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Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Unofficial #UVA21 Admission Statistics

My post about admission statistics hasn't changed much over the years, but I am so excited to share a big development over in The Office of Institutional Assessment. Every school has an office (the name usually has to do with institutional assessment or research) that publishes data about the school and answers surveys about statistics. I personally think UVA's assessment group has been one of the best around, maintaining clear, easy to digest data (with percentages already calculated, hooray!) about all facets of the University for years and years.

Accessing Official Data from the Office of Institutional Assessment

Our assessment team has recently migrated to presenting data using Tableau. Basically, instead of fixed charts showing years of data, you can now customize tables to show the data you wish to review. It's hard to explain, but you should take a look at the admission part of their website and play around a bit.

I just created this chart about Fall 2016 applicants using residency and school of entry as my variables. Isn't this cool?




Remember that the charts show you the results of an lengthy, elaborate review. They don't show you how we make decisions, but rather how our decisions correlate to different variables (just as the scattergrams your school just show correlation between decisions and testing a certain GPA).


There's also a really interesting report on the results of the SERU 2016 survey, which stands for the Student Experience in the Research University. A consortium of peer schools administered this survey, so you might be able to access the SERU survey for other schools on your list. Of course, make sure to check the percentage of students who completed the survey at each institution. At UVA, 30% filled it out, which I believe is a pretty good return rate for a survey.

If you love data, the Assessment website is a treasure trove that you may enjoy exploring.


Unofficial Data for this Season

These numbers are up to date as of yesterday, March 22, 2017. If you are a reporter, please contact the Media Relations team in the Office of University Communications for current, official information and all of your reporterly needs. :)

Applications for Admission

Total number of  applications: 36,807 (32,377 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 10,942
Total number of OOS apps: 25,865
We only count completed applications here. There are schools that include incomplete/partial applications in their statistics.

Offers of Admission

Overall offers: 9,957
Total VA offers: 4,276 (39% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 5,681 (22% offer rate)
Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind. Yield reflects how many students accepted our offer of admission.

Class of 2021 goal: ~3,725 students

Testing/Rank (offers only)

Middle 50% NEW SAT score: 1330-1490
Middle 50% ACT composite: 31-34
We use scores from each section in our review, but the reports on averages generate totals. Way more students submitted the new SAT than the old, so I'm dropping the stats about the old exam. 

93.4% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their high school class
This number only reflects those who attend schools that report rank to colleges. Even if your school ranks, they may not report that statistic to colleges. Your counselor can tell you if your schools reports rank.


These are all the statistics I have for now. We are now throwing ourselves into the transfer review process.


Some final notes:
-Waiting list students should be sure to click the link in their letter to read the FAQs. Most of the waiting list questions I'm seeing on the blog are answered there.
-Days on the Lawn emails with your personalized RSVP link will go out this afternoon.
-Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be invited to their programs via email today or tomorrow.
-Welcome packets with information about next steps have left the office via US Mail.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Decisions: The Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVA Class of 2021 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. That group is just for students. Parents, you can check out the UVA Parents Page and the UVA Parents Facebook page.

I'll have post about admission statistics in the coming days and you'll be getting an email with your personalized RSVP link for Days on the Lawn (admitted student open houses) soon. Below your letter are buttons to accept or decline your offer. If you accept, you will see a button to let you pay your tuition deposit online*. Orientation registration will open after April 1st and you'll get more information about that in the future.

You have until May 1st to decide whether you'll be joining us in Charlottesville. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer via your self-service page.


Congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVA!
Image by Jen Fariello Photography


*We have an e-check system for deposits. You'll type in the numbers on the bottom of a check. The system will take certain kinds of credit cards, but it's primarily an e-check system. Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker when you go to pay the deposit!

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Decisions: The Waiting List

Students offered a spot on the waiting list can use this entry to talk.

This is probably the toughest decision to get from a school. At UVA, the waiting list tends to be large because there are so many different segments to the population here (VA and OOS groups for each of the four schools and the one program that take first year students). At this point, we don't know where there will be openings in the class.

We won't know how large the waiting list is until you all accept or decline your waiting list offers.  Right now, you've been offered a spot on the list. You aren't actually on it until you reply using the response buttons in SIS.

Still, the numbers can change dramatically from year-to-year. We took 42 students off the waiting list in 2015 and made 402 waiting list offers the next year.

For now, you need to look at your other options and think about which one feels right to you. Some of you will want to hold on and see what happens with the waiting list and others will want to fully invest themselves in another school. Either way, you need to submit a deposit somewhere by May 1st to ensure yourself a spot in a freshman class. If you are offered a spot in our class and you decide to accept it, you'll have to write to that other school and withdraw your name from the class (you may lose your deposit at that school). Just remember that you can't "double deposit".

Feel free chat here. You should have already seen the link to the waiting list FAQ page in your decision letter, which answers the most common questions (is the list ranked, what do I do now, what's the time line, etc.).


We hope you find a peaceful place to think about your options

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Decisions: The Deny

Denied students can use this entry to talk.

I know this is hard to handle and some of you might not have gotten a disappointing admission decision yet. I hope you all can look at your options and get excited about your other schools. If your immediate reaction is "I'll transfer", don't let that plan keep you from getting involved in campus life at the school you choose. I think many students come to think of their next choice as "home" and can't imagine leaving it after a little while. Give yourself time to explore your options.

