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

There are years of posts here. The search box works well, but please consider the age of the posts when you find them. The college admission process changes every year!

References to emailing updates to your application are from the years when we didn't have the current applicant portal. Please follow the instructions in your portal to submit all updates.

Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

An Update for the 2024 Waiting List

 If you watch my weekly live q&a sessions on Instagram, you've heard me talk about the waiting list a few times already, but I have an official update for the waiting list from Greg Roberts, the Associate VP of Enrollment and Undergraduate Admission. This update is going into portals and will go out by email momentarily. 


Thank you for your continued interest in the University of Virginia. We are grateful that you chose to remain on the waiting list, and we realize that waiting is never easy.  Thank you for your patience, and thank you - again - for your interest.

You have demonstrated to us that you are more than capable of thriving at UVA and contributing to the education and experience of your classmates. We want you to know that we respect and admire all that you have accomplished, and that we have great faith in your future.

At the same time, after considering the size of the first-year class and the spaces available, we have unfortunately concluded that we cannot offer you admission to UVA this year. I expect this will be disappointing news to receive, and I am very sorry that I have to deliver it.

If your heart is truly set on attending UVA, we are here to help. Many waitlisted first year students earn admission after one or two years elsewhere, provided they let us help them with planning. If you would like to talk to an Admission Counselor about transfer admission, or how you might begin your college career at the excellent and welcoming UVA Wise campus in southwest Virginia, please contact us. We would welcome the chance to answer questions and assist.

We appreciate your interest in the University of Virginia, and wish you the best as you begin your college career.



I hope you can look at your chosen school and move forward with you plans to go there with excitement. Best wishes for a wonderful summer and exciting start to your college career!

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Another Waiting List Update

We just shared this message on the waiting list website...

We’re grateful to the many deserving students who remain on our waiting list. We offered admission to a small number of students this evening. These students received an email notifying them of an update to their status in their MyUVA application portal.

Over the next month, we will continue to monitor our class. We expect to resolve the status of all students who remain on the waiting list no later than June 15.

We are thankful all of our applicants for putting their faith in us and for their interest in UVA. We wish you the best as you wrap up your senior year and get ready for what we hope is a fun, safe, and relaxing summer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Enrollment Deposits Due Today!

The end of the "yield season" is interesting in admission offices. When I was a counselor working at my first school, we'd eagerly wait for the mail delivery and then go through the envelopes to pull out the ones we thought were deposits to add to our count. This was obviously in the paper days when everyone sent a physical check and a form to secure their place in the class. Every once in a while, a student would show up in person to give us their deposit and we'd have a little celebration in the office. 

These days, deposits are submitted online. There's less ceremony and there's more activity at the last minute, with some people accepting their offer at the last minute (just like they may have submitted their application. It's still exciting to watch the class comes together!

Of course, the question that most people want answered is whether we'll go to the waiting list. The answer is...probably. It's highly unlikely that all ten portions of the class (you may see people online call them "buckets") wind up perfectly filled, even if we have the right number of students in the overall class. We'll know more about where we stand when deposits clear and the dean looks at school change requests. 

I tend to share updates more quickly on instagram these days, but I'll keep posting updates here.


Tuesday, April 09, 2024

A Waiting List Update

We are grateful to all students who remain interested in attending UVA. On Tuesday, April 9, we offered admission to 57 students who were on the waiting list for first year admission. We’ve reached out to these newly admitted students through their application portal and by email. All admitted students, including those offered from the waiting list, have until May 15 to submit their enrollment deposit to secure their place in the class. Enrollment deposit fee waivers are available to students with financial need and deadline extensions are available to those experiencing difficulties with FAFSA submission.

Although we may be able to offer admission to additional students who remain on our waiting list, we do not expect to do so before May 15, and the process may extend into June. Learn more about the waiting list on our FAQ page.

Again, we are grateful to all students who remain interested in UVA and wish all students the very best as they complete their senior year and make their college selection.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Second Round Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars Notfication

The second round of invitations for three of UVA's scholars programs went out on Monday afternoon by email and a short note was added to portals. All applicants to the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering were reviewed for a potential invitation to three scholars programs: Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars

Echols and Rodman add a few members through a third round that takes place after the first semester (you can self-nominate for that round). 

