• Deadlines, Updates, and FAQs

    0110102-11bm-f025-man (1)As we near the end of November, many of us will pause this week to give thanks and enjoy a few days off with family and friends. In fact, I am writing this blog from Florida, enjoying some much-needed time with family. It is actually half-time in my Lego building contest with my nephew, so I thought it best to catch up on a little work.

    Depending on where you are in the application cycle – submitted and waiting versus in progress and contemplating – hopefully the information in this post will answer your pressing questions. If not, always know you can post a comment, and we will respond quickly.

    Early Decision Update

    A record number of applicants applied Early Decision 1 to Emory College and Oxford College this year. [See this recent Emory Report story: Early Decision Applications Increase for Class of 2019] For the last couple of weeks the admission staff has been busy evaluating these ED1 applications. The reading and assessing will continue through Thanksgiving week and into early December. The second week of December will include a series of admission committee discussions all leading to decisions being finalized by December 15. Notification day for ED1 will be December 15. ED1 applicants can anticipate receiving an email prior to the 15th with full details about how notifications will be released. Until then, we encourage ED1 applicants to sit tight, and enjoy the holidays!

    Emory University Scholars Program Update

    Another0042404-14kh193-_raw_ interested audience that can sit tight and enjoy the holidays are those who submitted their applications by the Emory University Scholars Program deadline of November 15th. We are currently downloading and processing all of your application materials, transcripts, test scores, etc. As you check your OPUS accounts, please be aware that it can take up to three weeks for materials to be processed and removed from your OPUS to do list. Be confident that we are processing everything as quickly as we can, and we will be in contact if any information is missing.

    Are you unsure if your application is under review for the Scholars program? You are a Scholars program applicant if

    1. You submitted your application by the November 15 deadline.
    2. You checked “Yes” to the Emory University Scholars Program question under the General section of the Emory University Member page on your Common Application.

    Your application status is always based on the date of application submission, not on the date we processed your materials.

    What’s next for Scholars applicants? You will learn whether you are selected as a finalist by January 31. Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision applicants selected as finalists will also learn or their admission decision at this time. (Early Decision 1 applicants learn of their admission decision on December 15. ED2 and RD Applicants not selected as finalists will learn of their admission decision on the notification date for the admission plan they chose. We will post further updates about this in January.

    In Progress Applicants

    Finally, a large group of you have yet to click submit on your application. That’s OK. But don’t procrastinate too much as you have a month left until our January 1st deadline for Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision. As you work on your application, there a lot of resources that can assist, including:

    Thanksgiving break is a great time to finish up your applications and make those last tweaks.

    No matter where you are in the process, I always encourage learning more about Emory University. If you haven’t yet checked out our #iamemory blog – http://iamemory.blog.emoryadmission.com/ – I encourage you to do so. It’s a great look into the lives and experiences of current Emory and Oxford students. If the admission selection process is all you can think of right now, then I suggest reading my colleague Lisa’s recent blog entry on how we evaluate applications.

    A Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    Best wishes!

    Daniel G. Creasy
    Director of Communications
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission

    0111705-11KH Shots from Woodruff Library 10th floor. Skyline

  • Why Oxford?

    0042306-13kh-f018-_raw_ (1)

    Why Oxford? This may be a question in the back of your mind that you are unable to articulate or afraid to ask. I’ll tell you why. First, know that I’m not here to tell you that Oxford is the perfect fit for everyone, as it goes with any college or university – but it may be for many of you, and you just don’t know it yet.

    Oxford College is one of two entry points to Emory University, which is an offering unique to any other university in the country. Two distinct entry points, resulting in two different experiences; ultimately leading you down one of three degree paths (Emory College of Arts and Science, Woodruff School of Nursing, or Goizueta Business School). You are afforded the option to truly personalize your Emory University experience.

    If you begin on the Oxford campus, you will 0032604-12kh-f063-_raw_spend your freshman and sophomore years here before continuing to the Emory campus in Atlanta for your junior and senior years. The Oxford experience combines academic excellence and the resources of Emory University with a tight-knight, diverse community. The nature of an Oxford education encourages scholarly inquiry, research, and interdisciplinary exploration all within a liberal arts setting. The small class sizes allow you to build relationships with your professors, not only inside of the classroom, but outside as well.

    Not to mention, because you’re not competing agains0030702-12kh-f305-_raw_t juniors and seniors, you are given the opportunity to jump right in and assume immediate leadership roles on campus– whether it’s becoming captain of the women’s soccer team, SGA president, or an RA (resident assistant). Students also have the unique opportunity to conduct one-on-one research with faculty members as freshmen or sophomores, whereas those positions are normally reserved for upperclassmen and graduate students on other campuses.

    Listen to what Maddie Monahan, assistant dean of admission, had to say about her Oxford experience:

    “As I recall my Oxford experiences 30 years ago, they are some of the same experiences that students talk about today: intimate classroom environments where you’re encouraged to express your opinions, leadership opportunities that allow you to shine and put your best foot forward, and faculty interactions that enable you to get to know faculty on both an academic and personal level (imagine playing a pick-up tennis match with your History professor two weeks into your freshman year…that’s exactly what happened to me…and I won!), and, finally, 900 amazing classmates who you’ll befriend and keep in touch with as all of you automatically continue to Emory’s campus in Atlanta for the last two years of your Emory experience, friends that you’ll ultimately have for life. If you want that type of environment for the first two years of your Emory experience, then Oxford College may just be the place for you.”

