Discussion on Admission Criteria Components
High School Grades Carry the Most Weight
We make no bones about it: more than any other single factor, the grades that you earn in your high school courses play the most important role in determining your competitiveness for admission to UGA. Since there are so many different grading scales, not to mention weighting methodologies, we recalculate a GPA for every first-year applicant based only on academic courses taken in the five core academic areas (with the addition of AP Art and Music Theory courses). Using a standard 4.0 scale, we convert each grade earned according to the grading scale in use at your high school at the time the course was taken.
Additionally, if a weight is not already added to an individual grade, we raise by the equivalent of one letter grade (1) each grade earned in an AP or IB course. Unlike nationally- or internationally-normed AP and IB curricula, there is no standardized methodology for the designation of Honors courses. Consequently, it is UGA's policy not to add any weight for Honors courses when recalculating a student's GPA for admission. We do consider the number of Honors courses a student takes, however, when determining the rigor of his or her overall curriculum, including the availability of AP and IB courses.
Curriculum Difficulty and the Required High School Curriculum (RHSC)
As described on the First Year Applicants page, the level of academic rigor in your course selection is the second of three major factors influencing your chances for admission to UGA. At a minimum, by policy of the University System of Georgia, all first-year applicants must complete the Required High School Curriculum (RHSC), which consists of 17 academic units in English (4), Mathematics (4), Science (4), Social Studies (3), and Foreign Language (2). The Georgia Board of Regents has a detailed high school curriculum guide to assist students in understanding what courses need to be completed for college. In the math section of this document, UGA will not accept the courses marked with **, except for the newly BOR approved Advanced Mathematical Decision Making (AMDM).
To be most competitive, you should challenge yourself by pursuing the most rigorous courses available in your high school that you, your parents, and your guidance counselor deem appropriate to your level of ability. The number of courses taken beyond the minimum requirement of 17--not to mention those designated as advanced, Honors, gifted, AP/IB or dual enrollment--will be considered in the admission process. In fact, in recent years, 98% of first-year students admitted to UGA pursued an honors or advanced level curriculum track.
Please note: A challenging schedule will not counterbalance a non-competitive GPA, as your grades ultimately remain the single most important factor. Additionally, any grades of D or F on your transcript--especially in your junior or senior year--would be cause for concern on the part of our Admissions Committee and should be addressed in your application.
Standardized Tests: ACT and SAT
For first-year admission, UGA requires that an applicant submit an official score report for either the ACT or SAT. Scores must be submitted electronically by the respective testing agency. UGA will not accept scores that appear on your high school transcript, nor will we consider paper reports. We receive electronic transmissions of ACT and SAT scores from the testing agencies on a weekly basis, and we will automatically update your application file with any new scores received by our application deadlines. Starting in 2017, UGA does not require the SAT or ACT essay, and we will not use these scores in our review.
There are many myths and misconceptions about standardized tests and how they are used in admission decisions. At UGA, the only minimum score requirements in place are the ones required by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for admission to its research universities: that is, an SAT-CR of 430 and SAT-M of 400, or subscores of 17 on both the English and Math sections of the ACT. If a student takes the SAT or ACT more than once, we will consider the best scores we receive for each section on either exam. While these scores are the minimum required by the Board of Regents, it is important to clarify that the typical profile of incoming students at UGA far exceeds these minimums.
Though historically we have received more SAT scores from applicants, we do not have a preference between the ACT and SAT. In fact, we often recommend that students attempt each test at least once. Used in conjunction with a student's grades and rigor of curriculum, both have proven equally reliable in predicting academic success at UGA, as is evident in UGA's first-to-second year retention rate of 95%.
Please note: As with rigor of curriculum, a high score on the SAT or ACT will not compensate for a non-competitive GPA. Your record of three to three-and-a-half years' worth of rigorous academic work in the classroom will be the primary focus of any admission decision.