting on track for a degree. So you want to make sure you speak with the correct advisor based on your most up-to-date major plan.

Transfer Applicants
When you apply to UGA, your major will almost never have any impact on an admission decision, but you do not have the opportunity to change your major during the admission process (unlike freshman). There are numerous reasons for this, from students trying to game the system when we had some extended deadlines to programs trying to plan out how many students they will have, but the result is that transfers have to stay with their major they have selected. Why is this important? Because when you are advised at orientation, you want to make sure you are working with the correct advisor and have planned out a road map towards a degree correctly. This is more important for transfers than freshman, as most transfers have already taken a great deal of their core courses, already know what they plan on majoring in at UGA, and need to sign up for some specific classes during their first term at UGA. You do not want to be at orientation trying to change things, getting incorrect information due to selecting a major that you thought would get you admitted, or wasting the time of an advisor who you will not be working with in the future. If you apply to UGA, select the major you want, and know that we do not hold pre-Business students to a higher standard of admission than English majors, or Genetics vs. History, etc.
I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American Idol and Admissions

Since 2002, there has been one constant in my household; From January through March, two nights a week, my family will be watching American Idol while I read admissions files. The judges have changed, the contestants are younger, there are more Ford commercials than ever, but my family is still watching. When I take a break from reading files, it is interesting for me to look the contestants, and think about how it relates to admissions. While there are probably a number of different connections that could be made about American Idol and college admissions, I will focus on one in particular; attitude.

One of the worst (or best) parts of the show are the reactions of the contestants that are not selected for Hollywood during the first few weeks of each season. Some will say thank you, some try to sing more songs, some will cry, and some will launch into a tirade of bleeped out words and hand gestures.

In the same way, admissions offices receive a number of reactions after a student is denied admission. Some will say thank you, some will cry, and some will lash out at our admissions team. The first two reactions are just fine, as we expect both of them. But my suggestion is to make sure you do not take the third option. Too many times, whether it is comments on this blog, phone calls, emails or visits to our office, parents and students will lash out at our staff, the University, their counselors, and even their classmates if they are not admitted. While this may be a natural reaction for some, make sure you think about your actions. Remember how the contestants on American Idol look when they lash out, and ask yourself if this is how you want an admissions office to view you, and what you want to accomplish with your communication. If students or parents threaten legal action, we direct them to Legal Affairs and state that we have to now stop the conversation. If someone starts swearing or using foul language, we let them know that this conversation is no longer productive and we end the call. If a comment has foul language or inappropriate information, it will be deleted.

So during this time of waiting, make sure to hope for the best, but know how to react if the decision is a denial. I do not want this to be a depressing post, but as I have always said, I want to be honest and open with my blog, and give the best advise possible.