Why does Georgia Tech take fewer Georgia students than University of Georgia?

Georgia Tech announced today it will follow UGA’s example and offer automatic acceptance to Georgia high school students who graduate first and second in their class.

I didn’t enjoy the college application process with my older kids and don’t expect it’s going to be any more fun with my twins next year. I claim no expertise in the alchemy of college admissions. I’m often flummoxed by why one student wins admission and an equally gifted peer does not.

Some Georgia parents are experiencing similar confusion in the wake of Georgia Tech’s regular admission decisions announced over the weekend. On an earlier blog, Tech reports this year’s admitted students had an average SAT of 1445 (out of 1600), with 10 college-level courses completed. Tech applications reached a high of 30,520, a 12 percent increase over last year. One in four applicants was offered admission.

Among the comments from readers:

We have many kids in Georgia who have ACT scores that put them in the one percent range with academic rigor and near perfect GPAs that were deferred, then wait-listed. It does seem Georgia Tech is more concerned with being a Stanford or MIT while forgetting they are a Georgia public college funded in part by Georgia taxpayers. Their own records on their website spell this out. UGA admits around 80 percent Georgia kids while Georgia Tech is at 68 percent. The really sad part is that for most Georgia kids Georgia Tech is their No. 1 choice.

Another parent on the earlier blog commented:

My son was not accepted to Tech this year despite a 4.0-plus GPA, seven college level course (short the three additional I guess). So, while disappointed, he has offers out-of-state with scholarship opportunities that help to equalize the tuition cost. I’d like to see the Regents accelerate their efforts on expanding STEM-related programs at other schools so then there will be more opportunities for all kids to grow within our state.

And a student wait-listed by Tech wrote:

As someone who beat last year’s Tech freshman average test scores and GPA, is dual enrolled at Kennesaw State, worked full time as a software engineer last summer, has a decent portfolio of software on my personal website and got wait-listed, I hope these people do not choose Tech.

I shared these concerns and comments with Georgia Tech, along with laments from parents whose teens didn’t get into Tech that they could face $100,000 in college bills for their children to attend engineering programs in other states.

Here is the response from Rick Clark, Tech’s undergraduate admissions director:

There is no question that each year far more qualified students from around our state, nation, and globe apply to Georgia Tech, and other elite schools, than are able to enroll. Application increases, while diminishing the admit rate, reflect an acknowledgment that our students are receiving an excellent education and are going on to productive and fulfilling careers in Atlanta, around our state, country, and increasingly the world.

As a Tech employee and a citizen of this state, I’m proud we have an institution that truly has a worldwide reputation for excellence, and, more importantly, is bringing the best minds to campus to focus on improving the human condition and solving many of the world’s problems.

Georgia Tech utilizes a holistic admission process. This means that unlike many Georgia schools (or what are nationally known as “access schools”) who use the Freshman Index, we look well beyond purely quantitative measures. Schools who build and shape classes holistically have far more students scoring in ranges that indicate the ability for academic success on campus. We take great care in the admissions process to ask questions about and seek to learn if student possess the traits that relate to fit, alignment with our mission, leadership, passions and interests, etc. I have written extensively in my blog about this concept over the last few months.

The truth is I could make a case to admit nearly every applicant. But in order to maintain optimum student-faculty ratios, allow for effective labs, and work within physical space limitations, we seek to enroll a freshman class of 2,800, rather than 30,000.

Our undergraduate population is made up of approximately 60 percent Georgia students, 30 percent non-residents, and 10 percent from outside our nation. This year our admit rate for Georgia students was more than 10 percentage points higher than domestic non-residents and 25 percentage points higher than students from outside the US. The dynamics and ethos this demographic provide have proven to enrich discussions inside and outside the classroom and produce graduates who have a global vision and a network that extends far beyond our state or region.

A decision to spend $100,000 for an out-of-state school would be just that — a decision. I say that for two reasons: First, Tech has a well-established transfer admission process. Last year we enrolled nearly 850 students (70 percent of whom were Georgians) through these pathways, including Regents’ Engineering Transfer Program (RETP) and Dual Degree Engineering Program, which are both articulated programs. This year, in an effort to continue to serve our state, we launched the Arts and Sciences Pathway which is solely for Georgians looking to transfer to Tech. You can learn more on our website.

