Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Missing First-Year Documents

Our office is at the point where we have caught up with the mail, the electronic documents, and the checking of our holding files for other matching materials. Over the next week or so, we will continue to match up materials that have just come in with freshman files, as well as do a thorough review of our holding files to make sure we did not miss any items that came in prior to the application being submitted, or that has a slightly different name then the one we have (hyphenated names, Jim instead of James, etc.). We will also continue to take in test scores until the January 28 SAT results are sent to us. Remember, all SAT/ACT scores MUST be sent to UGA electronically by the testing agency, as we do not take them from a paper copy, a transcript or any other document.

While saying this, I would suggest that if you are missing any required items for your application, you need to have them sent to us ASAP. This includes the application fee, SAT/ACT (with writing) scores, HS transcripts, school evaluations, and teacher recommendations. The online school evaluation and teacher recommendation forms are still open, and will be open for about 1 more week. In addition, if your teacher believes they have submitted an online teacher recommendation more than a few days ago, and it is still not showing, we suggest they mail in a recommendation letter, as some HS email systems have firewall issues with some forms.

In addition, if you submitted a GA411 transcript and it is not showing up in our system, just request a new one, as maybe 1% of these transcripts have an issue at times in downloading. We do not control the GA411 site, but we try our best to make it work (I just found about 30 transcripts from the same date , 1/9 , that had an issue downloading from GA411 and imported them one by one).

We know that applicants cannot always control school documents and when they are sent, so this is why we give some leeway to these items in relationship to our deadlines. But at a certain point, we need to move forward with the applicants who have completed their files, so make sure to take care of any missing items now if you have not already.

Oh, and by the way, do NOT fax any official documents, as they will be shredded.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quiet Time

It is now quiet time in our office, a practice that we have done for about 6 years. The main desk will still be taking calls and answering emails, but the admissions counselors will be focused on freshman file reading, and thus will not be able to take calls or visit with students/families that visit our office. We will still be conducting information sessions and our counselors will be talking to guidance counselors, but in order to get decisions by late March, we need to focus on file reading. While our information clerks will still be taking calls and answering emails, the responses may be a little slower as we go along. For more information, please go to the Quiet Time Information page on our website.

I have enjoyed reading the limited number of files I have been able to get to so far, and I look forward to learning more about all our applicants! I will also try to give people updates and share more about my file reading through my twitter page.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January Freshman Admission Update

We are a few days out from the admissions deadlines, so I will try to give you an update on what is happening and where we are right now in the process. Over the long weekend, approximately 2,200 freshman applications were submitted, and we still have a few hundred more that we need to correct some errors and then push into our system. In other words, we have a lot of applications that just came in! The next step is that we have to check each one of these against the document holding file, which takes a while with 2,200 applications. In addition, we have received 12+ bins of mail, thousands of GA411 transcripts, thousands of paper/electronic transcripts, thousands of teacher recommendations, etc., all within the last 3 days. We now have to match these documents up with the appropriate applicants. What does this mean? We need time to get things matched up, so please be patient. As I type, I am staring at a list of 100 teacher recommendations that I will shortly be dragging and dropping into electronic files, and I know that there are more to come after that.

I do not have exact numbers on how many freshmen have applied yet, or how soon we will be done with matching up materials, but I hope to post updates soon. As I have said before, if it has not been 8-10 business days since you either applied or had a document sent in, just be patient and relax while we take care of things.  The best thing to do right now is be patient, and if any documents are not showing as being received and were sent 8-10 business days ago (and if you applied before Friday, 1/13), then just check and make sure they were sent. If you applied on Friday or afterwards, be patient, as we have to check through a wide range of documents, and we have only had two business days to do it so far.

I hope this helps!!

Go Dawgs!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Patience at the Deadline

During both the week before and the week after a deadline, life gets fairly crazy in our office. We are receiving tens of thousands of documents, both online and through the mail, and we have a number of people trying to match these documents as quickly (and accurately) as possible. And while we know that you want to check and see about missing items, I ask that you hold your phone calls, emails, visits, etc. for a little while, as you need to give us time to match up items. Over the past two days, I have had two people contacting me wondering why something that was submitted an hour or two ago is not showing up on the myStatus page. So here are a few tips and explanations so that you will understand the process.

