The top 100 academic freshmen at the University of North Georgia (UNG) were recognized by UNG President Bonita Jacobs, who hosted the group at a reception at her home on Nov. 12. In addition to meeting President Jacobs and her husband Glenn, the students mingled with the deans of the university's colleges and other administrators.
The freshmen were chosen based on their freshman index score, a combination of high school GPA and their score on the SAT or ACT. The group comprises students from several of UNG's four campuses: two from Cumming, 10 from Gainesville, and 88 from Dahlonega. Eleven of the students are serving in UNG's Corps of Cadets, and 19 are enrolled in associate degree programs.
"Welcome, and congratulations on your wonderful accomplishment," Jacobs said to the students. "We want you to know that we are here to promote your success at UNG, and it is my personal goal to shake your hand in four or possibly three years as you cross the stage to receive your diploma."
UNG has developed a reputation for academic excellence and student success that is demonstrated by the quality of its freshman cohort.
UNG has some 2,700 first-time, full-time freshmen, and those enrolled in baccalaureate programs have an average SAT score of 1119 and mean high school GPA average of 3.55. Freshmen entering UNG's baccalaureate programs consistently rank among the top students in the state in terms of average GPA and SAT scores. The most recent report available from the University System of Georgia (USG) shows that in fall 2012, first-time freshmen enrolling in North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) had the third-highest high school GPA in the state. Only Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia had higher performances. The average high school GPA for first-time freshmen entering Gainesville State College was among the highest in the state colleges sector of the USG. Also for fall 2012, the freshmen entering NGCSU had the third-highest composite SAT score for those USG institutions in the state universities sector.
During the reception, students were able to speak in groups and personally with administrators to learn more about the university and have their questions answered. Administrators listened and gave advice, and strongly recommended that the students take advantage of all that UNG has to offer, including its study abroad and undergraduate research programs, as well as internship opportunities.
Lena Nygaard, a freshman from UNG's Gainesville Campus majoring in math, was born in Hungary. She said that she is enjoying UNG so far, and is pleased by how helpful the professors are. She also said the reception helped answer some of her questions and would motivate her to try new things.
"I especially enjoyed hearing about study abroad, and it's now something I'm considering," Nygaard said. "After listening to the deans and other administrators, I'm also considering double-majoring in math and physics."
Dr. Eric Skipper, acting CEO of the Oconee Campus, said that UNG provides excellent opportunities for gifted students to develop their scholarly skills in small classes that promote the development of critical thinking and independent study skills.
"Units such as the Honors Program, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, and International Educational Opportunities give students the opportunity to participate in unique extra-curricular activities, engage in innovative research and develop lifelong friendships with other high-achieving individuals," Skipper said.
The university also is ranked 22nd among public universities in the South in the rankings released this fall in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 edition of Best Colleges – a ranking that looks at several factors, including academics. UNG has also been ranked as one of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges by Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine, which bases its report on academic quality and affordability.
UNG, created through the consolidation of NGCSU and GSC in January 2013, is one of 31 institutions in the University System of Georgia. The state's second-oldest public university and designated as a state leadership institution, UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States and is designated as The Military College of Georgia.