Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hines Ward, UGA Graduate and Dance Champion

While this is for the most part an Admissions blog for the University of Georgia, I would be remiss if I did not mention the latest Dancing with the Stars winner and UGA Graduate, Hines Ward! While I am not a fan of DWTS (although my wife is), I have been drawn to this year's show due to the participation of Hines Ward. Ward was a great football player at UGA in the mid-1990's, but he has an even more remarkable personal story.

As a Korean/African-American student raised by a single mother who at first spoke little English and worked three jobs to support her family, he dealt with prejudice family turmoil. He then attended UGA, where he gave it his all by playing three different positions under two different coaching staffs. After UGA (and his college degree!), he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is now in his 15th year with the team. Throughout his professional career he has garnered numerous honors and awards (Super Bowl MVP, 4 time pro-bowl selection, most catches and receiving yards by a Steeler, etc.), and is a leader on and off the field. In 2006, he created the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation, which benefits multi-racial children in South Korea, and in 2010 he was named as a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And last night, he was named the winner of the 2011 Dancing with Stars Competition!

Congratulations to Hines Ward, a great person and a wonderful UGA Alumnus!

Go Dawgs!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Walt Disney, the Redo

It is the end of the school year (or at least close to it for most everyone), and this time of year always brings up the discussion about rising juniors and seniors and the college search process. As such, here is a re-release of my post on this issue:

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."  - Walt Disney

A recent post brought up a good point for all high school junior and below students and parents about how to learn more about colleges and the opportunities at each institution. In order to start the process, you need to quit talking about colleges and actually begin the college search process. This means sending colleges your SAT/ACT scores (like the family from the recent post did), visit the campus to take a tour or attend an information session, sign up on a schools mailing list, etc. It is only then that a college will really start to know more about you, and can start to communicate with you. Every college will have a different time line concerning how and when they send you things, based upon their budget, their time lines, and the information you give them. But no matter what, a college can't really start contacting you unless you start the ball rolling!

We have a few families every year who are unhappy because we "heavily" recruited a friend or neighbor, but "barely" recruited them at all. When we go back and look at their file, it is generally due to the fact that we only learned about the student when they applied, and that was generally right around the deadline. In pulling up a random applicant for this coming fall, I see that she did a great job of contacting us early (fall of her junior year), and has since had about 10 different communications from our office. Contrast this with the following student in our recruitment database, whose first action was to send us test scores in late December of his senior year, and who applied right on the deadline. He has given us almost no time to communicate with him at all!

So the best thing you can do now is to start working with colleges early (soph. to junior year) by visiting the campus, sending SAT/ACT scores (remember, we only look at the strongest sub-scores, so there is no negative to sending us junior year test scores!), going to college fairs, and generally just letting a college know that you are interested. With 70,000+ prospects every year, I can't say that we will send you 2 or 3 letters every week, but you can at least put yourself on our radar. So as Walt Disney so succinctly uttered, "quite talking and begin doing!"

Go Dawgs!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Maturity and Admissions

Every once in a while, when I have to give out tough information on this blog, there are the expected negative comments. Yesterday, after I alerted students about the wait-list situation, there were a few readers whose comments became offensive and out of line. As such, this post looks at how college admissions offices look at the concept of maturity in the overall admissions process.

Part of the freshmen file review process looks at the concept of maturity. In fact, in the six part series about file reading, here is a small portion of one of the posts that deals with this issue:

"Maturity also shows up in a person's interaction with others, be it teachers, friends or classmates. Many of these applicants will be studying in UGA's classrooms, living in our residence halls, and being a part of our community. What will they be like when they are on our campus, and how will they interact with the rest of the UGA community?"

As you can see, when possible, we are looking at the applicants as citizens and people, and what they how they will act at UGA. Do we always get this information? Sadly, no, as recommendations are generally self-selected and focused on the positive aspects, and not always the complete student. As well, people are complex, and have many different characteristics. Do I occasionally see students in the news, fans on game days, and alumni who show this lack of maturity? Oh yes, and I cringe each time. But we do look seriously when there are red flags in conduct areas, from discipline issues to arrests, honor code violations to unusual gaps in information that seem worrisome. No community is perfect, but we can strive to make it better.

