Emergency Codes

  David Graves      July 9th, 2019

Last week, I volunteered for my 23rd year as a cabin counselor at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer. The campers during my week range from 7-12 years of age, and there is a wide range of situations with the campers, from ones who have been off treatment for years and having no challenges to campers missing limbs or going through medical care while at camp. Every year before the campers arrive, the camp staff goes over a list of camp rules to make sure the week goes by without any problems. This training covers a wide range of things, from important safety information from the medical staff (hydration and sunscreen are key buzzwords),  to the codes for a variety of different possible emergencies. Here is the short list of the emergency codes from camp: Code Red – Fire emergency at camp. Code Blue – Possible bomb/active shooter. Code Yellow – Missing camper emergency. Code Gray – Thunderstorm spotted. Code Black – Tornado Warning. When you’re working with a large group of people scattered around a huge camp space, you need to prepare for any possible issue and quickly alert people to any issue. As you can guess, most of these codes never occur. The only code used this year was code gray, but thunderstorms are normal for summer afternoons in Georgia. I did have a code yellow once, but the camper was just hiding out in the snack shack eating candy bars prior to leaving camp. Emergency […]

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Freshman Denies – A Post Mortem

  David Graves      April 9th, 2018

My wife loves Grey’s Anatomy. She is a nurse, and can handle seeing blood spurt out, people impaled on poles, and limbs sticking out at seriously wrong angles. Me, I can’t even handle the site of the scalpel cutting into a body. But some of the most interesting scenes for me are when they do post mortems. The doctors look at what went wrong, either with the person’s health or the medical treatment, to determine the cause of death. While doctors can never tell you exactly how to live to be 100, many times they can tell you what to avoid so you can have a good chance of a long life. One thing we cannot do in admissions is tell students/parents the exact path to getting admitted. Life in admissions changes too much for this, with shifting application numbers, academic strengths, etc. But what I can do is take a closer look at the denied students (an admissions post mortem so to speak), and give out some information on trends in our denied group. FYI-This is not a post about data on the overall denied applicant group, but only a view on some data which stands out within that subset. I apologize up front for the somewhat gruesome medical comparison, but if nothing else, it catches your attention. Core Course Rigor: One of the biggest correlation factors for applicants being denied was their course preparation for UGA, and for college as a whole. If you were going to prepare […]

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The Holistic Review Process-Beyond the Numbers

  David Graves      December 12th, 2017

It is December, which means our holistic file reading process will begin soon. Instead of giving you a nice “slice of life” story which then transitions into our reason for reading files, I will just go straight into the process (except for the Rudy clip). For a large group of our applicants (ones who are not admitted based on their academics alone in November and February), we spend almost three months diving into everything in a student’s application to better understand them, look at them in comparison with the rest of the applicant pool, and ultimately make final decisions about our freshman class. I have had a number of comments on the blog asking what we look at in this process, so here are the areas we look at in our holistic review. I could probably write six pages worth of explanation about the process, but I have summarized each area to lessen the pain of exhaustion for the reader. There is more to our review process than just these brief descriptions though, but at least this gives you some details of the process. Activities/Involvement/Leadership – The first thing you should know about activities is that we value quality over quantity. What we are looking for is somewhat about the range of what a person does, but more so the depth of their involvement. It is not about how many clubs/sports/activities you can join, but instead looking at is what things you have committed to during your high school years, both […]

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The Importance of Depth

  David Graves      January 31st, 2017

For the last fifteen years or so, my family has made an intentional decision to try and have birthday events and gifts be focused on an activity. We have planned scavenger hunts, rafter down several Tennessee rivers, hit the ski slopes in West Virginia, and gone cave spelunking in Kentucky. I vividly remember a trip early on where we went tubing down the Chattahoochee in Helen, GA. For those who don’t know what tubing is, it is the outdoor version of a lazy river, and Helen is a wonderful location for this adventure. You park at the tubing center, catch a quick bus ride (with your inner tube and life vest) up river, then have a relaxing float downstream. Unfortunately, during this middle of the summer tubing adventure, a problem arose: a drought that year meant the water level in the river was precariously low. In reality, nothing revolving around tubing is precarious. The worst that can possibly happen is generally a mild sunburn or floating a little too far away from your family. But a low level of water means less effortless floating and more standing, walking, pushing, and annoyance. It also means more complaining by family members, which becomes a downward spiral. Water depth (along with bug spray and sunscreen) is key to a good tubing adventure. Good water depth provides a smooth, consistent trip down the river. In the same vein, depth is key in reading admissions files. When we are reading applications, we are looking at […]