Second, as a parent of kids in our K12 system, I’m thankful that we have such a robust and diverse University System – not to mention excellent in state private institutions that boast strong financial aid packages. This means that a talented student not offered admission from Georgia Tech can have myriad other options for any major they’d like to pursue. All majors are available in our system.

I know that people love their kids. They want the best for them. And they are merely attempting to advocate on their behalf. But in my experience, when parents focus their energy on moving on to other great options students are typically very excited to embrace those opportunities.

I went back to Tech with a follow-up about current enrollment data showing UGA has 89 percent Georgia residents among its undergraduates while Tech has 60 percent among its undergrad population.

Is there something about 60 percent that does, in fact, as Clark states, “…enrich discussions inside and outside the classroom and produce graduates who have a global vision and a network that extends far beyond our state or region”? I assume UGA would argue it, too, produces grads with a global vision and has enriching discussions on its campus even with nearly 30 percent more Georgians in its mix.

Here’s Clark’s response to my question:

The beauty of the University System of Georgia is that there are a wide variety of institutions, each with its own mission. This allows Georgians to have access to the education they need to be successful. The University of Georgia is the state’s flagship university and has four-times the number of majors available than Georgia Tech has.

Our education is largely STEM-focused, and other courses are taught through a technology lens. The challenges our country is facing requires us to be competitive globally in STEM fields. That means Georgia students need to study alongside the best and brightest in the world. We’ve found that for us, this is an appropriate mix to best educate and prepare our students for the future.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

102 comments
Mark Marks
Mark Marks

Admissions at tech is a complete joke., all that holistic crap. Please spare me. How is it possible to have a 4.6 gpa 33 ACT, perfect in msth and science, letter in varsity spirt 3 yrs and not get in. I will tell you why, because he is a white male and from georgia. Their loss, he will go to Emory or UGA. I've never seen a more messed up process. I know for a fact Non-athlete females and minorities with far less academic accolades and test scores got in over him. What is wrong with this picture.? I'm now happy he isn't going because i honestly wouldn't want him associated with a reverse discriminating school like this. I will never view this school the same again. You can have it, their loss.

doctor91
doctor91

Really? Why does GT take fewer students than UGA?  To be clear, we need to differentiate undergrad from graduate work here.  But we are really asking that question?  GT: Rigor, actual studying required to pass classes, lack of high party school status in national rankings, depth and breath of every course at GT, even the electives.  There are no easy courses or majors at GT. 

Let Tech keep its standards high and leave admissions alone.  When we elect and  let the idiot Georgia legislature keep trying to punish Tech,like they did this year ( thanks Cobb legislator--you know who you are and you are a biased UGA grad ) when they took back funding for the library,  GT always has mountains to climb that UGA does not have.  UGA has always been the favored university.  Heaven forbid that Tech gets away with anything that might besmirch the holy UGA.

Keep on keeping on, Georgia Tech!


Don7953
Don7953

Mr. Clark's explanations for Tech's low in-state admission rate rings pretty hollow. The number of majors available at Tech vs UGA is irrelevant. Accepting 30% of the class from out-of-state and 10% foreign is a decision — it's a choice Tech is making to be exclusive.  That is an inherent conflict with the mission of a public school to serve this state's population — a population that has grown by 56% since 1990.  Ga. Tech's enrollment has not increased proportionally over that period. I'm a Tech alum and the leadership's strategy is counter-productive. Too many good potential students / grads are being left out. Allowing another thousand students in the freshman class won't destroy Tech's brand. The U. of Texas and Texas A&M have comparable engineering schools yet are much larger. 

AuntHelena
AuntHelena

I recently heard from an ACT Test tutoring company that the reason GA Tech admits 40% foreigners is because of the tuition.  Out of country tuition is 5 times higher than in-country/state.  It is all about the money!

lab-mom
lab-mom

@AuntHelena 40% from out of Georgia is not 40% foreigners.  


And tuition is GA residents / non-GA residents (and the differential is only 2 times:  49k COA vs 27.5k).  


Now if you take Hope / Zell into account, then the in-state COA drops - at least as long as the students keep their scholarships.  


Yes, it's competitive.  

Mitch Monroe
Mitch Monroe

black tax dollars to support kkk school for nazis

Elizabeth Slattery
Elizabeth Slattery

I think the GA Tech rep is spot on. It isn't reasonable to compare a tech focused school to a general university. The skills & opportunities displayed by Tech graduates lend credibility to their admissions strategy.