    You really get the best of both wholiorlds here – a small liberal arts college feel with all of the resources of a major research university. I am not an alumna of Oxford or Emory, but I can genuinely tell you that I have come to love the campus as if I were. The students are engaged, passionate, and driven to make an impact on campus and in the community. I encourage you to visit both Emory and Oxford if you have not yet done so, because a college visit is the best way to determine your fit on campus.

    Thank you for allowing me to share just a little bit about why I love Oxford, and I wish you the best in your college application process!

    Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 4.34.48 PMSarah Darden
    Senior Admission Advisor
    Emory University

  • Inside Application Evaluations

    How we evaluate your application

    As a staff, we are often asked by students how to make their applications stand out from the pack. Students want to know the ideal test scores or GPA they need to have. Or what the magic number of AP or IB classes they need to take. Some people think that we have a fixed equation or computer program to determine admissibility. Maybe it would look something like this:

    Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.45.12 PM

    I’m here to set the record straight. At Emory, there is no magic formula. There is not a secret computer program where we plug in a student’s performance data and it spits out an admission decision. We truly read and evaluate each and every application, essay, and letter of recommendation. We discuss, reflect, and deliberate together as we select our first year class.

    So if there’s no formula, what are we looking for?

    Last week the Emory and Oxford admission staf0022102-12kh-f042-_man_ (1)f gathered for a Reading Retreat to discuss that answer. (A Reading Retreat is a day or two together to prepare for Reading Season. Reading Season is the uber-creative name we call the next few months where advisors and counselors are reading through your applications. Genius, I know.) As part of the retreat, leadership delved into the traits Emory stands for as a community, and thus, what character traits we should look for in our incoming class. Notice I said character traits. Not what SAT scores we needed to look for. Not how many AP classes a student needs to have. But the characteristics and qualities that a student should embody. Don’t get me wrong. Academics are absolutely important. Emory University is rigorous and challenging. We look for the best and the brightest. But selecting the incoming class goes far beyond that.

    John Latting, dean of admission for Emory College, encouraged us to “… think about the person represented by the application. Do what you can to discover the student who will be most challenging to the faculty, the most exciting, and the most challenging to one another,” due to their skills, talents, and experiences. He reminded us that our job is not only to evaluate high school performance (those high level classes, test scores, and extra-curricular activities), but also do our best to predict college success and fit with the Emory ethos.

    Kelley Lips, dean of admission for Oxford College, encouraged everyone to “be conscious and aware of each student in that moment” and to identify who each student is as a learner in academia and also who he is in his community.  Is the student exciting? Determined? Courageous?  Intentional? Ethical? Genuine?

    At Emory, learning is clearly what we are all about. We are a highly-selective university with stellar faculty and high-achieving students. But more than that, we are a community of vibrant thinkers, engaged participants, and courageous learners. We are looking to challenge one another to be the best that we can be, and we are looking for students who will make a positive contribution to our dynamic community.   

    To those who applied Early Decision I, know that we are taking the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly reflect on your applications. To those applying ED II and Regular Decision, know that we will afford your applications the same care. We’ve taken two days out of our schedules to prepare for Reading Season, reflecting on the makeup of our incoming class. I encourage you to reflect on what you want us to know about you through your application.

    As always, feel free to engage with us, ask questions, and learn more. Comment here, tweet us, or shoot us an email at admission@emory.edu.


    Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.57.25 PM

    P.S. – You can hear from current students about why they chose Emory and Oxford on our #iamemory blog.

    P.P.S. – If you want a more in-depth look at how we shape our class, check out this recent story in Emory Magazine.

  • The Southern Sense: November

    “Is it true that Southerners consider road kill a delicacy?”56cf0d1c2aa211e2a84922000a1f8c0f_7

    That is the winning question I got as an admission counselor during this fall’s travel season. Every year I answer a broad range of questions about life in the South and about my own experience growing up here. Some questions are standard. Some are pretty disturbing. And some just make you want to laugh.

    The disturbing questions and the humorous ones, most often spawned from reality TV, do bring to mind the stereotypical perceptions of Southern behavior. What is a Southern man? Is he the epitome of a chivalry that never dies, holding doors for ladies, giving up his seat to the elderly, and always in possession of a handkerchief? Or is he a puppy-kicking redneck, always spoiling for a fight and never without a piece of straw in his mouth? What is a Southern woman? Is she the quintessential lady, devoid of character flaws and always in possession of a perfectly cooked casserole? Or is she a man-chasing hussy in Daisy Dukes, happy to grab that possum off the side of the road to save a trip to the Piggly Wiggly? Extremely high expectations and extremely low expectations living together in one stereotype.

    All that being said, the notion that Southerners have an affinity for road kill is one I can confidently and cheerfully squash right here. (On a related note, we don’t all shop for cars with the criteria of how big a deer we can strap to the hood either.) We are an outdoorsy crowd, partially because our weather is so fantastic most of the year and partially because that’s where all of the football, horse races, picnics, festivals, and other fun can be found.

    This comfort level with the outdoors can actually stand a person (Southern or not) in very good stead when she is, in fact, forced to deal with road kill while going about her own business, as happened to me once. I was on my first recruiting trip as a new admission counselor for Emory, in a state that will remain anonymous. As I drove to a particularly remote school, my GPS navigated me onto a one-lane dirt road where I came around a bend and encountered a wake of vultures chewing on something in the road (yes, “wake” is the term for a group of vultures feeding together, and yes, I looked that up). I drove slowly through them, assuming they would take off. Unfortunately, one ambitious buzzard stayed a little too long at the table, and when it rose up, it flew straight into my windshield. I gave a scream worthy of a horror film, while the vulture, equally startled, bounced off the windshield and disappeared – leaving its meal on the hood of my very clean, very white rental car.

