David Graves      June 19th, 2020 in Blog

“Everything’s been said, but it needs saying again.” Ernest Gaines

Everything in college admissions seems cyclical, with each new year seeming to be an updated version of the year before (except of course when Covid-19 throws a wrench into the system!). Admissions advice always seems to use similar themes and language from year to year, with slight changes to keep the message fresh. I am certainly guilty of this, as I am going into my tenth year of writing the UGA Admissions blog, and at times my messages seem be on auto play. So, in order to say what “needs saying again” but in a different way, I will rely on words of wisdom from people who are much smarter than I am.

“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.” – Margaret Thatcher

A great deal of what we look at in admissions is the end result of the hard work you have put in during your high school years. We are focused on how you have performed in the high school classroom, as this is a key indicator in how you will do in a college setting. This does not mean that we only admit straight A students, but instead we are looking for students who have worked hard and show real strength in their academic success.

It is not the critic who counts. … The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly … who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

While we do not expect anyone to participate in a gladiator fight in an arena, we are looking for students who will challenge themselves both inside and outside of the classroom, and will attempt things even if the end result is not perfect. We want you to take courses which will prepare you for UGA, strive to make an impact in a club/organization, and get involved in things that will help you grow as a student and as a person.

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou

There is no cookie cutter “normal” profile of what a student looks like who applies to or is admitted to UGA. As such, don’t shape your actions or your application to try and fit into some mold you have told will look good for admissions. Play the accordion, dress like a shark for spirit week, create the un-synchronized swimming team at your school or raise chickens in your backyard for fun. You be you.

“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” – Marcus Aurelius

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr

This one is important enough to have two quotations. When we are reading files, we are trying to understand who you are, but just as importantly how you impact the world you live in. Be good to others, whether it is your classmates, your teachers, your family members, or a stranger. This can be through your choice of activities, volunteering in the community, helping a family member as a part of your daily routine, or working a job to help pay for expenses. We hope to see this in your actions, in your recommendations, and in the stories you tell us in your essays. UGA is an amazing community, and we want students who will challenge it, improve it, and help it.

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.” – Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes

Sometimes life doesn’t work out exactly as you planned. The science project collapses upon itself, you burn the cookies, you face plant down the stairwell, and not even your lucky underpants can make things right. What is important is how you handle the setback. Did you dust yourself off and get back on the proverbial horse? Life will not always be perfect while you are at college, and we want to see that you know how to overcome obstacles in the road.

“Love the life you live, live the life you love.” – Bob Marley

Find the things you love in life, and then do them. When we read files, we want to see what you are passionate about, and how you have chosen to be involved in the things you love. This covers both academic and personal interests, as we want to see you grow in these areas at UGA. Our faculty wants you to be passionate about your interests, and they will help you grow in these areas.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi

We are looking at not only what you tell us you want to do, but also what you have actually put into action. Admissions is more about show than tell, and we want to see how you have taken steps to grow and learn. I think Gandhi’s words pretty much speak for themselves.

“Always pass on what you have learned.” – Yoda

In our review of admissions files, we want to see not only what you are like as a student and as a person, but how you impact the people around you. Will you share what you have learned if you become a part of the UGA community and make an impact on our campus? How have you passed on what you have learned to the people in your community now? Yoda is a very wise and somewhat misunderstood philosopher.


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