How to Get Into the University of Georgia (UGA): Admissions Data & Strategies
Fifteen years ago, becoming a Georgia Bulldog was a pretty routine venture. The average successful applicant had a GPA of 3.6 and an SAT score of right around 1200—more than 75% of those who applied were welcomed to Athens. In 2020, the average UGA freshman has in excess of a 1350 SAT and a GPA above 4.0. Only “A” students need apply and they better bring standardized test scores at or above the 90th percentile as well.
This prestigious flagship university remains a genuine bargain, with tuition alone costing just under $10,000 in 2020-21. A picturesque college town, big-time athletics, and a thriving Greek life attract many high-achieving teens, as do the top-notch academics at this widely-respected public institution.
Given the rising selectivity of UGA, the intent of this article is to give those considering applying to the university:
1) An understanding of what you are up against.
2) More data on which to accurately assess your chances of admission.
3) Advice for how to get your application to UGA stand out, even against other strong applicants.
To accomplish these goals, we will touch on the following topics:
- UGA’s Class of 2024 acceptance rate
- UGA’s Class of 2024 Early Action (EA) acceptance rate
- SAT, GPA, and class rank of accepted UGA applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2024
- UGA’s system for rating applicants
- A look at the demographics of current UGA undergraduates
- The percent of accepted students that attend UGA (yield rate)
- Tips for applying to UGA
- How to assess whether applying to UGA is even worth the $70 application fee (for you)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
UGA Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024
There were 28,500 applications for admission into the Bulldog Class of 2024. Only 13,700, or 48% of that group were accepted. Of the 13,700 who were offered a place at the school, 5,600 elected to attend. It is important to note that it is far more difficult to gain acceptance into this university if you are not a Georgia resident. In-state students make up 88% of the student body and are accepted at a 53% clip. Those from out-of-state only gain acceptance at a rate of 40%.
UGA: Early Action Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024
There is no quantifiable edge to applying Early Action to UGA. In 2019, the school accepted 41% of the 17,000+ EA applicants. The EA deadline for this school is October 15th.
UGA Admissions – SAT, GPA, and Class Rank
According to the most recent statistics available (Class of 2023), the mid-50% SAT range for admitted freshman was 1260-1430; the ACT range was 29-33. The average SAT was a 1359 and the average ACT was a 31. The average weighted GPA was higher than a 4.0. Among enrolled 2019-20 first-year students, an impressive 60% hailed from the top 10%, while 92% earned a place in the top 25%.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- 5% of incoming freshmen were either the valedictorian or salutatorian of their high school class.
- Students were admitted from 534 different Georgia high schools in 155 counties.
- 18% of the overall student body are first-generation college students.
- Applications to UGA have increased by 40% since 2015.
- 99% of students admitted to the Class of 2024 took at least one AP, IB, or dual enrollment course while in high school.
- Those earning a place in the UGA Honors Program sported a middle-50% SAT score of 1480-1540.
How UGA Rates Applicants
UGA considers only two factors as “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of high school course load and GPA. Standardized test scores are the lone “important” factor, although the school is test-optional for the 2020-21 cycle only. Essays, recommendation letters, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, first-generation status, and paid and volunteer work are all “considered” by the university.
The UGA admission staff feels that: “Academics come first, with a focus on how you have challenged yourself over your 4 years in HS and how you have done in those classes. While we do look at the SAT/ACT scores, what you do over 3-4 years is much more important than what you do in 3-4 hours on a Saturday morning. In addition, for many applicants we will also look at your extra-curricular activities, essays, recommendations, etc.” This university also greatly values rigor of courses taken, rating that factor even higher than GPA. They “expect students to take advantage of the most challenging courses offered at their high schools. It is possible that a student with a 4.0 GPA who has avoided the challenging courses offered at their high school may not be admitted while a student with a lower GPA who has attempted the most rigorous courses at their school is offered admission.”
It is also worth highlighting that recruited athletes enjoy a huge edge. This is because UGA takes great pride in their 19 NCAA Division I sports teams. Overall, approximately 680 student-athletes are presently attending the university.
For advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?
Who Actually Gets Into UGA?
Let’s look at the demographics of the Class of 2024. Geographically, this cohort was comprised of the greatest numbers of students from the following U.S. states:
- North Carolina
- New York
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
Among non-residents, competition is stiffest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you hail from a less-populated state like Wyoming or North Dakota, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances at UGA.
International students make up just 1.4% of the undergraduate student body. Among that group the greatest percentages come from:
- China: 48%
- Korea: 12%
- India: 9%
- Canada: 3%
- Japan: 2%
- Germany: 2%
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown was as follows:
- Caucasian/White: 69%
- Asian: 11%
- Hispanic: 7%
- African American: 8%
Looking at the gender breakdown, the school presently enrolls far more women than men:
- Men: 57%
- Women: 43%
Most popular intended majors for first year students:
- BS Biology
- BS Psychology
- BBA Finance
- BS Computer Science
- Undecided- Business
- Undecided-Arts & Sciences
UGA’s “Yield Rate”
UGA’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 41%. This figure is comparable to other powerhouse state universities like the University of Michigan (45%), UVA (43%), and UCLA (37%).
Tips for Applying to UGA
If you plan on joining the 28,000+ UGA hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- UGA does not use interviews as part of their evaluation process. Therefore you will need to find alternative ways to make a personal connection to an admissions officer through your essays and recommendations.
- Legacy does not play any role in the admissions process. They are one of the rare institutions to publicly state that having a parent (or other relative) who attended UGA does not factor into admissions decisions.
- UGA also does not consider “demonstrated interest” so you will not be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the lone supplemental essay required by UGA. In the 2020-21 cycle, the prompt is as follows:
The shorter essay prompt will be the following – “The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.”
This isn’t your average supplemental essay so make sure you don’t produce an average response. This is truly a chance to have fun, open up, be willing to laugh at yourself, and make a human connection with a UGA admissions officer. Making the admissions officer laugh gets bonus points. Of course, it’s better to err on the side of family-friendly, non-offensive humor.
Should I Apply to UGA?
Those with SAT/ACT scores within the mid-50% mark for UGA who have earned a place in the top 10% of their high school class are absolutely viable candidates to UGA. If you live in Georgia, your road to acceptance will be less bumpy than if you are an out-of-state or international applicant. You will likely need to bring higher test scores and superior overall credentials if you are not a resident of the Peach State.
All teens applying to a school of UGA’s ilk also need to also have a proper mix or “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).