Monday, December 22, 2014

Applications and Inventory Supply

A number of my relatives work in the automotive industry, with the two closest to my age being engineers. My brother-in-law, Dave,  is an engineer with Toyota, and his job making sure the assembly process for SUV's and mini-vans goes as planned. One key for automotive plants is managing inventory, allowing you to build the vehicles from the different parts, but not having too few or too many parts at the plant. One serious problem that many businesses used to have was when plants had to store and manage a large volume of parts (and the space to keep the parts), causing the company to spend more time and energy focusing on managing the parts and less time and energy focused on building vehicles. This led to Just in Time Inventory (JIT), where a company manages the materials needed to make their product by having a critical amount of items to function, but not so many that they become a storage facility instead of their true focus of building cars, planes, etc.

Many admissions offices have an inventory problem, and no matter how hard we try to manage it, we are still stuck spending more time than we want managing documents and less time making decisions. The inventory we struggle with are documents, or more precisely transcripts, recommendation letters, forms, etc. Test scores are not an issue, as they are all electronic and match up automatically with a file, but all other items without applications need to be managed by hand.

Imagine if you will you are having an SUV built specifically for you (similar to "building" your admissions application), and you are working with the company to have it made. With Just in Time inventory, the company would want the frame of the SUV to come in first, then all of the parts needed for assembly to arrive right after the frame ( by the way, your frame and most parts are unique to you, so it's not like you could attach any SUV door, engine or wheels). That way, the SUV could go right on the line, parts could be matched right to your vehicle, and a little while later your SUV is ready. But what would happen if you had all the parts sent in ahead of time. Better yet, what if thousands of people had their parts sent in before the frame was sent? The car company would have to store all of the parts in a warehouse, listed specifically with the name of the buyer, and wait for the frame to come in. When the frame does finally come in, the company will have to filter through all the parts to find the right items, send it over to match the frame, etc. And what if 10,000 of those buyers decided to cancel their order and never send in the frame? The company would have to return/trash those parts.

This is what happens in admissions. If you have your supporting documents sent in prior to applying (the frame of the vehicle), we have to put these items in storage in one of our "holding files". Right now, we have about 20,000 documents sitting in our holding files waiting for applications to arrive. Every day we check the holding files to compare against the previous day's applications and see if any documents match (filtering through a part of the 20,000 documents), and we must then hand match the items and enter in data. Every day up to the deadline the holding files grow as we get more and more documents. The days after a deadline are the worst, as it takes about a week to go through the holding files. And about 4 months after the deadline, we will purge 15,000+ documents from the holding files for students who never applied.

This is why we suggest you do not wait until right around the deadline to apply, that you send in documents after you apply, and why we give a week after the deadline for school documents to be submitted. It is much easier to match an item right when we receive it rather than us slogging through the holding files. This is also why we have built our online counselor and teacher recommendation forms, as these documents will go right into your file. Remember, this is only for supporting documents, not test scores, as SAT/ACT scores are only accepted electronically, are imported into our student system, and the electronic data can be matched right when an application arrives. So send in your test scores well before you apply just to make sure we have them.

So please, help us become more efficient so we can focus more attention on your application and less on the inventory of documents. Thank you for your help, and Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Withdraw/Cancel your Application

A number of colleges have just released their EA/ED decisions, and now comes the time when some of our applicants decide that another university is a better match for their needs as a college student. This is just fine, as we know that this will happen and we plan for this possibility in our admission offers. FYI: This is not an option for applicants who just want to redo their application because they left off some items, as these student would just contact us and add information to their file.

We have tried to make it easy for students to withdraw/cancel their application, and we have built it into the myStatus page. On the bottom of the site, you will see an option for canceling your application, either before or after an offer of admission. The biggest thing we want you to be sure of before you take this step is that you really want to withdraw/cancel your application (don't just do this on a whim). We even built in an "are you sure" step just to make sure this is what you want.

If you have selected another college to attend, and are sure that UGA is not in your plans, then go ahead and withdraw/cancel your application. This will help you to no longer receive communications from us, it allows us to clear things up on our side and focus on potential UGA enrollees, and makes things easier for everyone.

Good luck, and Go Dawgs!

Monday, December 1, 2014

File Reading Part I - Activities, Writing and Creativity

From January through mid-March, the admissions staff will hide out in our offices and read files during our holistic file reading process. And when I say read files, I mean lots of files (I am guessing I will read over 1,200 files this year alone). As such, we want you to know what we are looking at when we review these files. There are six main areas that we look at in our file reading process, and I will cover two areas each in a three part post. The first two areas focus on a student's activities, involvement and leadership and a review of the student's writing, self expression and creativity.

Activities/Involvement/Leadership

The first thing you should know about activities is that we value quality over quantity. What we are looking for is somewhat about the range of what a person does, but more so the depth of their involvement. I see far too many applicants get involved with multiple clubs or organizations in their junior year after the light comes on (or the parent's voice starts to be heard) about being involved. Suddenly a student is involved in seven different groups, from the Green Campus club to the knitting for kids group. Anything and everything gets thrown into the resume.

What we are really looking at is what things you have committed to during your high school years, both in time and in consistency. I am much more impressed with a student who does three things, let's say scouting, cross-country and Habitat for Humanity, growing in ability, leadership and responsibility each year than a student who bounces from group to group, having ten areas of involvement, but not staying with any one of them. We also want to see that you had an impact in the club/sport/activity, whether it is as a leader or an active member. In addition, another area we look at a student's dedication to family and work. At times, a student may have limited involvement in clubs, but that might be due to a dedication to their family and/or job. We have seen students that need to work to help support their family, or at times are expected to help with taking care of younger/older family members. It comes down to looking at a student in context within his/her situation, and what is available or expected within their situation.

We suggest that you look at your time spent outside of the classroom and let us know what you are passionate about and active in. Don't think that just because it is not a "school" club, that you should not list it. If you play the violin, are active in missions with a community group, have the lead in a community theater production, etc, tell us about it. The worst thing you can do is leave a section blank just because you don't think we would want to know about "X". We will then look at what activities you have chosen to participate in over the last 4+ years, what leadership roles you have taken on, and  what type of time commitment you have put into these areas.

Writing/Self Expression/Creativity

In the review of an applicant's writing, our focus is more the writer's voice, how well they communicate their ideas, and how well they "show" us their information, and less focus is put on grammar and structure. Yes, we still want a student to write clearly and spell check their work, but that is not the key (and neither are "big" words or writing about UGA in your essays!). When I talk about a writer's voice, and about "showing" instead of "telling", I will direct you to my Suggestions for Writing Admissions Essays, as this tells you more than I could cover in one post.

