Univ. of Georgia applicants evaluated on the basis of academics only.
November 30, 2001 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Univ. of Georgia applicants evaluated on the basis of academics only. Without regard to race, gender or country of origin. On the other hand, we have the UC system undertaking a more "comprehensive" system. Predicition: If this continues for 20 years, there will be a huge shift in the academic centers. The UC system will be regarded as a diploma mill, while schools like UGA, which implement tough, academic-based admission policies will be the leading schools of the country.
posted by prodigal (31 comments total)
This is indeed quite a change from 1994 when, in response to my request for graduate school application forms, UGA sent me forms for International Students.

Given that my surname is, traditionally, Korean and/or Chinese, I suppose it seemed logical to them. But still, I was taken aback that they had made such an assumption. I'm just a wee white girl, after all.
posted by gsh at 8:35 AM on November 30, 2001

I was never convinced that knowing how to wring As out of high school teachers and out-smarting the SAT was any real indication of intelligence. Give me a B student who edited the school paper over some grinning grade-grubber any day.
posted by scarabic at 8:42 AM on November 30, 2001

From the story:

Also considered will be a measure used since the 1960s: the high school itself, in terms of how well students from an applicant's school have done academically at the university, said admissions director Nancy McDuff.

So much for the notion that race isn't involved.
posted by rcade at 8:44 AM on November 30, 2001

Apparently, UGA has already been improving in the rankings due to the Georgia program which gives free tuitition to high-achieving students, which keeps the best Georgia students in state. It appears that UGA is on an upward trend.
posted by rks404 at 8:44 AM on November 30, 2001

rks404: Yes, Georgia can afford to increase it's standards. It should be noted, however, that the tuition program is funded by a state lottery, which many people call a highly regressive form of taxation.
posted by raysmj at 8:52 AM on November 30, 2001

Addendum. Funny that no one noticed this in the story, which is not insignificant: And the legacy factor -- which gave prospective students an edge if an immediate family member had attended UGA -- also has been dropped.
posted by raysmj at 8:53 AM on November 30, 2001

Will this apply to student-athletes? "...the average SAT score for each entering fall UGA class of 4,300 freshmen grew 14 points, from 1180 to 1194 over the short, 3-year span of 1997 to 1999. As well, the average high school GPA grew from 3.52 to 3.62, and the average Academic Index (or predicted freshman GPA based on a UGA-appropriate combination of grades and test scores) grew from 2.90 to 3.10. The statistics for grant-in-aid student-athletes, also quite respectable, showed significant increases as well - 1005 to 1012 for SAT's, 2.90 to 2.95 for HS GPA's, and 2.22 to 2.37 for Academic Indexes - but the gap between student-athletes and all freshmen remains equally significant."
posted by Carol Anne at 8:56 AM on November 30, 2001

The folks at UGA still tend to look the other way when it comes to the athletes, of course.
rks404: The Hope scholarship (the Georgia program you refer to, paid for by the state's lottery addicts) is actually leading to grade inflation, which in turn dilutes this trend.
posted by Wizzle at 9:00 AM on November 30, 2001

The problem with evaluating students based on academics is finding meaningful academic criteria to use. A 4.0 from one school is rarely equivelent to a 4.0 at another school.

One thing is clear: an applicant should not be given an advantage based on his or her skin color. It's completely illogical.
posted by Witold at 9:17 AM on November 30, 2001

a highly regressive form of taxation.

But a voluntary one :) Around there, they refer to it as "a tax on people who can't do math." Which makes it that the Georgians who can't do math are supporting the instruction of those who show promise in it...?

The only kind of lottery I buy is life insurance - I'm guaranteed an eventual win, I just won't be able to enjoy the loot.

Student athletes will always be treated... differently. But if they weren't, the rest of us would never have had the chance to make beer money tutoring, right? Right.
posted by UncleFes at 9:21 AM on November 30, 2001

It's completely illogical.

But Spock! That statement is impossible to assess unless you tell me what your premises are. Suppose, to play devil's advocate, I tell you that my premises (I am president of UGA in this scenario) are (a) admitting students should be done so as to in the aggregate maximize educational opportunities for the entire student body at UGA, and (b) interacting with a diverse population of students is an important component of that educational experience. Then, I submit, the choice isn't "illogical" at all--though it may still be wrong on other grounds.