Some students inquire about appealing their decision. We do not have an appeal process, so the denial is your final decision.

Please be polite and respectful of others when posting.


BTW, if you signed yourself up to read the blog by email and don't want the messages anymore, there's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page. 



A Regular Decision Update for #UVA21 Applicants

When online applications became the norm, most college admission officers and school counselors agreed to a best practice around the release of admission decisions. To avoid disrupting the school day and saving students from hours and hours of worry, it was decided that we would notify students of their decisions after the school day was over in our time zone, where most of our applicants live. This also let our staff work on fine tuning decisions throughout the work day.

Most smart, resourceful applicants will look at the 10+ years of posts on this blog and zero in on the fact that we tend to finish our Regular Decision review in the last two weeks of March.

Jack practicing his surprised look.

So...it won't be much of a surprise that we're done with our review and we are releasing decisions tonight. Please keep reading. There's a lot of important info to go over.


1. At some point tonight (this is handled by the tech people these days and I don't control the exact time), the "View Decision" link at the bottom of your SIS page will go to a decision letter. If you can't find your login info for the SIS, review the "After You Submit" section of the application instructions. A welcome mailing with info about next steps will come later for those who are admitted. Please do not open multiple windows or constantly hit refresh. Students have slowed SIS down to a crawl in the past by doing it. Use one window. Set a time tonight when you'll check and do something offline until then.

2. The release is always exciting, but some of you aren't going to get the decision for which you hoped. I hope you'll focus on the college options you have instead of the ones you don't. I hope those of you who get offers will celebrate your success, but also be gracious around those who might not have gotten good news.

3. I will post blog entries where you can talk about the different decisions. I'll be back to work through any questions that are asked in the comments tomorrow.  I trust you to be respectful of others in the comments. A lot of people on Grounds will be watching #UVA21 so they can welcome our newest Wahoos to the UVA community. We love seeing your reactions when we check that hashtag!

Keep an eye on the UVA Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook accounts. There might be some nice messages!



4. Please don't post personal information in the comments (contact info, statistics, etc.). After all, school-specific statistics like GPA are subjective and don't represent the applicant accurately. GPAs are meaningless without the high school profile's explanation of the methodology used to calculate them. What's more, there have been times when enough information about an applicant has been shared that their classmates could identify them.

5. Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be notified by email by the end of the week. Posts about the waiting list and statistics will come in a few days as well. There is no lag time in our office, so we are now reading transfer applications. Please understand if my responses to questions are a little delayed.

6. You don't need to call us to verify this. It's true. We are releasing decisions tonight. The receptionists can't tell you an exact time or your decision.




THANK YOU to all of you who have read and commented on the blog so far this season.

Regardless of what SIS shows you tonight, you are going to attend a great school. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors, administrators, and peers. You're going to meet people with whom you will stay friends for the rest of your lives. You're going to pull all-nighters studying. You're going to pull all-nighters not studying. You're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably at some things. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your openness to learning from them, not your location when they happen.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. Most of our applicants are qualified. They are perfectly capable of doing the work at UVA. Our first-year class just isn't large enough to accommodate everyone.


Best wishes to those who won't be back to the blog after this (if you're reading this by email, you can unsubscribe yourself at the bottom of the email). To the rest, I hope you'll continue to comment and stay in touch.

It's a big night and I'll be thinking about you all. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Overlapp Season Returns to UVA

Just when you start to get really, really drained from reading season, the overlap season begins and saves the day. Days on the Lawn brought several hundred admitted students to Grounds over the last few days. These events are supposed to help admitted students, but they wind up giving us an infusion of energy that will carry us through the final days of the process. DOTLs also remind us that a careful, thoughtful review of every application is so important. There are wonderful people behind each application we consider.


When I refer to "overlap season," I mean a time when we are interacting with several different groups of students. We are working with our admitted EA students, RD applicants, transfers (their application deadline was March 1), and juniors visiting us during spring break.
 
 

I know our Regular Decision students are eagerly waiting for updates. As always, we will release decisions when we finalize all decisions. We promise decisions will be available on April 1st, but you all know that we will post them earlier, if possible. Keep an eye on one of my accounts (the blog, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook) for updates.

 

 By the way, the photos in today's post are from yesterday's DOTL. The first image is from the morning welcome at the Rotunda and the rest are from the student social in the afternoon. The social is "students only," but I took Jack over to meet some of our visitors.




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Class of 2021 Logo Revealed!

I was going to write about a totally different topic today, but a colleague told me that cards with the Class of 2021 logo just arrived and I had to post a picture!

The UVA Alumni Association creates a unique logo for each incoming class. In recent years, they've sent us stickers to give out at Days on the Lawn (DOTL). It's always funny to hear the staff members who are alumni talk about their logo and what they think of the newest one. At least one person in our office is jealous that the Class of 2021 has the Rotunda in their logo. 



Here are the logos of a few past classes. There are even more in my InstaStories, if you want to take a longer walk down memory lane. I personally remember thinking that the Class of 2014's logo was super modern and cutting edge. It seems so silly now!





On your first day as a student at UVA, you'll see your logo and the logos of the other classes on banners at the Opening Convocation.

Wahoowa, Professor West!


On your last day as a student at UVA, one of your classmates (or you!) will lead the class down the Lawn for Final Exercises. *tears*



Between those two days, you'll see your logo pop up pretty regularly online and in person.