About 5% of students in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering are invited to join these programs. You can read more about them on their websites. In addition to showing exceptional academic records, scholars show a love of learning and an extraordinary commitment to academic pursuits beyond the classroom. We see this in transcripts, recommendations, essays, and activities. The review for the scholars programs is not driven by GPAs or test scores. 

Congratulations to all!

Thursday, March 14, 2024

2023-2024 UVA Admission Statistics (Unofficial)

I've written a post like this few times per year since 2008. UVA has always been pretty transparent about statistics. The Office of Institutional Research and Analytics website has admission data going back to 1991 and our office shares admission rates broken down by residency in our presentations, publications, on our website, and on social media. If you're familiar with any of those, then these numbers I'm sharing aren't all that surprising. 

 If you are a reporter, please contact the Office of University Communications for current, official information.


Regular Decision Round

Total RD applications: 16,866 (15,828 last year)
VA RD applications: 3,750 (3,413)
OOS RD applications: 13,116 (12,415)

VA RD acceptance rate: 15% (16%)
OOS RD acceptance rate: 11% (10%)

Overall Admission Statistics

Total applications: 58,995 (56,439 last year)
Total VA applications: 16,455 (15,200)
Total OOS applications: 42,540 (41,338)

Overall VA acceptance rate: 25.5% (27%)
Overall OOS acceptance rate: 13% (12%)

 

A few notes:


1. We publish in-state and out-of-state admission rates because residency is a major factor in our review.

2. Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind. Yield is how many students accept an offer of admission. We do not try to figure out an individual student's likelihood of enrolling (or look at demonstrated interest), but yield trends influence the offer rate. For example, out-of-state residents tend to have a lower yield rate than Virginia residents. You can see yield rates by college/school (first tab) and residency (second tab) on our website.

3. Unofficial early decision and early action statistics were shared when we concluded those rounds.

4. Admitted students will get a hard copy of their letter in their offer packet. Unfortunately, I can't predict when USPS will put that in your mailbox.

5. Students offered the waiting list option should read the Waiting List FAQs. That link will be in the decision letter as well. Please share that link with the adults in your life!

6. The EcholsRodman, and College Science Scholars program invitations will come out next week. I will post an update when I have one. This review round included all applicants (Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision). Echols and Rodman also allow self-nomination after your first semester. Miller Arts Scholars apply after the first semester.


Good luck tomorrow night! If you get an offer, we are thrilled to have you considering UVA! We will be in touch by email to let you know about virtual and in-person admitted student events. If this is the end of your time with UVA, best wishes for the rest of your college search. There are exciting times ahead for all of you. I have loved interacting with you here, on Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, reddit, and Discord. Thank you all for considering UVA! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

UVA Regular Decision Update

  I know why you clicked, so here it is:

Regular Decision results will be posted
Friday, March 15, 2024
This is official. No need to call to confirm!


What time will decisions show up?

The decisions get posted all at once in around 5 PM. There's a technical team that runs through several processes to prepare for the release and load the decisions. I can't predict the exact moment when they will finish their work.

Where are the decisions posted?

You will see a place to review an update in your MyUVA Applicant Portal. You received login credentials for the portal back when you applied. Remember that your applicant portal is different from SIS, which is used for the financial aid process. 

The portal emails you when there's an unseen status update. Decisions are not given out by email or phone. 

Are there early signs of my decision anywhere?

The portal will look different leading up to the decision release as the technical team does their work. These changes are not tied to your decision.


Are scholar notifications coming?

The second round of review for Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars covered Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision students. Notification will be in portals next week. As always, I'll post updates when I have them. 


When will statistics be ready?

I usually receive admission statistics for the round a day before the decision release. As soon as I have data, I'll share it here. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Midyear Grades Reminder

Regular Decision applicants and students who accepted a spot on the waiting list during the early rounds were asked to submit midyear grade reports by February 15th. This is a required item and we can't make an offer of admission without it! Please be sure to log into your portal to verify that midyear grades are in your file. 

