Go Dawgs! ahem…Go, Dogs!
Why the sudden need to ensure proper punctuation and spelling in a rowdy football cheer? Well, the UGA admissions department is now a lot more like pit bulls than bull dogs when it comes to the rules of standard written English. Students who want to proudly wave the Red and Black come fall 2009, must focus more attention on the Writing section of the SAT. Previously, UGA had only considered the combination Math and Verbal score of this standardized test when making admissions decisions. Now, however, the game has changed.
Straight from the Bull Dog’s mouth:
Writing and Standardized Tests
For students applying to enroll at UGA beginning in Spring, 2009 and later, the writing section must be submitted for both the SAT and ACT if both tests are to be considered for admission. For students who are only submitting the SAT, the writing section is always included in their final scores. For those submitting the ACT, they must have at least one submission of the ACT with the optional writing included. If they submit more than one ACT, at least one must have the writing included.
If a student is submitting both the SAT and ACT, they must have at least one ACT with the writing included: it will always be included with the SAT. If there are no submitted sittings of the ACT with writing, UGA will not be able to use the ACT for consideration for admission.
How Will UGA Use the Writing Score
UGA has a traditionally used standardized test scores and high school GPA to help predict success as a freshmen at UGA. In the past, the English and Math sections of the ACT and the Verbal (now Critical Reading) and Math sections of the SAT were used for the standardized tests, each section individually. These were combined with the student’s GPA and the rigor of the curriculum was also factored.
For the past three years, since the inception of the new writing sections of the ACT and SAT, UGA has required that students submit at least one standardized test with a writing section. Admissions has used the writing scores (and even reviewed some of the essays) on an individual basis to add information when needed. With two classes of freshmen students with writing scores having enrolled and completed their freshmen year we have now analyzed the role that the writing section can add to our ability to make better admission decisions. We will now incorporate it into the prediction regression for all applications. In order to do this, UGA must have a writing section for each of the types of tests (SAT or ACT) that the student submits as part of their application.
As in the past, while standardized test scores do play a role in admission, the choice of high school courses and resulting grades play a must stronger role in predicting success at UGA.
Fear not, though. Students just need to review some simple rules about appropriate comma placement, parallelism and adverb use, and they are well on their way to higher scores. Our students frequently see big gains on their Writing section scores with limited study.