The fact that we have a Class of 2021 logo means it's almost time to shift from admitting the class to meeting the class. We are still hard at work, but rest assured that as soon as we are done with our review, we'll release decisions. As always, I'll post here and on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook when I have news.

Hang in there, future Hoos!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

March Madness in UVA Admission

I'm so thankful the students on our basketball team aren't playing in the ACC tournament until this evening. They've been slated for afternoon games in the past and everyone winds up sneak peeks at the updates between files. We have a tradition of letting my dog "play" with our opponents' mascots before games. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see how things go this year.




March Madness for us is the knowledge that this process wraps up this month! The end of the tunnel is in sight, though it's still weeks away. At this point, there is still a lot to do! We are reading Regular Decision files and rereading the files that were deferred from the Early Action process now that midyear reports have arrived. We've emailed students missing documents twice at this point. In a few cases, we've called counselors to get some extra information or to track down a missing item.


The Days on the Lawn (our admitted student open houses) planning team is also busy preparing for admitted students to arrive on Grounds. We have a few DOTLs in March for Early Action students and many more in April for EA and RD students together. Personalized links to register are emailed to admitted students. Obviously, we aren't done with the RD process yet. We'll send links after decisions are released.

To get you excited, here are some images from past DOTLs...



This next image is from a new tradition. When the previous First Lady suggested that all students celebrate "signing day," something that traditionally was associated with athletics, we created a faux press conference photo booth so students could take pictures of themselves to post on May 1st, the national "signing day." 

We'll have the photobooth set up in Peabody Hall again this year. Jack sometimes joins it!
 






Just collecting those images has me excited. Back to the files...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Academic Specialization in High School

Life is pretty cyclical in academia. Sophomores and juniors seem to be getting ready to register for next year's courses and we're getting lots of calls about course options. I sat down this morning to write a post about the curriculum choice that I think is a mistake and realized that I wrote about the same thing around this time in the past. If you don't want to click over, I'm talking about high school students tailoring their program to a certain major in order to "look good" on their college application.

Some people out there seem to think that a lopsided curriculum in high school is a great thing. They know what they want to be when they grow up and they just need to execute a finely crafted plan to get them there. These tend to be the same people show up at college orientation with four years of courses mapped out. We see this a lot and it doesn't always rarely works out the way the student planned.



At UVA, most students aren't doing work in a major until the second or third year. The exception is Kinesiology majors, who are admitted directly into the program. We hope that you'll see the first few semesters as a time to explore your options and determine if the paths that looked attractive in high school are still interesting. There are academic options that you aren't even aware of right now!  The path that seems clear in high school is apt to change. 

Sophomores and juniors, focus on getting strong courses in the core academic areas right now. Don't drop core subjects to go over board on one area. A lopsided curriculum doesn't "look good" to us. We want you to get a solid foundation so that you are prepared to go in any direction later on, not just the direction that is appealing right now.

I'm not talking about governors schools or magnet programs. My students at those schools tend to take care of their core. Perhaps that's mandated in some of those schools. I'm talking about students who don't establish a strong, broad foundation across the core subjects.

As always, I'm happy to answer questions in the comments.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mid-Year Reports Rolling In!

We ask that counselors submit mid-year reports to us by February 15th so we can review fall grades during the regular decision process. Receipt of these reports also allows us to review the files of students who were deferred to the Regular Decision pool after applying during the Early Action phase.

Around deadlines, we have thousands of documents arriving in our office via the Common App's transfer and traditional mail. It will take a few weeks to get thousands of documents filed, so you might not see the mid-year report disappear from your SIS account for a little while.

When things are on your to-do list, don't panic. Sometimes, documents are en route or they are here, but haven't been checked in. If you know an item was sent to us, sit tight. We'll be in touch if we need anything from you. Remember, colleges want to review complete applications. We always reach out via email (we give you the two email addresses we use in the application instructions) to get missing documents for incomplete files.

 Mailed documents waiting to be scanned into application files

In the meantime, keep an eye on your financial aid to-do list. Our offices are separate, but we know they sometimes add items to the to-do list if they need extra documentation while building your aid package.

Ready to cheer for the Hoos tonight!



Monday, January 30, 2017

Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars Update

I'm popping in very quickly with an update about scholars notifications. Letters inviting a small number of students into the Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs will be mailed tomorrow. There will be another round of invitations sent out at the end of the Regular Decision review. If you are not invited to join as an incoming student, you can self-nominate to join once you are here (see each program's website for specific information).

Every applicant to the College of Arts and Sciences was automatically considered for the Echols and College Science Scholars program and every applicant to the School of Engineering was considered for Rodman. 




There is a fourth scholars program, Miller Arts Scholars. You can apply to be an Arts Scholar in your second semester. The selected group usually consists of students studying studio art, music, drama, and dance.

Back to reading...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Deferred from #UVA21 Early Action? Read This.

Being deferred is tough. I still remember the feeling of limbo that I got when I was deferred in high school. The wait was so long and it suddenly got longer. Back then, we didn't have the internet and schools didn't provide you with much data beyond what was in the view book you got in the mail after taking the SAT. Today, I'm glad we can communicate with our students so they understand some of the reasons why we might defer a student.

There can be many reasons for deferring a student, but in my experience, two cases are most common:

1. The Big Senior Program

Many schools allow students to have more control over course selection as they advance. Senior year is often the year with the most freedom and many students go for the big finale. This is awesome! Senior year should be the finale to your high school career. Your transition to college is going to be smoother when the leap to college-level work isn't a huge one, so a strong senior program is smart.