What are your premises?
posted by rodii at 9:31 AM on November 30, 2001

Georgia or California? Better a not top notch college (prices are great at Caloforina's schools) than a better one in Georgia. Quality of life kind of thing. Yes: I know you are from Georgia and will tell me how crappy California is. That won't wash. And I am not from California.
posted by Postroad at 9:42 AM on November 30, 2001

It is going to be a long while before UGA is better than Berkeley or UCLA.

The University of California admission system is now entirely race neutral. The shift to a more comprehensive admission system will simply synchronize admission standards to those of selective private schools, which have always used "read the complete folder, assign a holistic score" approach to admission. Grades and standardized tests (of one sort or another) will be the primary determinant of all admissions ... although there may be a slight shift against the most resource rich suburban schools in favor urban and rural schools, it will only favor the very best students of those urban and rural schools.

I myself won't lose any sleep over a few rich kids having to go to UC Davis or UC Irvine in order for a few kids ranked #4 in his class who grew up on a farm or in a ghetto to go to Berkeley or UCLA.
posted by MattD at 9:59 AM on November 30, 2001

wizzle: thanks for the link. Very illuminating. It seems like the original intention of the program is quite honorable and the real problem lays in the school districts that allow themselves to be pressured academically for grade inflation.

It appears that the fact that the student is required to maintain a B average in college is a good way of making sure that the student is up to snuff despite high-school level grade inflation.
posted by rks404 at 10:06 AM on November 30, 2001

I am pissed. I went to UGA, and there was already too little diversity by the time I got there. (In part due to the HOPE Scholarship, which paid my tuition, and also kept Georgia's best and brightest in-state. But don't get me wrong -- I was so grateful for the scholarship.) Everyone was white, a fourth of the student body was greek, and everyone hailed from Atlanta.

UGA & Georgia Tech are the only decent public schools in the state. The HOPE Scholarship isn't worth all that much if you get to go to a poorly funded, poorly ranked public college in the middle of nowhere, Georgia.

I believe UGA's previous admission policy was the best out there. Some 85% of students were offered admissions solely based on their academics. The remaining percent were evaluated and offered admission through the a system called the Total Student Index (TSI).

Points (ranging from .1 to 1) were given for certain factors -- if a student was an athlete, legacy, an active participant in extra-curricular activities, from a county that was underrepresentented, from a minority group that was underrepresented, first in family to attend college, or from a low-income household.

I think it was the most fair way for the state's flagship university to orchestrate their admissions process. Georgia is an extremely diverse state, especially economically. There's no way the valedictorian of my high school class would have been able to get into UGA without the TSI. I really do fear that South Georgia will be left behind.
posted by jennak at 10:17 AM on November 30, 2001

Addendum: The TSI was then added back onto the GPA & SAT. So one who had a high GPA & SAT might only need a few extra points from the TSI to meet the threshold for admission. One with a low GPA & SAT might not meet the threshold, even with the TSI points.
posted by jennak at 10:22 AM on November 30, 2001

Attending, UGA, I can say first hand how much HOPE scholarship has helped improve the school. Before HOPE, UGA was a joke to get into to: Give your SS# and you were in. Now, it is no longer a joke. I have plenty of friends with decent SAT scores and average GPA's who got rejected. HOPE has definitely helped to improve UGA to one of the best schools in the state and causes UGA and GT to be the primary options, especially for people like me who can't afford to pay out of state tuition. HOPE has actually causes other out of state schools to match HOPE because it causes so many students to stay in state. HOPE also encourages students to perform well in college, as you loose hope after 30 hours of you are under a 3.0 (hence, grade inflation is oft short lived). And as far as a regressive tax goes, its optional-> taxes are not. My dad plays the lotto, but the lotto has also got my brother through college and is paying my way through colege.
posted by jmd82 at 10:25 AM on November 30, 2001

Postroad: Caloforina's schools? OK. Bet Michael Stipe doesn't want to move to Caloforina either.
posted by raysmj at 11:27 AM on November 30, 2001

I myself won't lose any sleep over a few rich kids having to go to UC Davis or UC Irvine in order for a few kids ranked #4 in his class who grew up on a farm or in a ghetto to go to Berkeley or UCLA.

Hey! (UC Irvine graduate ['92] speaking here.) :)

Actually, I turned down UCLA to go to UCI--because UCI was smaller. People tend to forget that big research universities do not necessarily = good undergraduate educations. (Prestige, yes; positive learning experiences, not always.) You're far more likely to get individualized attention at a smaller campus like Riverside, Davis, or Irvine than you are at UCLA or Berkeley--although, come to think of it, UCI has almost doubled in enrollment since '92.