    Aware of my approaching appointment and the importance of first impressions in my new job, I decided to venture outside in search of a stick to scrape the worst of the mess from my car before I arrived at my school visit (my tenure as an outlaw Boy Scout would carry me forward, but more on this another day). With one foot out of the car, I looked up and saw the entire kettle of vultures now circling above me (yes, “kettle” is the term for a group of vultures in flight, and yes, way too much of the English language has been dedicated to describing group vulture behavior.) I jumped back inside, and the next five minutes became a freakish combination of The Birds and Jurassic Park as vultures dive bombed my car while I flattened myself inside trying to figure out what to do. Just as it occurred to me that I could drive away (albeit with road kill laid out on my hood), a buzzard slammed on top of the car, shrieking at me through the glassed-in sunroof. My angry fellow traveler then slid down the windshield, skied across the hood of the car on top of its meal and haphazardly flew off with it, leaving my car animal-free but looking like the scene of a very bloody crime.

    And thus I arrived, 20 minutes behind schedule, for my very first school visit. The visit went as well as one could hope under the circumstances. I do not know if the startled people who watched me alight from the death-mobile with all the aplomb I could muster spread their story. But as we like to say in the South: Function in disaster. Finish in style.

    Rest assured that we don’t eat road kill. And I’ve never heard anyone else have the kind of road kill experience I just described. But we do love being outdoors and enjoying the scenery. If you’re in Atlanta this November, take a look at some of the events and programs below to supplement your time. I promise you won’t even need to dodge buzzards to have fun! 

    “Atlanta Movie Tours” throughout the city of Atlanta. Available all month based upon tour schedule.amtlogo

    Maybe you’ve noticed the increase in Atlanta’s appearance in both movies and TV shows recently. It’s been great seeing our beloved, albeit quirky skyline in recent Rom-Coms, like Life as We Know It and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Our downtown streets have been made into zombie-stomping grounds by The Walking Dead. Our Westside was transformed into District 13 and our historic Swan House became the headquarters of The Capitol in the juggernaut Hunger Games series. The historic area surrounding our Oxford College campus (and occasionally the campus, itself) has even played host to The Vampire Diaries, and most recently, the next installment of the National Lampoon Vacation series. Of course, Atlanta is no novice when it comes to being a playground for the film industry since its scenic presence in iconic movies, like Gone with the Wind and Driving Miss Daisy. So whether you consider yourself an industry buff or your favorite show is filmed here, we encourage you to get a behind-the-scenes view through one of the many tours offered.

    “Garden Lights  at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Available November 15, 2014-January 3, 2015

    Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.23.34 PMIt may seem redundant to be talking about the Botanical Gardens (featured in the October entry), but it’s really an indication of what an established institution the gardens are in the city and an ode to their great seasonal offerings. Fall’s scarecrows and pumpkins have been replaced by nearly 1 million energy-efficient bulbs that light your way through the 30-acre plant sanctuary. Debuting in 2011, this spectacular exhibit has quickly become a must for Atlantans and a favorite sight-seeing activity for travelers. Exploration of the extensive grounds is punctuated by fire pits and on-site S’more kits, hot chocolate and cider stations, and seasonal music and shows. If you’ve never experienced the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, this is a great time to do so. And if you have visited the gardens before, a return trip under these well-lit conditions will not disappoint.   

    “Castleberry ch_artstroll_mark_600px-02-300x186 Art Stroll” through Atlanta’s historic arts district, Castleberry Hill. Friday, November 14, 2014 from 7pm – 10pm

    Every second Friday of the month, galleries and restaurants throughout Castleberry Hill welcome residents and visitors alike into the underground art scene of downtown Atlanta. If you like great art and great food, there’s no better way to spend your evening. Whether you’re coming from across town or across the country, everyone is welcome! 

    Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.18.46 PM“Snow Mountain” at Stone Mountain. Available November 22, 2015-February 22, 2015

    Similar to the Botanical Gardens, Stone Mountain (featured in the October entry) is also well known for its seasonal transformations. While it’s true, we don’t get much snow in Atlanta (and frankly, we like it that way), all bets are off when you enter Stone Mountain during its winter season. Gone are the pumpkins and in their place is five football fields worth of actual snow, playing host to all kinds of snowy activities, from tubing to snowman building. The Village also offers great seasonal foods and gifts to make your visit that much more memorable.

    ‘Til next month,
    Farish Jerman 11C
    Senior Admission Counselor
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission

    picture credits:





  • #askEmoryAdmission Twitter Chat–Early Decision

    twitterchat1Join us for a Twitter Office Hour this Thursday, October 30th, at 7:00 pm EST. We invite all students applying Early Decision (ED) – or thinking about applying ED – to join us. We will focus on what ED means, offer last minute application tips and advice, and answer your questions.

    When: Thursday, October 30, 2014, 7:00 pm EST How to participate: On October 30th, 7pm EST, log on to Twitter and follow @EmoryAdmission and hashtag #askEmoryAdmission! To ask a question or share an answer, add #askEmoryAdmission to your tweet.

    Q1: Can I apply ED to more than one college/university?
    Q2: If I apply ED, can I apply Early Action somewhere else?
    Q3: What does “binding” mean?
    Q4: What are the pros of applying ED?
    Q5: What are the cons of applying ED? Q6: What is the last SAT/ACT test date possible for ED1? ED2?
    Q7: Can I apply for financial aid if I apply ED?
    Q8: Can international students apply ED?
    Q9: When will I learn of my decision if I apply ED1? Q10: If I’m not admitted ED, can I still apply Regular Decision?
    Q11: If I already applied ED, how do I check my application status?
    Q12: If I don’t apply ED, what are my chances of admission?
    Q13: When is the absolute last minute I can submit my ED1 application?
    Q14: What is some last minute advice for the ED application?

