Thursday, December 29, 2011

myStatus Transcript Issue

As some of you may have noticed, there is an issue with the myStatus page displaying transcripts as received. I have communicated with the head of our technology team, and for some reason, the transcript database for the myStatus page did not load correctly the day that we left for the holidays. He is working on getting it updated, so do not panic if a transcript that was showing as in earlier in the year now has a red X beside it. We will fix the problem soon, so you do not need to email, call (we are on break, so no one would answer), or send a replacement transcript. We hope to have this fixed very shortly.

*** Update: The problem with the transcript database has now been fixed, so everything should now be showing up correctly. Please remember that we will be out of the office until Tuesday, January 3, so no materials or new applications will be input until then.

Go Dawgs!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Out for the Holidays

Our office will be closed for the Holiday break, and we will not return until early January. As such, any emails, mailings, phone calls, etc. will not be acted upon until after the holiday break. As well, I will only be making sporadic checks on the blog posts, so please be patient. As well, when we return in January, we will be working for a few days on enrolling Spring students and then right into freshman application deadline issues, so any questions that can wait (summer/fall transfer issues, questions about HS juniors or younger, etc.) should be put on hold until later in January.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What has been great with other colleges?

Throughout the year, while we read files, attend college fairs, match documents, review transcripts, visit schools, answer emails and phone calls, and generally just work with students and parents, we also look around and see what other college admissions offices are doing to help students know more about themselves. As such, here is your chance to let us know what has impressed you when working with other colleges (please no negative stories!), so that we can look at it and see if we can do our jobs better at UGA. Understand that our office has a limited budget and limited staff, so we cannot do everything in the world. But if a certain program, mailing, contact, event, or action from admissions struck you as impressive, I would love to hear about it!

Thanks, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Fourth Quarter

For a majority of students, the first semester is coming to an end, and with it comes the arrival of the dreaded disease known as senioritis. Hopefully, this video will shed a little more light on how UGA Admissions looks at a student's senior year.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Admissions Reminders

As we get further into December, here are a few reminders concerning UGA Admissions:
  1. Please, please, please do not wait until the last minute to send in your application and materials! Please!
  2. We have about 13,500 students who have applied so far, so I expect we will receive about 5,000 more applications. If you are one of those that is waiting to send it in until the last minute, know that life gets hectic around deadline time, so be prepared to wait as we sort through all of the materials and match up documents.
  3. Remember that our office will not be open from 12/26 through 1/2, so any information sent in during that time will not be matched up until we return and have a chance to start working again. In addition, we will have about 1,000 students starting in the Spring term that week, so we will have to focus on their needs as well.
  4. Do not wait to send in your SAT/ACT scores until after you apply, as you might forget to send them! If we do not have official SAT/ACT (with Writing) scores in, we cannot move forward with your file.
  5. Please remember that it takes time to match up items with your application, so do not contact us a day or two after you have applied wondering why your transcript is not showing up on your myStatus page. 
  6. Remember, we hate faxes!! The shredder is next to the fax (we do send and receive some faxes that are not official documents), and we will shred any transcript, recommendation letter, etc. that is sent for a student.
  7. January 15 is the Regular Decision deadline, but if it falls on a weekend or holiday, we extend the deadline to the next business day, so January 17 is the accurate deadline this year. Please do not see this as a chance to wait two more days though, as deadlines you should shoot to get things in before a deadline, not on a deadline.
  8. Deadlines are for the application and all other documents as well! The only two exceptions are February 1 for Fall grades, and we will take in any SAT/ACT that is taken in January (but you need to request the scores to be sent to UGA when you take the exam).
  9. Make sure your teachers know your real name, as I had to match up a recommendation yesterday where the name on the letter was not the name on the application. I cannot guess that the name on the materials refers to your middle name or nickname.
  10. If you are deferred, do not (I repeat DO NOT) fill out an entirely new application. Just complete part II and have a teacher recommendation sent in.
  11. We want to see your Fall grades, so make sure you either include them in your update section of part II, enter them in your self-reported grades if you know the final grades for the term, or have an updated transcript sent in to our office.
  12. Good luck during finals for the fall term, and have a great holiday season!

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Essays and Jokes, and How they are Similar

A number of you are now starting to write the four short essays for UGA, either because your decision was deferred or because you are finishing up your Regular Decision application. As such, here is some advice on good essays, and how telling a joke well and writing a good essay are similar. Just to be clear, I am not saying to include any jokes in your essays, but instead how the the two creative processes (joke-telling and essay writing) are similar.This is my first attempt at a video blog post, I hope you enjoy it. As you can probably guess, I will be cringing and wondering if that is really how I look, and if my voice really sounds like that to everyone.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recommendation Letters

We receive a number of questions at this time of year about teacher recommendations, so here is my (limited) advice on the subject. First, when figuring out who you should ask to write a letter of recommendation, try to find a teacher who knows you well, and has taught you within the last 1-2 years. UGA prefers teachers from core academic subjects, and we suggest you only have one teacher recommendation sent in. If you really feel like you need a second teacher recommendation (or one from a person outside the school such as a boss, a volunteer program coordinator, a minister, etc.), then I suggest the maximum should be one additional letter. Why do I say this? At a certain point, too much information starts to detract from our counselors being able to focus on the important items. If you have six recommendations in your file (and most of them will say similar things), we then start to spend more time shuffling through these letters than focusing on your other strengths.

For us, the purpose of the recommendation letters is to learn more about you from teachers/school officials who deal with you on a day to day basis, and can give us insight into what you are like in their classrooms, their hallways, and in the life of your school. Do you sleep in class, do you work well with others on projects, are you respectful to the ideas of others, do you pay attention, etc. How you act day in and day out in a HS class can give us insight into how you will be in our classrooms and in the UGA community. A recommendation letter that just gives us information that we already know, from a student's grades to activities (which are already in the file!), or holds up the applicant as the perfect student really does not help us in the review process. We are looking for insight into what the student is really like.

I still remember one of the first students I worked with in a college admissions setting, Patrick F. (almost 20 years ago!). He was a great student/person from Plano, TX, back when Plano Senior HS was the only high school in the town. One of his recommendations was from a priest/volunteer-organizer who wrote a recommendation without Patrick knowing about it. In the letter, the priest was able to give amazing insight into the type of person that Patrick was, and was able to show me what he was like when no one was watching. It talked about his positive manner of interacting with people in need of a helping hand and a kind voice, and how he was able to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds. The letter also talked about his humor, his maturity (or at times a lack of it!), and it gave me a sense of the real person. This is the type of letter that colleges desire.

So find the people that know you best, and have them share information and insights into who you truly are, warts and all.

Go Dawgs!