The University of Georgia (UGA) is a public research university in Athens, Georgia. It’s ranked the No. 16 public university in the nation and the No. 49 university overall by U.S. News and World Report. UGA enrolls 30,166 undergraduates and 40,118 students total.
UGA is known for its excellent value, strong alumni network, and thriving programs in both sports and the arts. Although core curriculum classes are often large and taught by TAs, major-related classes are smaller, equipped for personalized attention, and taught by professors who care about their students. With so much to love about UGA, the university receives about 40,000 applicants each year.
Getting into UGA is moderately competitive, but it’s not impossible — especially when you’re equipped with the tips, information, and helpful statistics in this guide. Keep reading to learn how to put your best foot forward when applying to the University of Georgia.
About the University of Georgia
Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the state’s oldest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning. It’s a land-grant and sea-grant university with the motto “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.” It offers a top-rated honors college, along with hands-on learning opportunities and small class sizes, especially in major-related courses.
Opportunities abound at UGA, which has over 142 fields of study, more than 130 study abroad programs, and 800+ student organizations. Human-centered research that changes the world is a major priority for UGA, and it has been a Top 5 university for new products to market for almost a decade. 92% of students are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Supporting Georgia’s powerhouse football team is one of the most popular activities at UGA, described as “a way of life” by students. The university has a highly active Greek life and is known as a party school, but there are plenty of other ways to socialize at UGA too. Athens has an excellent music and art scene, and there are multiple movie theaters, bowling allies, and a golf course that students enjoy. Students say, “There are so many organizations [on campus] that everyone can find a place that feels like home or a place to meet new people.”
Is It Hard to Get Into the University of Georgia?
Most recently, the University of Georgia had an acceptance rate of 39%, its lowest acceptance rate ever. For every 100 applicants, about 39 were accepted. The other 61 applicants received a rejection.
Typically, UGA has an acceptance rate closer to 48.6%. This year’s acceptance rate was lower than usual because the university received about 40% more applicants than it normally does.
In comparison to other universities, UGA’s acceptance rate is moderately selective. It’s more flexible than most top universities, especially the Ivy Leagues, which have an acceptance rate of about 4%-8%.
GPA and Test Scores
Students admitted to the University of Georgia have an average GPA of 4.0. To compete with other UGA applicants, you’ll need to earn nearly straight A’s and be at the top of your class.
You’ll also need to take challenging classes like AP or IB courses to show that you’re capable of college-level coursework. AP and IB courses are also weighted, so performing well in these classes will give your GPA a boost.
If your GPA isn’t up to par and you’re still a freshman or sophomore, you have time to work on your grades and increase your GPA. If you’re already a junior, focus on improving other areas of your application, including your test scores.
Unlike many other schools, the University of Georgia is no longer test optional. You’re required to submit ACT or SAT scores with your application.
The average ACT score for students admitted to UGA is a 30. The 25th percentile score is 27, and the 75th percentile score is 32.
Now, let’s look at an SAT score breakdown for students admitted to the University of Georgia.
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
UGA superscores both the ACT and the SAT. That means they take the highest sub-section scores across all the times you’ve taken the ACT/SAT and use those numbers to calculate the highest overall score.
Scores that align with the University of Georgia’s average numbers will likely get you in, but you increase your chances when you aim for scores in the 75th percentile. With that in mind, strive to earn a:
- GPA of at least 4.0
- ACT score of 32
- SAT score of 1410, with a 710 in Math and a 700 in Reading
At large universities like the University of Georgia, your GPA and test scores are the most important factor for the admissions committee. But they aren’t the only factors that affect the admissions decision. When reviewing your application, UGA will consider several other important qualities.
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What Else Does UGA Look For?
The University of Georgia’s website explains that they primarily focus on your grades, the rigor of curriculum (relative to the curriculum offered at your school), and SAT/ACT scores.
They give secondary consideration to your:
- Intellectual pursuits
- Creative endeavors and intercultural experiences
- Public service
- Co-curricular activities
- Community involvement
- Leadership and family commitments
- Integrity and personal maturity
When reviewing these aspects of your high school career, UGA is looking for:
- Excellence in academic achievement, intellectual pursuits, and creative endeavors
- An understanding of/respect for intellectual, social, and cultural differences
- Significant commitment to citizenship through public service, school activities, community involvement, and/or family
- Evidence of integrity and maturity
- The ability to benefit from and contribute to a culturally and intellectually diverse community of scholar-citizens
UGA makes it clear that your grades and test scores matter the most. But don’t make the mistake of focusing only on the numbers when you apply. The admissions committee also wants to learn about the activities you enjoy outside of school, your commitment to helping others, and a variety of personal qualities that will make you a great fit for the University of Georgia.
