Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Commitment Deposit Do's and Don'ts

It is almost May 1, which in the college admission world means it is time for admitted students to indicate what college they will be attending. I have always loved the "Commitment" image to the left, as it is an indication that colleges take commitment deposits seriously, and so should you. As such, here are a few do's and don'ts about the subject.

Do send in a Commitment Deposit by May 1 if it is required by the college.

Don't send in multiple Commitment Deposits (it is called double depositing), as this is considered a serious issue, and could lead to both colleges deciding to cancel your application (it is like asking two people to marry you).

Do let the other colleges on your list know that you will not be attending their institution. UGA has a form on the myStatus page, so check with the colleges to which you have applied and how they suggest submitting this information. This helps colleges know earlier about wait-lists, enrollment numbers, etc.

Don't be late with your Commitment Deposit. Most colleges will be a little flexible, but you do not want to be told that you cannot enroll because you were a week or more late with the deposit.

Do finish up the year strong academically.

Don't slack off and have your grades spiral down, as this could lead problems when a college sees your final transcript.

Do have a good summer!

Don't have such a good summer that you get into trouble. A co-worker of mine (thanks Charlie!) remembers his mother saying "The only people out from 2-5 a.m. are the cops and the bad guys. If you are not one, you are the other."

Go Dawgs!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hit the Books!

It is that time of year when I start to transition from entering UGA freshman and current transfer applicants to the next group of students, those who will be looking at UGA for 2012. And as I normally do at this time of year, I want to get on my soapbox and focus on reading. Yes, that type of hitting the books! As my two children can attest to, I am a book lover, and I do my best to make sure they both have at least one book that they are currently reading. My son just finished with one of my favorite books, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, and my daughter is currently reading Virals by Kathy Reichs. As well, the wonderful world of summer reading lists will be out soon, and I am guessing it will mean a summer filled with To Kill a Mockingbird for my son (along with a few others), and we will wait to see about my daughter's list.

Why do I post this on my blog? 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! There are a number of other things that a student can do to prepare themselves for college, but this is by far the most available and easiest ones around. So go to your public library, download the latest Nook book, borrow a great novel from a neighbor, but no matter what, read!

Alright, now I can climb off my soapbox. And just so you know, the next book I am suggesting for my rising HS freshman son is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, a wonderful book that I am planning on re-reading this summer as well (for probably the fourth time).

Any suggestions from the blog audience?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Random Admission Thoughts - April Edition

April in Admissions is in some respects a very busy/hectic time, but it is also a much more peaceful time in some areas of the office. Our office has a number of student programs over the next two weeks, both on campus and all over the country, we are working with graduating HS seniors and rising HS seniors, and we right in the middle of the Fall transfer season. But at the same time, we are waiting to see how deposits are coming in and monitoring them daily, making plans for next year both for travel and the application process, and waiting for the end of the school year for both transfers and freshmen so we can start receiving final transcripts (and then dig ourselves out of the stack). So, while we are in the middle of things, I thought I would share a few random bits of information from UGA admissions. Please feel free to ask me any questions, but remember to first do a search using the search tool in the upper right hand corner, or by using the labels option on the bottom right.

  • While we have made almost 1,000 Fall transfer decisions, we still have about 1,100 more to go (I always expect about 400 or so applicants to be incomplete, so that makes up our 2,500 Fall transfer applicants).
  • At this point in time, UGA has about 40,000 rising seniors in our recruitment database, and we have and will be sending out brochures, emails and cards to students throughout the next year. As I have said before, the only way for UGA to know about you is many times is for you to first communicate with us, either through visiting campus, sending us an SAT/ACT score, attending a college fair, etc. We cannot communicate with you if we do not know who you are.
  • I want to say a big thank you to the Fagin family, who made a wonderful contribution in my honor to UGA. I have never met the Fagin family or contacted them specifically, but I am guessing that this blog has helped them in the admissions process as it was mentioned in the note. Thanks!!
  • There have been a number of amazing students in this class, from what they have accomplished, what they have overcome, and how hard they have worked. Congratulations to all the admitted students, and we look forward to seeing you on campus.
  • Transfer applicants, please do not call and ask "When am I going to hear a decision?" The people on the phones (or the ones who answer the emails) can't answer this question any more than I can, and I am giving you the best information possible.
  • If anyone knows Mark Sanders, senior from Athens, GA, tell him I think he should go to UGA. Go Dawgs!
  • The Boston Red Sox are killing me this year. Still a fan, but they are killing me!
  • Freshman and transfers, remember to keep your grades up during the last month or so of classes and final exams.
  • Rising juniors and seniors, remember that reading is one of the best ways to get ready for the SAT, college classes, and life! Right now, my son (rising HS freshman!) is reading The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, a great book that I highly recommend.
  • We will not know about wait-list options until a week or more after the May 1 deposit date, so please be patient with this process.
  • Good luck to all the high school seniors graduating over the next two months, and I hope you have been able to find a great match during your college search!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let's say you have two applicants...