When we see a student with a wonderful transcript and an ambitious senior program, we sometimes feel that seeing mid-year grades from these top courses can help us make a final decision.


2. The Upward Trend

We try to counsel students about waiting for Regular Decision if they are rebounding from some shaky grades earlier in the high school career. There are other voices pushing students to submit applications early because there is a belief that early rounds are easier. Some schools may have a different process for their early round, but we have the same review style no matter when you apply.

When we see someone who is rebounding from a weak year (whether that's about a grade or program), we often feel it's best to get one more semester of work in the file. If you are rebounding, know that we are rooting for you!


How Do You Respond?

There's a link in the decision letter you received that goes to a Defer FAQs page that covers what you are supposed to do next.

We get plenty of emails/comments that question our advice on that page. You do not need to start a defer campaign. I think there are people out there who insist that you must do this and that might influence the process at other schools. If you look back at the two scenarios I cited above, the issue isn't with supplements or recommendations (remember, we turned off the non-academic recommendation function in Common App). An academic update about how the first semester went will be most helpful.

If you are a senior, you have a lot on your plate. I can't tell you how many essays I've read about sleep deprivation and time management in the last few years. We are trying to help you be smart about how you spend your limited time. If a college tells you not to worry about doing something, don't do it. It's not going to move the needle. Use your energy elsewhere!

I know there are folks out there who will cite the student from another year who sent all sorts of extras. They may be convinced they were offered admission during Regular Decision because of those extras when the admission officers were really just looking for those mid-year grades. Keep it simple.

A Word About Statistics

People inevitably ask me for stats about the defer pool. I don't have data to cite a trend, but I can say that residency will still be a major factor, with more deferred students from Virginia getting offers in Regular Decision. School choice and the size of the pool are also factors.


I know this isn't the decision you wanted to see the other night, but I hope you realize that deferral is not the end of the road. It means we see things we like in your file and we want to see more. Hang in there.
Not loving this situation.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unofficial #UVA21 Early Action Admission Statistics

The Office of Institutional Assessment is the source of all official statistics about UVA. They take a census to determine the final statistics for the class. You can see official admission data in the data digest part of their website. Obviously, what happened in past years isn't going to predict the future, but some people have fun playing around with the different charts on their site.

Here are some unofficial numbers about the early action process. These numbers are up to date as of yesterday, January 25, 2017. If you are a reporter, please contact the Media Relations team in the Office of University Communications for current, official information and all of your reporterly needs. :)

Early Action Applications

Total number of Early Action applications: 20,446 (16,768 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 5,278
Total number of OOS apps: 14,968
We use completed application numbers in our statistics. There are schools that include incomplete applications in their stats.

Early Action Offers

Overall offers: 5,914
Total VA offers: 2,575 (47% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 3,339 (22% offer rate)
Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind.Yield is how many students accept an offer of admission. Check out yield from past years, broken down by residency (these numbers are for the entire applicant pool, not just early action).

Early Action Defers

Overall defers: 5,458
Some applicants will withdraw, so these numbers will go down!

Early Action Testing/Rank (offers only)

Middle 50% OLD SAT score: 2020-2290
Middle 50% NEW SAT score: 1350-1500
Middle 50% ACT composite: 31-34
We use scores from each section in our review, but the reports on averages generate totals.  

94.6% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their high school class
This number only reflects those who attend schools that report rank.


Please understand that I do not have additional statistics. We are already immersed in the Regular Decision review process. There will be a post about deferral tomorrow, but if you clicked the link in your letter and read the Defer FAQs, you know much of the content.

The Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs are sending invitations in the coming days. I will post an update when I know specifics. Welcome packets with information about next steps will be leaving our office soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Early Action: The Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVA Class of 2021 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. That group is just for students. Parents, you can check out the UVA Parents Page and the UVA Parents Facebook page.

I'll have post about admission statistics and Days on the Lawn (our admitted student open houses) in the coming days. Just for reference, below your letter are buttons to accept or decline your offer. If you accept, you will see a button to let you pay your tuition deposit online*. Orientation registration will open after April 1st and you'll get more information about that in the future.

You have until May 1st to decide whether you'll be joining us in Charlottesville. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer immediately via your self-service page.


Congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVA!
Image by Jen Fariello Photography


*We have an e-check system for deposits. You'll type in the numbers on the bottom of a check. The system will take certain kinds of credit cards, but it's primarily an e-check system. Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker when you go to pay the deposit!

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Early Action: The Defer

Deferred students can use this post to talk.

Your application hasn't finished it's journey yet.

Once your mid-year grades arrive, your file will be reviewed again during the Regular Decision round. At this point, you should simply make sure your mid-year report is sent when the grades are ready. Most of your counselors will do this automatically.

We know the wait is tough, but we think your mid-year grades could help your case. Hang in there! You should see the link to the defer FAQ page in your letter, which answers the most common questions.

Jack hopes you can find a peaceful place to wait.

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Early Action: The Deny

Denied students can use this entry to talk.

I know this is hard to handle and some of you might not have gotten a disappointing admission decision yet. I hope you all can look at your options and get excited about your other schools. If your immediate reaction is "I'll transfer", don't let that plan keep you from getting involved in campus life at the school you choose. I think many students come to think of their next choice as "home" and can't imagine leaving it after a little while. Give yourself time to explore your options.