I remember reading an applicant's essay where the student really understood the idea of showing, as her essays made me understand what she was going through in the events mentioned in the essays, and I felt like I could almost see the situations as they occurred. One essay focused on her interaction in a politics class where she was the outsider in her political views, and the challenges she faced from both her teacher and the other students (and how she stood her ground while still being respectful).

The other area within this part looks at a student's creative side. While we see some of these items within the activities section, we want to see how a student shows their artistic side. We look at their involvement in the dramatic, visual and performing arts, and try to get an understanding of their aesthetic side of life. We will focus more on the writing part during this review, but a student's passion for the arts does come into play.

File Reading Part II - Academics and Strength of Curriculum

From January through mid-March, the admissions staff will hide out in our offices and read files during our holistic file reading process. There are six main areas that we look at in our file reading process, and this post covers the second two areas, focusing on a student's academics and the strength of curriculum. While we look at these sections in our initial review of applications, we now look at them in much more detail.

Academic Review

When we look at a student's transcript during the holistic review process, we are trying to understand how a student has progressed over their 3+ years in high school. Have they been consistently strong throughout the years, did they start slow and then jump up to all A's, did they have a tough time in a specific subject, are all their B's low or high B's, etc. We then use this in combination with the other factors impacting their life, from family issues that occurred where we saw a dip in grades to how a student did once they got into a specific AP course. If a student made a D in Geometry in 10th grade, did they bounce back from it or keep on a downward trend. If there is a downward trend or low grade, we also want to know if there were any mitigating circumstances that led to this issue. All of these factors help us understand the overall picture that the transcript gives us.

Three quick warnings/notes on grades: First, we are only looking at core academic work, not PE, Health, Driver's Ed, etc. While your high school may put these classes into your overall GPA, we are not focusing on these course grades. Second, we focus on grades, not on the GPA or rank that is on your transcript. We are looking at how you have done each term in your academic classes, and so when I talk about this area, I try to talk about actual grades. Third, growth in one term, especially the first semester of your senior year, does not count as a trend. If you have B's and C's for three years, then suddenly wake up and start making A's, we look at this, but it is not a grade trend, this is a grade spike. A trend is a relatively constant movement, while a spike is a sudden shift. If you have a grade spike (hopefully upwards), I am wondering why you did not make this jump earlier.

In addition, we will be looking at an applicant's SAT and ACT scores, with a focus on the best subscores from all tests, and using either the SAT or the ACT (with Writing), whichever is stronger. If a student has not done as well on one score type, we will not look at this, but instead we will focus on the "better" score. In addition, we focus on the individual subscores, and with the ACT, we look at the subscores that have shown to predict success in college (the ACT English, Math and English/Writing). We also look at test scores in connection to a student's grades, trying to see if a student has performed in the classroom above or below where the test scores indicate.

Strength of Curriculum

First, don't ask how many AP/IB/Honors/Advanced/Dual Enrollment/Post-AP/TBE (The Best Ever!) classes are needed for admission, because there is no right answer. Instead, look at the academic opportunities both at your school and in your community for the answer. What I mean is, most competitive colleges are going to look at what academic options are available to you as a student, and what you have then chosen to take. What have you done within the context of what is available?

As an example, in two different files, one high school offers 31 Honors courses and 28 AP courses (including at least four language options), while the second has 18 honors courses and 1 AP (with only two languages offered). These are just two examples, and there is an even wider range of options within the 3,000+ high schools from which we have applicants every year. In addition, we are not just counting AP classes, but looking at the depth and breadth of a student's rigor in their core academic areas. I would rather see a student challenge themselves across the board with rigorous classes than to take 4 AP courses in one field, but basic courses in the rest. And don't fall for the idea that you should take the lightest load so you can make all A's, because this is not a good move if applying to UGA, and it is not a good way to prepare for college. Challenge yourself to the level that you can handle, and understand that this is a serious factor in admissions at UGA.

In our file reading, we are not just looking at high school courses, though, but at a student's overall academic challenge. We have applicants who attend college classes in the summer,  take independent study classes in addition to their high school offerings, attend Governor's Honors programs (or similar options) for 4-6 weeks in specialized academic fields, and do independent research in areas in which they are passionate. I still remember the applicant who drove one hour across Los Angeles to take entomology classes (his intended major at UGA), traveled to South America to study insects in the rain forest, and worked with college faculty on research projects. Now, don't run out and start collecting bugs right this minute, but instead understand the broad spectrum of what makes up academic opportunities. In addition, don't suddenly post  replies asking if X,Y or Z activity counts. Just understand that we look at the whole of a student's academic options, and how they have taken advantage of these opportunities.


File Reading Part III -Work Ethic, Integrity and Maturity

From January through mid-March, the admissions staff will hide out in our offices and read files during our holistic file reading process. There are six main areas that we look at in our file reading process, and this post covers the last two areas, focusing on a student's work ethic and integrity/maturity.

Work Ethic

Scene from the movie Rudy
Ara Parseghian: What's your problem, O'Hare, what's your problem?
Jamie O'Hara: Last practice of the season and this *****  thinks it's the Super Bowl!
Ara Parseghian: You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence! If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruettiger, you'd have made All-American by now! As it is, you just went from third team to the prep team! Get out of here!     Rudy

One area of admissions that is not always talked about, but which has a great impact over the entire file, is the idea of work ethic and integrity. When you watch the movie "Rudy", you see a young man that, while not possessing the greatest football skills, is able to translate sheer will and determination to get onto the football field and play at least one play for Notre Dame (although his academic drive is at times less than desired). When I am reading a file, I am trying to get a sense of who this applicant is, what they do with their time, and the effort they put into the things they participate in, from class work to sports to activities. Do they put in the time and sweat equity to get the work done well, or just get done with the job? Do they put forth the effort to make an A, or are they happy to settle for a C?  I am looking for clues, be it in the recommendations, the essays, the commitment of time and/or the difference between potential and results, that will show me what a student's work ethic is like. I often see phrases such as "this student has a lot of untapped potential" or "this student is an overachiever". We prefer the overachiever, the one that has taken what they have been given and gone beyond everyone's expectations.

Maturity/Integrity/Respect for Others

Tied in with work ethic is the idea of personal maturity and integrity. When a student is faced with a dilemma, how do they handle themselves now, and how will they handle themselves at UGA? Do they take responsibility and handle issues in a mature fashion, or do they blame others? One telling item (though by no means the only one), is how a student deals with discipline/conduct issues. I have looked at the large majority of files where there is a conduct/criminal issue, and it is very telling as to how a student reacts. Some will take full responsibility, and focus on both making amends and getting back on track. On the other hand, I have seen student's make the same mistakes over and over, relying on someone else to get them out of their situation. Maturity also shows up in a person's interaction with others, be it teachers, friends or classmates. These students will be studying in UGA's classrooms, living in the residence halls, and being a part of our community, so interaction with others is important.

