David Graves      February 12th, 2024 in Blog

Every year, Georgia has a cold snap, where the temperature gets below 30 degrees, the stores run out of milk and bread (no, I don’t know why), and everyone huddles under a blanket. This year winter really hit in mid-January, and it got down to 15 degrees. When it gets that low, you suddenly add on worries about frozen pipes, getting pets indoors and the like. But this is Georgia, where some people feel like it is cold anytime the temperature goes below 60. It is challenging when you use words like “cold” when everyone might be coming at it from different vantage points. No one is “wrong”, their point of view just has different starting points. Words such as cold are just terms that are relative to your own experiences. I remember one winter in college when a friend visited from CT, and while everyone else was bundled up for the 50 degree weather, he was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt and loving the sunny life.

The issue is even more challenging when you are at times dealing with different scales. A temperature of 21 degrees sounds really cold to someone in GA, but if it is 21 degrees Celsius, and you then convert it to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you will find me outside enjoying a lazy afternoon. Convert it to Kelvin, and suddenly you are dealing with 294 degrees, which sounds pretty intense. All of the different scales are fine unto themselves, but we have to remember that they are not interchangeable. In order to understand data and numbers, everyone has to be on the same scale. Data can be great, but only when the information is accurate and clearly understood.

At times, admissions information can have some very vague or unclear data points. If a university says they are “very competitive” and their applicants academic information is “very strong”, what does that really mean? What does it mean when a college says they expect their applicant pool to have a “very rigorous curriculum”? While I have tried to convey the competitiveness of our applicant pool and the strength of our accepted group, it is not always easy to have data to show what we really mean. When final decisions are made, I will try my best to convey subjective information in a much clearer, more objective terms, or provide examples of this information. I expect that this will mean much more information about the students as a whole, and less focus on just giving out numbers.

Additionally, data points, especially a student’s GPA, can cause extreme confusion. Different schools and school systems have a wide variety of GPA calculation methods and grading scales, and they range anywhere from a 4.0 scale to a 100+ scale, with 5, 6, 8 and 12 scales in between (and a few no GPA narrative grade schools). What good does it do to give out an average or mid-range GPA for the applicant pool or the admitted group when a student’s comparison point can be so widely varied? I reviewed a file yesterday where a student’s GPA was above a 5.00, but almost a third of their core grades were C’s. That does not sound like a 5.00+ GPA in my world. The only way for the admission process to become more transparent is to share understandable data, and for the students and parents to look at their information based on how the university is actually reviewing their file. This first starts with sharing how a college determines a student’s GPA, such as here on this blog post about UGA and HS GPA’s. When final decisions go out, I will try and share details about actual A-F grade trends for the accepted group, what we mean by a rigorous curriculum, and how best to convey the academic data in a way that can be better perceived.


I wish you well in better understanding the challenging process of admissions, and Go Dawgs!

Tags: , ,