    Remember that our ED1 deadline is Saturday, November 1, 2014. Our ED2 and RD deadline is January 1, 2015

    Share this! Follow @EmoryAdmission and help us promote the Twitter Office Hour using the following sample tweets:

    .@EmoryAdmission is hosting #AskEmoryAdmission on Thurs, Oct 30, 7pm EST! Be sure to join us! http://tinyurl.com/EUED1

    Want to learn more about early decision apps? Join @EmoryAdmission on Thurs, Oct 30, 7pm EST for #AskEmoryAdmissionhttp://tinyurl.com/EUED1

  • Tackling your Application Essays

    In my years working inIMG_0126 college admission the part of the application I am asked about the most is the essay section. Over 15 admission cycles for three different universities, I estimate I have read upwards of 20,000 application essays. For me, the most enjoyable part of an application is the essay, as it is chance for the applicant to share their personal voice. However, it is also the part of the application that can cause the most anxiety.

    Students concern themselves with the wrong questions, such as what is the perfect topic, what are the beliefs and values of the people reading your essays, or what does the Admission Committee want to read. Instead, be concerned with how to reveal your true self in less than 500 words. What is important to you? What do you value? What are your passions? What are your aspirations? Who are your inspirations? The common word throughout is YOU. We want to hear your voice – candid and authentic – through your essay.

    Here are a few nuggets of advice I have collected over the years. This is no way is the gospel about college admission essays, but rather a list of strategies that I believe work:

    • Don’t think of it as an essay assignment, but rather a personal statement. The term essay is the wrong term to use because this is not an English term paper. Your college statement needs to be personal, and it needs to be thought of in a creative and original fashion. Yes, we care about your writing ability; but what matters more is what you reveal about yourself.
    • Present your true self. I always say that one should present self-awareness and confidence in their writings, but most significantly one must present their true personality. We review thousands of essays each year and have become experts in telling when students are not being true to themselves.
    • Do not over-think the essay prompts. These are not trick questions. In fact, they are open-ended, allowing you to create personal statements and providing the flexibility to go in any number of directions. The most impressive essays I have read often are about the most ordinary topics.
    • Make sure to answer the question, and know the word limit. Though essay prompts provide freedom in the direction you take with your answers, make sure to follow the instructions carefully.
    • Proofread your essays. An obvious tip, but still very important. Proofreading does not mean just running a spell-check. Incorrect word choices can kill an essay. Don’t be careless.
    • Take risks. The introduction and conclusion are crucial. You want to catch the reader’s attention and be memorable. Write naturally, and be yourself, but do spend time thinking about how to be impactful with what you write.
    • Ask “Is this me?” When you think you have your final draft, make three copies and distribute them to a parent/relative, a teacher or guidance counselor, and a close friend. Ask each person to read your essay. Instead of providing suggested content edits, ask them to answer the following question: “Does this essay represent me?” If a related person, educator, and friend all answer yes, then you have written an excellent college admission personal statement.

    I decided to ask members of the Emory University Admission Committee to share their best pieces of advice with you regarding essays, too. Enjoy!

    Scott Allen, Senior Associate Dean of Admission, has spent more than twenty years reading application essays for Emory University. In that time, he has come up with the following mantra:

    Be yourself. Be confident in what you have to share. Be joyful that you have something to say. Be focused on sharing perspectives.   

    Associate Dean of Admission Giselle Martin shared some excellent advice regarding how to overcome essay anxiety:

    So often I hear students fretting over their essay topic, not because of the question itself but because they are so focused on the reader or the admission committee. I wish there was a means to express to students that the essays that “speak” to us most are the ones where our own thoughts are silenced because a student has opened their personal Pandora’s box, or imagination, or have stood their ground on a topic that gives them the power to speak their values and personal creed with meaning, intentionality, & conviction. Those students who dive deep into their inner thoughts, who are not afraid to be bold in their convictions and go below the surface of conventional or tacit norms, come alive in their applications. Yes, we know this is scary sometimes, but we have tremendous respect for the students who choose to consider a place like Emory. Be you, 100% authentic, no artificial flavors added, and no Photoshop needed. If you do this, there’s no doubt you will end up in the community that is the best home for you to nourish your spirit for life. 

    Here are a few tips from seasoned staff on how to approach writing your essay:

    I tell students to let their personalities shine through in their writing. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re serious, be serious. There’s no right way to write a college essay. We want to know what makes you tick and what you’re passionate about. The essays that are truly genuine to one’s self truly do stand out. – Senior Admission Advisor Sarah Darden

    The personal essay should be a story which tells the reader a little bit about who you are.  Anecdotes make wonderful personal essays.  I often encourage students to think about their essay in the context of the rest of their application since as admission officers, we have read most of your application by the time we read the personal essay.  The essay does not stand by itself but in the context of the larger application.
    – Associate Dean of Admission Mark Butt 

    The essay is the student’s opportunity to communicate directly to the admission staff. It is more than an academic exercise–the essay is where the student’s voice is heard. Tell us your passions, dreams, struggles, and desires. In doing so, above all else, be authentic. – Admission Advisor Will Canon 

    I also have a few tips from new additions to our staff who are looking forward to their first reading season this year:

    A good essay does not read like a response to the dreaded first question of an interview, “Tell us about yourself.” Forgive my English major metaphor: Instead of casting a torch dimly over the entire tapestry of your life, bring the torch closer to just one part. Create a vivid impression of a moment, experience, or quality that can lead your readers to close our eyes and picture you as if you were before us – resilient, expansive, and ready for the pleasures and challenges of being a part of our diverse community. – Admission Counselor Joel Dobben

