The last change that we will be making to the freshman application has to do with your high school grades. Over the last 6 years, the number of freshman applicants has grown from roughly 12,000 in 2005 to over 18,000 in 2010. At the same time, the number of admissions staff that review transcripts (both freshman and transfer) has declined by almost 40% due to budget issues. We are at a point that if we do not change something, and if the application numbers continue to grow, we will have serious issues with getting decisions out in time.
As such, we will be adding a section to the freshman application for self-reported academic grades. This will be similar to what the University System of California and Georgia Tech use, and will hopefully speed up the review process for our office. We will ask students to complete a chart listing the number of individual letter grades (A-F) they have received in the academic areas of English, Math, Social Studies, Sciences and Foreign Language. We will also have a section that includes the additional courses that UGA uses for reviewing grades, such as AP art courses, AP Computer Science, IB Music, etc. We will only be asking for individual class grades, as we do not look at the overall average for the year for individual classes. We will also explain how to enter in grade totals if your school uses multiple types of academic terms, such as a school that has both semester and block schedule classes.
When completing our grade form, you do not have to worry about high school weighting or GPA. Your role will be to enter in the individual term letter grades that show up on your transcript. If your transcript shows an 88 for first semester freshman English, and an 88 is a B at your school, then this would be 1 B in the English courses area. The UGA admissions office has information on all the high schools we work with and their weighting policies, and we take care of that side of things. In addition, our office does a separate review of the academic rigor of your coursework (we have always done this), so the grade form is just focused on your academic grades.
We will stress to students that they must be honest in reporting their grades, and that any false information could result in UGA rescinding any offer of admission. In addition, our office will be doing checks of the self-reported grades throughout the admission process.
Our goal is to make the best decisions possible, and to do so in a timeframe that serves the applicants and the University. We hope that by making this change, we will be able to make decisions earlier for freshman, and as a result, move up the transfer timelines as well.