Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rising Senior Suggestions from the Director!

David Graves has asked that I share some pearls of wisdom with our blog readers as rising seniors begin to plan their college application process.  I have served on many panels of Admission Deans and Directors who present this type of information to students and their parents and I often gleam really good ideas from others. So, this is a summary of some of the best ideas that I have heard and some that I have shared over my many years in this role.
  • Students, summer time is a great time for travel, work, volunteering and other adventures which are likely to provide you with great material for those pesky essays that you will be writing in your applications.  Keep a journal this summer and write in it every day.  Record your thoughts, impressions, ideas, which will help jog your memory next fall when you are writing your umpteenth essay.  And, you may find that it helps your writing style, also.
  • Parents, you may find that you become fixated on your child’s college search process to the point that all you do is talk to him/her about, ‘Did you sign up for the SAT?’,’ Have you written that essay yet?’, ‘What is the deadline for getting the FASFA in?’, etc.  Pretty soon, that is all you talk to your child about.  A colleague and friend, Arlene Cash from Spelman, suggests that you establish a College-Free-Zone in your home.  This could be a location (the dinner table) or a day and time (Sunday afternoon) during which the parents and the students agree to not talk about the college application process. This way you know that you can have conversation on a regular basis about the other things in life that matter.
  • Families, as you travel this year, make an effort to swing by any colleges that you are near.  It might not be one that is on the have-to-visit list, but it may just give you some comparisons of schools.  If you are not able to get on the tour or official admissions office information session, spend a little time walking around the campus, get a soda at the student union and read the student newspaper. Make conversation with students, faculty and staff that you encounter. These are all ways to get a feel for the campus and broaden your knowledge of schools. There are over 4000 colleges and each is just a bit different from the others.
  • Students, take control of your college selection process.  If you have a question, need assistance or more information, it is often best for you to contact the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid Office or your high school counselor.  Sometimes that may not be possible, but with e-mail and cell phones, you should be able to reach the needed person around your class schedule.  Admissions staff are glad to answer questions from parents, but we really like to see a student who owns the process and has the maturity to seek assistance when needed.
  • Students, set up a free e-mail account to use with all of your college applications.  Use it for information, applications, and other correspondence. You will then have all of your communications about college in one location, not mixed in with your other e-mails.  And, make sure to use an ID on your account which is appropriate. It is surprising what we learn about students from little things like their e-mail name.  Some past ones at UGA have been sexykitten@xxx , cutiebootie@xxx, thuginluv@xxx and my favorite, bamabound@xxx.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy your time as a family as you navigate the college selection process.  It can be fun and very rewarding.  Again, with over 4000 colleges and schools available in the US, there is a place for everyone who wants to gain a college education. And you will find a good match.
          -Nancy McDuff, Associate Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Management, UGA

Friday, June 10, 2011

2012 Freshman Application and Essay Questions

In mid-August, UGA will open up the Freshman application for the Summer/Fall 2012 terms. Some students are eager to start the application now, and we understand that, but we have to make sure we enroll the 2011 class before we begin to take in applications for the next year. In addition, most high school counselors are not yet ready to begin the steps of submitting their materials, and there will be some tweaking on our side as far as some details of the application. But in mid-August, you can start the process. Please remember, though, that being among the first students to apply for next year's freshman class does not improve your chances of admission, so there is no need to rush. My suggestion is to start preparing for the process by getting a copy of your high school transcript (with final junior year grades on it), start listing out your activities/athletics/volunteer/work details, and start looking at the essay questions for the colleges you are considering.

Over the last few years, we have been very pleased with the responses we have received to our short essay questions, so we have made only a few tweaks to the four essay prompts. While the application will not be available until mid-August, the 2012 Freshman Application Essay Questions are now available for your review. And by the way, have a great summer!

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First-Year Odyssey

I am happy to announce the newest program on campus for all First-Year students starting in Fall of 2011 (and beyond), the First-Year Odyssey program! This seminar program is designed for all new freshmen, and is geared towards connecting freshmen with faculty members in a small group environment (estimated class size is 15-18 students). The First-Year Odyssey program website just opened up, and you can now search from among the wide (and wild) variety of courses available. Every freshman starting in Fall 2011 is required to take a First-Year Odyssey course by the end of their first year at UGA, so you will want to start reviewing the options and make a list of the ones that interest you. You might even have a class with the Provost, the President, or the Dean of a college. This is an amazing new opportunity, and I am excited about this program.

Here are a few examples of the 300+ FYO courses offered:
  • The CIA in War and Peace
  • Prediction: The Science of What Comes Next
  • Books That Changed the World
  • Chocolate Science
  • Nature versus Nurture: The Role of Genetics in Your Life
  • Comics in Context
  • And They're Off: A History of Horse Racing
  • Telling on Retail
  • AA for Uncle Sam's Oil Addiction
  • Chickenology: Everything You Need to Know about Chickens
  • Bollywood: Film, Narrative and Culture
Please remember that this is a brand new program at UGA, and the website just opened up, so please be patient if there are a few things that need to be altered or corrected over the first few days.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Final Steps

Now that most of the incoming freshmen and transfers are done with their Spring terms (or at least about to be done), it is time for a few reminders about a few last items before you enroll.
  1. All incoming freshmen need to send UGA a final HS transcript showing graduation and completion of your senior courses. We need to verify that you graduated, and that did not have any late issues with classes. You can see if we have received a transcript on the myStatus page, where it shows the high school transcript. Our system only captures the month and year for HS transcripts, so any transcript received in June will show up as 6/1/2011.
  2. All entering transfer students (and freshmen with dual enrollment work) need to send us a final college transcript with updated grades. Our office will use this to post courses to your file, and to check on the updated grades. The transcript will show up on the myStatus page by date, so you can see when it has been received.
  3. Please remember that we hate (and since I almost never use this word, I am serious), hate faxes, and they will be shredded, so do not send official documents to the Admissions Office by fax. You will just have to send it again officially, so I do not want to waste your time.
  4. All incoming Fall students (freshmen, transfer and formers) should check their myStatus page (unless you have done this already) to make sure that the new state requirement, the Verification of Legal Presence, has been taken care of by any of the methods described on the myStatus page. If this is not taken care of by orientation, you will not be able to sign up for courses. This is a new requirement that has been assigned to our office by the Board of Regents, and a huge majority of students have taken care of this already. We still have about 800 or so who have not, though, so make sure to go to your myStatus page and get it done. And please know if you submit one of the items through the upload system on the myStatus page, it will show when it was uploaded, and then our office needs time to review it before it can be cleared. In other words, be patient please.
  5. Have a great summer!!!
Go Dawgs!