Several years ago, I read a great book by Robert Fulghum called "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten", and a portion of it applies to the last part of File Reading:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
In looking at applicants, we are looking at future members of the UGA community.  They will be living in the residence halls together, studying together, dating, hanging out, and generally interacting with the people in the UGA community 24/7. In light of this, I want to know how they interact with other people in their own community right now. Do they play nice with the other kids in school, are they respectful to people from other cultures, backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, how do they treat teachers, etc. In other words, how well do they get along with others?

We look at recommendation letters, essays, personal notes, and other indicators to get an understanding of this. It does not always come through clearly, but we many times can see this through the comments in the overall application. I am not saying that this is the biggest part of the file review by any means, but it does come into play, especially when we see very positive or very negative situations.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 2014 Admissions Thoughts

We have made it past the Early Action decisions, and we are now at the next stages of the admission cycle. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts about what happens in Admissions and UGA from November to late March.

  • Scholarships-We are working on the review of files for scholarships, but as of today we have only had about four working days since decisions were released, and most of those were spent talking with families. I expect that we will begin releasing some scholarship offers in mid-December, and this will continue until mid-April as we review files for different scholarships. We will offer about 15-20% of admitted student's scholarships overall, but it takes time.
  • Honors-The Honors program is working with our office to collect data on the admitted EA applicants, so please be patient with this office as they begin their review for their early offers. They hope to be able to start communicating with students in mid-December, but that is an estimate, not a specific timeline.
  • Deferred EA applicants are beginning to submit part II of the application and get in teacher recommendations, and we expect the majority will finish these steps during the December holidays. Deferred applicants do not need to submit a new application or pay a new application fee, and it will cause problems for applicants who try to do this. In addition, the last section of part II is for any updates, where an applicant can give us new information such as updated activities, fall grades, new honors, etc. I also suggest that all RD and deferred EA applicants review the Timeline page for details on when we release decisions.
  • While Fall grades are not required for RD or deferred EA applicants, I heavily suggest sending them in, either self-reported on part II or on a transcript. Accepted students do not need to send us updated grades unless requested by another office (Honors for instance). There are too many RD applicants and deferred EA applicants for us to recalculate every GPA with new grades, but senior grades are used in our holistic read process, and we do look at them carefully.
  • For RD applicants, it is best to apply first and then send in any school documents, as it is easier and quicker to match these items. Test scores can come in prior to applying without issue, but documents have to be saved in our holding files and then matched every day, and these files get a little overwhelming during deadline times with thousands of non-matched documents.
  • During your senior year, do not catch senioritis or do something that you will regret the next day. The main reason we would ever rescind an admission offer would be a serious drop in grades or a problematic conduct issue, so stay strong and focused. This is also not the time to start to drop challenging courses for spring term. If we admitted you, it was in part based on the strength of your core classes. As such, we want to see you continue to challenge yourself in the courses you are in. We are fine if you need to change from PE to Health, or from one similar class to another, but we don't want to see you suddenly dropping AP Calc, AP Physics, etc. just to have an early release period.
  • Remember, more is not always better. If you have ten teacher recommendations sent to us, or decide you need to send us a five page resume, or decide that the word short answer limits are too limiting and decide to send us two page essays by mail, know that it becomes harder to see the forest through the trees. Brevity and being concise are not bad things.
  • We will accept SAT/ACT scores from exams taken and requested to be sent by the end of January. Please make sure you request your scores be sent to UGA when you sign up for the exam. Do not wait until you have seen your January scores before requesting them to be sent, as that might be too late. Remember, we only use the highest scores, so there is no need to wait before sending them.
  • We are often asked about what teacher to select for a recommendation. We do not need a teacher who is a UGA alum, a department head, a person who has taught for 30+ years, or any other designation. Select a teacher who knows you well and can tell us what you are like as a person.
  • Remember to check your myStatus page to make sure we have everything we need for admissions. The worst calls/emails are the ones where we have to say we could not make a decision due to an incomplete file. As well, re-review the Top 10 Urban Legends for UGA Admissions, as odd myths start to appear after EA decisions are released.
Go Dawgs!

Friday, November 14, 2014

EA Decisions are now available

Early Action decisions are now available online!  You can view the press release with some statistics about EA students who were admitted here.  For students who were deferred, please understand that this is not a denial decision.  We want to be able to have a more in-depth review of you, including short essays, activities, recommendations, etc.  Please be sure to read the deferred student FAQ page before commenting on here.

If you have questions about your specific decision, please do not post them on this blog.  As well, do not give out or request personal academic information in your post, as we would then need to delete these posts. We are not able to answer questions about individual students here because we will generally not have your information in front of us and we cannot disclose individual student information in a comment.  I would recommend talking with both your family and high school counselor first, then reviewing this previous post on suggestions about how to react to an EA decision, and finally reading the FAQ's available from your myStatus page.

Please be patient, be nice and be courteous.


Have a great weekend and go Dawgs!

The Long Road in Admissions

In the past, I have used the image of a long cross country trip when looking at the Admissions process, and how we would not know the exact arrival time until we were almost to the destination. Now picture the Admissions process as a road trip with three legs to the journey. The first leg is Early Action, and we are now at the end of that part of the trip. The second leg is a little shorter, and finishes up in late February when we review all Regular Decision and deferred EA applicants to see if they now meet Early Action admission standards (some EA defers will have a jump in their SAT/ACT scores that could shift them to admit). The last leg is the hardest, as it is the file reading part of the trip, and it does not finish up until late March when final decisions are released.

So please know that UGA will not be done with the entire freshman admission decisions after we make our Early Action decisions. We will be done with the Early Action leg of the trip, but we are still a long way from being done with final decisions! We will still be receiving a large number of RD applications, deferred EA students will be completing their part II sections, we will be reviewing transcripts, reading essays, doing holistic reviews, etc. So if you are deferred, please know that we still have a lot of admission decisions to make! My rough estimate based on prior years is that will still be admitting a large number of freshmen after EA decisions. As well, please know that UGA will be treating deferred EA and RD applicants the same during the next steps of the process. The rumor always hits that deferred applicants will now be "put at the back of the line behind RD applicants", so let me just cut that off now and let you know that is incorrect. Again, in the next stages of the admission process, we will look at deferred EA (who get in part II and a teacher rec) and RD applicants in the same way.

In addition,  I heavily suggest that any deferred applicants that start comparing themselves to people who were admitted and questioning the decisions remember that UGA has a full view of everything in an applicant's file, from the various SAT/ACT subscores, and problem areas such as a D/F grade, lower grades that are out of balance with strong test scores, an applicant's overall curriculum, and more detailed information about their overall information, while others only have a partial and sometimes inaccurate view of things. This is just my suggestion, and you do not have to follow it, but it comes from 20+ years of talking with families about decisions.

Go Dawgs!