    The essay portion of the application is our beorientationst window into who the student is and what makes him or her unique. Admissions is about building a class and choosing students that are right for this specific school.  In order to find students that embody the Emory spirit, we need far more insight than SATs and GPAs can tell us. The essays are the students’ opportunities to show us who they are, which may require that they spend some time trying to figure that out. This doesn’t mean that they have to have a 10-year plan, but at 17 or 18, they should have had some life experiences that they can analyze.  Correct spelling and grammar doesn’t hurt either! – Admission Advisor Louisa Pinto

    And I thought we would finish with Nicholas Missler, Assistant Dean of Admission, who shared about the best essay he has ever read:

    Perhaps the best essay I read was a few years ago, and the student wrote about his tennis shoes. He mentioned that his parents bought him a pair at the beginning of his freshman year and he wore them all throughout high school. Now, no doubt this was a bit of creative liberty – who wears the same shoes every day for 4 years – but that was just fine since this detail isn’t critical to the point. He wrote about how the shoes reflected his time, efforts, and values over his high school career. They were worn from running cross country, paint splattered from Habitat for Humanity projects, stained red from mud when he and his family hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, and had a hole burn in the top from a bonfire he had with his friend before senior year. Using his shoes as a vehicle, he shared the experiences that led to his development into the mature, college-ready student he is today. I enjoyed the stories and learned a great deal about him in the short essay. If you can manage to balance a good story with details about your life, while keeping yourself as the focal point of the essay, you’ll capture our attention and teach us about you in the process.

    I hope all this advice assists you as you finish up work on your Common Application and Emory Supplemental essays. As best you can, enjoy this process and know that all members of the Emory/Oxford Admission Committee are eagerly awaiting the chance to read your words.

    Best wishes!

    Daniel G. Creasy
    Director of Communications
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission


  • In the know–Emory Scholars Program

    Details on the Emory University Scholars Program

    0110803-12BM-F082Two weeks ago my blog post focused on Early Decision, since the November 1 deadline is just around the corner. Today I’d like to discuss another admission deadline on the horizon for the Emory University Scholars Program, which is November 15. With only a month left to submit the Scholars application, I’d like to provide some insight about the deadlines and the program itself.

    The Emory University Scholars Program is a unique opportunity for students interested in Emory University, and it has changed quite a bit in the last few years. So here are some tips and pointers as you consider your options:

    What is the Emory University Scholars Program?
    Simply put, it is a special application deadline for students who want to be considered for merit-based scholarships. Emory College, Oxford College, and the Goizueta Business School offer partial to full merit-based scholarships as well as membership in Scholars Programs to a select group of incoming first-year students. The purpose of these programs is to provide financial awards as well as dedicated programming to exceptional students.

    What kind of students receive scholarships?
    The selection committee looks for students with strong academic backgrounds and outstanding extracurricular engagement. There are no set standards for GPA or test scores to be considered, as the selection process comprehensively and holistically analyzes all aspects of the application. One of my colleagues that coordinates the Scholars selection process describes the type of students select as finalists as the following:

    Emory University Scholars are “intellectually carbonated” individuals, leaders among their peers, and “spark plugs” in their communities. They are forward-thinkers who stretch the boundaries of intellectual inquiry, artists with distinctive talents and creativity, and difference-makers that act as catalysts for positive change. 

    Why is there a different deadline to apply for scholarships?
    The November 15 deadline provides the Admission Committee and Scholars Selection Committees ample time to review each candidate and render decisions about scholarship selection by January 31. (More on how this is done later.) To be considered for the Scholars selection process, students must submit all required application materials by November 15.

    Are all my application materials due by the November 15 Scholars deadline, or can I turn other things in later, as long as it’s before the deadline of the admission plan I select (EDI, EDII, or RD)?
    If you want your application considered for the Emory University Scholars programs, then all first-year application  must be submitted by the November 15th deadline. Applicants need to select one of Emory’s three admission decision plans (Early Decision I, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision), but the November 15th deadline applies for scholarship consideration (not the January 1 deadline associated with the EDII and RD plans). Students who submit any application materials after November 15 will not be eligible for review under the Emory University Scholars selection process.

    Please note that students applying EDI may also apply for the Scholars Program. EDI students need to meet the November 1 EDI deadline for all application materials.

    Are there separate application materials to be considered for the Scholars Programs?
    Nope. The only additional step beyond applying by November 15 is this: students must nominate themselves for the Emory University Scholars Program by answering “yes” to the following question:

    Emory College, Oxford College, and the Goizueta Business School offer partial to full merit-based tuition scholarships and membership in Scholars Programs to incoming first-year students. The purpose of these highly selective Scholars Programs is to provide scholarships, dedicated programming, and distinct opportunities to attract the most promising students to Emory University. To be considered, students must submit a completed application by the Emory University Scholars Selection deadline of November 15 (ED1 applicants must submit by November 1). Are you interested in being considered for these Scholars Programs?

    This question is found in the Questions section of the Emory University “My College” page cover-dooleyon the Common Application.

    So, there is no additional essay?
    Correct. In previous application cycles there were additional essays for Scholars consideration, but for the 2014-15 application cycle there are no additional essays or forms that need to be completed by the November 15 deadline. Applicants who are selected as Scholars finalists (notification on January 31), will be required to submit an additional essay in advance of the Scholars Finalists visit program.

    I heard I needed to be nominated by my guidance counselor. Is that true?
    This was a requirement in previous years but does not apply for 2014-15. All students need to do is apply by November 15 and nominate themselves via the Common Application. No additional nomination forms are required.

