Edison Prep’s Famous UGA Admissions Data and Strategy Page — Tracking UGA Stats Since 2012!

– Edison Prep Exclusive –

What’s included in this post?

In 2012, we posted our original “All About UGA: Ruminations from the UGA Admissions Process” blog post, which attracted more than 40,000% as many views as our other blog posts. Ever since, we’ve published multiple annual updates just moments after UGA releases EA decisions, RD decisions, and other updates throughout the year! 

UGA is a school of particular interest to many Edison Prep clients, so we continue to do deep dives into its admissions trends and maintain a decade-long repository of UGA admissions data. Below is information that is of interest to all families with students who may be applying to UGA in the next few years!

Note: This page is regularly updated throughout the year as new rounds of UGA admissions data get released!

Last Update: April 5, 2024

1) The number of Early Action Applicants continues to rise.

Early Action applicants have more than doubled since 2012, increasing +150% while the Georgia and the US populations have grown just 10% and 8%, respectively. UGA has gone from 10,800 EA applicants for the Class of 2012 to 26,830 for the Class of 2024. UGA joining the Common Application in 2020 during the middle of COVID provided an initial 26% surge in applications that has been sustained and built upon. When UGA announced that the SAT and ACT would be mandatory for the Class of 2022 after the one-year COVID test optional policy, some college counselors imagined there would be fewer applications for Class of 2022 as a result, but applications continued to grow by 25% the following two years. This makes sense, since by and large, SAT/ACT tests were widely available in Georgia (and 40+ states) for the duration of COVID. All Class of 2022 and 2023 Georgia testers had 22+ test dates available to them.

Bar chart illustrating the number of Early Action applicants for the University of Georgia from the classes of 2012 to 2024. Each year is represented by a red bar, with a steady increase in applicant numbers over time. Starting from around 10,800 applicants in 2012 to a peak of 26,830 applicants for the class of 2024, indicating a growing interest in early college admissions.

“Weren’t you surprised to see another 21% increase in Class of 2023 Early Action Applicants despite UGA going back to SAT/ACT test-required when most colleges didn’t?”

We get this question daily!

  • It’s not just Georgia.
    Florida, Tennessee, Military Academies, Georgetown, MIT, Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, CalTech, UNC, Brown, Purdue, and many others have gone back to requiring SAT/ACT scores for admission. Furthermore, many of the colleges who are currently on a temporary test-optional policy are tepidly extending the policy one year at a time, while admitting the vast majority of their admits from the pool that submitted scores (e.g. Duke, at 93%). Keep a special eye on the schools that have very consciously dribbled out just-one-more-year extensions of their test-optional policies since your current sophomore may have different policies by the time application comes around.
  • Don’t underestimate “hooks.”
    In college admissions parlance, “hooked” is a term for students who have a “hook” that gives them a noticeable advantage in admissions. The main hooks include, but are not limited to: legacy status, athletic recruit, underrepresented minorities, geographic diversity (need one kid from all 50 states!), large donors, professors’ kids, Pell grant recipients, and first-generation college attendees.
  • Test-optional is not what you think. 
    For “unhooked” students, who represent a majority of all applicants to competitive universities and 95% of our clients, test-optional is not what you think: applying without test scores is not an equal option – it’s just an option. It’s optional in the same way that taking AP or IB classes is — you won’t automatically be rejected, but you hurt your odds of admissions considerably by not taking AP/IB classes. Test submitters have a noticeable “submitter advantage” at every major college that was brave and transparent enough to release their data (see Pinocchio image below), and this frustration with an awkward lack of transparency is also voiced by key local leaders like the Deans of Admissions at Emory and Georgia Tech. For example, students who submitted scores were 270% more likely to get into Emory ED and 230% more likely to get into Georgia Tech (the one year that GT was test optional before resuming test mandatory).  And at Auburn — the world record holder who is unlikely to be dethroned — students who submitted scores were an astonishing 800% more likely to get in than those who didn’t (see below). This data is borne out by professional forums like the May 2022 Independent Educational Consultants Association meeting in Philadelphia, where 3-4 separate panels of admissions officers discussed in their presentations that those test optional spots (often 15-30% of total spots) were “primarily meant to achieve institutional priorities” and other synonyms re: how colleges utilize test optional spots primarily for hooked students and to help contour the student body.
  • The great irony
    The great irony of the current test-optional “moment” is that Edison Prep never had any tutors beyond its two founders for the first 12 years of its existence — we didn’t need to! The emergence of the current environment (“test optional, yeah not actually test optional for unhooked students”) has forced us to hire multiple tutors. Tutoring demand has drastically grown once parents of unhooked Class of 2021 students saw their children and their children’s friends get rejected from selective colleges when they applied without submitting test scores. Those families (and their younger siblings who are now tutoring) have become the largest advocates for tutoring and testing because they saw firsthand that good test scores give students a substantial advantage in college admissions and in earning substantial merit aid money.