During the course of a year, every admissions office is bombarded with a number of similar questions, with one being the most prevalent and challenging, and it always starts with "Let's say you have two applicants ...". There are six of the most difficult words to work with for any admissions counselor! GPA's, test scores, and activities are then speculated upon, with a desire that the admissions officer can magically say who would be admitted first. But now, it is your turn to hear these six words and review two applications! First, the rules:
  1. Both of the "applicants" are fictional characters who in no way are based on actual people (sounds like Law and Order, doesn't it).
  2. As this focus is on first-year applicants, only current or future first-year applicants or their parents should respond.
  3. For this exercise, you will not be determining who should be admitted, but which applicant you think is stronger overall for UGA. I have no idea if both, one or neither of the applicants would be admitted, so let's just focus on who you think is a stronger applicant. Both of these are strong applicants!!
  4. Put yourselves in UGA's shoes, with a review of the whole student (not Early Action), and on what UGA looks at in an admission file.
  5. Have fun, be nice, and I hope this works out well!
Applicant I

  • Georgia Resident, Male
  • International Affairs major
  • 5 AP courses (AP Psych, AP US Hist., AP Eur. Hist, AP Lang., AP Human Geography), multiple Honors courses
  • 3.64 GPA as calculated by UGA
  • SAT: 650 CR, 720 M, 530 W
  • Strong Essays, very organized and crisp
  • Involved in six clubs (Two for 4 years, two for 2 years, one - cooking club- he founded senior year), leadership roles in 2 clubs
  • Plays two sports (one fresh/sophomore years, one four years, captain senior year)
  • Wonderful, glowing recommendations
  • Mother and Father are alumni
  • 2 awards (college book award and one most spirited)

Applicant II

  • Out-of-State Resident, Female
  • Undecided major
  • 3 AP courses (AP Chem, AP Spanish, AP Calculus), numerous Honors courses, 2 dual enrollment English classes senior year at local research University
  • 3.83 GPA as calculated by UGA
  • SAT: 550 CR, 560 M, 540 W - ACT: 29 Composite, 30 Engl, 29 Math, 28 Read, 29 Sci, 28 Engl/Writing
  • Strong essays, very personal and insightful
  • Involved in 3 clubs (all for four years, Editor in one, VP in another)
  • Plays one sport (Varsity for 4 years, Captain twice)
  • Volunteers at local library
  • Wonderful, glowing recommendations
  • 1 award (most determined)
Some of the items I have listed are important, while others have no impact on a decision. I will monitor any responses and give you my opinion at a later date. Please respond by saying which applicant you believe to be stronger and why.
         *no applicants were injured in the making of this simulation.

Go Dawgs!

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    UGA and Test Scores

    Spring is the time for HS juniors to begin their college search process in earnest, and so begins the season of doubt. "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 (if you take the ACT, make sure we have a Writing 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 addition, sending your scores to UGA (or any college) can start the recruitment process in detail, as this indicates your interest in UGA and lets us know better about how you may match up with UGA, the Honors program, etc. (along with your self-reported GPA on the SAT/ACT report), as this one of the only pieces of academic information we have access to at this time in the process. We occasionally have juniors who wonder why we are not "recruiting" them, and generally, it is due to not knowing about them or their academic strengths. Sending us your ACT/SAT scores can start this process, and helps both you and us.

    Please remember, UGA is 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!

