About 7 years ago, my wife and I were driving home after picking up our six year old son at my in-laws house, with him firmly strapped into his car seat in the back. As six year olds are prone to do, his discussion turned to bodily functions and a wonderful discussion about gas. My wife, raised as a proper southern woman, re-enforced the notion that one should not use the word “fart”, even going as far as to say “remember, we do not use the F word”. Of course, this turned into a wonderfully painful discussion about what other words he should not say, from the S word, the H word, and the other, dreaded “F word”.
We finally made it through the “words that should never be said” talk, and focused on the drive home from Greensboro, GA to Athens. We had just reached the bridge crossing I-20, when from the back of the car we heard the statement “Where is the effin Waffle House?” My wife jerked her head around in horror and asked “What did you just say?” in a tone only a mother knows. My son grinned back at her and said “Where is the effin Waffle House?” She sat stunned, unable to speak, when he once more repeated “Where is the effin Waffle House?”, only this time pointing forward and up in the sky. My wife turned to look, and saw the Waffle House sign up ahead in the dark sky, with one of the F’s dark from a burned out light bulb. In other words, “Where is the F in WAFFLE HOUSE?” Luckily, I was able to keep the car on the road through all the laughter, but it was not easy.
Why do I tell you this story, other than it is the best story I have in my parental bag of stories?
Around deadline time in January (and really throughout the year), we will get phone calls and emails from students, parents and counselors asking about an application. The student will ask if the application is in the system and okay, and we will check to see if it made it into our files. When we say yes, we go away thinking that the student now knows the application has been submitted (and letting them know to check their myStatus online), but the student may hear the words “okay” and think that their file is complete. A counselor may call to say they have just sent in the high school transcript and so the applicant’s file should be complete shortly (and thus we say okay), only to later find out it was sent by fax and we could not even read the name on the page, much less the grades. A parent may call to make sure UGA has received their child’s ACT scores (and we would see they came in on X date), but not see the myStatus situation or see the UGA email indicating that we are still missing an ACT Writing score. As you can see, it all comes down to an issue of misunderstanding what was communicated by both sides.
So when you contact any admissions office, make sure you are asking specific questions, make sure to submit things early in the process in case there is a problem, and make sure to use the sources at hand (myStatus, your counselor, etc.), to insure that your file is complete.