If your midyears haven't arrived, you can use your portal to upload a screen grab of them. We do not need these grades to be sent by your school counselor. 

Remember, all updates are are submitted through your portal with the exception of recommendations. Those may go to the undergradadmission@virginia.edu email account. Please do not email individual admission officers with updates. That slows down the entire process!


Treasure found on the UVA Lawn


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars Notifications

The Office of Admission reviews all applicants to the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering for a potential invitation to three scholars programs: Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars

The first round of invitations will go to students who applied during the Early Decision and Early Action rounds. An email with invitations from this first round is going out at 5 PM today and a short note is being added to portals. 

The second round of invitations will include students from all three rounds and will be posted after the conclusion of the Regular Decision process. Echols and Rodman have a third round that takes place after the first semester (you can self-nominate for that round). 

About 5% of students in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering are invited to join these programs. You can read more about them on their websites. In addition to showing exceptional academic records, scholars show a love of learning and an extraordinary commitment to academic pursuits beyond the classroom. We see this in transcripts, recommendations, essays, and activities. The review for the scholars programs is not driven by GPAs or test scores. 

Congratulations to our first group of scholars for the Class of 2028!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Enrollment Deposit Deadline Changed to May 15

It should come as no surprise that colleges are making adjustments in light of the delayed transmission of FAFSA data. At this time, colleges will begin to receive FAFSA data in the first half of March. This means financial aid packages might not be available until April. We are moving our enrollment deposit deadline to May 15th as a result. This is on our website and we have emailed all of our admitted Early Action students with the information.

UVA Student Financial Services, the group that oversees the financial aid process here, has created a Financial Aid Guidance Page that is being updated regularly (they're instagram is @uvasfs if that's of interest). You might also bookmark the FAFSA Issue Alerts page, when the Department of Education is documenting known problems with FAFSA submission. 

On your side of things, you should be working on your CSS Profile and FAFSA (or the Commonwealth of Virginia's VASA if you aren't eligible to do the FAFSA). Student Financial Services was able to work on preliminary aid packages for the Early Decision group with CSS Profile information. Obviously, the rest of the documentation has to arrive to finalize packages. 

If you have questions about the financial process that aren't covered by the website I linked to above, you can email that office at sfs@virignia.edu or call them at 434-982-6000.






Thursday, February 01, 2024

2024 #UVA Early Action Admission Statistics (Unofficial)

I've written a post like this few times per year since 2008. UVA has always been pretty transparent about statistics. The Office of Institutional Research and Analytics website has admission data going back to 1991 and our office shares admission rates broken down by residency in our presentations, publications, on our website, and on social media. If you're familiar with any of those, then these numbers I'm sharing aren't all that surprising. 

These numbers were up to date on Thursday afternoon. If you are a reporter, this data is unofficial and you should contact the Office of University Communications for information.


Early Action Applications

Total number of Early Action applications: 37,642 (36,459 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 10,109 (9,511)
Total number of OOS apps: 27,533 (26,948)
We use completed applications in our statistics.

Early Action Offers

Overall offers: 6,519
Total VA offers:
 2,854 (28% offer rate)
Total OOS offers:  3,665 (13% offer rate)
Enrollment Goal: ~3,970
It's misleading to average these offer rates together because residency is a major factor in our review. If you are going to share these numbers, cite BOTH offer rates. 

Some notes:

1. I do not have additional statistics. I know people want to see how many students were admitted without testing. I was not given that number. 
 
2. If you are offered the waiting list, you must submit a form in your portal if you'd like to be considered again. This form takes the place of a "letter of continued interest" or LOCI. Please follow the directions on the waiting list student page about what you may add to your file. That page also tells you what you should not do. Following directions is important and it saves busy students time and energy. 

3. Admitted students will get a paper copy of the offer letter by mail via USPS. I'm pretty excited about this year's mailing!

4. The first round of invitations into EcholsRodman, and College Science Scholars, will probably be posted in the portal next week. I will post an update when that happens. A second round will be posted after the Regular Decision process is completed. Echols and Rodman also allow self-nomination after your first semester. Miller Arts Scholars only apply after the first semester.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

#UVA Early Action Update

  Let's just get to the reason you clicked through. 