    When will I hear my decision?
    This is a two-part answer, as there are decisions about admission as well as decisions about scholarships. Students selected as a Scholars finalists will find out on January 31 via email and OPUS. Finalists will also receive their admission decision at this time and find out if they’ve been selected as an Emory Scholar, Oxford Scholar, or Goizueta Scholar.

    Those students not selected as finalists will hear of their admission decision on notification day for the admission plan they chose: December 15 for EDI, February 15 for EDII, and April 1 for RD.

    Are my chances for admission impacted if I choose to apply through the Scholars Program?
    The Scholars selection and admission review processes are 100% separate. One’s chances for admission will not be impacted by the decision to apply (or not) to the Scholars Program.

    Do I have to indicate whether I am interested in the Emory Scholars, Oxford Scholars, or Goizueta Scholars Programs?
    Nope. Applicants do not need to indicate the program(s) they are interested in. When applying, students are automatically considered for everything available in the Emory University Scholars Program. During the review process, the Scholars committee evaluates and selects students who are the best fit for each of the three programs: Emory Scholars, Oxford Scholars, and Goizueta Scholars. Finalists are then invited to attend the one program for which they’ve been selected.

    If I do not apply through the Scholars Program November 15 deadline, will I still be eligible for merit-based scholarship opportunities?
    Applicants to the Emory University Scholars Program not selected as Finalists will continue to be considered for admission under their selected admission plan, as well as for additional, yet limited, merit aid not affiliated with the Emory University Scholars Program.

    Are international students eligible to apply for the Emory University Scholars Program?
    Yes. International students are eligible to apply to the Emory University Scholars Program, and we strongly encourage those with financial need to do so. Financial assistance for international student is limited, and this program is a great way for Emory to provide some help to those who need it most.

    I hope this has helped you better understand the Emory University Scholars Programs. However, if you still have questions, please ask! You can post a comment to this blog, tweet us, or email us at admission@emory.edu.

    Best wishes!

    Daniel G. Creasy
    Director of Communications
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admissionnight skyline

  • #FirstGenOfficeHour Twitter-Chat Recap

    Timothy Fields, associate director of admission, participated in the October 2, 2014 #FirstGenOfficeHour chat, hosted by I’m First. I’m First is an online community for first-generation college students.

    If you couldn’t catch the chat, here is a recap:

    Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 8.31.00 PMQ1. How early/late is too early/late to submit college applications?
    A1. Students have until January 1 to apply to #Emory, you can also apply November 1 ED.

    Q2. Is it okay to recycle or reuse essays for several college applications? Can admission officers tell?
    A2. We would advise that you write all original essays; it’s very easy to tell when an essay is recycled.

    Q3. What’s the difference between early action, early decision and regular decision? Do any of those have advantages?
    A3. #Emory does not have EA. We only have ED, which is a binding agreement. The admit rate is higher during ED.

    Q4. I don’t have the best test scores or a ton of extracurricular activities. How much will that play into my application?
    A4. Your activities do play a role, but your rigor/grades are the most important part of the review process.

    Q5. What are the Top 3 things in a college application that helps it stand out to an admission officer?
    A5. Things that stand in the process include good grades, letting us know who you are & passion about learning

    Q6. How important is it for a student to tell whether they are a #firstgen student in their application?
    A6. You do not have to tell us you are firstgen, but letting us know your challenges may you help stand out.

    Q7. Do admission officer really read all of the essays? How can a student make their essay stand out in the crowd?
    A7. We read ALL essays and letting us know who you are & your story make you stand out. Proof-reading helps!

    Q8. A student has an interesting background but is hesitant to write about it in personal statement. What should they do?
    A8. if you have an interesting story let us know. we want to know who YOU are in this process! #Expression

    Q9. What are the main components to the college application?
    A9. The focus of this process is who are you & how well have you done in high school years! Holistic Review.

    #FirstGenOfficeHour -#randomadvice- have a professional e-mail to communicate with schools !

    #FirstGenOfficeHour -#randomadvice – make sure to follow up with schools to be sure your application is complete!

    #FirstGenOfficeHour #randomadvice – meet ALL deadlines, both admission and financial aid – the deadlines are often not the same!

    #FirstGenOfficeHour #randomadvice – enjoy this time and process, you are going to have a lot
    of great options … R-E-L-A-X!

    #FirstGenOfficeHour #randomadvice – be realistic in this process, don’t waste fee waivers on schools you are not competitive at.

    #FirstGenOfficeHour – we are here for you, we want you to be great! Good luck in this process and know we are all here to help!

    Are you a first-gen student? What questions do you have about the college search process? Feel free to comment, tweet us, or email us at admission@emory.edu.

  • The Southern Sense: October

    0111101-10KH - Oxford Fall CampusWhat does it mean to be a Southerner? It’s hard to define, but I know it’s a lot more than a “hey y’all” and a strand of pearls. Nowhere else in the country is there a population that identifies so keenly with its region that the identifying label receives a capital letter-Southerner. By the same token, no other region of the country has experienced such a dichotomous history and still struggles to this day to hold close the values that mean so much to its communities while moving past the terrible mistakes and acts that will forever be connected to its name. I’ve spent my entire life in Atlanta, Georgia, including attending college at Emory University.