“Test Optional applicants shall not be disadvantaged”

Few schools released data re: relative admit rates for those who submitted scores vs. those who didn’t. (We emailed and called over 100 schools.) For the dozen or two brave schools who did, the data was stunning:

Case Study: Auburn Class of 2022

  • Overall admission rate: 39%
  • Approx. admission rate with scores: 47%
  • OOS admission rate without scores: 5-7%

2) The number of Class 2024 Early Action admits grew by 9% to 9,000.

As many Georgia families find the Zell Miller HOPE scholarship price tag for a top 20 public university enticing (compared to more expensive private colleges) in uncertain economic times, applications continue to grow. Keeping the number of EA admits at a reasonable level is a conscious choice that UGA makes to allow themselves to see the whole applicant pool before deciding on EA applicants who may be “on the bubble.” Very smart!

A bar chart showing the number of admits by application type for the University of Georgia from the class of 2012 to the class of 2024. Each year is represented by a pair of bars - one for Early Action (red) and one for Regular Decision (black). Admissions numbers steadily increase over the years with occasional fluctuations. Notably, the class of 2024 has an Early Action admit number listed as 9,000 with the Regular Decision admit number marked 'TBD'.

■ EA Admitted    ■ EA Enrolled

3) Trends in Admit/Defer/Deny for the Classes of 2021-2024:

Note: Class of 2024 Admit/Defer/Deny data has not been released yet — we will update this page when it is!

While EA admits for the Class of 2023 and 2024 dipped, UGA is finally ripping the Band-Aid off by denying far more EA applicants (17-18%) than in the past. Historically, they’ve denied as little as 8% and often hovered in the 10-12% range. This year was 18%! This is actually a welcome, merciful change in our opinion from a student mental health perspective, since we see so many deferred students each year with academic stats that stand no earthly chance of defer-then-admit, yet those students must undergo four months of false hope until the admissions process formally ends. We’d love to see it around 30% but a jump to 18% is a great start.

UGA Early Action Trend: Admit/Defer/Deny

A table showing the University of Georgia Early Action admission trends for the classes of 2021 through 2024. Columns represent each class year with corresponding admit, defer, and deny percentages. For the class of 2021, the admit rate was 39%, defer 49%, and deny 12%. Class of 2022 saw an admit rate of 44%, defer 46%, and deny 10%. The class of 2023 had admit 32%, defer 44%, and deny 17%. Lastly, the class of 2024 had an admit rate of 34%, defer 49%, and deny 18%.

Note: You may see slightly different stats quoted on various UGA pages because 1,800 EA applicants (7%) were incomplete and got rolled into the Regular Decision pool.

4) Class of 2024 Early Action Stats:

Class of 2024 EA ApplicantsPrevious Year
Class of 2024
Total Early Action Applicants
Geography42% in-state, 58% out of statePer Georgia rule, approximately 80% of total spots are reserved for in-state students
UGA mid-50% GPA Average3.81-4.22over 56% of applicants had over a 4.0 GPA
ACT mid-50% Average26-32down from 27-33 previous year
SAT mid-50% Average1240-1440basically identical
AP/IB/DE mid-50% Courses5-11identical
In-State Residents OnlyPrevious YearIn-State and Out-of-State ResidentsPrevious Year
Class of 2024
Total Early Action Admits
5,200 9,000
UGA GPA4.11-4.404.16-4.384.13-4.38 4.11-4.404.16-4.38
ACT Mid-50% Average30-3432-3431-34same
SAT Mid-50% Average1340-15101370-15101370-15001370-1510
AP/IB/DE courses by graduation9-148-139-138-13

5) Trends in GPA, AP/IB, SAT/ACT For Accepted Students Over Time: a Decade-long Lookback

  • The UGA GPA for the bottom 25% of admitted students (Early Action + Regular Decision) has grown from 3.74 to 4.06, while the top 25% GPA has risen from 4.04 to 4.33.
  • The average number of AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes has steadily risen over the last decade by about 0.25 per year, with the middle 50% of admits having 8-13 APs by graduation.
  • The middle 50% ACT score for EA admitted students has risen from 27-31 in 2012 to 31-34 in 2020-2024. This looks small, but a 31 is 275% as rare as a 28.
  • The average SAT has risen in a similar manner.

6) “Superscoring” has an outsized impact on SAT/ACT score averages.

Just 3,161 students in Georgia got a single-day ACT score of 31 or higher for the Class of 2022, yet 75% of those accepted to UGA in 2022 scored a 31 or higher, and over 8,000 students were admitted via Early Action last year. How is this possible, especially given that not every high-scoring applicant even applies to UGA?