P.S. To quote Forrest Gump, "I'm pretty tired...I think I'll go home now".

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

UGA Early Action Decisions Update

For all of you who are waiting anxiously by your computer/mailbox, nervous about your Early Action decision, here is some good news. UGA is planning on releasing the EA decisions on the myStatus page on Friday, November 14 in the late afternoon, unless some serious problem arises, which I do not expect. If this changes, we will let you know, but this is the plan at this time. If there are issues, the release date and time would then be a little later, either over the weekend or the early part of the next week.  Do not call/email/text/message/tweet asking for the exact time of "late afternoon", as I cannot give an exact time. We will post a message here when it opens up. We are excited about this, and I am guessing you are as well, and hopefully it will allow for a little less nerve-wracking Thanksgiving break for some of you.

In addition to the decisions being available on the myStatus page, letters will go out in the mail for Accepted, Deferred and Incomplete students. Freshman denial letters will not be mailed out, as almost all applicants see their decisions online, and we, along with a number of colleges, did not want to have a letter that only served to reinforce the negative feelings they might already have.

Here are a few suggestions on how to react to the four different decisions:

Admit: Celebrate with family, buy a lot of UGA gear to wear for the Thanksgiving break, but remember that not everyone has received a decision of admission, and so be a little more low key with friends and classmates. In other words, do not run up to you best friend during English class and scream "I got into Georgia" while 10-15 of your classmates are mentally creating new and painful ways for you to meet your doom. In addition, be patient with the other parts of campus (commitment deposit, housing, the UGA myID system, etc.), as they might need a few days to take in your information. Remember, it takes a little while for information to flow to other offices. Read the materials we give you online and in an acceptance packet as it will instruct you on what to do next.

Defer: This is the most challenging one, as these are applicants who are truly strong students, but we want to see more about them, as well as the rest of the applicant pool, before making a final decision.  Please remember, this is not a denial at all, but instead a way for us to be able to review you in full, from your co-curricular activities, your essays, and your recommendations. As I usually state, defer is not a four letter word (even though you might feel this way), only a delay in an admission decision. This is your chance to let us know what you are like as an overall applicant. While this is probably not the answer you would like, I would suggest you treat it as a call-back for a second audition. Some roles have already been cast (or admitted), and we now want to look at you in more detail to see how you compare to the rest of the people auditioning (or applying). One of the worst things you can do is give up and not do the essays. The second worst thing is to call us up and berate us for not admitting you. We will be happy to talk to people, but make sure to communicate in a positive tone, understand that we cannot talk about other applicants, and please remember that defer does not mean denial. In past years, just under half of the deferred applicants who completed part II were later admitted. Each year, about 1000 deferred students do not complete part II, so we never even have a chance to even review them! If you are serious about UGA, take the time to complete your application, and then be patient as we review all of these files throughout Jan., Feb. and March. When completing part II/the essays, you do NOT need to do an entirely new application, and there is no new/additional application fee. You just need to go to your myStatus page after decisions are out, complete part II/the essays, and hit submit. As well, get a teacher from an academic area to write your teacher recommendation. Remember, UGA is in no way done with the overall freshman admission process. We still have a long way to go, with a great deal of files to read and admission offers to make, so make sure you do your best to show UGA what you are like as an overall student/citizen.

Deny: While this is not a fun situation at all, the reality is that if you have been denied Early Action, you are truly not competitive for admission at UGA as compared to the rest of the applicant pool. It is not easy to write that, and it is very difficult to tell this to a student or parent, but when we look at this student's application in comparison with the other 12,290 EA applicants (and remember, we expect to get over 11,000 RD applicants as well), they do not match up academically with the others. It is better to tell you now instead of waiting until late March, as this gives you time to make other plans. Unless there seems to be a serious error (you are in the top of your class, take a very challenging course load, and have a strong test score), my suggestion is to not contact us about the decision, but instead move forward with plan B. While we do not mind talking with you at all, the reality is that an Early Action denial means that the admission to UGA is not possible as a freshman.

Incomplete: For the small number of students who did not complete your EA file, you are now automatically deferred to the next step, and so you will need to get in the missing materials from EA, and also submit part II of the application and a teacher recommendation. We went three plus weeks beyond the deadline allowing you to get in the missing documents, sending reminder emails, indicating what was missing through the myStatus page, and it was your responsibility to get in the required materials. So I do not suggest contacting us to see if we can take items late, as that time has passed. Focus instead on sending in what is needed to be reviewed in the next round. When completing part II/the essays, you do NOT need/want to do an entirely new application, and there is no new/additional application fee. You just need to go to your myStatus page after decisions are out, complete part II/the essays, and hit submit.

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

2015 EA Are We There Yet?


"Are we there yet?"

Admit it, you have said this phrase to your parents before-everybody has. If you are on a long car ride, the first thing you want to know is when you will arrive. And while your GPS system can give you a rough approximation, you can never tell when something unexpected will come up. Whether it is a traffic backup, multiple rest room breaks, a meal that takes longer than expected, or a missed turn, something might happen to change your expected arrival time. So while you can guess about the time you will get there, you won't know exactly until you are very close to your destination.

The same thing happens in Admissions. While we have a rough time frame for the Early Action decision date, we know that there might be some odd issues that will pop up. Whether it is a new system being brought up, a problem with our software, a large increase in applications, a wave of illness in the office, or some other issue, we cannot say exactly when we will release EA decisions until we get closer to the end of the process. While our decision date is not in Far Far Away Land, I do feel like Shrek at times, saying "I don't know a date yet."

While I cannot give you a decision date right now, what I can do is keep you updated on this blog and through Twitter (follow me at @drgravesUGA). We are plowing ahead with reviewing the Early Action files, and we are impressed by the strength of this group, as well as the size of the pool (we have 13,291 Early Action applications, which is 1,200+ more than last year). We might not be able to let you know until we are almost at the release date, but we will try our best to keep you updated on the process.

So to answer the question "Are we there yet?", I can only say what most parents say, "We're almost there, just be patient." Just don't make any popping noises like Donkey.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early Action Update

With the Early Action deadline passing, here are a few updates about the process:


  • Total EA Applications (10.5% increase over last year):  13,291
  • Complete Early Action Applications: 9,950
  • # of EA Applicants Applying within 3 days of Deadline: 3,523

As you can see, a large number (roughly 75%) of the Early Action applications are complete. Additionally, over 25% of the total applicant pool for EA applied right around the deadline.  This means our office still digging out from under the thousands of documents, test scores, etc. we have received. We appreciate your patience as we work as quickly as possible to match documents with files.

