Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Early-action" applicants to University of Georgia receive admissions decisions

For some 6,000 high school seniors, the holidays will be off to a happy start when they learn they have been offered early admission to the University of Georgia.

Those who applied for “early-action” admission to UGA will learn their status when decision letters arrive by mail starting next week. But those who don’t want to wait can get the news online the evening of Dec. 11 by using the password-protected status check on the admissions office Web site, www.admissions.uga.edu.

The admissions office received some 10,600 early-action applications this year.Many of the applicants not offered admission at this point will learn that a final decision has not yet been made.They 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 their admission decision was deferred, they still have a chance to be part of the incoming freshman class,” said Nancy McDuff, associate vice president for admissions and enrollment management.“Last year, we admitted about half of the students who were initially deferred and then completed part II of the application by the regular-decision deadline of Jan. 15.”

UGA initiated a non-binding early-action program in 2003.Those applying for early-action submit applications by an Oct. 15 deadline and learn in December that they were admitted, denied or deferred.Early-action decisions are made strictly on academic criteria.

McDuff believes that more students this year decided to wait 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,” she said.

This year’s early-action applicant pool is again academically stronger and more diverse than the previous year, continuing a trend of the past few years, according to McDuff. Nearly 23 percent of the students applying for early-action identified themselves as being from an ethnic or racial minority group. More than 750early-action applications, representing over seven percent of the total pool, were received from African Americans.The number of early-action applications from Hispanic students totaled more than 400 students, an increase from last year.

Due to the increase in the academic quality of the applicants, about 300 more early-action students are being offered admission this year than last.McDuff predicted that the admissions office will receive between 17,000 and 18,000 total applications for the incoming class, with a target enrollment of 4,800 new first-year students entering this summer or fall and another 200 in spring 2011.Typically, about half the students offered admission go on to enroll at UGA, a comparable yield to other selective universities.

“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 that 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.”

The students who applied early this year are academically quite strong, McDuff said. Those offered admission at this point have an average academic GPA mid-range of 3.84-4.08, an SAT mid-range of 1240-1390 (with a mean SAT writing score of 654) or a mean ACT range of 28-32. UGA requires students to submit writing scores for their ACT and SAT tests and those scores are an integral part of the selection process, McDuff said.

Those students admitted through early action also took an average of six Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes.

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