    I’ve been raised by a village of a Southern family that stretches from the neighborhood of Virginia-Highland, where I grew up, all the way to the mountains of Tennessee and the small towns of North Carolina, where most of my extended family lives. When I think of what it means to be Southern, I think of lots of family, good food, and storytelling. These are the staples of our culture and community in the South. I think of one of my aunts who has turned deviled eggs into an art form (which is as it should be) with six different deviled egg recipes, including every ingredient from cornichons to shallots. I think of my grandmother who made clothes for all of her six children and to this day is incapable of being caught off guard by unexpected guests with her ability to make an entire meal from scratch on the fly. And I think of my mother, who has taught me so much about being Southern, from instilling in me that sense of Southern hospitality our region is known for, to ingraining in me the notion that a Southern woman never goes anywhere without looking her best out of respect for herself. I’m sorry to say I disappoin ted her on the latter point many times during my college years when I had an 8AM chemistry class three days per week.

    My travels as an admission counselor in Emory’s Office of Undergraduate Admission have taught me a lot about what the rest of the world thinks about the South and its culture. There is a surprising fear and trepidation instilled in this generation when it comes to moving away for college to the “Deep South,” which has become the vague definition of everything between Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, and the Florida state line.

    Ironically, many people I meet are completely shocked to find out that I am a born-and-raised Southerner. The very things that they feel go against the stereotypes of being a Southerner are in fact the most Southern things about me. Take my name, Farish, for example. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told by people that they expected me to be a male and most likely Middle Eastern. My name is in fact extremely Southern, both in its origin and in the way it was given to me. Several generations ago, it used to be a common last name in Virginia, where my family lived at the time, and it was given to one of my female ancestors as a middle name. My mother gave it to me as a first name, which is not uncommon in the South—the giving of a last name, even a slightly androgynous name, as a first name. Another example is my lack of accent. Yes, “y’all” is a very important part of my vernacular, but I do not have much of an accent. This is also not uncommon in major southern cities where populations have steadily become more diverse and a multitude of languages and accents have blended.

    So with all of this in mind, I encourage you to get to know Atlanta and Southern culture, and I’d like to help. Each month I’ll round up some of the best events happening in Atlanta and share them with you. For those of you visiting Emory or Atlanta, I encourage you to partake of the Southern culture and festivals. (You will come to find, either the more you visit or the more you read this blog, that Southerners love their festivals. We will seriously have a festival in honor of anything and everything-seasons, flowers, fruits, vegetable, holidays. You name it, we probably celebrate it.)

    Here are some of the unique events happening in October:


    “Ogre-tober” at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Available all month.
    Whether your thumbs are green or not-at-all agriculturally inclined, a visit to the gorgeous Atlanta Botanical Gardens, located in the heart of midtown Atlanta, will always be memorable and fun.  This 30-acre plant sanctuary includes rose gardens, an orchid center, an edible garden and bar, the famous Storza woods with its canopy walkway, and much more. There is always an art exhibit or two in the gardens throughout the year as well. Currently being featured is the Imaginary Worlds Exhibit, which has transformed the garden into a home for 28 larger than life, living sculptures of mythical and forest creatures. Each living sculpture is made of different plants and flowers that grow from a dirt and nutrient-rich lining inside the sculpture, giving the impression of movement and life. Cameras are allowed and encouraged, whether you’re capturing The Unicorn grazing, The Earth Goddess creating water, or the Gigantic Cobras bookending the Midtown skyline from the highest point in the gardens. During the month of October, or “Ogre-tober” as it’s being called, the garden will also play host to almost 100 scarecrows, created and donated by local businesses, schools, and families and friends of the garden.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 12.42.25 PM

    “Halloween Tours” at the famous Oakland Cemetery. Available all month.
    For those that have never visited Oakland Cemetery, it is the oldest cemetery in Atlanta (founded in 1850) and one of the few areas of the city to survive Atlanta’s burning during the Civil War. It also stands as one of the most honest depictions of Atlanta’s fraught history throughout segregation, war, and progressive rebuilding, all of which can be traced in aspects like the blatant separation of the burial grounds in the older areas of the cemetery, the variety and evolution of tombstones and grave markings, and the multi-generational Atlanta families and prominent city leaders whose grave sites are flanked by exquisite statues and fine words in honor of their legacies in the city’s history. It is a hauntingly beautiful place (no pun intended) near the heart of downtown Atlanta. There are a variety of specialized tours offered on the weekends at Oakland Cemetery, and what better time to take one than the month of Halloween!


    “Pumpkin Festival” at Stone Mountain. Available all month.
    Considered one Atlanta’s more iconic venues, Stone Mountain is rife with history and activity. You can explore the 3,200-acre park via the hiking trail up Stone Mountain itself, one of the largest pieces of exposed granite in the world, on the side of which is the largest bas-relief in the world, depicting Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. Or you can explore the mountain and park via a scenic train ride or on SkyHike, the largest adventure ropes course in the US. Feel free to bring a picnic, grill out, fish in the lake, or walk/run on the numerous trails throughout the park. Stone Mountain Village also offers a variety of retail, dining, and entertainment to while away the hottest parts of the day. Friday-Sunday, during the month of October, there are extra events in honor of Halloween.


    L5P Halloween Festival in Little Five Points, Atlanta. Saturday, October 18 from 12PM-11PM.
    The Atlanta metro area is made up of a collection of neighborhoods, each with their own distinct personality and customs. Virginia-Highland, where I am from, is one example and so is Little Five Points. Known to be the most eccentric of Atlanta’s communities (you’ve been warned!), L5P offers a great diversity of retail, restaurants, and events. One of their most notable events is their annual Halloween Festival, which is hosted by the L5P Business Association. There will be live music throughout the event, an artist market, a costume parade (it is no joke), and extended patio seating at local restaurants (for better parade viewing, of course). Parking will be limited in the festival area but you can experience MARTA (Atlanta’s form of public transportation) in order to make your way over or park on one of the neighboring streets and enjoy a scenic walk over to the festival.