It takes our office about 5 to 10 business days to match a document with an applicant's file, and with the materials submission deadline of 10/22, we are still receiving a large number of items.  If your documents were submitted by this deadline, it will be considered for Early Action.  We are accepting the October 11 SAT for Early Action as long as you designated UGA as a school to automatically receive your scores, and we have imported most of these today, so they should show up on the myStatus page soon. I believe we will be receiving the October 11 SAT sometime next week (the College Board site says 10/28), but make sure to give us time to receive these scores and load them into the system.

Your Steps
Be sure to check your myStatus to make sure you are complete!  If material you have sent is not showing up on your myStatus, double-check with your counselor, College Board, etc. to make sure that it was sent.  If it was sent and it has been more than 10 business days (business days do not include weekends or holidays), I would suggest either resending the document(s) or contacting us. We do not accept faxed documents, so make sure to send it electronically or by mail.

Now that you have submitted your application (and it is hopefully complete), take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the fall weather and some UGA football!

Go Dawgs!

Monday, October 13, 2014

2015 EA Deadline Fast Approaching

The Early Action deadline is almost here, and the two weeks surrounding the deadline are similar to Atlanta during 5:00 p.m. rush hour traffic (on a Friday).  Our office typically receives 4,000+ applications, a drastic increase in mail, and a great deal of emails and phone calls in the few days both before and after the deadline.  The best thing an applicant can do right now is be patient and make sure you have requested your test scores, transcript and school evaluation.  We are working as quickly as possible to match documents with files, but we are dealing with a large number of applications and supplemental material, so things do not happen immediately.

The fastest way to get material to us is to send it electronically after you have applied.  If your high school is in Georgia, you can send transcripts through GAcollege411.org . Students attending a high school outside of Georgia can have their counselors submit transcripts online through Docufide/Parchment.  The high school evaluation can be submitted online from the High School Counselor Portal or by Parchment. Remember, no faxes!

For SAT/ACT test scores, we will accept any scores that have been both taken and requested by the 10/15 deadline. As such, we can use the October 11 SAT, but not the October 25 ACT. We do not control when the scores are sent in, only the receiving of the scores, so you want to work with the testing agency to make sure these are sent. As well, we import test scores on Tuesdays and Fridays, so be patient as we load these into our system. If you request a score on 10/15, it will not show up on the myStatus on 10/16. It will depend on when the testing agency sends it to us, and then give us a little time to load it.

Please do not call our office to ask if we have received a document, test score, etc. if it was just sent.  It takes about 5 to 10 business days from the time something is mailed for it to be matched with your file.  It takes 4 to 5 business days for something submitted online to show up on your myStatus. By business I mean that any weekend or holidays when the admissions office is not working, we are not matching up materials.

Be sure to check your myStatus to see what we have received and what we are missing.  This is updated 1-2 times every business day, so you do not need to check it several times a day.  Documents do not need to show up in your myStatus by October 15 to be in by the deadline, and we are giving school officials until October 22 to get in their materials (the school evaluation and transcript).  Know that if you have submitted something to us by the deadline, we will post it in our system and your myStatus shortly.  We appreciate your patience as we work vigorously to match all of the material we are receiving with applications.

Have a great day, and Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Before & After You Apply EA

With the Early Action deadline approaching, here are a few more detailed steps to take both before and after you apply.

BEFORE
  1. Get a copy of your SSN card to make sure your information is correct for both admissions and Financial Aid data.
  2. Print out a copy of your official HS transcript to help with the self-reported grades section.
  3. Update and print out a copy of your résumé for the activities/sports/volunteer/work/etc. sections.
  4. Get your payment information, and know that we can only accept credit card payments from 7 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
  5. Send in your SAT/ACT scores to UGA, and remember that we superscore and only use your highest scores, so there is no need to wait until after you apply or after you see the scores to send them. You can send updated test scores after you apply, but we suggest sending in any scores you have already received.
  6. Do not be late submitting your application, as we shut off the Early Action deadline after 10/15, and we cannot reopen it. Make sure you both complete the application and select a payment option, as both are required to apply. Do not wait until the night of the deadline to apply, as that is when your computer will decide to freeze up.
AFTER
  1. Be patient as we load your application into our our system and match up test scores and supporting documents. Test scores are loaded on Tuesdays and Fridays, and are not always sent immediately by the testing agency. We suggest giving our office 5-10 business days to match up items, so you not need to send items multiple times.
  2. Documents (transcripts, counselor/school evaluations, etc.) that are sent prior to applying take a little while longer than items sent after applying, so we suggest sending in materials after you apply. We accept electronic documents such as GACollege411 transcripts, Parchment (an electronic document system) documents and our own counselor form, as these get to us much quicker than printed documents that are mailed. We are fine with mailed documents, but it takes more time to get to us through the mail, opened, scanned and into a file than with electronic documents.
  3. We will accept all SAT/ACT scores that are both taken and sent by the 10/15 deadline, so we are fine with the October SAT but we cannot accept the October ACT. As well, in order for us to use your ACT scores, we need at least one ACT Writing score. Make sure you send us scores on time so we can review your file.
  4. A day or so after you apply, we will load your application into our system.  You will then be able to log into the myStatus page. This is where you will be able to enter your counselor's email for the school/counselor evaluation. We are okay if your counselor chooses to send in a counselor form through Parchment instead.
  5. Use the myStatus page to keep track of your application and supporting documents/test scores. You (the applicant) are ultimately responsible for your application, but we will send some reminder emails/texts if your file is incomplete. I repeat, use the myStatus page to keep track of your application.
  6. Remember, we need an application fee, an official transcript, a school/counselor evaluation and an SAT or ACT (with Writing) score to complete your file, and the supplemental items EA submission deadline is 10/22. We cannot review your application without all these items.
I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Random Admission Thoughts-Sept 2014 Edition

The application has been open for about three weeks, so the flow of documents, test scores and applications is starting to increase. As such, here are a few thoughts to remember both before and after you apply.