Yes, some students submitted an SAT score, but a huge contributing factor is that UGA “superscores” both the ACT and SAT (combines the best section scores from different dates). It’s a real game-changer. Savvy parents, counselors, and students understand the power of superscoring far better than they did a few years ago, driving average SAT/ACT scores at the 95%+ of colleges that superscore upwards. Also, please know that both parents and students tend to fib about their scores; the actual number of single-day perfect 36’s in Georgia last year was just 94 kids in a state with 159 counties!

7) Academic rigor continues to be far more important than extracurricular activities, with the average EA applicant (not admitted student!) having 9+ AP/IB classes by graduation.

Senior Associate Director of UGA Admissions David Graves posted a quote on the UGA Blog that we sincerely wish were included at the top of every UGA mailer: “When parents or students say that their schedule is already so busy with other activities that it is tough to handle challenging courses…instead of dropping rigorous courses, maybe an activity could be dropped.” We tell students daily that no one has ever been ever rejected for having too low of a “play practice score,” but millions of applications are rejected each year for low GPA, low rigor, and/or low SAT/ACT scores. Activities matter if and once your core academic metrics are in the right ballpark.

8) Is there a risk of getting rejected by applying Early Action?

The vast majority of students should strongly consider applying Early Action. Historically, 10-17% of students are denied via Early Action, which is a far lower EA rejection percentage than some of UGA’s peer universities. The vast, vast majority of EA applicants who are not admitted are deferred, not denied. Since 2010, we’ve tutored 12,000+ students who applied to UGA who hailed from over 125 high schools and over 50 Georgia counties. When comparing notes with our brain trust of 12-15 independent college counselors, we realized that we all collectively only had only a dozen or so students rejected via EA in any given year. Applying early action is almost always a zero-risk endeavor, because any student who was close enough to gaining admission via EA who might benefit from having one extra semester of grades and/or a better SAT/ACT score would likely also be a strong enough applicant to at least get deferred. The only exception would be someone who had some severe GPA issues early on that needs one extra senior semester for “GPA rehab.”

9) What if I apply and get deferred? Now what? (Advice for Class of 2024 parents)

Thousands of deferred students eventually are accepted in March during Regular Decision.

The only two levers deferred students can pull to increase their chances are:

  1. to finish the fall semester with as strong a GPA as humanly possible and
  2. take the Dec SAT or Dec ACT if your student’s existing scores are close enough to an updated score that would move the needle.
Female student with laptop computer and pencil

Class of 2022 Example

After the Early Action round in November 2021, the math on remaining seats was as follows:

~7,500 spots left
10,000 EA deferred + 18,100 RD applicants

= 7,500 admits left for 28,100 applicants = 26% admit rate for the combined deferred Early Action + Regular Decision pool

A fair number of RD kids were waiting on an extra semester of awesome grades, or extra two sets of test scores in Oct/Nov/Dec, and/or just couldn’t finish the essays in time. If correct, that would imply admission offers for about 26% of the combined remaining defer + RD pool.

10) What’s the yield rate for in-state vs. out-of-state?

Different yield rates for in-state versus out-of-state students: Per David Graves’ March 2022 Blog Post: “The yield rate (% of admitted students that enroll) for in-state students is between 52-55%, and out-of-state student yield is between 19-21%.” This makes sense given that 90%+ of students who get into UGA have a 3.7+ GPA and a 26/1200+ ACT/SAT and thus get full tuition Zell Miller HOPE whereas out-of-state tuition is pricey! It’s also why parents shouldn’t be rattled when reading how many in-state versus out-of-state kids were ***admitted*** since to achieve a 20% OOS student body they need to admit more than double that proportion! Even more so with the current economic conditions!

student standing next to suitcase

Rampant Grade Inflation and Its Impact on Admissions

If you are a confused parent of a deferred/denied senior or a Type A pre-planning parent of an 8th-11th grader, it’s critical to educate yourself on the state of grade inflation so you can avoid critical GPA mishaps early in high school. Grade inflation was pretty bad pre-COVID, and grades were further inflated by 1-3 semesters of widespread copy-paste “cheatapalooza” during COVID cyber school at many high schools.

1) The average UGA admitted student in the Class of 2020 had 3 B’s in grades 9-11…ever.

Keeping your total number of “B’s” for all six semesters on one hand is paramount. Data on the Class of 2021’s GPA was similar.

(Here’s the math: 8% of 30 “core” semester grades over six semesters means 2.4 B’s.)

2) The Rarity of a 4.0 GPA versus a 30 ACT or 1400 SAT

Grade inflation, combined with AP/IB GPA weighting, has created dramatically higher GPAs each year at most metro Atlanta schools, warping parents’ perception of what a “normal” GPA is.

The average UGA EA ADMIT in 2012 had roughly a 3.91 GPA.