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File Reading Part I – Activities, Writing and Creativity

  David Graves      December 1st, 2014

From January through mid-March, the admissions staff will hide out in our offices and read files during our holistic file reading process. And when I say read files, I mean lots of files (I am guessing I will read over 1,200 files this year alone). As such, we want you to know what we are looking at when we review these files. There are six main areas that we look at in our file reading process, and I will cover two areas each in a three part post. The first two areas focus on a student’s activities, involvement and leadership and a review of the student’s writing, self expression and creativity. Activities/Involvement/Leadership The first thing you should know about activities is that we value quality over quantity. What we are looking for is somewhat about the range of what a person does, but more so the depth of their involvement. I see far too many applicants get involved with multiple clubs or organizations in their junior year after the light comes on (or the parent’s voice starts to be heard) about being involved. Suddenly a student is involved in seven different groups, from the Green Campus club to the knitting for kids group. Anything and everything gets thrown into the resume. What we are really looking at is what things you have committed to during your high school years, both in time and in consistency. I am much more impressed with a student who does three things, let’s say scouting, […]

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Freshman Application Changes Part III

  David Graves      May 26th, 2010

In reviewing the UGA admissions process and the information that we ask for on the application, we started looking at Part I and Part II of the application more closely. While the separation into two parts has worked well for UGA (and for the applicants), we want to make sure we have enough information from students during certain time periods in the admissions process. For instance, during the Early Action period, our focus is primarily on an applicant’s academic areas (grades, rigor of classes, test scores, etc.), but occasionally we need to look at the entire applicant. In addition, UGA is starting to expand our process of reviewing files for scholarship to include more review of an applicant’s extra-curricular activities. As such, we will be shifting a section of Part II of the application to Part I. We will be moving the “Leadership and Activity Record” section to part I, which includes a student’s school and community activities, athletics, honors and awards, work experience and summer activities. Part II will be primarily the four short essays, as well as a small section for any updated information for deferred students. This will not change the way we review EA or RD applicants, but it gives us more information if needed, and will eliminate the issue of EA students wanting to send in a resume. I repeat, this will not change the way we review EA or RD applicants. We also hope that this will make life a little easier for deferred […]

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File Reading, Part I

  David Graves      February 1st, 2010

Last week, I said I would write about file reading, and I will break it up into six areas. The first thing we generally see during the review of the files is how a student spends their time outside of the classroom. As such, lets talk a little bit about how we look at an applicant’s commitment to activities, service, family and/or leadership areas. Remember, this is one of six areas I will talk about, so don’t get too focused or hung up on just this area. The first thing you should know is that we value quality over quantity. What we are looking for is somewhat about the range of what a person does, but more so the depth of their involvement. I see far too many applicants get involved with multiple clubs or organizations in their junior year after the light comes on (or the parent’s voice starts to be heard) about being involved. Suddenly a student is involved in 7 different groups, from the Green Campus club to the knitting for kids group. Anything and everything gets thrown in. What we are really looking at is what things you have committed to during your high school years, both in time and in consistency. I am much more impressed with a student who does three things, let’s say scouting, cross-country and Habitat for Humanity, growing in ability and responsibility each year, than a student who bounces from group to group, having ten areas of involvement, but not staying […]

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Volunteering and Admissions

  David Graves      September 8th, 2009

Well, the votes are in (at least about what readers want more information on), and you have stated that you would like to learn more about what things play a factor in admissions.Today, I would like to focus on how we look at students giving back to their community. And for student’s who are looking at volunteering at UGA, the UGA Center for Leadership and Service is a great place to start. When the counselors in our office are reading admissions applications, one of the things we look at is how an applicant uses their available time. While we can not say an exact amount of emphasis activities count within the review process, it is important to our review. We do not classify one activity as better than another (such as quilting over baseball, or the science club over the debate team). What we are looking at is what you are active in, how active are you (how long have you been involved, leadership, etc), and how has this impacted both you and your community. If you are a part of your school’s theater group or sports team, you are both representing your school, performing for an audience, and putting in time and effort. We look at volunteering in the same way, with a focus on commitment and impact on the community. But one thing I want to stress is that UGA does not require community service, and just like other activities, we suggest you only be involved if you […]

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