Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Admissions and Forrest Gump's Box of Chocolates

As Forrest Gump says, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get." Undergraduate Admissions, especially during decision time, has some real connections to this this quote. Our post-decision interactions (mostly with denied students and families) many times involves an attempt to compare their own student with other admitted students that they know. Many students think they know other applicants in detail due to the fact that they sit next to each other in Biology, they know their rank in class and they might know the ACT Composite if the student posted it on Snapchat.

But in the admissions world, life is really more like the infamous box of chocolates. When you look at all the chocolates in the box, you see the outer chocolate layer, and many times you think you know what is inside due to the shape of the candy. But in reality, you really only know the surface, and don't know if it is caramel, nougat, or coconut until you get to the center. In the same way, students know the surface information of other students, but they generally do not know the inner details of another person's life.

They might know a GPA or rank, but they do not know their UGA recalculated GPA, the academic trends we see, and the letter of recommendation that we receive from their AP Calc teacher. They might know some of their school activities, but they might not know about the volunteer work they did at the local food bank over the summer. They may know about the ACT composite, but they might not know about the stronger SAT R, or the individual ACT English and Math subscores that UGA focuses on. They might know where they live, but they might not know about the personal challenges the student and/or family has overcome due to medical/financial/personal issues. You might know that they are strong in AP English, but you might not know that this has led to some amazing essays that show true voice and excellent writing skills.

As such, you never know what you will get with an admissions application until to get to the heart of the file, and learn in great deal what each student is truly like. So please, don't judge other applicants by the outer shell that you know, and understand that there is more to them than just what you see from the outside.

As Forrest Gump said, "My Mama always said you've got to put the past behind you before you can move on." Decision time is tough, and you might not always get the answer you want, but the key is to move forward from this decision and focus on your future college experiences. Select a college that fits you best, and then do great there!

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