Early Action notification will be 
Friday, February 2, 2024 
This is official. Please do not call our office to confirm it. 

Where are the decisions posted? 

You will see a place to view your decision when you log into your MyUVA applicant portal. Remember that the MyUVA portal is different from SIS (those who applied for financial aid are using SIS to monitor that process). You received login information for the portal back when you applied. Decisions are not sent by email, but the systems sends an email when you have an unseen status update.

What time will decisions show up? 

The decisions will get posted all at once to portals around 5 PM. There's a technical team runs several processes to get the portals updated and I can't predict the exact time that they'll finish their work. 

Why is the portal changing? Is it a sign of my decision? 

The portal will look a little different throughout the day as the technical team prepares for the release. The changes are not tied to your decision. 

 As always, I'll have a post with admission statistics before decisions go up. 




Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Why February? (An Early Action Update)

I've gotten a lot of questions lately about the timeline of the Early Action process. The timeline on our website says we'll have decisions for you on February 15th and that's true -  if you log into your applicant portal on February 15th, I promise your decision will be there. If we finish earlier than that, we will post the decisions and we always let you know here, on our social media accounts (@uvadeanj and @uvaadmission), and by email (the system automatically emails when there's a status change that you haven't seen*).  

The volume of the pool determines the calendar. The last time we were able to release in January, we had 25,000 Early Action applications. We have over 36,000 this season. Of course, we've added staff over the years, but reviewing the number of applications we're getting these days takes time. 

For those who want to predict the future, there are years of posts to explore using the menu on the right side of the page. 

So here's what you need to know if you applied Early Action to UVA:

1. Decisions will be posted by February 15th.
2. All decisions are posted at once.
3. We always announce updates to the calendar.

Hang in there, everyone. We still have some work to do!

*A couple parents messaged me after the Early Decision round because their student didn't get the status change email from the portal. That's because the student checked their status before the system could send the email, so there was no "new" status to see. I imagine there was some rapid refreshing involved!




Thursday, December 14, 2023

Unofficial 2023-2024 Early Decision Statistics

Early Decision students, you all gave us some great apps! I shed a few tears over things you shared, but I got to laugh a lot as well as I learned about you. My favorite essay folder is certainly a little bigger! You're pretty amazing and I look forward to seeing some of you propel UVA forward in the next few years. Now, on to the numbers...

These statistics aren't all that different from the ones I shared last year, so I don't think anyone's going to be surprised by this post. 

Early Decision Applications

Total number of Early Decision applications: 4,465 (4,243 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 2,573 (2,250)
Total number of OOS apps: 1,893 (1,993)
We use completed applications in our statistics.

Early Decision Offers

Overall offers: 1,133 (1,040)
Total VA offers: 782 (30% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 351 (18.5% offer rate)
Enrollment Goal: ~3,900
Averaging these offer rates together is misleading because residency is a major factor in our reviewIf you are going to share these numbers, cite BOTH offer rates and not an average. 
Last year, we made about 9,200 offers to reach the enrollment goal.


A few notes:

1. I do not have additional statistics. We are already immersed in the Early Action review process and I have files to read tonight!

2. Decisions will be posted in the applicant portal tomorrow night. You got login credentials back when we received your Common App. The system automatically emails students when there is a status change, so you don't have to sit in the portal and refresh. 

3. Admitted students will get a paper copy of their admission letter by mail. It will take a while for us to get those out. I can't really predict when the USPS will get that into your mailbox. 
Your enrollment deposit is due by January 15th.

4. Waiting list letters have a link to the waiting list FAQs on our website.
 Please go over the information with your parent(s) and counselor. If you'd like to be considered for during the waiting list review, complete the reply form in the portal by March 1st and upload your semester grades when they become available. This takes the place of writing a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). 

5. The Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars program invitations will be extended at the end of  the Early Action and Regular Decision processes. Early Decision students will be considered in both of those rounds. Echols and Rodman also allow self-nomination after your first semester.

6. Remember that these numbers are unofficial. Institutional Research and Analytics is the source of all official statistics about UVA. They take a census to determine the final statistics for the class in the fall. You can see official admission data on their website. 

