Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fall 2014 Transfer Update

We are continuing to work as quickly as possible to review the 2014 Fall transfer applications.  At this time, we have made roughly 550 decisions of the 2400 applications (2000 or so who are complete) we received this year.  Based on this weeks numbers, we are averaging about 65-70 decisions being made per day, which is an increase over both last year and over the first weeks of reviewing files in our new system. As such, I expect for a large volume of decisions to go out in the next 2 weeks. In looking at past years, while we are behind our normal timeline, I do not project we will be too far off historically by mid-May. At some point in time, though, this will slow down a little bit due when we get deeper into the tougher transfer applications.

Please remember we cannot tell you when you will have a decision as this depends on many factors. Applications are generally processed in the order in which the file was completed, but this is not always the case, as some files are more challenging, are from colleges where we are having to build a catalog in the new system, or are just complex. As well, I am not able to look at each individual file to see why someone did nor did not receive a decision based on X date. I have taken a crash course in Transfer Articulation over the past 5 weeks, and am now one of the people reviewing transfer files, thus each issue I have to look at takes away from time spent reviewing transfer files.

Most applications completed by the end of February or earlier have been reviewed with some exceptions, and we are working on a number of files completed in the first week of March.  If you are transferring from an out-of-state college or a college we have not had many students apply from, your application may take a bit longer to review and thus the timeline would not be correct for your situation. Transfer decisions are updated daily on the status check, and the myStatus page is updated at about 6 am every morning.

If you have been admitted and want to see how your courses transferred, you can use the transfer equivalency chart off the admissions website. If you have submitted a deposit (fall transfer and beyond requirement), you can log on to DegreeWorks.  Visit the Orientation site as well to learn about your next steps and to register for a session.

I hope this helps, and I will try to keep everyone updated.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Merit Scholarship Award update

Over the last several months, the Admissions staff has carefully reviewed all our newly admitted First Year students to consider them for University of Georgia academic merit scholarships.  (See the list and our discussion of merit and need-based aid at our website, https://admissions.uga.edu/article/scholarships-at-uga.html.)  At this point in time, all merit based scholarships offered through Admissions have now been awarded, and we have contacted each of the recipients by email, mail and the myStatus page.

At UGA, academic merit scholarships have become increasingly competitive.  This is mainly due to the limited funding we have for these awards and the high number of extremely capable students who now gain University of Georgia admission. At this point, if you have not received notice that you have an academic merit scholarship to attend UGA, then unfortunately we were not able to offer one to you. We are still finalizing handful of specialized need/merit based scholarships based in large part on FAFSA information, but these are the only ones we have not awarded (and we hope to do this in the next week).

If you have been selected for any of our Academic Merit awards, congratulations!  Please be sure to read your offer letter carefully.  Keep it for your records.  In this letter you will see what requirements you must maintain to renew your scholarship each succeeding year and, in general, how much the scholarship is worth in relation to your overall costs.  In addition, you should receive information from the Office of Student Financial Aid shortly on a preliminary award which would include the scholarship information.

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fall 2014 Transfer Update

Starting today, we are now reviewing Fall 2014 transfer applications for admission.While we would have preferred to start this process earlier in the year, we had to rebuild the entire transfer articulation process from the ground up in our new system. In the past, we have been able to review about 30 files a day, but we do not know how many we will be able to do in our new system until we have had a few weeks of actually doing transfer decisions.

We are not able to tell individual students when they will have a transfer decision, as it depends on many factors. In general, we try to process transfer files based on the order in which they were completed, so a person that applied and had all items in to us in February should hear a decision before a person who applied and had all materials in to our office in March. To have a complete application, we must have transcripts from every college attended, including dual enrollment work done while in HS. As well, we need to have the most up to date transcript, so for instance if you sent us a transcript without fall 2013 completed, we need an updated transcript with fall courses and grades in order to make a decision.

At times though, we are not able to make decisions based on the date order of completion due to a transfer application being complex. A few examples are the following; The first would be from a college we have rarely or never worked with before, thus causing us to review courses in detail from another university. The second would be a student with a large number of hours (90 plus) where we have never reviewed upper level courses. Third, an applicant with 3 plus colleges with rarely seen classes. Last, colleges with unusual grading scales (or no grades), unusual courses that do not match UGA in any way (I have seen a Tarot card design class), etc. There are probably more examples, but these are the most common.

Decisions (both admits and denials) are made daily, and decisions will then show up on the myStatus page the following business day. Again, we cannot guess when a specific student will hear a decision, so please do not ask, as I can only say "I do not know".

We will post additional updates as we are able to, and thanks for your patience.


Go Dawgs!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Grades vs Rigor, or What should my child take?

Every day of every year (except for decision days), the most popular question asked of an admission counselor is "Is it better to take a tough HS course and make a B, or an average HS course and make an A?". The most popular answer? A half-hearted smile and the statement 'We would prefer an A in the tough class". The real answer lies somewhere in between the two options, and it depends on a student's goals in high school and how well the student can handle a tough course load.

First, I want to dispel some rumors. You do not need to have a 4.00 GPA (or a 3.90 or 3.80, etc.) to be admitted to UGA. You also do not need to take X number of AP/IB courses to be admitted. There are no hard and fast requirements on what it takes to be admitted, as every high school and every applicant is different. We do have mid range numbers for the GPA and AP/IB courses taken by admitted students, but these are mid ranges, not requirements.

The next two parts are the keys to the discussion. First, we suggest that students challenge themselves to the best of their ability while still having strong grades in high school. We do not want a student to take 5 AP courses in one year, and come out having 3 C's and 2 D's. A student needs to be successful in their classes. But a 4.00 GPA while taking some of the most basic courses offered at the high school is not a good option either, as the strong grades would indicate that the student could challenge themselves with more advanced classes. We want a student who is willing to challenge themselves and still do well in their courses.

Secondly, what's important to the student during their high school years? For the UGA Admissions Office, high school is a time where a student can learn to prepare themselves for college, especially the academic challenge of college coursework. Taking a more challenging course in high school leads to a more prepared a student will be for UGA courses, and for success in those UGA courses. When parents or students say that their schedule is already so busy with other activities that it is tough to handle challenging courses, my first response is to suggest that instead of dropping rigorous courses, maybe an activity could be dropped. Again, what is (or should be) the primary focus of a student's high school time, and what things are secondary?

So students should challenge themselves with the most rigorous schedule they can handle and still do well in these courses. Students and parents should also know that it is not just what their student is like academically and personally, but also what the other applicants are like. When we make decisions, it is not based on set requirements, but instead on looking at the overall applicant pool and selecting the top overall applicants.

I hope this helps.

Go Dawgs!