Over 56% of students who APPLIED in 2023 had a above a 4.0 GPA

Case Study: A Popular Cobb County school’s grade inflation in 2019

At this school in 2019, almost 30% of students have a weighted 4.0+ GPA. 3.64 is a bottom 50% GPA. A 4.38 is not even in the top 10%.

Simultaneously, only 8% of students in GA (Class of 2019) got a 30+ on the ACT. A 30 ACT or 1400 SAT is almost 400% as rare as a 4.0 at many schools. In a world of “A stands for Attended,” keeping B’s to a minimum is critical!

The data above was prior to several semesters of covid cyber school cheating (GPAs to the moon!) and general ongoing grade inflation. This GPA data is no longer published by the above Cobb County high school, but has almost certainly inflated much further in the last three years with covid school.

3) C’s are the single biggest predictor of a denial—more so than GPA or SAT/ACT.

C’s were a thing in the 90’s. They are an endangered species in 2024. A “C” grade may mathematically count the same as two “B’s”, but our internal data (and those of our college counselor friends) shows that each “C” is exponentially more damaging than getting two “B’s”. And UGA’s own blog post “Freshman Denies — A Post Mortem” from 2018 confirms it: a single “C” increases the chance of denial to 85%. A “D” or “F” grade increases the chance of denial to 96%.

4) Further listening and education re: grade inflation

In 2019, Edison Prep was invited on a national education podcast to discuss the importance of grade inflation. You can listen to that podcast here: The Reality of Grade Inflation

Closing Thoughts

Remember that while SAT/ACT scores are important, a high GPA combined with a rigorous curriculum will always be the single most important factor for admission. Keep that GPA sky-high! Additionally, if UGA is on your student’s list, we’d highly encourage you to read the UGA Admissions Blog regularly. UGA has one of the most responsive and high-touch blogs of any college admissions blog in America; David Graves does an amazing job.

About Edison Prep

Edison Prep is a boutique SAT/ACT tutoring company whose founders are the two most experienced tutors in Georgia, with over 66,000 hours of experience. The founders teach all of the group classes themselves. They also authored their own SAT/ACT books that are revised each year. Finally, they are unique among Atlanta tutors in that they still take the real tests each year, earning top 0.5% scores, including the only back-to-back-to-back perfect 36’s in history. They work alongside their small team of highly experienced tutors doing private tutoring whenever not teaching group classes; the small team has over 100,000 hours of SAT/ACT experience!! Read more about our founders >

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Feel free to email us with questions at edison@edisonprep.com or call us at 404-333-8573!

Frequently Asked Questions

Miscellaneous FAQs we get each year culled from UGA’s blog posts, conversations with their personnel, etc.

Don’t worry! UGA is used to this quirky, unfortunate issue with Fulton and has worked around it for many years to do right by students. If that were actually the case, we’d see almost no students getting in from Fulton, which obviously isn’t the case! Crucial 2022 Update: New changes that affect Fulton County students are here!

There is no quota by high school. One smart thing that UGA does do when possible is have the same counselor read files from a given high school, since there are such wildly different grading standards, AP classes granted, etc. between high schools. That way, there’s better context/understanding of a given school’s grading style.


Yes. We have 5-10 students a year who have an “oops” and end up in the Regular Decision pool instead of Early Action because they don’t follow these instructions.

No, UGA does not take demonstrated interest into account; they assume that all applicants are interested due to the fact that they applied.

Yes, an “F” would trigger a review, as would 2+ C/D/F grades. We’ve unfortunately had a few students over the years have offers rescinded. Not every year, but heartbreaking when it happens.

There are many reasons, one of which is that the UGA GPA only counts core classes (not PE, band, etc), which means that the high school GPA may have actually been higher or the same. Additionally, UGA uses just the English and Math portions of the ACT, whereas most parents mention their student’s composite score. Finally, a good number of EA applications get deep reads during the process (not just the stats) and the qualitative parts of the application may have made the difference.

Don’t beat yourself up. Only 10-12% of students are rejected via EA, meaning that a student denied in EA had 18,000+ applicants ranked ahead of them. Barring something very odd, a denied student would not have enough new information crop up between October 15th and January 1st to catapult them over the 10,000+ deferred students plus 20,000+ new Regular Decision applicants come March. Knowing a denial earlier rather than later allows a student to make alternate plans: apply elsewhere and/or start planning their eventual UGA transfer strategy!

We haven’t seen a single successful appeal yet among our 10,000+ students who’ve applied since 2007.

Part of why you should be cautious about making assumptions about out-of-state vs. in-state comments or data that’s posted on the UGA website is that in-state people are more likely to enroll. 95%+ of UGA Admits qualify for Zell/HOPE, while out-of-state admits are less likely to accept an offer of admission because out-of-state tuition is $31K+! Thus, changes in the overall number of admits in various rounds, without knowing the number of in-state vs. out-of-state, cloud things a little bit. David Graves makes this point well:

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