Playing on the Same Court

  David Graves      August 8th, 2019

Hoosiers There are a few movies everyone has where, if it appears on-screen when you are channel surfing, you have to stop and watch at least a few scenes.  Hoosiers, where an underdog basketball team from the small town of Hickory, Indiana and their outsider coach overcome personal struggles to make it to the Indiana HS basketball championship game. One particular scene always stands out for me: As the team walks into the imposing Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis prior to playing in the final game, the players are stunned into silence as they look around the massive arena. Going from their high school gym with a capacity in the hundreds to a field house that seats 15,000 is an overwhelming change for the Hickory players, causing them to doubt themselves and their chances of winning the championship game. In the pivotal scene, Coach Dale has several of the players use a measuring tape to check the dimensions of the basketball court. “I think you’ll find it is the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory.” With one sentence, Coach Dale lets his players know that while the field house might be massive and the opposing team might seem intimidating, on the court where the game is played, it is a level playing field. When our office works with students who have challenges in their educational situation, many times from rural areas or from schools with limited resources, we see that same stunned silence as the Hickory […]

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Random UGA Admission Thoughts for 2019

  David Graves      January 3rd, 2019

It is the start of 2019, and a wide range of things are happening in the UGA Admissions Office. We have just closed down the freshman application for admission, we will open the transfer application for summer/fall 2019 on January 22nd, and we will be spending the next two and a half months or so hiding away in our offices as we read admission files. As such, here are some Admissions Thoughts as we move forward. The application deadline for freshman was 1/1, and the document deadline is 1/8 for materials. The required documents for freshmen are an official transcript and a counselor school report/recommendation (not a school profile). As well, any test scores must be requested to be sent to us from the testing agency by 1/8 (not an in office deadline), and the last test scores we can use were from the December SAT/ACT. If things are sent in after 1/8, we might be able to use them, but we cannot make any promises. If the item in question shows up on the status page, that means we have imported it into your file as on time.  We have a very large freshman applicant pool, with the overall number of EA and RD applicants together totaling 29,500+. Some of these applicants will not submit all the required items, so the official number of complete applications will not be known until later (but I expect it will be close to 29,000). Starting on 1/14, our office will be in […]

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I’m not Santa Claus

  David Graves      December 19th, 2018

It is mid-December, so most of the US is in full holiday mode. My favorite radio station has been taken over by holiday music, the houses in my neighborhood are full of lights and inflatable animals, and the tracking of Amazon packages is a daily activity. And while I have grown a little heavier every year and my kids think I am seriously old, the lack of a snowy white beard and a red suit should let you know I am not Santa Claus. The problem is, many people view admissions offices a little like Santa Claus. We spend the year reviewing the background history of children and young adults, determining if they have been naughty or nice, and then on December 25th (or in our case three Friday afternoons) we deliver either happiness or tears by the type presents we give. It is the ultimate judgment call about a person’s self worth.  Santa is working off of a good vs bad comparison based off of a judgment call concerning your behavior over the last year. He has two choices, and I am assuming he has some gauge to determine how good or bad you have been, and some sort of scale or scoring rubric. I have no idea if he involves any elves, reindeer or Mrs. Claus in his decision making, or if it is just late nights and a lot of cocoa. I also have no idea how convincing the letters he receives are, and whether he puts […]

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UGA Holistic File Review Process

  David Graves      November 28th, 2018

It is almost December, which means our large scale 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. 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. This process takes time, but we would rather take time to make good decisions than rush through the process. 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 […]

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Changes

  David Graves      September 17th, 2018

Changes. They happen all the time in all areas of life. David Bowie even has a song about it. It is a fact of life, an Admissions Offices are no different. Every year we look at what has happened over the past year, what has worked and what needs fine tuning and what we need to change for the future. For this coming year, we have been looking at our review process for our freshman admission decisions and as well our transfer admission process. The transfer review process is still being discussed by both our office and the faculty, while the freshman review process changes will impact our incoming EA and RD applications for the 2019 year. Over the past several years, our applicant pool has grown much stronger, both in the academic and co-curricular areas. In addition, our applicant pool has grown in size, with the expectation that we might have close to 30,000 freshman applicants this year. As the applicant pool’s academic data-points have grown, we have started to see a much larger group of students who are very similar in their academic profiles. In order to make more informed decisions during our admission reviews and have a positive impact on our incoming freshman class, we have decided to increase the number of files we look at in our holistic review process (looking at everything in the file). While we will still have a number of applications where we focus primarily on the academic areas of core grades, […]

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The Language of Admissions

  David Graves      September 6th, 2018

My daughter, who is a sophomore International Affairs major at UGA, probably thinks she can hold her own in a hospital operating room. Why? Because being a Grey’s Anatomy fangirl has taught her all the medical lingo she would ever need in this life. Fourteen seasons and 317 episodes of the life of Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Miranda Bailey, McDreamy, McSteamy, and all the other doctors of Seattle Grace/Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital have taught her well. Words like V-Fib, central line, metastasis, Pre and Post-Op, and phrases such as “I need a ten-blade and 100 cc’s of epi stat” can just roll off her tongue. Me, I am terrified of blood, and almost all medical terms just go right over my head, even with a wife who is a nurse. In the same way, a number of occupations and offices have their own language. If you have ever been to the Varsity (a wonderfully greasy hamburger place in Atlanta and Athens), you know they have their own lingo for food, from a Naked Dog to Chili Steak all the way (see the Varsity Lingo page for the full details). Whether you are an accountant, in construction, work in finance or are a lawyer, every field seems to have their own language. College admissions is no different, and it can sometimes get confusing. Here is a helpful guide to some of the key words and phrases in the world of admissions. Binding: While there are many “Early” terms (early decision, early action, […]

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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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Admissions, Russell Wilson and the NFL Draft

  David Graves      January 16th, 2018

The NFL Combine – Four days set aside for potential pro football players to show their skills, and for team scouts and fans to drool over odd statistics such as the 3-cone drill, the Wonderlick IQ test and 40 yard dash times. For those of you who don’t follow NFL football, the draft combine is where the NFL  invites prospective players to travel to Indianapolis, IN to showcase their talents for NFL scouts. They will be timed on how fast they can run the 40 yard dash, how high they jump, how many times they can bench press 225 lbs, among other things. In addition, they will be measured and weighed, interviewed, poked and prodded all to try and determine their strengths and weaknesses. The NFL teams will then take all this data, along with a wealth of film on how each player performed on the football field during their time in college, to try to determine who they should draft for their team. Every NFL team participates in the combine, but one in particular, the Oakland Raiders, has made it a habit of focusing a great deal on the numbers coming out of the combine. If a player had a great 40 yard dash time, you could bet that the Raiders would have them on their watch list. Jacoby Ford, Darrius Hayward-Bey and Bruce Campbell are all great examples of “workout warriors” with great combine stats whom the Raiders have drafted. Unfortunately (as many of their fans know), the […]

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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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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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