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, […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

Swipe Left or Swipe Right?

  David Graves      March 23rd, 2018

I will admit it, I have never used an online dating app. I am old. But there has always been one constant in the world of dating: Accentuate your strengths and de-emphasize your weaknesses. Athletic? Show some pictures of you competing on the court or hiking up a mountain. Brains? Highlight that amazing degree, the books you read and your passion for Shakespeare comedies. Sense of humor? Dazzle them with a few witty comments in your profile. And as for those weaknesses? Bury them. Bury them deep. By the time they get to know you, they will happily ignore obsession with the toilet paper having to go over instead of under, or your slight obsession with The Bachelor or Rick and Morty. The same thought process seems to holds true for students and parents posting college admission data on blogs, ChanceMe sites, and social media. Accentuate strengths and de-emphasize weaknesses. Have a strong GPA? Highlight the grades you made and the overall trends. Have a strong test score? Post the best SAT and ACT your child made, and emphasize how few make these scores nationwide. Active in School? List all the clubs, sports and volunteer work to far off lands. And if there are areas that are not so strong, then just leave off that part. The only difference is that while outside viewers only see the positives that are posted, Admissions Offices already have all the details on the students, and are able to see both the strengths and […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

ACT Site Closings and Test Scores

  David Graves      December 8th, 2017

As sometimes happens in Georgia, we are hit by a snowstorm, which means people flock to the grocery store for break and milk, schools are cancelled for a period of time, and testing centers for the SAT and ACT have to postpone the exams. UGA Admissions has been tracking the school closings for December 8, 2017, and we also know that some ACT sites for the 12/9 ACT exam will be postponing this testing date. In light of this, we have heard that the most likely make-up exam date will be the weekend of January 6-7, 2018. If a student has an ACT exam that is postponed from 12/9 to 1/6 or 1/7, we will use the ACT from this make-up ACT exam. Two provisions do apply to this extension of the deadline: If you are taking the ACT make-up exam, make sure that UGA is a score recipient prior to you taking the test. Do not wait until after you see the scores to determine if you should send the results, as this will delay things. Since UGA is a “best score” institution and we superscore test scores, sending us the scores before knowing the results will not hurt an applicant in any way. If there are unusual situations surrounding your scores for the 1/6 date which causes the scores to extremely delayed in being sent (late February or March as an example), this will cause us problems in accepting these scores for 2018 applicants. We do not expect […]

Read More

2018 Early Action Decisions are Available

  David Graves      November 17th, 2017

Early Action decisions are now available online! For students who were deferred, please understand that this is not a denial decision.  We want to be able to have a more in-depth review of you, including short essays, activities, recommendations, etc.  Please be sure to read the deferred student FAQ page before commenting on here. The 2018 Early Action Decision press release gives more details on the class, but here are a few numbers from it. Quick Early Action Numbers* Applications Received: 14,989 Offers of Admission: 8,060 Mid 50% Admitted Average GPA: 4.00-4.27 Mid 50% Admitted Average SAT (EBRW+M): 1320-1470 Mid 50% Admitted Average ACT: 30-32 Mid 50% Admitted AP/IB/MOWR courses (over 4 years: 7-11)      -Academic Rigor is based on an overall core course review, but this gives a good glance at the challenge of our admitted student’s curriculum. * Please Remember that these numbers are mid-ranges, not minimums. If you have questions about your specific decision, please do not post them on this blog.  As well, do not give out or request personal academic information in your post, as we would then need to delete these posts. We are not able to answer questions about individual students here because we will generally not have your information in front of us and we cannot disclose individual student information in a comment.  I would recommend talking with both your family and high school counselor first, then reviewing this previous post on suggestions about how to react to an EA decision, and finally reading the […]

Read More

2018 Early Action Update

  David Graves      October 17th, 2017

With the Early Action deadline having just passed, here are a few updates about the process: Total EA Applications:  14, 979 applications submitted Complete Early Action Applications as of today: 10, 577 (72% of the group) # of EA Applicants Applying within 2 days of Deadline: 5,802 As you can see, a large number of the Early Action applications are complete. The biggest item that is missing right now are official test scores, and as long as they were both taken and UGA was marked as a score recipient by 10/16, we can use them. They do not need to be in by 10/22, only requested by 10/16. You can see if your SAT scores have been sent by looking at the Score Sends option on your online score report. For ACT scores, you should be able to track things by looking under the Orders and Returns tab to see when the order number was processed. If you took the 10/7 SAT, we expect that those scores will be sent to us by late October. When we receive new scores, we add them to your file and automatically update your information. We are caught up completely on importing documents, sent both electronically and by mail. If a document has been mailed to us, we are entering it into our system the day we receive it. If a document is not in by 10/22, we suggest you make sure it has been sent. One key item: A school report is not a school […]

Read More

Sharks, Test Scores and Fear

  David Graves      September 22nd, 2017

Sharks are terrifying. They are big, they have huge pointy teeth, and and they like to eat. But the chances of you dying from a shark attack are pretty small. I mean one in eight million or so small. So while sharks are big and scary, in reality, you shouldn’t worry about them too much. In the same way, two words, three little letters each, cause an overwhelming amount of stress and angst. The SAT and ACT. They also seem big and scary, just without the pointy teeth. But in the same way that people overestimate the chances of a shark attack, they also overestimate the importance of the SAT and/or ACT tests. While a wide range of colleges use the SAT and/or ACT in the admissions review, the importance of these tests is generally overblown, and a number of colleges are test optional. Almost all (if not all) colleges, including UGA, state in their admissions review information that what a student does in the classroom is much more important than what a student does on a standardized test. At UGA, we give a rough estimate of 75+% of the academic portion of our review is focused on core grades and curriculum, with a much smaller percentage being the test score information. During our holistic file review where we look at everything, the importance of test scores becomes even smaller. Yet even with this information, the panic over test scores still runs wild. Here are some lifetime odds on the […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

UGA and the ACT

  David Graves      November 3rd, 2016

Over the past 5 years, UGA has had a huge jump in the number of students submitting ACT scores. UGA treats the ACT in the same way that we do the SAT (neither one is better or worse, easier or harder, etc.), but there still seems to be a great deal of mystery about how UGA looks at the ACT. I will try my best to give you some insight into our process. When we look at the ACT scores, we are one of many schools that will superscore the ACT. This means that UGA will take your highest subscores in multiple ACT exams and use these highest scores both individually and in calculating the highest composite. The ACT determines the composite by adding together the English, Math, Science Reasoning and Reading subscores, then dividing by 4 (rounding to the nearest whole number). This is how you might have a higher overall Composite score than what your individual Composite scores show. Here is a quick example: ACT 1: English-28, Math-29, Science-25, Reading-26 – Composite 27 ACT 2: English 24, Math 31, Science 27, Reading 23 – Composite 26 UGA Superscore:  English 28, Math 31, Science 27, Reading 26 – Composite 28 When UGA looks at the scores in more detail, though, we are focusing on the subscores that match the SAT scores. As such, our focus is on the English subscore and the Math subscore as these match up with the SAT subscores. If you have both SAT and ACT […]

Read More