What Should You Do in High School?
Now that we’ve shared lots of information and data, it’s time to talk to strategy. What should you do in high school to improve your chances of getting into the University of Georgia?
Excel in Challenging Classes
UGA’s website explains that “more than any other single factor,” the grades you earn in high school play the most important role in deciding your competitiveness for admission. This means that the best step you can take to get into the University of Georgia is taking and excelling in the most challenging classes available at your school.
When you apply to UGA, they will recalculate your GPA. They use only the classes that satisfy the Required High School Curriculum (RHSC) in the five core academic areas: English, Math, Science, Social Sciences, and Foreign Language. If you take AP Art and Music Theory, these courses will also be included in your UGA GPA. They raise AP and IB classes by one letter grade, even if your high school doesn’t weight these courses. No additional weight is added to Honors courses.
So, take AP and IB courses (if they’re offered at your school) in the core academic areas. If these classes aren’t available at your school, UGA won’t hold it against you. They only expect you to take the most challenging courses available to you.
Aim for A’s in all of your classes to show that you’re ready for the challenge of college courses — and to earn the highest GPA possible.
Take notes in your classes and review them weekly. Turn in all your assignments on time and study for every test. If you start to fall behind or find yourself struggling with the material, don’t wait until it starts to affect your grades. Be proactive by asking for help from your teacher, a tutor, or a student with a strong grasp of the material.
Earn High Test Scores
While UGA says grades are 75% of predicting your readiness for the university, your test scores make up the other 25%. Performing well on the ACT or the SAT gives you another opportunity to demonstrate your academic ability.
If you have a stellar GPA, strong test scores can help you stand out from other students with similarly good grades. And if your GPA isn’t quite where you want it to be, great test scores can help make up for slightly lower grades.
Start prepping for the SAT/ACT a few months in advance, using the following process:
- Take timed practice tests for both the SAT and the ACT to decide which test best showcases your academic ability.
- After choosing the best exam for you, use information from the practice test to create a personalized study plan. Make a note of your strengths and weaknesses and the question types or skills that gave you the most trouble.
- Look into purchasing an SAT or ACT study guide — they’re packed with practice questions and helpful test-taking tips. Set aside time each week to drill practice questions, read high-level texts, and practice the skills you need to work on.
- Continue taking practice tests to work on your pacing and track your progress. Adjust your study plan as needed.
- When your test date is one month away, focus exclusively on your area(s) of weakness.
- If your score isn’t as high as you hoped, use the score report to build a plan for improvement. Repeat this test prep process with your updated study plan and take the test again. We recommend taking the test a maximum of three times to earn the highest score possible.
Pursue Your Passions
When it comes to extracurricular participation, UGA’s website explains:
“It is our goal as we review applications to build a well-rounded class of students. If our class is full only of students that are well rounded, it could get a little bit boring. We like edges and we like passion! As a result, think about what makes you special and tell that story in your application through your activities, coursework, and essays. That will help us get to know the authentic you.”
That means you shouldn’t try to collect a set of activities that you think will impress the admissions committee. Instead, you should pursue your genuine passions. Commit to a few activities you love, then strive to take on leadership roles, make significant contributions, and earn recognition and awards when possible.
Throughout your high school career, keep a record of your extracurricular participation. Record when you started participating in each activity, leadership roles you held and contributions you made, and any related accomplishments. Having a thorough record will make it easier to accurately report your activities on your UGA application, and it may even spark inspiration for an excellent application essay.
Serve Your Community
“Significant commitment to citizenship” is listed by UGA as an important quality for its applicants. They also want to know that you understand and respect intellectual, cultural, and social differences and that you have integrity and personal maturity.
Serving your school, community, and the world around you is the best way to demonstrate these qualities. Whether you join an existing organization or initiative or spearhead one of your own, serve others in a way that is meaningful and inspiring to you.
Think about problems in your school or community that you consider most urgent. What social issues matter the most to you? And what can you do to help?
Just as we encourage you to record your extracurricular participation, we recommend recording your community service involvement as well. What did you do and why? How did it make an impact on your school, community, or the world? Your desire and ability to make an impact on your community now predicts that you’ll make an impact on campus at UGA and in the wider world after you graduate.