  •  The myStatus page was updated on 1/13 at 4:00 p.m., and will not be updated until the morning of Tuesday, 1/17. Items that arrived at the end of this week or later may not show up until later next week.
  • While the deadline is 1/17 (extended due to Sunday and holiday), we will be accepting supplemental documents for a few weeks after this date, as we know that some schools, counselors and teachers are somewhat overwhelmed at this time of year. That does not mean that you should wait to have things sent in, but that we try to work with schools on the documents.
  • The myStatus page does not work on a live feed. It is updated at about 3 a.m. or so every business day, so something that is submitted today will not show up automatically.
  • If a school evaluation is submitted online through our system, it will show up in 1-2 business days, as it goes straight into the student's file. If a teacher recommendation is submitted online through our system and the teacher uses the link off the email (it self-populates the information of the applicant), it will also show up in 1-2 business days. If the teacher just goes to the form and enters in your information, it will have to be hand matched, and it will take longer.
  • If an item is sent through the mail, through GA411, or through Naviance, it has to be hand matched, and it takes a few days.
  • If you had something sent in before you applied, it gets put into a holding file for documents awaiting matching, and then can only be matched after you apply. When we have 2,000 people apply right at the deadline, which is a lot of applicants to check against our holding file, so be patient.
  • We generally say to give us 8-10 business days (not just days, but business days) to get something into your file after it has been sent/submitted. It usually takes much less time, but you never know.
  • Make sure your teacher/counselor uses your full name, as I have seen first/last names reversed, nicknames instead of first names, or even the occasional letter with only a first name on it. These will take much longer to match up (if we are able to), as we have your official name on the application and go with that name. As well, there are a number of students with the same name, and if there is no birthdate or middle name on the letter, we may have to double check the different files for accuracy (I once had a set of twins with the same first name!).
  • Test scores are loaded several times a week, but your scores need to be sent officially by the testing agency, and UGA does not control when they are sent to us. As well, if the scores arrive today, it generally takes 1-2 days to then load them into our system.
  • If you send a fax, I will shred it. Faxed official documents are not acceptable. I don't think I can make that any clearer.
  • Fee waivers and checks must go through a specific financial tracking process before they are entered to make sure there is no financial misconduct, so be patient with these items getting into the system.

So my best answer is that the word of the day is PATIENCE. We hope to have a first pass of all materials matched with files within the next two weeks, and we will then search for missing items. These usually are items where there are hyphenated names, nicknames, etc., and we did not catch them the first time around.

Right now, just breath, know that we are doing our best to match up items, and have patience.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Deadlines - Cut the Wire

Since the deadline is fast approaching (because 1/15 falls on a Sunday, and the next day is a holiday, the actual deadline is 1/17), here are my thoughts on why not to apply right on the deadline. This is in addition to the added stress to your parents, counselors, admissions offices, etc. that is caused by doing things at the deadline! Enjoy!

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Admissions Thoughts - January 2012 edition

We are about 2 weeks from the RD deadline (if a deadline falls on a weekend or a holiday, we move it to the next business day, so the RD deadline is January 17 this year), so here are some quick thoughts during this time:
  • While the deadline is about 2 weeks away, I do not suggest waiting until the deadline to submit your application. Think about it like a scene in an action movie where the timer on the bomb shows one minute, and the hero is holding a pair of wire cutters. Do you really want to wait until the timer is down to 1 second before you cut the wire? If not, don't wait until the last second to submit the application!
  • Tell your neighbor, tell your friends, tell your counselor and tell your teacher, NO FAXES! We will shred any official document that comes in as a fax.
  • Be patient as we go through the large volume of applications, transcripts, recommendations, etc. that will come in over the next few weeks. If something does not show up the day after you send it, do not panic.
  • If you go by a different name than is on your application (your real name is James R. Graves III, but you go by Trey), tell your school counselor and teacher that the documents they send in need your full correct name on them. We are working off your full name, so trying to find Trey will be difficult. The same goes for test scores (put your official name on the SAT/ACT when signing up for it!).
  • The deadline is the deadline for both the application and supporting documents. If you do not know this, then you did not read the instructions. We do give some amount of leeway with the deadline, but not much, so get your documents in on time.
  • The last test score we will take will be the January 28 SAT. We are not able to use any test scores taken after this date. Remember, put UGA as one of your options for colleges receiving these scores. Do not wait until you see the scores before you send them, as it may delay the scores for too long. Remember, we only use the highest subscores from all of your tests, so you can send all scores in without fear of a lower score hurting you.
  • When completing the different activities/sports/honors/work sections, make sure you put things in the correct sections. In addition, make sure to tell us about your involvement in the activity, when you were active in it (including projected spring 2012 activities), and list groups that are outside of school if applicable. We want to know if you volunteer at the local library, if you are active in a youth group, if you play a club sport, etc. We are not mind readers, so you need to tell us about yourself.
  • Do not take an academic dive second semester of your senior year. It will come back to haunt you if you do (eerie, haunting music should accompany this bullet point).
  • Do not over-obsess about the essays. Write them, let us know about yourself in them, let another person read them to check for errors (and then fix them), and then submit. Do not over-analyze your essays! There is no exact perfect essay or perfect word choice.
  • Do not use a thesaurus to write your essays. You don't sing "Propel, propel, propel your craft, lightly down the liquid solution, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, existence is but an illusion." Write it so we can read it!
  • Double check the eight or so items we show you on the last submission page to make sure they are correct, and make sure you use your correct SSN. Do not use the SSN for your sibling, father, mother, best friend, etc. Make sure it is correct (down to the last digit), or things might not always go smoothly, from admissions to financial aid.
  • Don't forget to smile and breathe. 

Go Dawgs!