Some students inquire about being moved to the defer group. Please understand that we do not have an appeal process.

Please be polite and respectful of others when posting.


BTW, if you signed yourself up to read the blog by email and don't want the messages anymore, there's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page. 



#UVA21 Early Action decisions come out tonight!

We're done with Early Action and we are releasing decisions tonight! Please keep reading. There's a lot of important info to go over.

Waiting

1. At some point tonight (this is handled by the tech people these days and I don't control the exact time), the "View Decision" link at the bottom of your SIS page will go to a decision letter. If you can't find your login info for the SIS, review the "After You Submit" section of the application instructions. A welcome mailing with info about next steps will come later for those who are admitted. Please do not open multiple windows or constantly hit refresh. Students have slowed SIS down to a crawl in the past by doing it. Use one window. Set a time tonight when you'll check and do something offline until then.

Our counselor friends want you checking your decision at home, where you won't have an audience of classmates and a parent can be standing by to give you a big hug regardless of your decision. That's more likely to happen in the evening (we've actually consulted a lot of counselors about this).

2. The release is always exciting, but some of you aren't going to get the decision for which you hoped. I hope you'll focus on the college options you have instead of the ones you don't at the end of the day. I hope those of you who get offers will celebrate your success, but also be gracious around those who might not have gotten good news.

3. I will post blog entries where you can talk about the different decisions. I'll be back to work through any questions that are asked in the comments tomorrow.  I trust you to be respectful of others in the comments. A lot of people on Grounds will be watching #UVA21 so they can welcome our newest Wahoos to the UVA community. We love seeing your reactions when we check that hashtag!

Keep an eye on the UVA Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook accounts. There might be some nice messages!



4. Please don't post personal information in the comments (contact info, statistics, etc.). As we discussed this morning, school-specific statistics like GPA are subjective these days and don't represent the applicant accurately. GPAs are meaningless without the high school profile's explanation of the methodology used to calculate them. What's more, there have been times when enough information about an applicant has been shared that their classmates could identify them.

5. Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be notified next week. Posts about deferral, Days on the Lawn (open houses for admitted students), an EA statistics will come next week. There is no lag time in our office, so we are now reading Regular Decision applications. Please understand if my responses to questions are a little delayed.

6. You don't need to call us to verify this. It's true. We are releasing decisions tonight. The receptionists can't tell you an exact time or your decision.




THANK YOU to all of you who have read and commented on the blog so far this season.

Regardless of what SIS shows you tonight, you are going to attend a great school. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors, administrators, and peers. You're going to meet people with whom you will stay friends for the rest of your lives. You're going to pull all-nighters studying. You're going to pull all-nighters not studying. You're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably at some things. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your openness to learning from them, not your location when they happen.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. Most of our applicants are qualified. They are perfectly capable of doing the work at UVA. Our first-year class just isn't large enough to accommodate everyone.


Best wishes to those who won't be back to the blog after this (if you're reading this by email, you can unsubscribe yourself at the bottom of the email). To the rest, I hope you'll continue to comment and stay in touch.

It's a big night and I'll be thinking about you all. Good luck!

UVA Admission's Holistic Review and GPA


I'm spending the week on the road to attend evening programs for juniors and their parents at a few high schools. The counselors at the programs go over all the incredible sources of data that students can access these days when doing research about colleges. Many of my schools use a system called Family Connections, created by a company called Hobsons, to assist with career discernment and the college search (among other things...it's a robust system, from that I've seen). One of the tools in the system is the college scattergram.

A scattergram I found online. This is NOT for UVA.

Scattergrams plot admission decisions from a college on two axis: GAP and test score. I always have to caution people to remember that scattergrams are plotting the results of a much more elaborate process using just two factors. They show the user correlation, not causation. An admitted student on a scattergram wasn't admitted because of their GPA and test score, but because their entire application was compelling.

How Do We Use GPAs?

The way I see it, the GPA is the schools' way of summarizing the work that's on the transcript. GPA methodologies vary from county to county in Virginia (and this is fine with us...each district uses the method that works for their students). The GPA doesn't tell you the full story, though. You may have classmates with identical GPAs who have very different coursework and grades on their transcripts. Resists the urge to fixate on GPA and instead think about how we read your transcript.

The transcript is where we learn about your academic progress. We know that most first years in high school are told much of what they are going to do, but most schools give students more options as they gain seniority. We're looking to see that you challenge yourself with an interesting program that includes advanced options (whatever your school has - AP, IB, DE, etc) in a way that's appropriate to you.

"In a way that's appropriate to you" means we want you to stretch and challenge yourself when it comes to course selection, but we also want to see strong grades. Hopefully, your counselor and parents have helped you think about the right mix of courses for you.


What Does Holistic Mean?

Holistic admission means we look at the entire application before we render a decision. There are no "cut offs" (remember GPA is not standardized, so that doesn't make senses in Virginia). We read every file, front to back, before we make our recommendations. We read and double check our files multiple times. You can read more about the holistic review here.


As always, I'm happy to answer questions in the comments.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A #UVA21 Early Action Update

It's the time of year when Early Action students get a little punchy. They're obsessively checking SIS to see if it will give a sneak preview of decisions and every tweet or post that mentions UVA has them looking for hidden meaning.