Ravichandra
Ravichandra

My daughter got accepted at  Emory, Purdue, UMichigan, Chapel Hill, UGA Honors with Charter scholarship, but waitlisted at GA Tech.  I am GA resident for 15 years.    As a parent and GA resident,  I am very disappointed.  This school has become very selective of GA  students. Looks like they want more out of state money. States such as NC has a 18% cap for out of state residents.

Melissa Langley Thompson
Melissa Langley Thompson

My daughter is a tenth grader who is focused and working toward being a Ga Tech student. Our local Georgia school system does not come close to providing courses that she needs to be a competitive applicant. That's the problem with our state school system, we are so far behind! Tech should not lower their standards. Our state and local school systems should step it up!!

Pat Howard
Pat Howard

Yep. $160k for 4 years at Univ.of TN. Not worth it

Chip Howard
Chip Howard

There are other state colleges that offer engineering. Tech is a top five engineering university in the country. This has been the case for 100 years. Why the drama in2016?

NewName
NewName

These are people who are not used to being told no and not having some kind of way around the "no." This is in combination with finding out that their precious is not actually the best thing sliced bread.


I loved this part:


"I know that people love their kids. They want the best for them. And they are merely attempting to advocate on their behalf. But in my experience, when parents focus their energy on moving on to other great options students are typically very excited to embrace those opportunities."

Raise your kids to have resilience and model it for them.

Maryanne Kehoe
Maryanne Kehoe

Do these stats include the off-camputs Tech/UGA sites?

David Emory Stooksbury
David Emory Stooksbury

Even if the entire 1st year class at Tech was made up of Georgia residents, UGA would still be accepting more Georgia residents since its 1st year class is approximately twice as large as Tech's. Silly headline given the numbers.

CedricW
CedricW

Yet tech is fighting tooth and nail to keep uga from being able to offer engineering degrees

OdessaHooker
OdessaHooker

I didn't realize the admission standards are so rigid. My oldest son, Doug, was admitted (1972). With his additional schoolwork at Emory, he is now the Ex. Dir. of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

JEason
JEason

A 4.0 high school GPA in Georgia means that the student is bright and diligent, but it does not mean that he or she is as well equipped to pursue a rigorous scholastic program as a student from a better educational system. We have been shortchanging our students for decades, and it shows. Our cheap, poorly managed state government is costing us and our children too much. (And I was once a conservative.)

willgordon
willgordon

One thing to consider. Some of the out-of-state and out-of-country students stick around after graduation and becomes residents of Georgia. So they are valuable to the economy. They end up finding jobs here and contribute greatly to the growth of our scientific and high tech work environment. These bright young people create a stockpile of highly skilled workers who elevate our chances of attracting more industry, more high tech jobs - and that benefits us all.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

From many comments below, why don't we just build a wall around Georgia so we do not let anyone else in that we may learn from ? Is that your "solution"? To everything?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Uh the yearly in state tuition is about $8K and the out of state tuition is $24K. That is another reason. You have to be able to pay the bills and pay for such a great education. Or do you want to pay more in-state tuition?


Diversity...learning from fellow classmates from different backgrounds and sharing their perspective is important also.


Oh and only 1 in 3 graduate. Hard? Only the strong need to apply. Go to a good school near home, get your grades and then transfer in, that is if you have what it takes!

SkipperK
SkipperK

Sour grapes? Georgia Tech is a source of pride for the state, should not lower standards to be like UGA and other schools.

HIbought theRefs
HIbought theRefs

After reading many of the comments, I just want to note that


1/ scores on standardized achievement tests are NOT the only indicator of college success. These mostly reflect one day in the life of the student, showing skill in taking a standardized test. The difference between a perfect score and a 760 is one question on the SAT. Yet people think someone with 760 is critically flawed.


2/ Nor is a GPA in highschool the best measure of student success at the college level. For example, the rigor of the highschool coursework can vary widely in this state.  Getting a 4.0 GPA is less critical when the student isn't taking the more challenging courses offered at the school, or takes the "standard" science class instead of the AP offering.