  • For Early Action, we will be able to accept the October SAT (if you have requested UGA as one of the receiving schools when signing up), but we will not be able to use the October ACT. In addition, if you want us to be able to use your ACT scores, we need to have at least one ACT Writing score. If we do not have one, we cannot use the ACT. In addition, we have had a number of questions about ACT scores and rounding up. The ACT policy is the one that UGA follows.
  • We import test scores on Tuesday and Friday mornings, and we do not always receive the scores when you do, so please be patient.
  • About 1-2 business days after you apply, you should be able to see application data on your myStatus page (go to "Check your Application Status". This will display the documents and test scores we have in our system. This is also where you can input your counselor's email address so they can be sent information on how to submit the School/Counselor Evaluation form.
  • If your school uses the Naviance or Parchment electronic document system, we are fine with documents being sent in this manner. We also accept GACollege411 transcripts. If at all possible, have documents sent electronically, as it goes into your file much easier and quicker.
  • We superscore SAT and ACT scores, so there is no reason to wait until you see the test score results before you send us the scores. We are fine with test scores being sent to us before and after you apply, as we will match these electronically in our system.
  • For documents (school/counselor evaluation, transcript, teacher recommendations, fee waivers, etc.), we heavily suggest sending these after you apply, as it is much easier to match them to an existing application. If sent before the application, we can match them, but it takes much longer to do so.
  • If you send documents by fax, we will shred them. We cannot use faxed official documents, so please make sure they are sent electronically or by mail. As well, SAT/ACT scores MUST come from the testing agency.
  • Do not aim for deadlines. I repeat, do not aim for deadlines. If you do so, you will make your counselor, your parents, and yourself very anxious. P.S. The EA application deadline is October 15, and the deadline for required supporting documents is October 22.
  • We receive a number of emails/calls on how applicants should enter in information (should I enter in NHS in activities or honors?). There are no set rules for how to enter in information, so just do your best to give us details about you. While we do not use your activities/sports/work/honors in the EA decision, we do use this in our scholarship review and in the read process if you are deferred, so do not skip these sections.
I hope this information helps, and Go Dawgs!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where is the Effin Waffle House?

About 11 years ago, my wife and I were driving home after picking up our six year old son at my in-laws house, with  him firmly strapped into his car seat  in the back. As six year olds are prone to do, his discussion turned to bodily functions and a wonderful discussion about gas. My wife, raised as a proper southern woman, re-enforced the notion that one should not use the word "fart", even going as far as to say "remember, we do not use the F word". Of course, this turned into a wonderfully painful discussion about what other words he should not say, from the S word, the H word, and the other, dreaded "F word".

We finally made it through the "words that should never be said" talk, and focused on the drive home from Greensboro, GA to Athens. We had just reached the bridge crossing I-20, when from the back of the car we heard the statement "Where is the effin Waffle House?" My wife jerked her head around in horror and asked "What did you just say?" in a tone only a mother knows. My son grinned back at her and said "Where is the effin Waffle House?" She sat stunned, unable to speak, when he once more repeated "Where is the effin Waffle House?", only this time pointing forward and up in the sky. My wife turned to look, and saw the Waffle House sign up ahead in the dark sky, with one of the F's dark from a burned out light bulb. In other words, "Where is the F in WAFFLE HOUSE?" Luckily, I was able to keep the car on the road through all the laughter, but it was not easy.

Why do I tell you this story?

Just like with any other community, college admissions has their own vocabulary, and applicants need to make sure they understand what these words (such as Early Action, FAFSA, superscoring, etc.) mean. You don't want to think that you are hearing one thing, but in reality an admissions office is talking about something else.You want to make sure you know what is needed for each admissions office in order for the applicant's file to be complete, how to apply for financial aid, and what the steps are from considering a college all the way through enrolling there. I even have a page on this blog called Admission Speak to help understand admissions terms.

So when you work with any admissions office, make sure you are asking specific questions, make sure to submit  things early in the process in case there is a problem, and make sure to use the sources at hand (status pages, your counselor, etc.), to insure that your application moves forward smoothly

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2015 Parent Post

Every year we try to open a post aimed at answering questions from parents.  We want to educate parents about the UGA admissions process and dispel myths and rumors that may be floating around high schools, neighborhoods and communities.  We recently sent an email out to students regarding the First Year application opening and letting them know about our blog, so hopefully they have already started doing more research on our admissions process, but now we want to hear from you, the parents.
With the 2015 First Year application now open and fall travel beginning, our office is about to get even busier, so now is the time to ask us questions.  Parents, what would you like to know?  Please post your questions through the comment option and we will try to respond as quickly as possible.

Go Dawgs!

P.S. A good resource as you start this process is the Top 10 UGA Admissions Urban Legends site.

Monday, September 1, 2014

2015 First Year Application Suggestions

The first-year application opens up tomorrow, so here are a few hints for when you are starting your application.

When you start working on the application, we suggest you have four items with you.
  •  SSN card (you absolutely must give us your correct Social Security Number (please proofread it twice).
  • A copy of your resume (we ask you to list your honors, activities, leadership, and work experiences which you may have already collected for a resume). This information is not used for EA, but we do use it for scholarship review, so that is why we ask it for both EA and RD applicants.
  • A copy of your latest HS transcript (you need to accurately report the college prep curriculum you’re taking and the grades you've earned).
  • Your fee payment information (to complete the application you must give us payment information, ideally for a credit card).
After you have started the application and created your UGA “ApplicantID”, you can save your work and come back later to complete the application and make any corrections.  Warning: Once you agree to the UGA Honor Code and choose "submit" at the bottom of that final page, you cannot return to make changes or corrections to your application. As well, you need to complete a payment option (check/waiver or credit card) to finalize the submission of the application.

When you are selecting your term, decision plan (EA vs RD) or major, select the ones you want, not what someone told you would be "easier for admission". If you select summer, do so because you intend to start in the summer term. We are fine to change freshmen from summer to fall or fall to summer, but it takes time and effort on our part, and we would rather not take time away from other work to change your term due to a rumor. When you select Early Action (EA) or Regular Decision (RD), it sets up different required items in your application checklist. Once you select a decision plan, you need to stick with it, as changing causes issues with the back end process of your application. As for majors, you are free to change your major after you are admitted and send in a deposit, so there is no logical reason for us to use this in an admission decision, or for you to select a major you do not want.

I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Application for UGA's Top Freshman Scholarship Program Available Soon


The Foundation Fellowship and Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarships are the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship programs at the University, if not in the country.

The Foundation Fellowship currently provides an annual stipend of $11,072 for in-state students (in addition to the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship) and $18,180 for out-of-state students (plus an out-of-state tuition waiver). The Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarship provides $5,536 for in-state students (in addition to the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship) and $9,090 for out-of-state students (plus and out-of-state tuition waiver). Much more than financial support, program membership provides: Spring break travel-study programs, a May study abroad program at Oxford in England immediately following the first year, travel-study grants closely related to students’ academic and professional goals, which can be combined with study overseas for a full semester or academic year, grants to attend research and academic conferences, seminars and book discussions with UGA and visiting professors, and faculty and peer mentoring. For more information about the amazing opportunities for Foundation Fellows and Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholars, please visit the Honors Program website

To be considered, all applicants must be current high school seniors with a minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.80 and a minimum combined, super-scored SAT total score of 2100 or ACT composite score of 31.

This separate scholarship application will be available in early September on the admissions website.  The deadline is November 4, 2014. 


Feel free to email questions to fframsey@uga.edu.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fall 2014 Travel

Fall travel is upon us! During this time of year admissions counselors leave their desks and offices behind and head out on the road for college fairs, college nights, high school visits, counselor programs and other recruitment events. This means you may be seeing UGA admissions staff on the road! Be sure to check our Meet UGA Near You page for a list of events we will be attending this fall. This page is updated weekly so check back regularly as we continue to plan travel and add events.