We say notification will by "by the end of January" to give us the flexibility to ensure a thoughtful, careful review of every application, regardless of how many apply. The number of Early Action applications increased this year. I know Early Action applicants are eager to know admission decisions, but I hope you understand that you benefit from the fact that we will not sacrifice when it comes to giving every file a thorough review.

You will hear from us by the end of the month, but there is still work to be done.



golden retriever UVA grounds
No time to play! There's work to be done!


Friday, January 06, 2017

Showing Interest and Sending Supplements

We have this great page on our website with all of our email addresses on it. We put our photos on it to show that human beings read all of the applications. 

Side note: There was a dad at a college fair this year who could not believe that we read all the applications and nothing I said could convince him otherwise. I hope he saw my Instagram post on Thanksgiving! We do read the applications. It's hard work, but we enjoy it and believe it's important to review every file. 

Anyway, it's pretty awesome that people are using the Contact page. 



I fear that something is being missed, though. Before you get to our lovely pictures, there's some text. I underlined two points I want to explain on the blog today.



1. Demonstrated interest is not a factor during Early Action or Regular Decision.

I've gotten several emails from students in the last two weeks that contain declarations of love for UVA and even promises to enroll if we offer admission. I get that there are schools out there that are using interest right now, but we don't expect or desire students to tell us where UVA is on their list of colleges. Your application is enough demonstration of interest for us.

You're going to be making a big decision once decisions are out and we think every student should have until May 1 to thoroughly evaluate their options. 

 

2. The Common App is enough.

I wrote a post about this during Early Action, but it bears repeating. The Common App is lengthy and robust. It provides us with A LOT of information. Still, there are those who want to make the app even longer by sending supplements. We take two kinds of supplements: arts supplements and architecture supplements. You can read about them in the application instructions

We don't accept resumes, writing portfolios, research papers, research abstracts, outside recommendations, newspaper clippings, or certificates. I went over each of those in the post that went up during EA, so take a look if you are curious. 




The point is that you have a lot going on during senior year and getting your college applications submitted should feel like a huge accomplishment. Submitting shouldn't feel like the start of a campaign. 

I know waiting for decisions is hard. We are working quickly, but carefully, to make sure every file is reviewed in a thoughtful way. The release of decisions is exciting for us and we're eager to finish our review! There is still a lot of work to do, though. Hang in there.

May your wait not be as difficult as Jack's.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Post-Deadline Notes for UVA Regular Decision

Happy New Year! Peabody hall is back open and our administrative staff is processing Regular Decision applications while the admission officers continue to read Early Action files.

Most of the emails we're getting are from students worried about their application being incomplete. Let's back up and cover how we'll communication with you about your status and why it's too early to be worrying about a Regular Decision application status.

1. Add uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu and undergradadmission@virginia.edu to your safe senders list.

We send important application updates and requests for info from these two accounts. If you put them in your address book, that will hopefully make sure our emails don't go into your junk folder. I know a lot of people use email sporadically these days, but we use it a lot. You need to keep an eye on your inbox for messages from us.

2. Keep an eye out for a SIS Login email.

As I hope you read in the "After You Submit" part of the application instructions, a few days after we download your application and get it into our system, you'll get an email about logging into SIS. SIS is where you will monitor your application status for both admission and financial aid. On notification day, you'll also check your decision in SIS.

3. Your application will probably be incomplete when you log in.


At this point, most applications are incomplete. Please do not worry! As long as you submitted your application in time, everything will be okay.

It can take several weeks for us to match recommendations, test scores, and transcripts with Regular Decision applications. This is true even if you submitted days or weeks before the deadline since our Early Action applicants were the priority early on in the season.



As a reminder, here are posts about:
-sending supplements and resumes to UVA
-admission quotas
-the Class of 2021 Facebook group (students only)


As always, you can ask questions anonymously (but please pick a name!) in the comments.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Virginia Residents: Don't Omit the Residency Questions!

Nothing has really changed in the residency questions of the Common App lately, but we've noticed that many Virginia residents seem to skipping the questions that allow them to be considered in-state applicants. Let's go over the residency section...

As you're filling out the UVA questions on the Common App, you'll encounter a section marked "Residency." If you answer "no" to the question in this section, you'll be evaluated as out-of-state. From there, you'll be asked to affirm that you will comply with our Honor Code and then you can move onto to other parts of the submission process.







If you answer "yes" to that first question, you'll see several questions load relating to you, the applicant. 







Most high school students are going to answer "yes" to the driver's license question and "no" to the rest. That's because their residency is really gained through a parent or guardian.






Here's the important part. Since most applicants get residency status through parents or a guardian, information about one of those people is required. This isn't a UVA thing, it's a Commonwealth of Virginia thing.  If you answered "no" to most of the questions in the first Residency section, you need to fill out the Parent/Legal Guardian Residency section.






This section is going to ask about where a parent/guardian is working and paying taxes. Don't leave this section blank if you are a minor and a Virginia resident.






The criteria for being considered a Virginia resident is dictated by Virginia law. The Office of Virginia Status at UVA is required to collect this information to make a residency determination. Every year, there are students who assume that being born in Virginia and attending a Virginia high school make their residency status obvious, but the government still requires the status office to verify residency by gathering some very specific information.

Regular Decision applicants, please make sure to fill out the Residency sections of the Common App if you believe you should be reviewed as a Virginia resident!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

New in SIS: Withdrawing an Application to UVA

As soon as other schools start notifying their early applicants of admission decisions, many of our Early Action applicants tend to ask us two questions.