3/Holistic admissions takes into account the student's overall achievement in extracurricular and community activities. Did they play varsity sports? Lead a team? Complete the highest level of Scouting? Engage in ongoing community service? Those factors weigh heavily in the admissions process.


The KSU/Southern Poly change will help, as will UGA opening up some engineering coursework. And if the Regents figure out a better pathway for students to do 2 years at another state college and transferring to Tech at the beginning of Junior Year may be another path (similar to what many do to get into UGA).  


Frankly, my son got into Tech's Honors program and chose to go elsewhere -- largely because he felt Tech was going to be "High School 2.0" since so many of his classmates were planning to attend.  Seeing new - and diverse - faces is a good thing.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

I know its hard to have a kid who's rejected but there are kids in MA right now who are bummed out they didn't get into MIT.  And CA students who are down about Cal Tech. 


GA Tech recruits from around the world. That's why it's so highly ranked (the 7th top ranked public university in the country).  It benefits the GA kids to meet these kids...and it benefits the state to have those smart kids move here. 

Parent001
Parent001

@SouthernHope5  Both MIT and Cal Tech are private institutes while GA Tech is tax funded public school.

Diversity from around the world and other states is already here in Georgia. Tech is turning down equally talented local kids with similar or higher stats.  Always follow the money if you want to know why.  Ga students can only fetch 1x the tuition from Hope/Zell Miller while out of state students fetch 3x.

Les_W
Les_W

Simple explanation.   Georgia Tech wants out-of-state money.  Out-of-staters pay a lot more for tuition than does in-state HOPE scholarship recipients.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Les_W 

Of course. This is happening at many of the top-rated public universities, such as Berkeley and UCLA, where Californian parents are also furious that their children have been turned down for higher scoring Asian students.....who just coincidentally are paying very high non-resident tuition.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

And my nephew says getting admitted to Tech was no problem; the problems arose when trying to get out!

RationalThoughts67
RationalThoughts67

@Surelyyoujest Amen brother.   Graduating from GT was the hardest task that I have encountered in my 25 year professional career.  While in school, I was living in a house on 26th street with 4 other students.   I was the only one to graduate.


For what it is worth, I transferred in to GT from a Physics dual degree program at UGA.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

This ain't rocket science (pardon the pun) - Tech doesn't have the room to admit more students (by design), plus they do not want to expose more students to the vagaries and crime in the North Avenue area....

walkthetalk60
walkthetalk60

guess you haven't been exposed to drug ridden and alcoholic athens lately

insideview
insideview

Perhaps you all are missing the point. GA Tech wants to build a university that provides a diverse education with a global perspective, you can't do that is everyone is from GA. There are a lot of really smart kids, with great SAT scores and 4.0 GPAs, it's the luck of the draw. There is nothing wrong with wanting to diversifying the student body. 

MiltonD
MiltonD

@insideview Perhaps you are missing the point, GT is not a private school, it is a state of GA school funded by the taxpayers of GA, not parents in China and India. 

DrTruth
DrTruth

@DerekGator  See, you ranters don't ever stop and listen.  If you would, you would learn something.  Parents in China and India pay about $30,000/yr in tuition to send their kids to GT while in-state parents pay about $10,000.  So saying the school isn't funded by parents in China and India is just ignorant.


Since the BOR goal is 50% state funding and 50% tuition, every out-of-state student essentially subsidizes the tuition of in-state students.  In other words, 100 out-of-state students generate $3 Million in tuition.  It would take 300 in-state students to generate the same tuition.


Guess what happens when they only allow in-state students in GT, like you want?  There is no more in and out-of-state tuition anymore....It's just tuition.  And it would obviously rise significantly in order to generate the same tuition $$$ from the same size student body.  This would destroy an already strained Hope Scholarship.

walkthetalk60
walkthetalk60

some of these comments sound more like a desire to pull Tech down to UGA's academic level - since the reverse isn't working

JEason
JEason

@SouthernHope5 @DerekGator @insideview Wrong.  Since 2008, the alumni  of GT have raised an extra $1.8 billion to supplement the inadequate funding provided by the State, which is populated largely by misguided people who have convinced themselves that they can have both good government and low income taxes.  Georgia needs all the education it can get, but wants it cheap.



redweather
redweather

It was not so long ago that Maureen reported the General Assembly had voted 167-0 in favor of giving Georgia students "a half-point boost to the final grades . . .  in tough science, technology, engineering or math classes. Georgia Tech students, in particular, have long lamented they were losing their HOPE Scholarships because of the challenge of keeping up grades in arduous STEM courses."


