Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big Dawg Welcome 2011

Every year, the University of Georgia has a huge series of events during the first week back on campus. This year, there will be a huge freshman gathering at Sanford Stadium, an outdoor movie at Legion Field, live performances at the Tate theater, and a special Dawgs after Dark on Friday, August 19. I hope that the first week at UGA goes well for all incoming freshmen and transfer students, and I wish you the best for your first semester (and year!). Go to the UGA Campus Life site for more information!

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Random Admission Thoughts - July Edition

As we move forward with recruiting the freshman who will be applying for the Summer/Fall 2012 term, here are a few random thoughts about the admissions process and where you are at now in the admission cycle.
  • Go out and get a copy of your high school transcript now (if possible), or after the first week back at your HS. If your HS uses electronic transcripts (in GA, most us the GA411 option), you may be able to get this very easily. This will allow you to look at your grades over the past three years, remember what happened, and be able to complete any self-reported grade sections on an application.
  • If you are invited to any special visitation programs for a college you are interested in attending, and it fits both calendar wise and financially (I am not suggesting you fork over thousands of dollars to fly to Hawaii and use me as an excuse!), go to them. These are usually set up so that you can get a wealth of information in one day, from student and/or faculty panels, academic department drop-ins, tours, etc., which is much more arranged than just going on a tour of campus.
  • Please remember that in this age of amazing technology, faxes have gone the way of the dinosaur. As I have said before in my Dr. Seuss voice, "I do not like Faxes, Sam I Am."
  • Go get a book and read it! I say this so often that I feel like I should get a tattoo of a book on my arm. My son is about to start To Kill a Mockingbird, I just finished The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (re-read both), and my daughter is part way into Beautiful Creatures. They sometimes groan about my insistence on summer reading, but it is important!
  • Before the start of school, volunteer for at least 2-4 hours somewhere. Whether it is a food bank, Habitat for Humanity, tutoring, cleaning a neighbor's yard, etc., go out and give back. Why? First, because some people really need help. Second, volunteering helps to put things into perspective. After a week at camp, almost all of the counselors I was with saw that their issues did not seem quite as bad as they thought.
  • The college football season is about to kick off, but do not choose a college based just upon their football team, as everyone has ups and downs. I think the world of Coach Richt and I believe that UGA will have a great season, but athletics are only a small part of a college's overall world. Choose wisely.
  •  It is hot, especially in the South, so go out an have some ice cream. Oh, one additional thing, take your parents with you. Take the time to sit, relax, forget about any issues, and just enjoy a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard with cookie dough (the ice cream of choice for the Graves family).
Go Dawgs!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do's and Don'ts from Admissions

We are right near the end of the cycle for one group of students (the Fall semester starts on August 15), and we will open up the 2012 Freshman application on the same day. As such, here is a list of do's and don'ts for both of these groups of students (please take with a little grain of salt):

Entering Students: 
DO: Have a great rest of the summer, and know that the first week at UGA, while a little intimidating, is the start to a great year! Speak with your professors on the first day, check out some of the great events going on that week at http://www.uga.edu/campuslife/calendar.html, try to connect with a few organizations that seem interesting to you, step outside your comfort zone, etc.
DON'T: Let me see your name and/or photo on the front page of the Red and Black newspaper because you did something stupid the first week. It is the first week that you will be on your own at college and away from the parents, but be smart in the choices you make.
DO: Jump in feet first into your classes, study hard, get to know the faculty member and your peers in you First-Year Odyssey course, and be on time. The UGA iPhone app has a campus map that can direct you around campus and show you where you are using GPS, and the bus system is a lifesaver.
DON'T: Skip any classes because they are too early/too late/too far away/because you are late. Attendance is key, along with planning ahead. Map out your weeks to include study time, find people to study with, and use the available resources, from tutoring to your RA to your professors.
DO: Have a great first year, as your freshman year should be wonderful!