If you are a reporter, please contact the Office of University Communications for current, official information.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

#UVA Early Decision Update

 Let's just get to the reason you clicked through. 

Early Decision notification will be 
Friday, December 15, 2023 
This is official. Please do not call our office to confirm it. 

Where are the decisions posted? 

You will see a place to view your decision when you log into your applicant portal. Remember that your applicant portal is different from SIS. You received login information for the portal back when you applied. Decisions are not sent by email, but we will send an email out once decisions are posted in portals. 

What time will decisions show up? 

The decisions will get posted all at once to portals around 5 PM. There's a technical team runs several processes to get the portals updated and I can't predict the exact time that they'll finish their work. 

Why is the portal changing? Is it a sign of my decision? 

The portal will look a little different throughout the day as the technical team prepares for the release. The changes are not tied to your decision. 

 As always, I'll have a post with admission statistics to share in the coming days. 


 This post is about Early Decision. Please consult the chart of dates for other rounds.



Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Deadline Day Reminders

 Happy EA/ED deadline day! For those of you who have submitted applications (or plan to in the next few hours), I have a few reminders for you.

1. The deadline is for your Common App, not transcripts and recommendations.

This is covered in the deadline chart on the application instructions page of our website (please read them!). Students applying to UVA for Early Decision or Early Action consideration have until 11:59 PM to submit the Common App. School counselors and teachers have a different deadline.



2. Applicant portal credentials come by email within a few days of submission.

Within a few days of the Common App reaching us, the student will get an email from undergradadmission@virginia.edu with login info for the applicant portal.  Consider adding that email address to your email address book. This is also covered in the application instructions! 


Early Decision and Early Action applicants aren't required to use the portal, but that's where you can see required credentials get checked off (we don't check in optional items), submit updates, and see your application decision on notification day.


3. Matching up credentials takes time.

The first time you log into your applicant portal, your application may be incomplete. It takes time for credentials to be filed in a new application file. Remember that supporting credentials like transcript and recommendations aren't due today (again, see the application instructions).


4. We do not accept resumes, research papers, or portfolios that aren't art supplements.

 Those items are not part of our review. We mention this in several places on our website. Please do not use the "additional information" section of the Common App to submit these items. You don't need to email us anything. The Common App is enough!


5. You aren't applying to a major unless you want to study Nursing or Kinesiology.

This is covered on our website and on the Common App where you select your school of entry. Almost everyone is undeclared when they arrive at UVA. 


6. Common App provides Common App support.

The Common App has a help desk to work with people having technical problems with their website. The colleges that take the Common App don't control the technical parts of the Common App. 


7. You don't need to send us letters of interest. 

I've already gotten some "just wanted to express my interest" emails.  Your application is proof of your interest. You're a busy senior with a lot on your plate. Please don't spent time on letters of interest for UVA!


Good luck to everyone putting the finishing touches on applications! I'll be going live at 7 PM tonight to answer last minute questions. See you then!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Public Data About UVA Admission

I got a call today from a parent who wanted to see if we would consider their student for two colleges within the University because they were applying to the School of Architecture. The parent's thinking was that the A-school is small and must be much harder to get into than UVA's College of Arts and Sciences. I assured them that wasn't necessary. They were skeptical, so I read the data off our website. I thought I'd share that information here. 

Below, I'm pasting in admission data for the last five admission cycles at UVA. Remember that residency is also a factor in our review. You can imagine that the Virginia rates are going to be a little higher the numbers shown while the out-of-state rates are lower. Overall, the admission rate for Virginia residents was 27% last year and the rate for out-of-state students was 12%. 

All of this data is public. You can play around with the admission tables on the Institutional Research and Analytics page if you'd like to see more (don't miss the tabs at the top). I couldn't fit the full pages into my screen grabs, so head over to the charts to see yield and this same info presented in table format.


College of Arts and Sciences



School of Architecture




School of Engineering



School of Nursing



Kinesiology (housed in the School of Education and Human Development)



Wednesday, October 11, 2023

A Note about Third Party Sites

There are so many websites offering admission advice. Some of them have been around for years, but I want to remind you that the most reputable source for information about UVA admission is...UVA admission. 