1. When will UVA notify Early Action applicants of decisions?

The official line is that the Early Action process will be complete by the end of January. If we are able to release decisions early, we will. The beauty of online notification is that it's fast. We don't have to wait for letters to be printed and envelopes to be stuffed.

I always post on social media as soon as the Dean declares us ready. I usually start with a blog post, then post on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We also queue up a mass email to go out to the entire applicant pool. The news tends to travel quickly!


2. How do I withdraw if I was admitted elsewhere through Early Decision?

Withdrawing an application to UVA used to require an email from the student. We recently updated SIS so that you can withdraw through your account page.

When you log in, you'll see something like this:



Clicking on the Withdraw Application link will give you this message:



 Hit the button and the system will ask you to confirm:



Click "yes" and your application status will change immediately. 





Thursday, December 01, 2016

The 16th Annual Lighting of the Lawn is TONIGHT!

When student ask any member of the UVA community about favorite traditions, Lighting of the Lawn (LOTL) inevitably comes up. This tradition started just after 9/11 in 2001 as a way to bring us all together for an uplifting event just before we move into the exam period.


http://www.lightingofthelawn.com/


This year's LOTL is especially exciting because the Rotunda is back open after two years of historic restoration. I can't wait to see the performances, hear the annual poem, and see the light show tonight. You can follow along at home by watching the livestream from 7 PM until 10 PM on the Lighting of the Lawn website.


If you want to get an idea of what you're going to see tonight, check out these videos...






2013 (here's a video from the students' perspective if you want to hear their reactions)




2014 (from the students' perspective)




2015
 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Three SIS Status Notes

A conversation elsewhere reminded me that there are common questions about SIS status pages that come up at this time of year. Let me address the big three.

1.  What does "initiated" mean?
Initiated is a term the SIS uses when it puts something on your "to do" list.  It means the item has not been filed in our office yet. Keep in mind that we have a deluge of documents to file. Don't worry about a missing credential yet. We'll be in touch by email once everything is filed to let you know if we need something from you.

2. The mid-year report is on my "to do" list, but that's not ready yet. What do I do?
Hooray!  If the mid-year report is the only thing left on your "to do" list, then you're done!  That means an Early Action file is ready for review. We leave that on your list because we need mid-year grades from students who are admitted and deferred. Lots of students don't revisit their status once they are marked complete. If we added the mid-year report later, lots of people probably wouldn't see the addition. 

3. Does "view decision" mean my decision is ready?
The Student Information System has a built-in feature that adds a box at the bottom of your status page when your file is deemed complete and ready for us to read.

Here's what it looks like:

If you see that box show up, it might cause a little excitement because "view decision" shows up in the box.  Alas, when you click on the words, you get a little message saying decisions aren't ready yet. Because they aren't.

Early Action Notification = January 31st
(any change will be announced on this blog ASAP)

We release all decisions at once. We've been able to release a little early since 2011, but we won't know the release date until we're almost at it.

Back in the paper days, we knew the release date a good week in advance because the last week was used to print letters and get them into envelopes.  We were basically done with the actual reading.

These days, there is no lag time between the end of the review and the release.  When we're done, we can release.  We don't have to wait for letters to be printed. 





Friday, November 18, 2016

Heads up: Thanksgiving Break is Coming!

Happy Friday!

Just a reminder that next week will be short week at UVA. Offices will be closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for Thanksgiving. No information session or tours will be offered during the break or the Saturday and Sunday afterwards. Safe travels if you'll be on the road next week!

Dressed for dinner!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Early Action Status Page Notes

The day after the Early Action deadline is always an interesting one. We look at the numbers, but know that the final application number won't be known for a few weeks. We only count completed applications in our statistics, so though we have a total number of applications right now, it's just the submitted number and we won't have an official count until all the credentials that have been sent by counselors and teachers are logged into the system. Our EA numbers higher than last year at this point, perhaps some haven't read/heard our information about deciding between EA and RD at UVA.

Let's talk about some of the topics that always come up after deadlines:

1. Teacher and Counselor Submissions are still being processed.

Early Action applicants had a November 1st deadline. We give their school counselors and teachers a grace period for submitting documents. Do not worry if your counselor or a teacher is still working to get all of those credentials out.


2. The first time you log into SIS, your file will probably be incomplete.

As I hope you read in the "After You Submit" part of the application instructions, a few days after we download your application and get it into our system, you'll get an email about logging into SIS. SIS is where you will monitor your application status for both admission and financial aid. On notification day, you'll also check your decision in SIS.

At this point, most applications are incomplete. Please do not worry! As long as you submitted your application in time, everything will be okay.

3. Mid-Year reports stay on the SIS to-do list.

This is also covered in the application instructions. If you receive an offer of admission or a deferral, we require that you send us your mid-year grades. We leave the mid-year report on the SIS to-do list for EA applicants so everyone is aware of this. If you get to a point when the only thing on your to-do list is the mid-year report, you are done for now!


As a reminder, here are posts about:
-sending supplements and resumes to UVA
-admission quotas
-the Class of 2021 Facebook group (students only)


As always, you can ask questions anonymously (but please pick a name!) in the comments.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Things You Want to Send (But Shouldn't): Resumes, Research, and Writing Portfolios

When you hit submit on your Common App, I think you should feel some relief. You've done the bulk of your job for the application and now you have to wait for the rest of the pieces to fall into place*. Unfortunately, there are students who seem to see the Common App as the first of many submissions they'll make to our office. Below, I'll go over the things people try to send us and why we don't want them.

