So The Application Is Open, Now What

  David Graves      September 5th, 2019

The UGA Freshman application opened up on September 1, and in the first 4 days, roughly 7,000 students started an application. We generally have a small spike of students start the application right away, but only about 200 have actually submitted the app right now, so don’t panic if you have not started. But now that the application is open, here are a few things to think about concerning your application to UGA. Should you apply EA or RD? I have no idea, as this is really up to you. The EA and RD reviews are the same, just on a different timeline. We have an initial academic review of each applicant, and then for a number of students, we go into more detail in our holistic review process, where we look at everything. We will be doing more holistic reviews during the October/November EA initial process, and we will also defer a number of applicants where we want to look closer at their file holistically but we need more time to read the files (mid-October to mid-November does not give us a huge amount of time for holistic reads). The big question you should ask yourself when choosing EA vs RD is as follows: Are you comfortable with us reviewing your file on October 15, or do you need more time to work on the app, later test scores or fall grades? If you are good with us reviewing you somewhere around 10/15, apply EA, but if you need […]

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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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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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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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Test Scores and Air Bags

  David Graves      May 21st, 2019

This past weekend, I was driving my father to the Atlanta airport, and as is usual, the topic of college admissions came up. There was a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal which discussed the SAT. In one section of the op/ed piece, the writers stated “the SAT is still the best objective measure of student aptitude and has proven to be a good predictor of college performance.” While discussing the editors knowledge (or lack of ) about grades/course rigor vs test scores, the sunlight hit the windshield just right and I flipped down the visor to block the light. On the back of the visor was the airbag warning sticker, and it got me to thinking about the interplay between different systems in trying to solve a problem. Putting aside the other variables of a college admission review (essays, activities, recommendations), how can a college best utilize grades/rigor and test scores? If you actually read the airbag warning, you will see that one of the key points is “Always use seat belts and other child restraints”. In other words, while airbags can help in an accident, seat belts are the actual key factor in auto safety, while airbags are secondary safety devices that, along with the seat belts, help to best avoid serious injuries. In looking studies on the effectiveness data on seat belts and airbags in possible fatalities for drivers, three-point seat belts alone had a 48% effectiveness rating, airbags alone had a 14% effectiveness rating, […]

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2019 Freshman Denial

  David Graves      March 15th, 2019

We plan to make the final wave of freshman decisions available today, March 15th in the late afternoon time frame. Unfortunately, we are not able to admit a number of strong applicants as we are limited in the size of our freshman class.  We know that you have a number of other strong college options and suggest you focus on the other great opportunities that are ahead rather than on a denial from UGA.  If your ultimate goal is to graduate from the University of Georgia, then we suggest you look at transfer opportunities down the road.  For now, focus on your current college options, find one that fits you best, and have a great freshman year there. Please read our Denied Student FAQ if you have questions. If you decide to contact us next week, please understand that we will not be able to give you a specific “reason” for a denial, as in this process we have looked at everything within an applicant’s file, and the overall reason is really that the overall applicant pool is very large and very strong. Things to Remember: UGA does not use the GPA from a HS transcript, but instead we calculate our own HS GPA based on core academic courses. For our admitted freshman, roughly 88% of their core grades were A’s, and 11.5% were B’s. In our holistic review, we also look at grade trends to see how a student has progressed through their HS years.  UGA looks closely at academic rigor, specifically […]

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2019 Freshmen Final Admits

  David Graves      March 15th, 2019

We plan to make the final wave of freshman decisions available today, March 15th, in the late afternoon time frame. For those of you who have been admitted to UGA, here is a post for you and a chance to comment.  Please remember that this is not a blog where you should post statistics or throw fellow students under the bus. These types of comments will be deleted. Congratulations to all of the freshman who were admitted and we look forward to you becoming part of the Bulldog Nation.  The next steps for a new student can be seen in the flyer in your admission packet, so please go ahead and review what you need to do next.  In addition, there will be a great deal of information you can access off of your Status page.  When you have the time, please review this, as there is key information in the Next Step materials.  Please remember a small number of students will be admitted to start in January 2020.  You will find specific information on your Status page and in your admissions packet. Here are some rough statistics on the Entire Freshman Admitted Class for 2019-November, February and March waves, where we admitted 13,050 students total, which is slightly above last year’s offers of admission (I do not have separate data on just the final group, sorry): UGA Calculated Grade Point Average mid-range/average:  4.00 – 4.27, with a 4.10 average Please remember this is not the GPA students see on their high […]

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Admissions, Baseball and the Land of Statistics

  David Graves      February 27th, 2019

When I was growing up in Connecticut, baseball was my passion. My sister was a NY Yankees fan, so naturally I became a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. I lived and died (mostly died) with the Red Sox, and my hero was Jim Rice, the home run hitting left fielder for my beloved team. I can still name most of the Sox starting nine from the late 1970’s, from Hobson at third, Scott at first, Evans in right, Lynn in center and Fisk behind the plate among others. And like any baseball fan in the 70’s and 80’s, I collected baseball cards. There was nothing better than getting a fresh pack of Topps baseball cards to see which players you got (and nothing worse than the cheap stick of gum with a texture like cardboard and flavor that lasted for three minutes tops). The greatness of a baseball card was not just the photo on the front, but the wealth of each player’s statistics on the back of the card. This information transformed a kid from a mere fan into a fountain of baseball knowledge, with the ability to magically produce statistics like rabbits from a hat, amazing your friends by knowing exactly what Carl Yastrzemski’s batting average was in 1977 (.296 in case you are wondering). But statistics are a funny thing. Data that at one time seemed vital to success now is not so important now, while lesser know pieces of information suddenly take on a much larger […]

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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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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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