Rising HS Seniors:
DO: Have a wonderful senior year, as your senior year should be special. Focus on doing well in your classes, but also take time to strengthen your ties to your friends, meet new people, and enjoy your last year of HS.
DON'T: Let senioritis overtake your brain. After you are admitted to a college, they will still be reviewing your final HS transcript, and you need to make sure your grades have not dropped to a level that causes problems in enrolling at your intended college.
DO: Stay active in clubs, sports, volunteer work or other activities that you have been involved with during HS. Senior year should be a good finish to your HS years, not a count-down until you are out of there.
DON'T: Be so active in all things outside of school that you let your grades drop (see the first DON'T). Know (or learn) how to juggle different demands, and know that your academics come first.
DO: Look at the college search process as a time to learn more about yourself, what you want to do for the next four years, and find several good matches in your college search. This should be an exciting time where you are able to look into the future and see how you fit with each college, and the possibilities that are down the road.
DON'T: Listen to myths, rumors or people who say "I heard that in order to get into UGA...". Senior year and the college search should not be a time of panic or despair, and most of the stress is not necessary. College admission offices want to work with you and help you through the process, so listen to their suggestions.
DO: Pay attention to deadlines, take responsibility for your own college applications, and make sure things are in well before they need to be.
DON'T: Do things at the last minute. How you act in HS and in the application process shows us how you might be on our campus. If you do things at the last second (or later), procrastinate, and do not take care of your side of things, what do you think the colleges will be thinking about how you will handle things once you get to college.
DO: Enjoy your senior year, take time to enjoy the college selection process, and thank your parents/guardians for all that they have done.

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spring 2012 Transfer Decisions

In early July, the UGA Admissions office began reviewing Spring 2012 transfer applications and making admission decisions on files that were complete. We are still working with incoming freshman concerning final HS transcripts, and we are still posting updated transfer work for Fall transfers and freshman with dual enrollment credit, so we will not be evaluating as many applications daily as we normally do. Of the 300 or so Spring transfer applicants so far, we have made decisions on about 120 or so files, and decisions are made on a daily basis. Any decisions will show up on the myStatus page the next morning, and we only update the myStatus page once a day (in the very early AM), so you do not need to check it multiple times in a day. Spring Freshman decisions will not be made until September, so please be patient if you fall into that category.

We review transfer files based upon when an applicant has both applied and submitted all the necessary transcripts. My biggest suggestion is to make sure that all transcripts from all colleges you have attended have been both submitted and RECEIVED by the UGA admissions office. If you attended a local college for a few classes while in high school, send in the transcript. If you attended, a technical school and don't know if the work will transfer, send in the transcript. In other words, if you attended a college, send in the transcript.

The status check will show you if the transcript has been received by UGA, and it will also show a date of when we were able to match it with your file. Make sure that you have sent in any and all updated transcripts, as we cannot review a file for Spring 2012 if the last transcript you submitted does not include your most recent college work (for instance, if you sent in a transcript in March 2011, it will not include your Spring 2011 term grades). It is up to you to make sure you get everything in to our office, as we cannot request transcripts on your behalf. As well, do not fax in materials, as they will go straight to the shredder. I will say it again, DO NOT FAX MATERIALS (sorry about the shouting, but we cannot accept faxed documents, and I do not want students to think we have received transcripts when we have not).

Please be patient as we review the files, as our team has a number of jobs to complete during the late summer.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Post for the Parents

For the last few years, I have opened up a post specifically to answer questions from parents, and I thought I would revisit this theme earlier this year. While I love working with and answering questions from students, parents seem to be put in the background at times during the college admissions process. You hear the term "helicopter parent" and hear horror stories about over-zealous moms and dads, but for the most part they are just trying to help their children navigate the often confusing process of college admissions.

A number of colleges try to connect with parents, through email blasts, mailings or other connections, trying to give the family more information, including UGA. Our office wants to educate parents about the UGA admissions process, and dispel any myths that float around the HS communities and neighborhoods. Hopefully, a fair number of parents of rising seniors have seen the recent email we sent out to students letting them know about the blog, but please spread the word about this post.

So here is your chance, parents. What questions do you have that you are dying to ask? Feel free to post whatever questions you would like through the comment option, and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. Fire Away!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Camp Sunshine 2011

It is that time of year again, when I will be away from the blog for a week while I volunteer at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer. This will be my 17th year volunteering for the summer camp part of Camp Sunshine (and my wife's 19th year), and I have had a wonderful time over the years working with this program. This year, I will be a cabin counselor for nine 10/11 year old boys  (along with two other counselors), and I am guessing I will be involved in a great deal of mountain biking, fishing, tennis, gold panning, going up the climbing wall (or just watching as my campers go up), archery, dodgeball, arts and crafts, and a lot of singing. If you have never heard 200+ campers and 150+ volunteers singing and dancing to "Peanut Butter Jelly Time", you are missing a great event.

So, for the next week or so, I will be out of communication with this blog. But fear not, as I have asked a few of the Admissions Counselors in the office to check in and answer questions that might come up. Once I am back, I will begin posting again, but I am sure that my co-workers will be able to handle your questions, or if it gets too complicated, I will answer them when I return!

Go Dawgs!