1. Resumes

So many students email us asking if they can send a resume in addition to their Common App. UVA does not accept resumes. The Common App presents information in a systematic format, which allows us to zero in on pertinent information quickly.I know that some really, really want us to see a resume or another activity chart, but please respect our process and use the Common App to share information in a concise way.

2. Outside Recommendations

We require one recommendation from your counselor and one from a teacher of your choice. We are looking for insight into your style in the academic environment. People who have never taught you can't speak to your learning style or how you work in a classroom situation. Also, those people tend to think they need to summarize facts (hours worked, tasks performed). Repetitive information isn't helpful.

Some people want to send recs from faculty they met at conferences or special programs. Consider how long these people have known you. I recently saw a recommendation letter that started by saying the writer knew the students for nine days. Your teachers and counselors have a little more familiarity with you. Stick to the required recommendations.

3. Research Abstracts

It's great to tell us about research, but don't send us an abstract. A line or two summarizing what you did is great. A paper is over the top and not useful. In fact, if you send us a paper full of jargon, you're increasing the chances that the gist of the work won't be clear.

4. Writing Portfolios

We get three pieces of polished writing in the application. The Common App has a long essay and the UVA screen/tab has two short-answer prompts. That's plenty of writing for us. We don't accept portfolios.

5. Copies of Certificates

You sign off on our Honor Code when you apply and promise that the information in your application is accurate. We don't need a copy of a certificate to believe that you are a member of a certain organization or received an award for something. Leave those papers in the baby book or that folder where you stick important stuff.

6. Newspaper Clippings or Pictures of You Doing Something

Anyone who was on the staff of a literary magazine, newspaper, or yearbook is proud of their work. It's best to keep copies for yourself and your family. The same goes with photos (even the adorable baby-on-the-UVA-Lawn photos). They belong in a safe place at home, not in a college application.



Colleges ask for the things they need to make their decisions. If we don't ask for it, we don't want you to spend time (or money) on it. Further, to make this process fair, we have specific parameters of what we will review. We accept the Common App and supplements that fit the criteria for arts and architecture supplements. That's it. So when you hit submit, it's time to move on to monitoring your status, not time to craft extra items to send us.

Please don't spend your money on stuff like this.



*No one seems to read the "After You Submit" part of the instructions, but that's where we explain that it can take several weeks for all the components of your application to meet up in our system, so don't panic if there are items on your "to do" list initially.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What Does a November 1 Deadline Mean?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to application deadlines. There are the people who think you have to submit before the deadline day hits and the people who think you can submit at any point on deadline day. The good news is that you can follow either way of thinking and have your application submitted on time for UVA. You have until 11:59 PM on the deadline day, November 1, to submit your application.

In our minds, we are talking about 11:59 PM at UVA, which means the Eastern time zone. The Common App accounts for the time zone of all applicants, so those of you out West won't see the app shut down at 8:59 PM in your time zone.

We DO NOT recommend waiting until the last few hours to submit your application. The Common App team stays up all night on deadline nights, but you can't expect instant help if something goes wrong with submission since there are apt to be scores of students submitting requests for help.

Good luck to those putting the finishing touches on an application!




Thursday, October 27, 2016

UVA Class of 2021 Facebook Group (Students Only!)

The Class of 2021 is applying so it's time to share a link to the class Facebook group! Click the logo:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/241585222847067/
Click the logo to go to the Class of 2021 Facebook group!

 

Who Is in the Facebook Group?

Obviously, the group will be for students who hope they'll be members of the Class of 2021 at this point. Membership will evolve as decisions are released and students start committing to colleges. After decisions come out, the students in these groups often create questionnaires to facilitate roommate matches. I'm told that the questionnaires the students create are more detailed than any being used by a housing office or roommate matching service. Student self-governance works again!

Who Is Moderating the Facebook Group?

There are a few current students who keep an eye on the group. They are not paid to promote a business or product. They are students who know the ins and outs of UVA and have offered to field questions without an agenda. You'll notice that we don't really sell UVA. We present UVA to you and let you decide if the University has the things you need to be happy and challenged. Their answers to your questions will be honest and straightforward.

What Happens to the Group in the Future?


When your class elects officers, the current admins will hand the group over to your chosen leaders. We've been doing this for about six years and it works beautifully. For now, the admins are fine with answering questions, but they usually sit back and let you chat.  Nothing in these groups will be saved or connected to your applications.

Is Facebook Activity Used for Admission Purposes?

I am not in the Facebook group. I have absolutely no interest in tracking you or looking at your profiles.  If you have questions and want to ask them on Facebook, you can use the Office of Admission page.

Can Parents Join?

No. if you are looking to check in with parents of UVA students, check out the UVA Parents page. Every so often, I hear about a parent requesting to join the student group. Please let the students have their space to talk.


Why Does UVA Create the Group?

We didn't always create a Facebook group for the classes. I used to talk about how Facebook was the students' domain (it was back when you had to have a .edu email address to get an account!) and groups should grow organically. I changed my mind in 2008 when a company started creating groups with school names on them. Content in the group we created won't include advertisements from third parties and your information won't be mined.