But beyond the admission review process, we are also looking at maturity in our communication with a student and their family. While we are fine with working with parents, we are more impressed when students take the lead in their college admission process, as they will be the ones in the classrooms and in our buildings. In addition, when a person screams at us, swears at us, misleads us, tries to play us against another UGA office or person within our office, or makes false statements, this might be an indication that the admission decision was a good one maturity wise. When a person on this blog wrote yesterday that UGA stood for "United Group of A******", and another person wrote "Finally found out what the D in DGraves stood for, D*****", I was somewhat embarrassed for the people who wrote this. If a student wants to work with our office, the best way is for the student to contact us directly, treat us in a civil fashion, and maybe we can work on a plan to reach a student's college goals for the future. And for parents, please remember that how you respond to an admissions office makes an impression on how your student perceives you, and may impact how the interact with us as well.

Please know that we work with a great deal of wonderful, mature people, and the negative issues are limited. But every admissions office deals with these issues at times and takes them seriously. Please make sure that you represent yourself (or your student) in a way that you want to be viewed by the college, both in the admission process and later when you are a member of the university community.

"Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity." - Samuel Ullman

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wait-List Update

Based on the overwhelming response of  accepted freshmen submitting commitment deposits for the Summer/Fall terms of 2011, UGA will only be able to admit a very small number of freshman off the wait-list. It is expected that it will be less than 10 students who are admitted, and we will begin sending out this information in the mail to both the admitted students and the students for which we are not able to offer admission. The offers of admission will be shown on the myStatus page first (they should show up today, 5/19), followed later this week by the decisions where we could not offer admission. UGA only has a limited amount of space for freshman, from courses to residence halls and more, and we cannot move forward with any further offers of admission. Generally, the few students who were admitted were done so for Spring term and after communication with other offices on campus (for example, Landscape Architecture).

We understand that this is not the decision that wait-listed students would like to hear, but hopefully you have all moved forward with a plan B option as both the University and I advised you to do at the beginning of the wait-list process. I do not suggesting contacting our office about this situation, as we are not able to change the decision. We wish you well at your other college options.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nashville bound to the SEC meeting

For the last five years or so, I have spent a few days each May meeting with Admissions personnel from the other SEC schools to share ideas, talk about different issues, laugh, cry (okay, not too much crying), and share stories from the year. It is also a good time to plan for the future, and see how other college admissions teams run their offices. I am also going to get a behind the scenes look at Vanderbilt (my sister's alma mater), see some great Nashville locations, and hopefully learn a great deal. As such, I will have intermittent access to the blog, and to your questions. Please be patient concerning any replies, and I will try to answer questions either at sporadic times during the event, or when I return mid-week.

As well, let me know if you have any questions about admissions for the SEC group. I cannot promise any answers, but I can share your thoughts.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Orientation Update, Part II

UGA's Orientation website is now available for all admitted freshmen and transfer applicants! Please make sure to have the email that you used to apply for admission (and the accompanying password) in order to sign into the Orientation site. Here are a few things to remember about registering for Orientation:

  • It may take a few days for the Orientation fee to post to your student account
  • Payments are made to the UGA Bursar's office
  • Make sure to check your calendars before selecting orientation dates, and hold off on travel plans until you have received a confirmation of the session you have requested
  • Please review the pages leading up to the registration page, as there are key items you need to review
  • A confirmation letter will be mailed to you approximately two weeks prior to your orientation date
  • Be patient, as there may be a number of people logging into the site
  • Send the required Health documentation to the Univ. Health Center (not Admissions)
  • If you have AP/IB exam results, have them sent to UGA, and the Registrar will post the credit to your academic record as they are received. Students should review the Credit Placement web pages for more details, and be patient with any scores that will be coming into UGA in July.
Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Orientation Update

Here is a quick update straight from the Orientation Website:

First-year Summer Term & all Transfer Orientation Registration is now available. First-year Fall Term Orientation Registration will be available on the afternoon of May 9, 2011.

If you have questions about orientation, the best thing to do is review the orientation website, and then contact orientation with any further issues. Please remember that if you sign up for orientation, you will be charged the fee (to your student account) no matter if you attend orientation (or UGA) or not. You are reserving a place at an orientation, similar to a ticket at an event, and thus another person cannot attend that session. Please only sign up for orientation after you are sure you will be attending UGA.

Go Dawgs!