Clicking on some of the top google returns for UVA essay advice led me to multiple websites that have our old essay prompts labeled for this year. Another suggests that one of our prompts actually means "why us?" Please be careful about using third party websites for admission advice. 

I've addressed the websites that are trying to convince students we have a "why us" prompt before. Plenty of schools use a "why us" prompt on their applications. If we wanted you to write that kind of essay, we'd ask for it. Don't use the limited space you get for your responses to talk about UVA. After all, we know UVA is awesome - we're here! What we don't know yet is how awesome you are. 

Now, let me address the larger point: We strive to be clear and helpful with our instructions and prompts. We want to get applications that fulfill our needs, which is why I constantly implore students to read the application instructions on our website before applying. If a third party tells you that we want things that aren't in our instructions, please ignore them. If someone says they got into UVA because they submitted something we didn't ask for, they are wrong. They simply made the application more cumbersome for themselves (and for us). 

If you have questions about the application instructions, please reach out to us for clarification. We have a dean on call during business hours to answer questions by phone, staff answering the general email account, and I have my weekly live q&a sessions on instagram. The UVA admission team is here to help you! When we get lots of questions about the same thing, that helps us update our instructions, too.

We're here to help!



Friday, September 08, 2023

Fall 2023 Virtual Event Series

Our virtual program options for this fall are going to go beyond the general information session and include sessions with specialized content. We'll be emailing all of the students on our mailing list about registering for these sessions (you can add yourself on our website), but I thought I'd share the schedule here. 

First-Year Admission Process 

Thursday, September 21, 6:00pm ET 
Hear an information session from an Admission Counselor and current UVA students. We will answer your questions live! 

Common App 101 

Wednesday, September 27, 6:00pm ET 
Learn how to navigate the Common Application, including the UVA supplement. We will talk through frequently asked questions and offer tips and tricks for completing your application to UVA! 

Why UVA?: Student Panel 

Thursday, October 12, 6:00pm ET 
What makes someone choose to attend UVA? What makes them stay at UVA? A panel of current students will share their experiences and answer your questions. 

Hoo’s Talking: Diversity at UVA 

Tuesday, October 17, 6:00pm ET 
This event will give you a chance to learn about the academic and cultural opportunities available at UVA from current diverse voices on Grounds. Come learn about how student advocacy has shaped the University’s community that we see today. 

Financial Aid at UVA 

Wednesday, November 8, 6:00pm ET 
Learn about the financial aid process, including different types of financial aid and how to apply, directly from the Office of Student Financial Services. 

Transfer Admission Process 

Thursday, November 9, 6:00pm ET 
Interested in transferring to UVA from another college or university? Our Transfer Deans will explain the application and review process. 


Wednesday, September 06, 2023

McIntire School of Commerce Changes

I usually stick to application updates here, but I think this news is big enough that it should get some space here.

The McIntire School of Commerce, the undergraduate business school at UVA, has offered a two -year major (along with minors and an MS in Commerce) for years. Starting next year, the program will become a three year program. For full details, see the official press release from August 29th on the McIntire website

First year applicants interested in McIntire's Commerce major will still start in the College of Arts and Sciences. There will be changes in how transfer from outside of UVA works, but that will be covered on the transfer blog at a later time. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Reviewing the Common App Activities Section in the UVA Admission Process

A new student asked the UVA reddit subforum how to get off some of the club listserves they joined. It's inevitable that people who sign up for a few too many clubs realize that they have to cut back. It reminded me that it's been a while since I've written about what we are looking for when it comes to the Common App activity section.

Before I get into that, though, let me restate what we make clear in our application instructions, on the Common App, and on our contact page: we do not accept resumes with applications here. We want applicants to fill out the activity section of the Common App. With 56,000 applications, it's important that we be able to read efficiently. The consistent format of the Common App is helpful. We also hope it makes things simpler for applicants. The Common App is enough.  

Now, let's talk about that section...


The activity section shows us where you've chosen to spend your time outside the classroom during high school. This is both a "getting to know you" section and a section to see ways you might get involved in the future. There are many ways and venues in which to make a contribution - through work in the classroom, research, at a job, in student organizations (we call them CIOs here), in the residence hall, around Charlottesville, etc.  

