2020 Freshman Essay Questions

  David Graves      May 30th, 2019

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants. Based on our review of the essays from last year, we are keeping the essay prompts the same as last year. We require one short essay that all applicants must complete, and four additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to one of these. These two essays should be between 200-300 words and remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 1, but we thought that some people would want to know the essay prompts earlier than that date. Based on the essays we read last year, we do have one suggestion – Please remember your audience. For some reason, we had a large number of essays about bodily functions this year, and while these might be good stories for late night gatherings with friends, they might not be the best admission essays. Here are the five essay questions, with Essay 1 being required and Essays 2-5 being four options from which the applicant selects one.   (Required) The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that […]

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Admissions Checklist

  David Graves      August 22nd, 2018

I will tell you right now, I love the podcast for NPR’s “Hidden Brain” by Shankar Vedantam. I hope that one day I might be a part of a story about college admissions on this podcast (I know, keep dreaming). And one of my favorite episodes on this program is “Check Yourself”, a podcast about how checklists, similar to the ones airline pilots now use, can be vital in other areas. The start of the program deals with the growth of the airline business, and a 1935 Boeing crash that led to the development of the first airline pilot checklist. It then leads into the other business sectors which can be improved by using checklists. In our research concerning last year’s applicant pool, there was a dramatic dip in both admission rates and strength of essays for students did not plan ahead in their college application process and who waited until the last minute to apply. Preparation is key for a number of things, including the college admissions process. With the opening of the UGA Freshman application on September 1 fast approaching, here is a quick checklist for potential applicants. While the first two checklists are key right now, I thought I would throw in the last one so you can see what is down the road. Pre-Flight Checklist College Spreadsheet: Create a basic chart with the name of each college you are considering, the application and material deadlines for the different schools and decision plans (EA vs RD for […]

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DIY Admissions-Parent Edition

  David Graves      July 6th, 2018

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post about how students should be able to handle the application process on their own, with a limited amount of guidance from parents/counselors friends. This month, the focus is on how parents can help get students to that stage of the process: Last week, I was volunteering at a camp for six days, and I had eight campers in my cabin from a range of placed in Georgia. It was a wonderful week, but as you can guess, there were also a few challenging times, usually associated with either getting all eight out of the cabin on time or that wonderful event of mealtime, also known as “please just eat your food and don’t make too much of a mess”. One of our campers had a challenge with certain mealtime things, from cutting up meat, eating yogurt without getting it on his face, and the horribly sticky mess that is syrup (they really should just ban this substance from all children under the age of 13). One of the newer counselors at the table stepped up to help this camper by cutting his food, going to get paper towels, and pretty much sticking close to the camper for every meal in case of emergency. About a day later, one of the wiser, older counselors (not me, I swear) stepped in and essentially said “Stop helping him. He needs to learn how to do these things himself.” The focus became less on doing […]

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DIY Admissions

  David Graves      June 5th, 2018

For the last few weeks, my shower has suddenly started to drip water, even with the handle set at full off. I could live with a tiny leak, but this was becoming a steady leak, leading to other issues. So this weekend, I took on the task of repairing my shower in my house. I waited until my family was gone for the week, did some research on the internet on how to fix a leaky shower, and then built up my nerve to tackle the project. I am fine with fixing simple things around the house, even to the point of scaling the roof to fix a few torn shingles, but plumbing work terrifies me. I have nightmares about the entire shower suddenly falling into the kitchen due to my plumbing mistakes. But after looking at what was needed for a basic dripping shower, I figured I could take on the project. I watched the YouTube videos, read the package instructions, and I was ready. It started out simple enough – Step 1, remove the handle. 20 minutes and a lot of WD-40 later, the handle was removed. Step 2, remove the metal shower sleeve – done in 20 seconds. Step 3, remove the bonnet nut – you guessed it, 30 minutes, one new wrench and a lot of WD-40 later, bonnet nut removed. Step 4, remove the cartridge and look at the rubber gasket washers. Step 5, notice there are no rubber gasket washers. Step 6, watch a […]

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2019 Freshman Essay Topics

  David Graves      May 11th, 2018

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants. Based on our review of the essays from last year, we are keeping the essay prompts the same as last year. We require one short essay that all applicants must complete, and four additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to one of these. These two essays should be between 200-300 words and remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 1, but we thought that some people would want to know the essay prompts earlier than that date. Based on the essays we read last year, we do have one suggestion – Please remember your audience. For some reason, we had a large number of essays about bodily functions this year, and while these might be good stories for late night gatherings with friends, they might not be the best admission essays. Here are the five essay questions, with Essay 1 being required and Essays 2-5 being four options from which the applicant selects one.   (Required) The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that […]

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Are You Ready?