Georgia students, if you are attending a PROBE  fair you can register your information online ahead of time! When you register online, you will be able to print out a bar code to take with you to the fair. College representatives will be able to simply scan your bar code to capture your information. This will prevent you from having to fill out a different information card for each college you speak to at the fair.

While you're looking through travel schedules, consider looking up who the admissions counselor is for your school and sending a quick a message. Whether it's just to say hello or to suggest places we visit while in your area, we love to hear from prospective students!

Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Said No UGA Admissions Counselor Ever

In the UGA Admissions Office, there are some things we will never say no matter what. Some people will ask questions hoping for one of these answers, but you will not hear us give an answer (at least not the one some people expect). I sometimes feel like Dr. Seuss in "Green Eggs and Ham", (paraphrasing) "I will not say that in a house, I will not say that with a mouse. I will not say that here or there, I will not say that anywhere." Here are some of the top things we would never say:

  1. "Sure, I can tell you whether to apply Early Action or Regular Decision." This is a choice that needs to be made by the student, as it is a timing issue, not an issue that impacts the chances of admission.
  2. "Of course I can tell you what classes to take for the next year (or the next four/eight/twelve years)." While we know a great deal about high school classes, we are not an expert on what your school offers, when the courses are available, what you want to take and/or your academic preparation for courses. This is best decided upon after the student and family speak with their HS counselor.
  3. "Take the easiest courses so you can make the best grades possible." We want you to challenge yourself to the best of your ability while still doing well in your classes. You need to prepare yourself for the UGA classroom experience, and the best way to do that is to take strong courses.
  4. "The SAT/ACT scores are the most important thing to UGA Admissions." While test scores get the most publicity, our first focus is how you do in the classroom and the courses you are taking in high school (see #3 again).
  5. "Sure, go ahead and cut back on your academic schedule so that you can add another activity." Academics come first. Let me repeat, academics come first. If you are struggling with being overloaded, I suggest looking at cutting back on an extra-curricular activity, not academics. You will thank us sometime during your first semester in college.
  6. "You need to make XXXX on the SAT/ACT to get admitted to UGA." UGA does not have a required SAT or ACT score needed for admission, no matter what your neighbor/friend/family member says.
  7. "It is no problem if you wait until the last minute to do things." Waiting until the last minute to apply or send in materials is just asking for something to go wrong. Please give your counselors and teachers time to send in items, as they have enough stressful issues on their plates without this.
  8. "Yes, I can guess about whether you will be admitted or not." Here is the big one! We cannot guess about an admission decision, sorry. We just cannot predict what the overall applicant pool will be like year to year and how you fall into the group. P.S.-this applies for both freshman and transfers.
I hope this lists helps everyone understand why we will not say certain things or answer some specific questions, or why we redirect some questions back to the student for the best answer. If I think of any other things we would never say, I will add them to the list!

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spring 2015 Transfer Decisions

This week, our office started reviewing Spring 2015 transfer applications.  The deadline for spring has not passed and we are still receiving applications and documents, so we cannot say how long it will take us to finish or guess when you will hear a decision.  If you applied for the spring term, please be sure to check your myStatus to see if we have your most up-to-date transcript(s).  If you were enrolled in coursework this summer and have not sent a transcript with your summer grades, you should have one sent as soon as possible.  To be complete and ready to review, we must have a transcript from each college/university you have previously attended.  If you are attending a new college starting in the fall 2014 semester, we do not need a transcript, as there will not be any grades on the transcript. If you are admitted, we will need a transcript when fall term is done, though, as we will need to post these grades.

Transfer decisions are made on a daily basis Monday through Friday, and it varies on how many decisions we can make in a day due to the complexity of some transfer files. The myStatus page is updated in the early a.m. every business morning, and decisions are posted on the myStatus page and are mailed to transfer applicants.We generally try to review files based on when a file is complete (earliest to latest), but this is not an exact science due to a shift to our new system and due to complexities within the transfer process. During the first few weeks of August, decisions might be a bit slower than normal due to also having to input summer work for incoming/returning students, but that should slow down by the start of class (8/18).

We will be reviewing Spring Freshman applicants sometime in mid-September after the deadline has passed and all files are ready for review.


Go Dawgs!

Friday, August 1, 2014

UGA Admissions Urban Legends


There are two times every year when admissions myths hit peak numbers in the rumor mill; During August/September when a large number of seniors start planning out their college applications, and in late March when final freshman admission decisions are released. I remember receiving a number of communications from one denied applicant who was sure that one of the reasons he was not admitted was due to him being a male. While we do not use gender (along with many other high-myth factors) in the admissions review, I found it interesting that he actually thought it hurt his chances while in fact UGA would actually prefer to have a few more males in the freshman class.

At UGA, we want to make sure that students and parents have the correct information about the University and admissions.  In an effort to dispel common myths, we have compiled a list of the Top 10 UGA Admissions Urban Legends.  Here are a few of the common myths we hear:

"UGA admits a quota of students per year from my high school, county, zip code or state."
The most competitive applicants are admitted regardless of high school, county, zip code or state. There are no quotas assigned to these, or any other, characteristics.

"UGA has different admissions standards for out-of-state applicants."
Admissions standards are exactly the same for out-of-state applicants as they are for in-state applicants. UGA does not have a cap on the number of out-of-state students that can be admitted.

"If I apply Early Action, it will demonstrate to UGA that I really want to go there. Even if I am deferred admission, this will be an advantage in the Regular Decision process."
Applicants deferred from Early Action to Regular Decision do not have any advantages/disadvantages over those who apply Regular Decision. All applicants seeking admission to UGA are offered an equal opportunity for admission regardless of the decision plan.

 "You need to keep in contact with UGA Admissions to show demonstrated interest in the college, as this will boost your chances of admission."
While we love to work with applicants, we do not associate the number of calls, emails, letters, thank you notes, etc. with an admission decision.

We suggest you read the entire list of Admissions Urban Legends and view the video from Nancy McDuff, our Associate Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Management.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

iPhone App Updated


A newly updated version of our Admissions iPhone App has been released, available for download on any iPhone or iPod Touch for free from iTunes.  This updated version has many updated features including:

At a Glance: Browse the high points of the University, its students, faculty, alumnus and athletics.

Campus Tour: Explore the University of Georgia's historic North Campus on campus or right from your couch!  On campus, your GPS enabled iPhone will detect your location on North Campus giving you information regarding your location.  Get to know UGA's beautiful North Campus before you visit!

Majors: Still deciding on a major?  The Majors tool provides an easy to use reference to all majors available at UGA.

Info Request: Want information about the University and Admissions?  Provide us with your contact details and we'll keep you in the loop on Admissions news and events.

Timelines: A quick reference on important dates regarding your application.