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    UGA National Scholars named

    Over the past few months, a number of national programs have named their scholarship recipients, from the Goldwater Scholars to the new Rangel Graduate Fellowship. As such, here is a partial list of the UGA students who were named as scholars from these programs:
    • Victoria Akin, a third-year student from Macon, GA and a graduate of Mount de Sales Academy, was named a 2011 Goldwater Scholar. Victoria has done research in epidemiology with faculty in the UGA College of Public Health, and the National Science Foundation Research Experience.
    • Michael Burel, a third-year student from Acworth, GA and a graduate of Carlton J. Kell HS, was named a 2011 Goldwater Scholar. Michael has worked as a CURO apprentice in the lab of Dr. Steven Stice, was selected for the NYU Summer Undergraduate Research Program, and conducted research in France this past summer in stem cell work.
    • Amar Mirza, a third-year student from Hiram, GA and a graduate of Marietta HS, was named a 2011 Goldwater Scholar. Amar has conducted research in biochemistry and molecular biology in the lab of Dr. Natarajan Kannan, and participated in CURO, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Exceptional Research Opportunities Program, and has worked in the field at a health clinic in Haiti.
    • Ashley Bartlett, a fourth-year student from Longwood, FL and graduate of Lake Mary HS, is a Rangel Graduate Fellowship recipient, which has a focus on students pursuing careers as US Foreign Service diplomats. Ashley participated in the  World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program, and studied in the UGA at Oxford study abroad program in 2009.
    • Todd Pierson, a fourth-year student from Zionsville, IN and graduate of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, was named a Udall Scholar, with a focus on ecological studies. Todd has traveled to Guatemala, where he collected and studied new species of amphibians and reptiles, and has scheduled expeditions to Oman and the United Arab Emirates along with a return to Guatemala this year.
    • Muktha Natrajan, a fourth-year student from Martinez, GA and a graduate of Lakeside HS, was named a 2011 Gates Cambridge Scholar (after being named a 2009 Goldwater Scholar and a 2010 Udall Scholar). Muktha has done research in Dr. Steven Stice's lab, has studied at Nanjing University in China, participated in the NYU Summer Undergraduate Research Program, and was an intern with the World Health Organization in Namibia. Upon graduation in May, she will receive a BS degree in Genetics and a Master of Public Health degree in environmental health science.

    Congratulations to these students, along with all the other UGA scholars who have done so much and have so many great opportunities both in graduate programs and in the workplace! 

    Go Dawgs!

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    2011 Fall Transfer Update

    I am back from time at the beach, and ready to dive into more admissions issues! The first question that comes up on most phone calls and emails is "When am I going to hear about my fall transfer decision?" If you are about to send that email or call us with that question, stop for a moment. First, we have received right at 2,500 fall transfer applications, and are going through them as quickly as possible. Remember, it takes a while to go through each transfer file, and it is tough to predict how long it will take to review 100 files, much less 25 times that number.

    We are reviewing files for the most part based on the date they are complete (application and transcripts in), so some of the timeline depends on when you applied and sent in the transcripts. My timeline has always been mid-late February through mid-May for decisions, so just be patient as we go through the files. Right now, we are working on applications that were complete in late January/early February, but we are also putting some of the more challenging ones aside so we can focus on getting as many decisions out as possible right now.

    Your job as a transfer applicant is to make sure that all transcripts are in and updated (check the date to make sure we have all the grades in from your colleges), and that you listed all colleges that you have ever attended (if you forgot about the dual-enrollment work, get that transcript in ASAP!). We cannot make decisions until we have all transcripts in from all colleges. Then, be patient, as we are moving as fast as we can. If you really want to make a dent, sent kind notes, thank you cards, candy (sugar and caffeine help!) addressed to our evaluation team to cheer them on and motivate them, as they get exhausted right about this time of year.

    Go Dawgs!

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Out of the Office

    I will be out of the office for the next five days or so (Spring Break!), so I will not be responding to any questions or comments on the blog during this time. As such, I would suggest holding your questions until I return, or search out the answers on this blog and/or the UGA Admissions website before commenting. Hopefully, I hope to return fully re-charged and ready for comments. After hearing that some people check this blog daily, I suggest that this would be a good chance to step away from the blog, take a walk, see a movie, read a book or two, relax in the sun, and play some putt-putt golf (all the things that I will be doing!), and I will be back shortly!