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

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