High School Grades
We make no bones about it: more than any other single factor, the grades that you earn in your high school courses play the most important role in determining your competitiveness for admission to UGA. Since there are so many different grading scales, not to mention weighting methodologies, we recalculate a GPA for every first-year applicant based only on academic courses taken in the five core academic areas (with the addition of AP Art and Music Theory courses). Using a standard 4.0 scale, we convert each grade earned according to the grading scale in use at your high school at the time the course was taken.
Additionally, if a weight is not already added to an individual grade, we raise by the equivalent of one letter grade (1) each grade earned in an AP or IB course. Unlike nationally- or internationally-normed AP and IB curricula, there is no standardized methodology for the designation of Honors courses. Consequently, it is UGA’s policy not to add any weight for Honors courses when recalculating a student’s GPA for admission. We do consider the number of Honors courses a student takes, however, when determining the rigor of his or her overall curriculum, including the availability of AP and IB courses.
Required High School Curriculum (RHSC)
Yes, according to University System of Georgia Policy, all first-year applicants must complete the Required High School Curriculum (RHSC), which consists of 17 academic units in English (4), Mathematics (4), Science (4), Social Studies (3), and Foreign Language (2). You can get all the essential details in The Georgia Board of Regents high school curriculum guide.
However, when it comes to being competitive, the real edge is in challenging coursework. If you’re going to commit to UGA, you need to pursue the most rigorous courses available in your high school that you can handle successfully. The number of courses taken beyond the minimum requirement of 17–not to mention those designated as advanced, Honors, gifted, AP/IB or dual enrollment–will be heavily considered in the admission process. In fact, in recent years, 98% of first-year students admitted to UGA pursued an honors or advanced level curriculum track.
Heads up from the admissions team: A challenging schedule will not counterbalance a non-competitive GPA, as your grades ultimately remain the single most important factor. Additionally, any grades of D or F on your transcript–especially in your junior or senior year–would be cause for concern on the part of our Admissions Committee and should be addressed in your application.
For first-year admission, UGA requires that an applicant submit an official score report for either the ACT or SAT. Scores must be submitted electronically by the respective testing agency. UGA will not accept scores that appear on your high school transcript, nor will we consider paper reports. We receive electronic transmissions of ACT and SAT scores from the testing agencies on a weekly basis, and we will automatically update your application file with any new scores received by our application deadlines. Starting in 2017, UGA does not require the SAT or ACT essay, and we will not use these scores in our review.
There are many myths and misconceptions about standardized tests and how they are used in admission decisions. At UGA, the only minimum score requirements in place are the ones required by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for admission to its research universities: that is, an SAT-EBRW of 480 and SAT-Math of 440, or subscores of 17 on both the English and Math sections of the ACT. If a student takes the SAT or ACT more than once, we will consider the best scores we receive for each section on either exam. While these scores are the minimum required by the Board of Regents, it is important to clarify that the typical profile of incoming students at UGA far exceeds these minimums.
UGA superscores the SAT and ACT. For ACT, this means that we take the highest individual score of each of the four subsections of the test from all ACT tests you’ve taken and use that to calculate the highest composite. Our ACT Composite superscore formula looks like this: (Highest_ACT_English + Highest_ACT_Math + Highest_ACT_Reading + Highest_ACT_ScienceReasoning) / 4 = SuperScored_ACT_Composite. For the SAT, we choose your highest individual sub-score across all the times you’ve taken the SAT and select the highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score and add the highest Math section score to come up with the overall superscored total (Highest_SAT_EBRW + Highest_SAT_Math = SuperScored_SAT_Total). When we report ACT test score information, we utilize the composite as listed above, but when reviewing your file for admission purposes we only focus on the ACT English and Math.
When reviewing your file, we use whichever English/EBRW or Math subscores (either SAT or ACT) are strongest overall. We do not mix scores between the tests, so we will not select highest SAT Math + highest ACT English to calculate a superscore. In short, it will not have any negative impact on your application if one of your tests doesn’t measure up to the standards you’ve set for yourself. We only use the scores that put you in the best light and represent your best effort among all the times you’ve taken the SAT or ACT.
We do not have a preference between the ACT and SAT. In fact, we often recommend that students attempt each test at least once. Used in conjunction with a student’s grades and rigor of curriculum, both have proven equally reliable in predicting academic success at UGA, as is evident in UGA’s first-to-second year retention rate of 95%.
Please note: As with rigor of curriculum, a high score on the SAT or ACT will not compensate for a non-competitive GPA. Your record of three to three-and-a-half years’ worth of rigorous academic work in the classroom will be the primary focus of any admission decision.
Letter of Recommendation
All first-year applicants should submit a School/Counselor Evaluation Letter, as well an optional academic Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor. Here are some quick reminders as you think about whom to ask for a recommendation. A good letter of recommendation will be from a source who has seen you demonstrate and can vouch for your ability to complete rigorous academic coursework independently. Examples of this could be an AP or Honors teacher, or a teacher in your most challenging class. Less effective letters would be vague and less focused on academic performance. The recommender can submit these two documents electronically or can print a PDF version found on our Printable Forms page, complete it, and mail it to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.