David Graves      May 26th, 2023 in Blog

For the Fall 2024 First-Year applicant group, there are three updates the UGA Admissions Office wants to make known when students are preparing to apply to UGA.

  • We will be exclusively using the Common App for our First-Year applicants. We will still use our in-house application for non First-Year applicants such as transfer students, but in order to have a consistent look and make sure there are no issues with trying to match documents across different platforms, all First-Year applicants will need to use the Common App. We will have our in-house application ready in case there are any major issues that come up, but we do not expect that this will be needed.
  • While UGA will continue to have the same EA and RD deadlines, we will be splitting the EA decision release date into two release dates: In-State applicants will receive an EA decision in mid-late November, while Out-of-State applicants will receive an EA decision in mid-late December. Our EA applicant pool has increased dramatically over the last few years (for 2023 we had roughly 26,000 EA applicants), so we are making this change to ensure all EA applicants receive a thorough review and the Admissions Office is not overwhelmed during the EA process. When we are closer to the estimated time frames listed above, we will have a better understanding of the exact decision release dates and will share the dates at that time. In addition, our documents deadline for both EA and RD have been expanded to 2 weeks after the application deadline. This will allow for both applicants and school counselors to have a little more time to make sure all transcripts, recommendations and other supporting documents are in our office.
  • UGA will keep the same longer personal essay (250-650 words) as before, using the essay prompts from the Common App. The shorter UGA specific essay (200-300 words suggested) topic will be changing, with the following essay prompt being used for the class of 2024 (and hopefully beyond that):

The transition from middle to high school is a key time for students as they reach new levels of both academic and personal discovery. Please share a book (novel, non-fiction, etc.) that had a serious impact on you during this time. Please focus more on why this book made an impact on you and less on the plot/theme of the book itself (we are not looking for a book report).”

  • FYI – We are not restricting you to the exact years of 8th-9th grades, but rather the general timeframe of the middle to high school transition, which can extend somewhat further than one year on each end. Feel free to use your discretion in your choice of the timeline focused on the shift to your high school years.

As always, we also share an essay from an enrolling First-Year student that we believe shows great writing skills:

If you asked me what object I’d save in a burning fire, I’d save my notebook. My notebook isn’t just any notebook, it’s bubble gum pink with purple tie dye swirls, and has gold coil binding it together. But more importantly, it’s the key that unlocked my superpower, sending me soaring into the sky, flying high above any problems that could ever catch me. However, my notebook is simply the key. My real power rests in the depths of my mind, in my passion for writing. But to know how my powers came to be (not from a spider or a special rock), I must travel back to the first spark.

Nine years ago, on a cold winter morning, I sat at my tiny wooden desk in Mr. Barton’s famous Writer’s Workshop class. While I have no recollection of what I wrote, I can vividly recall my joy, the speed of my hand guiding the pencil on the paper, and the thrill I had knowing that I was the puppeteer. The story could be completely mine as long as I had my imagination. At this moment, my creative powers sparked like a car engine. This was the first time I truly enjoyed writing.

Four years ago, I wrote my first 6-word memoir in my eighth-grade rhetoric class. Inspired by my father’s recently diagnosed terminal illness, I wrote “Take his words, don’t take him”. It was as if all the energy of my powers surged into six meaningful words meant to honor the man that I would soon lose to a villain known as ALS. This was the first time I felt my writing.

Three years ago, my dad’s disease severely progressed. The ALS seized his ability to speak and locked it in a tower with no key. The only way we could communicate was with an old spiral notebook. Black pen ink filled the pages with his distinctive handwriting I personally liked to call chicken scratch. He was frail, yet full of life, when I walked into his room one day. He motioned for to me to read the notebook, and in his best chicken scratch it read, “I Love You”. Using my best eighth-grade girl penmanship, I wrote back, “I LOVE YOU MORE”. This was the first time I needed my writing.

Two years ago, I found my key. I drove to Target and purchased my bubble gum pink, purple swilled tie dye, and gold coil binding notebook. My powers always dwelled deep inside me, but the instant I opened my notebook, it was as if a bright light illuminated my face, unlocking a world of possibility. Feeling frustrated about the recent passing of my dad, I took my feelings to paper. My hand flew, and before I knew it, I was left with a poem, entitled “Broken Smile”. Once completed, I was speechless. I never understood that I could feel so deeply about the words I had to say, that I could feel so powerful in a world that often rendered me powerless. I felt… like a superhero.

One year ago, my powers began to flourish. My perfect pink notebook became the key to my inner thoughts and feelings… my superpower. I journaled about my day, wrote poems and meticulously crafted stories. But most significantly, tucked between the pages, I always carried a folded piece of paper to keep me inspired: a letter in the most beautiful chicken scratch I had ever seen.

One month ago, I needed my powers more than ever before. I needed them to convey who I truly am for the chance at the future of my dreams as a writer. Except this time, I didn’t need the key because my powers grew into fruition. Instead, I opened my laptop only to type out one sentence… “If you asked me what object to save in a burning fire, I’d save my notebook.”  Ariel A.

This essay gives us insight into the student’s feelings and thoughts, and she shares her passions and her challenges through descriptive word choice. This is an excellent essay, but please know that we are not expecting this level of writing from the applicant pool overall. This essay example is meant to show our applicant pool how to express themselves through similes, sensory language (words that capture the senses of the reader), and emotion. When we are reviewing essays, we are looking more at the student’s voice coming through and less on technical writing skills.


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