  David Graves      July 6th, 2017

Summer is a time for vacations, part-time jobs, and relaxation. But for rising HS seniors, it is also time to prepare for the college application process. I am not suggesting you have everything ready to submit an application on opening day of the UGA application (September 1 by the way), but only that you have some things laid out in order to be on top of the process. In our research concerning last year’s applicant pool, there was a dramatic dip in both admission rates and strength of essays for students who either waited until the last minute to apply or who spent only a few days working on the application. In saying this, here are a few suggestions on steps to take get ready to apply to UGA. Map out your college application plan. If you are like most students, you will apply to 3-5 colleges. If this is the case, you will have to track the deadlines, materials time lines and actions needed for all of these colleges. Get a calendar (electronic or paper) just for admissions time lines, and enter in the deadline dates, scholarship dates, campus programs, deposit dates, etc. for all these colleges. This is the best way to keep this process organized and to not miss out on something. The worst calls we handle are when a student did not do X by a certain deadline and we can’t do anything for them except say sorry. Get prepared. Before you start your application, you will […]

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2018 Freshman Essays

  David Graves      May 31st, 2017

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants. Starting this year, we will have all freshman, Early Action (EA) and Regular Decision (RD) submit two essays in their application. This is a change, as for the last 10 years, EA applicants have only submitted essays if they were deferred. But to keep the same timelines (with projected application growth) and to balance adding the Coalition application, among other things, we have added the essays (down from three to two) to the EA application.  We require one short essay that all applicants must complete, and four additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to one of these. These two essays should be between 200-300 words and remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 1, but we thought that some people would want to know the essay prompts earlier than that date. Here are the five essay questions, with Essay 1 being required and Essays 2-5 being four options from which the applicant selects one.    (Required) The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself that you have not already […]

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2018 Freshman Application Changes

  David Graves      May 22nd, 2017

With each new year of admissions comes changes to the application and/or application process so that we can make better decisions every year, and also make sure that we are able to release decisions in time frame that works for both our office and the applicants. As such, here are the changes for the freshman application for students starting in Summer/Fall of 2018. Coalition Application – Starting this year, we will begin accepting applications submitted through the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success (also known as the Coalition Application). We will continue to have our own application (and we expect a majority of our applicants will use our form), but we wanted to allow students who use the Coalition Application for multiple colleges to have this option. We will still be accepting documents through our normal methods of Naviance/Parchment, GaFutures and documents sent by mail, so there is no change that needs to happen for counseling offices sending us materials.  Short Answer/Essay Changes – Students who apply Early Action (EA) or Regular Decision (RD) will complete the exact same application, as there will now be two short answer/essay questions for both EA and RD applicants. In the past, EA applicants did not complete the short answer/essays unless they were deferred, but now all freshman applicants will complete these when they apply. As well, we have shifted from three to two short answer/essays for applicants. This change will allow us to begin our holistic read process earlier, will eliminate the issue […]

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2017 Short Essay Questions (for RD and Deferred EA applicants only)

  David Graves      June 13th, 2016

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants who apply Regular Decision or are deferred Early Action (Early Action applicants do not submit essays unless they are deferred).  We were very pleased with the responses we received last year, so we are keeping the same essays for 2017 as we had for 2016. We require one short essay that all RD or deferred EA applicants must complete, and three additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to two of these. Essay 1 should be between 200-300 words, while essays 2-4 should be between 150 to 200 words, but remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 1, but we thought that some people would want to know the essays earlier than that date. Here are the four essay questions as we now have them, with Essay 1 being required (200-300 words) and Essays 2-4 being three options from which the applicant can select two (150-200 words).    (Required) The UGA faculty has defined the qualities that the student body should demonstrate in the Admissions Philosophy Statement.  After reviewing this, help us understand which of your qualities will add value to our community of scholars. (200-300 […]

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2016 Freshman Essay Questions (RD and Deferred EA only)

  David Graves      July 6th, 2015

Every year, our office reviews the freshman application for changes that we would like to see for the next year. During this review, we also look at the short essay questions that are required for First Year applicants who apply Regular Decision or are deferred Early Action (Early Action applicants do not submit essays unless they are deferred).  For 2016, we have made a few minor changes in our short essays. We require  one short essay that all RD or deferred EA applicants must complete, and three additional short essay topics with the applicant selecting to respond to two of these. Essay 1 should be between 200-300 words, while essays 2-4 should be between 150 to 200 words, but remember to focus on substance and not word count.  Before submitting your application and essays in the Fall, always remember to proofread and edit!  The First Year application will be available on September 2, but we thought that some people would want to know the essays earlier than that date. Here are the four essay questions as we now have them, with Essay 1 being required (200-300 words) and Essays 2-4 being three options from which the applicant can select two (150-200 words).    (Required) The UGA faculty has defined the qualities that the student body should demonstrate in the Admissions Philosophy Statement.  After reviewing this, help us understand which of your qualities will add value to our community of scholars. (200-300 words) Describe a problem, possibly related to your area […]

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