Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Admissions and Grocery Stores

Imagine that you are in an admissions grocery store, and every cart is a student's admissions file. The shelves are stocked with different items to fill each cart, from transcripts to teacher recommendations, counselor forms to resumes, etc. Every time a student applies a cart is created. The admissions office then needs to go to the different aisles and pull down the items for that specific student, and then add it to the cart so that it is ready for check out (or to be reviewed for admission). Sounds pretty easy, right?

But now imagine the days surrounding a deadline. It is sort of like the scene in a grocery store when the threat of snow hits, with everyone scrambling to add milk and bread to their cart, suppliers racing to the stores to restock the shelves before the weather hits, and employees trying to calm the masses as the checkout lines get longer and the aisles get crowded.

Now add into this suppliers shipping thousands of items to the store before the shoppers even get there, or worse, sending items to the store that will never be picked up (every year, we receive about 40,000 items for non-existent applicants). These items clutter up the aisles, the back storerooms, and all around the store, making it difficult to match up items with the right carts. If items are shipped to the store after the application cart is created, we can just add the items straight into the cart, but if they are sent well before the app (or are send by paper prior to the app), we have to stock them on the shelves and wait for the cart to be created. That takes time.

It becomes a little crazy during the days and weeks leading up to our deadlines, so we ask for a little patience as we get into deadline season. It becomes especially crazy during the holiday times (and right after), as some materials can't be loaded into carts if we are all on holiday.

Here are a few suggestions to help calm the madness:
  1. Don't wait until the deadline to apply. Deadline applications only cause stress for you, your parents, your school officials, and us.
  2. If you are going to send in items, we prefer electronic documents. We are lucky enough to have a great electronic document auto-matching system, even to the point of holding them for about 40 days in an e-cloud until you apply. This allows for us to wait until an application/shopping cart is created, and then have the items flow right into your cart without us having to even touch them.
  3. If you are not sure if you are going to apply, don't have your materials sent to us, at least not until you actually decide to apply.
  4. Check your grocery list before you shop/apply. Don't wait until the last minute to check and see what you need to have in your cart. Seriously, don't do it.
  5. Make sure your name and date of birth on your materials and test scores match your application. If you tell me to find Trey Rogers' test scores, but your real name is Jonathan Rogers III, we will not be able to find these on the shelf.
  6. The only exception to sending things in prior to the application are test scores, as these are always held electronically and can be matched at the point of applying or after, as long as the full name and DOB matches.
  7. If you need to have something mailed to us, understand that it takes time for the postal service to get it here and allow for that. In addition, only have mailed items sent to us after you apply.
  8. Be patient. If you request an item, don't expect it to be on the shelf or in your cart in 5 minutes. Give the sender and the receiver time to do their job.
I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Random Admission Thoughts-Post EA Decisions

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.

  • Statistics - Some rough mid-50% statistics on accepted and deferred Early Action applicants: Admitted - 4.00-4.22 UGA GPA, 29-33 ACT, 1320-1490 best SAT, 6-10 AP/IB/DE courses.     Deferred - 3.61-3.91 UGA GPA, 26-30 ACT, 1170-1330 best SAT, 4-7 AP/IB/DE courses.
  • Scholarships -We have released some scholarship offers in when we made the Early Action decisions, 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. Scholarship information will be sent by mail, and they can also be seen on your myStatus page in a section that appears if a scholarship is offered.
  • 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 - 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.
  • Senior Grades - 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.
  • Applying RD - 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.
  • Senioritis - 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.
  • Forest vs. Trees - 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.
  • Test Scores - We will accept SAT/ACT scores from exams taken and requested to be sent by February 1. 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.
  • Teacher Recs - 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.
  • myStatus - 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!