Traditions: Learn about UGA traditions such as the ringing of the Chapel bell, the Arch and our tenacious sports fans with the Traditions feature.

Orientation: Headed to Orientation?  Have access to an updated orientation app for a full schedule, learn UGA Lingo and meet the OL's.  You can even make sure you've done everything needed prior to arriving with the to-do list!

Status Check: While this feature isn't new, it is a very important tool that can help you make sure you have submitted everything we need.  As well, we have now been able to tie it into our new student system. This is also the first place you will see your admissions decision.

Download the Admissions App today!

Go Dawgs!


Friday, July 11, 2014

FAQ for Freshman Applicants

It’s mid summer, and questions are beginning to flood in about UGA’s First Year admission process. Here are answers to some of our more frequently asked ones.

  • I plan to apply Early Action.  What is the last ACT/SAT exam date you will accept for Early Action (EA)?  We will only be able to use SAT/ACT scores for tests taken by the October 15 EA deadline.  For us to receive your scores in time, you must designate UGA as an automatic recipient when you register for the exam. We are fine with the SAT or ACT or both scores, and we superscore the individual exams, and use whichever test is strongest (see our post on UGA and test scores).
  • Do I have to complete the essays if I am applying for Fall 2015 as a First Year student?  It depends.  Are you applying Early Action or Regular Decision? Early Action applicants do not have to complete the short essays, but Regular Decision and deferred Early Action applications will need to complete the short essays for admission. Click here to see this year’s essay topics.  Regular Decision/Deferred Early Action also requires a teacher recommendation and allows you to submit your first term senior grades. 
  • When can I apply?  There is early, and then there is late.  The 2015 First Year application first becomes available on September 2.  Please know that, while there is a HUGE penalty for missing our application and document deadlines, we give no admission benefit or prize for being among the first to submit the application.  Take your time.  (Just don’t wait until the week before the deadline when most mistakes are made!). All EA decisions will be released in late November or early December.  The file completion deadlines for EA and RD will be one week after the application deadlines.
  • How long does it take to fill out the application?  Most students say it takes longer than they thought it would, so be encouraged by the fact that you don’t have to complete the application in one sitting.  Once you create your UGA “ApplicantID”, you can save your work and come back later to complete the application and make any corrections.  Warning: Once you agree to the UGA Honor Code and choose "submit" at the bottom of that final page, you cannot return to make changes or corrections to your application. As well, you need to complete a payment option (check/waiver or credit card) to finalize the submission of the application.
  • What will I need when I sit at my computer to I apply?  Great question!  We suggest you put four documents in your UGA folder:  (1) SSN card, (2) resume, (3) copy of your latest HS transcript, and (4) fee payment information. You absolutely must give us your correct Social Security Number (please proofread it). We ask you to list your honors, activities, leadership, and work experiences which you may have already collected for a resume.  You need to accurately report the college prep curriculum you’re taking and the grades you've earned.  And finally, to complete the application you must give us payment information, ideally for a credit card.    
  • Should I apply Early Action or Regular Decision?  We can’t tell you which decision plan is right for you.  That decision should be made by you with the help of your family and high school counselor.  Read our Regular Decision vs. Early Action page here.
  • Do my AP/IB grades count towards my GPA? When UGA recalculates your GPA from the self-reported grades on the application and a review of your transcript, we will add .5 to each AP grade, unless your school already adds points to your actual teacher grade (for instance, an 85 becomes a 95 on the transcript). We do not look at the GPA calculated on the HS transcript, but instead focus on the actual grades. We calculate the GPA based on grades in the areas of English, Math, Science, Social Sciences and Foreign Languages, and as well any AP/IB courses that are non-core (such as AP Computer Science or IB Theory of Knowledge).
  • What if I am from Out-of-State and am not taking a fourth year of science in HS? The state of Georgia, and therefore UGA, are flexible for out-of-state students when it comes to the fourth science requirement. We will use a science course from the 8th grade if is a HS course, and as well there are a number of HS courses that can be used aside from the standard science courses (please see the state's Staying on Course document). You also do not need to get us documentation of the 8th grade science course until you decide that you will enroll at UGA, and you would have it sent with a final HS transcript showing senior grades and a graduation date.
  • I have heard a number of rumors about UGA admissions. What is true and what is not? The best way to learn about the myths that surround UGA, and as well the actual truth, is to go to our Top 10 Admissions Urban Legends page.

We hope this FAQ helps.  Please post any questions you have, and I will try to answer them as best as possible and update this page if needed.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2015 Essay Questions

Every Spring, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants who apply Regular Decision or are deferred Early Action (Early Action applicants do not submit essays unless they are deferred).  For 2015, we have made a slight change in our short essays. Instead of requiring four short essay responses, we now will have one short essay that all RD or deferred EA applicants must complete, and three additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to two of these. Essay 1 should be between 200-300 words, while essays 2-4 should be between 150 to 200 words, but remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays in the Fall, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 2, but we thought that some people would want to know the essays earlier than that date.


Here are the four essay questions as we now have them, with Essay 1 being required (200-300 words) and Essays 2-4 being three options from which the applicant can select two (150-200 words).
  
  1. (Required) The UGA faculty has defined the qualities that the student body should demonstrate in the Admissions Philosophy Statement.  After reviewing this, help us understand which of your qualities will add value to our community of scholars. (200-300 words)
  2. Share a story about someone in your life (not a family member) who is significantly different than you.  How are you different and what have you learned from your relationship with this person? (150-200 words)
  3. Tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself that you have not already shared in your application. (150-200 words)
  4. UGA’s First Year Odyssey Program offers more than 300 seminar courses for new freshmen. Some examples include “The History of Horseracing”, “Einstein and the Theories of Relativity” and “The Zombie Plague”. If you could create your own seminar course at UGA in any subject area that interested you, what would it be? What would the course be named and what would you hope to learn? (150-200 words) 
In addition, here is an example of a strong essay that we received this year for Essay 3, and the applicant (and UGA class of 2014 freshman) has given us permission to share with everyone.

"I am an accidental criminal. My school counselor asserts that I am exactly the kind of criminal every college desires. In fact, since I was about 12-years-old, I have been developing my criminal record and have been flaunting it since. As a result, BET (Black Entertainment Television) gave me the opportunity to speak to millions of viewers this past August. I can only imagine how people's mouths dropped when I told them how cavalier I am about the rules of legal consent. You see I am 18 years old now, but before then, I ignored my age and indulged in "adult" activities. Despite being a minor, I signed a renter's agreement for the Greening Forward office headquarters and rented trucks for volunteer events. These companies only wanted my money; they did not care that a minor's signature is invalid. I illegally acquired goods and services and used them for the greater good. I was the Robin Hood of environmentalism."       Charles O. - UGA Class of 2018