That being said, I agree with the basic sentiment here.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:40 AM on November 30, 2001

I applied to UCs two days ago. A few problems: they try to copy private school admissions style (focus on ECs, struggle, and character traits), but they are still keeping their cursory method of evaluating people on these subjective categories. For example, they give 5 spaces and about 20 characters to write list honors - an insult to the time and dedication people spend on these things. It also invites misleading ambiguities. For example: state spelling bee [generic name] is when a whole school competes and the top 10 people move on. A new regional rounds occurs among those top 10 people representing their schools and another top 10 are selected. The top 10 from each region fly to San Francisco for another round and the top 10 among those are the final state winners. So the odds of winning this is 10 out of 10,000?. State math competition [another generic name] is when every student takes a standardized test and the top 10 percentile are named "state winners." Statistically the spelling competition winners were 1 out of 1000 while the math competition winners were 1 out of 10. Both get the distinction "state winner" causing an ambiguity of the term between round-by-round elimination-style and census-style competitions. A rushed and stressed admissiosn committee member would easily overlook the difference and the 5 seconds he or she reads the app, which would be a travesty to that one spelling bee winner who studied hours, days, and years to win.
posted by alex3005 at 12:47 PM on November 30, 2001

> a state lottery, which many people call a highly
> regressive form of taxation.

Taxation, forsooth. Can I just decide not to pay sales tax or income tax or property tax the way I can just decide not to buy a lottery ticket?
posted by jfuller at 2:49 PM on November 30, 2001

jufuller: The primary definition of "tax," according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is as follows:

tax (tks) n. A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the domain of that government.

Notice the lack of a reference to whether the "contribution" should be voluntary or not.
posted by raysmj at 2:58 PM on November 30, 2001

Notice the lack of a reference to whether the "contribution" should be voluntary or not.

Well, the word "required" in the definition you quote would seem to indicate it is involuntary...
posted by kindall at 3:03 PM on November 30, 2001

Well "required," but . . . Oh, sheesh, long afternoon. Under the legal defintion, it's more complicated. If a contribution is made in support of government, it's a form of taxation. Or, in the case of the lottery, the government has become dependent upon this form of contribution, and presses for voluntary contributions via constant advertising made in support of a monopoly state business, etc. Anyway, the largest question is, "Is it right for the state to be involved in such a thing?" This is particularly true when the money is being used to support young middle class (and many upper middle class) students through college, who aren't footing much of the bill.
posted by raysmj at 3:09 PM on November 30, 2001

One thing is clear: an applicant should not be subject to a disadvantage based on his skin color. It's completely illogical.

And when one color of student is porportionately not admitted and when another color is, what to do to decrease the disparity?
posted by raaka at 4:34 PM on November 30, 2001

And when one color of student is porportionately not admitted and when another color is, what to do to decrease the disparity?

That depends entirely upon whether you believe in individual rights or in collective rights.
posted by gd779 at 4:39 PM on November 30, 2001

Thanks prodigal. From the UC link, "Many students will need something extra: a precocious display of leadership, an exceptional talent, a compelling tale of triumph over adversity."
I led a petition to ban seperate-sex showers in Jr. High (to no success, however). I can balance a wine glass on my head and belly dance. In desperation I've made rent at a roulette table.
Where do I sign up??
posted by G_Ask at 4:56 PM on November 30, 2001

At Oxford, where I'm studying, the admissions process is purely and simply academic. Whilst every applicant fills in a UCAS form with a personal statement, in which you outline your extra-curricular activities, Oxford tutors give these but a cursory glance: they might have ten applicants who are captain of their hockey team or head boy, but the only thing they're really interested in is if you're going to be good at their subject - the interviews focus almost exclusively on academic discussion.

Don't know if it's the best system, but it does seem to work reasonably well at doing what it sets out to do: getting the candidates with the most academic potential.
posted by kitschbitch at 5:29 PM on November 30, 2001

"A: Race-based admissions isn't really fair. B: Well, slavery wasn't fair either now, was it?" (Not my opinion, just a funny conversation excerpt.)
posted by alex3005 at 5:40 PM on November 30, 2001

Yes, I believe in the individual right to an education.
posted by raaka at 2:46 AM on December 1, 2001

More to the point, I believe one’s right to be a racist ends when it interferes with another person’s right to better themselves. That libertarian tar baby: my right to swing my fist ends at your nose.
posted by raaka at 2:53 AM on December 1, 2001

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