University of Georgia Application Process and Checklist
The University of Georgia accepts both the Common Application and the UGA Application, with no preference for either option.
You should choose whichever application you feel most comfortable with. But if you’re applying to other universities that accept the Common Application, filling out the Common App can save you valuable time.
Whichever application format you choose, you will need to submit:
- High school transcript
- ACT/SAT scores
- Activities list
- Secondary School Report/Counselor Recommendation
- Teacher/other letter of recommendation (optional)
- Common App essay
- University of Georgia supplemental essay
University of Georgia Supplement
In addition to the Common App personal essay, UGA applicants are required to write a 200–300-word supplemental essay.
For the past several years, the topic for the shorter supplemental essay has been:
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.
You can share any interesting or amusing story from your high school years, making this a broad topic that gives you space to be creative. Choose a story that will help the admissions team get to know you. It should reveal something that’s important to you and show your personality.
Did reading this prompt make a story instantly come to mind? If so, don’t overthink — go with it. And if not, grab a sheet of paper and a pen and list ideas for two minutes. Write anything that comes to mind, without second guessing your ideas. After you’ve completed your brainstorm, look over the list and identify a few of your strongest topics.
Don’t worry about telling the most interesting, unique story the admissions team has ever heard. Tell a story that’s personal to you and use specific, concrete details, and it will be an essay that only you could write.
For both your short essay and the longer Common App essay, follow these tips:
- Write in your unique voice and let your genuine personality shine through.
- Reflect on why the topic is meaningful to you: What did you learn from it? How did it help you grow? What impact has it made on your life?
- Include specific, vivid details that make your essay memorable and personal.
- Stay on topic! Tell the admissions committee exactly what they want to know, without rambling, listing extracurricular activities or accomplishments, or writing an unnecessarily long introduction. Take a deep dive into the question being asked.
- Proofread carefully. Check for spelling, grammar, word usage, concision, and clarity. Ask a family member teacher, or trusted friend to review your essay before you submit it. They can offer helpful feedback and tell you whether the essay sounds like you.
For more information on writing college essays, read our guide to the Common App essay prompts, which also includes general tips for writing personal essays.
Should You Apply Early to UGA?
The University of Georgia offers both Early Action and Regular Decision. The Early Action deadline is October 15, and applicants typically receive a decision from UGA before December 1. The Regular Decision deadline is January 1, and applicants receive a decision by mid-March.
Early Action is non-binding, meaning you can still apply to other colleges. If you’re accepted by UGA, you have no obligation to attend.
But will applying early to UGA give you an advantage? According to the University of Georgia, no. The school’s website explains that they use the same process to review all applications, just on a different timeline.
UGA says the big question you should ask yourself when deciding between Early Action and Regular Decision is: “Am I comfortable with UGA reviewing my file on October 15 or do I need more time to work on the application, add later test scores or fall grades?”
In fact, UGA’s Early Action acceptance rate is actually slightly lower than the Regular Decision acceptance rate. This may be because some applicants are deferred to Regular Decision and accepted later.
If you’re highly interested in attending UGA, however, it’s worth applying early if your application is ready to go. You’ll receive a decision from the University of Georgia much sooner, giving you more time to weigh your options and make a decision. And if you’re deferred, you can submit updated academic information and improve your chances before the process is complete.
Final Thoughts: How to Get Into the University of Georgia
Although it’s not an extremely competitive school, the University of Georgia is moderately selective — and appears to be growing more competitive. You’ll need strong grades and test scores, along with following your extracurricular passions, serving your community, and demonstrating qualities like leadership and integrity.
Here’s how to increase your chances of getting into the University of Georgia:
- Take the most challenging classes available at your school and earn a GPA of at least 4.0.
- Score a 32 on the ACT, OR a 1410 on the SAT.
- Commit to a few extracurricular activities you truly enjoy, taking on leadership roles, making significant contributions, and aiming for awards and recognition when possible.
- Serve your school, community, or the world in ways that are inspiring and meaningful to you and impactful to others.
- When you write your essays, stay on topic, use vivid details, let your authentic voice and personality shine through, and proofread carefully.
- If the University of Georgia is your first choice, consider applying early. It won’t necessarily give you a competitive edge, but you’ll receive a decision earlier and have time to improve your application if you’re deferred.
Combine these strategies with your academic ability, and you’ll increase your chances of becoming a University of Georgia Bulldog.