Is that why so many Georgia applicants don't get accepted when they apply? They don't quite measure up?

lab-mom
lab-mom

I think GA Tech accumulates very good, and very large amounts, of data from applicants and enrollees from GA high schools.  They know what schools send kids to Tech, and what kids send kids there who succeed at Tech.   And they note that they are holistic:  it's not all grades and test scores.


While UGA has a good national reputation, it doesn't have anywhere near the reputation GA Tech does nationally.  If you forcibly increased the % in-state at Tech by changing who is admitted, then there is a good chance that the national reputation drops, which begins a spiral down.  Probably not what anyone wants to see, if they think hard.


I think GA Tech has identified an important piece of the puzzle:  get more of the in-state *admitted* kids to actually choose and attend GA Tech.  That would help the balance immensely - right now that number is the one that affects enrollment, and the one that needs to be beefed up.  Many of our smart kids want to go explore, not go 30 minutes away from home to college - no matter how good a school it is.  They need to be convinced it's worth it.

DrTruth
DrTruth

There are engineering alternatives in Georgia.  I have a niece who was turned down by GT a few years ago.  She went to Southern Tech, got her degree and makes $75,000/yr, loves her job and only graduated 3 or 4 years ago.  While I'm certainly not diminishing the quality of a GT degree (mine has served me well), much of success depends on the individual....The old, "when one door closes, another one opens" thing.  There are always alternatives....


Georgia engineering schools by program:

General Engineering: 6 schools
Civil Engineering: 6 schools
Telecom Engineering: 2 schools
Computer Engineering: 10 schools
Environmental Engineering: 4 schools
Chemical Engineering: 2 schools
Biological Engineering: 1 school
Biomedical Engineering: 3 schools
Construction Engineering: 2 schools
Materials Engineering: 1 school
Industrial Engineering: 1 school
Mechanical Engineering: 6 schools
Electrical Engineering: 16 schools
Systems Engineering: 2 schools
Aeronautical Engineering: 2 schools
Engineering Physics: 3 schools
Engineering Technology: 23 schools
Drafting and Design: 31 schools

Ga resident
Ga resident

It is really sad when a kid works hard all 4 years with a perfect GPA, very high ACT score and they get wait listed. It is even worse when this kid has been a resident of Ga all of their life! The kids from other countries should be on the wait list or the percentage needs to be lower. GT needs to make more room if they can't bring in the GA residents that deserve it! Some of these kids worked hard for this school and have GPA and test scores that Tech requires.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@Ga resident It isn't hard to get a 4.0 in high school in Georgia.  What is hard is getting a 4.0 while taking a rigorous course load (in particular, IB diploma).  There is zero chance - none - that a kid w/ a 4.0 under an IB diploma course load didn't get in.  And anyone who says that happened to their kid is lying.


Kind of like why colleges who run up an undefeated season while not playing anyone of quality don't make the playoffs. 


Tech has obviously figured out that kids who are smart, but don't have a great work ethic, don't make it there.  But of course the parents who have coddled and not pushed their kids, allowing them to take a crib course load, still think their little darlings deserve to get in.


And always will.  Of course, they are also the same parents who will call their kid's first bosses to try to "fix things" for their kids as well.

JEason
JEason

@Ga resident The sad thing is that so many talented, well-motivated students are so shortchanged by the educational system in Georgia that they are not equipped to compete with students from out of state. Face it, if you want better outcomes from our state government, you must pay what better outcomes cost in other places. There ain't no free lunch, no matter what the conservatives say.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@JEason @Ga resident right, because tripling per student funding over the past 30 yeas is "underfunding" them.  

NewName
NewName

@dcdcdc @JEason @Ga resident - Follow that money! 


Make sure it's working for the student and not just for more administrators.


Also, make sure that you have standards and instill a work ethic in your child so that they rise ABOVE what is required. Because in order to get that GA graduation rate up, you better believe standards from acceptable work to deadlines are dropping in schools, making it look like average to below average students are succeeding. 

billbrockman
billbrockman

This makes me appreciate my GT degree so much more - knowing I'd have a proverbial snowball's chance of getting admitted compared to 47 years ago.