    If you are visiting during another month or want to keep learning more about Atlanta and its communities and traditions, check in with us early each month to see what’s coming up. We hope you and your family enjoy getting a Southern sense of Atlanta, and we welcome you to visit our family here at Emory University soon!

    ‘Til next month,
    Farish Jerman 11C
    Senior Admission Counselor
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission


    Photos via:

  • Is Early Decision right for you?

    I’ve been in the college admission profession for quite a while (16 years and counting), and for me, signs of fall don’t just include colorful foliage, the sun setting earlier, and lower temperatures prompting long sleeves and sweaters. The changing of the calendar to October also means an increase in the frequency my colleagues and I are asked, “Should I apply Early Decision?” As our November 1st Early Decision (ED) deadline approaches, more and more high school seniors are debating whether to make the binding commitment that goes along with applying ED. I hope to provide some direction on how to tackle this question and some advice from my years of experience with students choosing whether to ED or not to ED.

    First, let’s make sure you know what applying ED is all about. Our Early Decision webpage is a great place to read more about the process, and it also answers some of technical questions you may have. Become familiar with how the ED agreement works, that we have two different ED plans, and that you have the option to apply ED to Emory College, Oxford College, or both schools.

    Second, I strongly encourage you to read this Atlanta Journal Constitution article from last year. Our Dean of Admission John Latting was interviewed about making the choice to apply ED. He shares some of the advantages and disadvantages to applying early, as well as the key questions to consider. With all the clutter out there about “how to get in” and the “keys to college admission,” I personally feel Dean Latting’s remarks are candid, clear, and come from a truly credible source.

    With that being said, let’s focus on some of the key questions you should consider about ED.

    Who should apply Early Decision?

    Simply put, if Emory University is your definitive first choice and you are ready to make the commitment, then ED is probably for you. ED is for students who just know; the students who have “fallen in love.” They have done their research, and for all the right reasons, they are confident in their decision. If Emory is the school that you measure all other schools by, and those schools always fail in comparison, then you I would encourage you to strongly consider ED.

    Not to beat this point into the ground, but let me share a quote from Kelley Lips, Oxford College’s Dean of Enrollment Services: 

    Despite slightly more favorable admit rates, the process [of Early Decision] remains practical only for students who have a clear first-choice school, those who have done the research to appropriately make the choice, and students who are completely sure they wish to enroll at their Early Decision institution. If Emory / Oxford seems familiar to you and is something you believe you have prepared for (academically, in particular), meets your expectations for what a college should be, and is just where you really want to be next fall, then early decision makes perfect sense. In fact, you are exactly the type of student for whom we offer an Early Decision option in the first place!

    Who should NOT apply Early Decision?

    Perhaps this is obvious, but students who do not have a clear first choice school and want to weigh options should not apply ED to any school. Beyond this obvious answer, I recommend against applying ED for students who are only considering the binding commitment for tactical reasons. By this I mean, students who are focused on the numbers and just “getting in,” and students who view applying ED solely as a strategic move. Applying to colleges should not be seen as winning a game of highly selective college admission, and students who over-analyze statistical data about ED are approaching the process from the wrong direction. Selecting an ED admission plan should be about fit. 100% of the time. Students who know Emory or Oxford is their perfect fit should apply ED. Students who think ED is about the easiest way to get accepted should reconsider their priorities in their college search.

    If there is a disadvantage to applying ED, it has to do with financial aid. No, you don’t receive a worse financial aid package if you apply ED, as we use precisely the same methods for calculating eligibility for aid no matter what admission plan you choose. The financial disadvantage is that if you are admitted ED, you do not have the opportunity to compare financial aid offers from more than one university. Each institution has its own way of determining how much a family can reasonably pay for college, and the outcome of that process is only revealed after you are offered admission. When admitted early decision, you just get that one offer of financial aid. Something to consider.

    Is there a competitive advantage to applying Early Decision?

    There is no simple answer to this question. Yes, there are benefits to applying to ED. The earlier timeline is a clear advantage. ED applicants learn of their decision earlier. If admitted, their college search is complete, and they can focus on successfully finishing high school. If not admitted, though disappointing, students can move on and focus on other schools that fit.

    Another advantage is that the pressure is not on the Admission staff during the ED evaluation process. When the Admission Committee is reading application during the early process they do not feel the time crunch and have fewer applications to consider. During this early process, there is more freedom to respond to students who make a great case for themselves and have a sincere interest.

    While there are benefits, note that I did not say that there is a competitive advantage. The phrase competitive advantage leads to a conclusion that it is easier to get in when applying early. There are benefits to applying ED, but it is not easier to be admitted. The Admission Committee review process is the same during the early evaluation process as it is during the review of Regular Decision (RD) applicants – both in terms of academic metrics and holistic measures.

    If I do not apply ED, do I still have a chance to be admitted?

    As Dean Latting shares in the AJC article, we strive to hold at least half of our admitted student spots for RD applicants. Students who apply RD are held to the same academic standards, and our admission evaluators are just as excited to read RD applications. Don’t feel forced to apply ED fearing that you will not be able to get in RD, or because you think your application will be passed over. Great students are admitted during RD every year, and we would not have a complete class without our RD applicants. 

    Regardless of whether you decide to apply Early Decision or Regular Decision, know that the Admission Committee desires to get to know you for who you really are through the application process. Share about what excites you, challenges you, drives you to go for broke and reach for more. My colleagues and I hope your college aspirations lead you to Emory University, and please know we are here to assist you in the process. Don’t hesitate to connect with us by posting a comment to this blog, tweeting us, or emailing us at admission@emory.edu.

    Best wishes!

    Daniel G. Creasy
    Director of Communications
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission