By Maureen Downey
I am seeing proud mamas posting on Facebook tonight that their high school seniors were admitted today to the University of Georgia.
According to UGA:
Some 7,500 high school seniors will have additional cause for celebration this holiday season, as they learn today that they have been offered early admission to the University of Georgia for fall semester 2014.
For the third year, the UGA Office of Undergraduate Admissions is announcing early-action admission decisions nearly three weeks sooner than usual..
"Technology is definitely changing and speeding up the way we notify students of admissions decisions-both good news and bad," said Nancy McDuff, associate vice president for admissions and enrollment management. "We find that many times entire families will be checking the online status check from different locations on different electronic platforms. Last year, we found that our 10,000 applicants were checking their status from 46,000 different electronic platforms. Additionally, we will not be mailing letters to students who have been denied admission, since getting that letter after learning the news via the status check is a double blow."
The admissions office received more than 12,000 early-action applications for the freshman class that will enter in 2014 -- another record number of applicants, and a very academically accomplished group of high school seniors.
Those applying for early action submit applications by an Oct. 15 deadline and learn that they are admitted, denied or deferred to the regular-decision pool. Those who are deferred are asked to submit additional information by the regular-decision deadline of Jan. 15.
"We always try to stress to early-action applicants that if the admission decision was deferred, they still have a chance to be part of the incoming freshman class," McDuff said. "In the past few years, we have admitted about half of the students who were initially deferred and then completed Part II of the application by Jan. 15. Being deferred at this point does not mean that an application is denied. It means we are still considering their application."
This year, 62 percent of early-action applicants are being offered admission, about 7 percent of applicants are being denied, and about a third of the total are being deferred.
Early-action decisions are based solely on academic criteria. McDuff noted that in recent years many students are waiting to apply until the regular-decision deadline in order to have additional factors considered, such as high school activities and volunteer work. "For some students, that's a good decision, and we encourage it," she said.
This year's early-action applicant pool is again academically strong and diverse, with high test scores and grades and rigorous curricula. A quarter of the students applying for early action identified themselves as being from an ethnic or racial minority group. Almost 800 early-action applications were received from African-Americans and the number of early-action applications from Hispanic students totaled more than 600.
Similar to last year, those offered admission at this point are academically superior with an average GPA of almost 4.0, a mean SAT of 1355 (with a mean SAT writing score greater than 650), or a mean ACT of 30. UGA requires students to submit writing scores for their ACT and SAT tests; those scores are an integral part of the selection process, McDuff said. Those students admitted through early action also took an average of seven advanced placement or international baccalaureate classes.
"The odds of being offered admission are always driven by how strong a student looks relative to the rest of the applicant pool," McDuff said. "The first offers of admission are extended to students with the strongest academic records, but the most important factors in the regular-decision process are also academic, in particular grade point average and the rigor of the courses the students have taken relative to what is available in their school.
"However, regular-decision applications and applications from students deferred from the early-action program are given a holistic review that includes other factors that tell us about students' talents and activities outside the classroom."
McDuff predicts that by Jan. 15 the admissions office will have received close to 22,000 total applications for the incoming class, with a target enrollment of more than 5,000 new first-year students entering in summer or fall and another 200 in spring 2015. Typically, about half the students offered admission will enroll at UGA, a comparable yield to other selective universities.