1.  We don't value certain activities over others.

There are over 900 student organizations at UVA. All of those CIOs make UVA the interesting, innovative, and fun place that it is. Whether you are involved in the most popular club at your school or the most obscure one, we'll be happy that you are making a difference in some facet of your school or community.

2. Few students fill the Common App activity chart.

Our review isn't about who has the longest list, it's about understanding the activities that have been important to the student over the last few years. The length of your list is not a factor in our review. Most students don't exhaust the spaces available in this section. 

3. You don't have to show consistency.

If you are one of the lucky students who found an activity you love early on and have maintained involvement in it throughout high school, that's wonderful! If your interests have evolved over time, you are totally normal! Most applicants are at an age where interests evolve and new ones emerge. You are allowed to change your mind about your activities. Please don't apologize if your activities haven't been long-term.

It's fine if your activity list shortens a little bit in junior and/or senior year. As academic responsibilities increase, it makes sense to reshuffle your priorities and let one or two activities fall by the wayside. If you don't have to do this in high school, you'll certainly have to do it in college like the student in our reddit subforum found out the other day! 

4. Descriptions don't have to be elaborate.

I've seen some "experts" online who spent a lot of time telling students their activity descriptions have to be exceptionally powerful or witty. For UVA, that's just not the case. Give us a line or two about your involvement and move on. What's more, there are sometimes activities that don't need explanations, at least for an admission officer. For example, I once had a student include statistics about weightlifting. The numbers didn't mean anything to me and I could acknowledged they dedicated time to the activity without them. 

5. We aren't literally assembling an orchestra.

This is very specific, but the idea that admission officers are charged with literally assembling an orchestra with a certain number of chairs for each instrument has been going around since I was applying to college. UVA admission officers aren't charged with finding someone who plays the French horn to fit some French horn "slot." While a coach might be concerned with filling certain positions or events for their sport, the admission office at UVA is not admitting or denying people based on what instrument they play. 


What questions do you have about how activities come into play during the UVA application review?

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Why GPAs Don't Drive Admission Decisions at UVA

It's pretty common to hear students say "I don't want to be a number." However, a lot of people cite a GPA when they approach admission officers and expect us to gauge a student's chances of admission. This is why we try to explain why the numbers don't drive our decision. Let's go over two major points to remember...

GPAs aren't standardized. 

Most schools these days have weighted GPA methodologies. They'll explain how they calculate the statistic at their school on a document called a high school profile that the school counselor submits along with the transcript. If you've never seen a high school profile, you can usually find it on your school's website or in the counseling office. It goes over the curriculum offered, restrictions when it comes to registration, how grading works, and how any statistics like GPA and rank are calculated there. 

Methodologies for calculating GPAs varies by district/school. Here are some snippets from school profiles I read 

This GPA distribution chart shows the high school data on the left and the county on the right. 



Some profiles aren't super precise.





GPAs don't convey coursework or trends.

Details are impactful in a highly selective admission process. We look at all of the courses and grades on the transcript to understand a student's academic preparation. GPAs can't give that level of detail and they don't convey trends in course rigor or grades. 


If you have questions, feel free to put them in the comments or join me for my next live q&a, this Thursday at 3 PM on Instagram

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

2023-2024 UVA Writing Prompts

Confession: I really liked last year's writing prompts. We had only been reading applications for a few days when I first marveled at how well students were expressing themselves in the new short answer portion of our application. During one of my live q&a sessions on Instagram, I wondered if students being able to write meaningful, concise statements was a function of growing up writing captions on social media...something for people to study one day!

In the past, a few admission officers have met to go over feedback about the application essays to see if we should tweak the writing prompts. This year, we had a lot more input during the update process. The change is pretty big: most applicants will answer one prompt for the UVA portion of the Common App. Those applying to the School of Nursing will answer two. 

So let's get to the prompts. 

All Applicants (250 words or less)

What about your individual background, perspective, or experience will serve as a source of strength for you or those around you at UVA?

School of Nursing (250 words or less)

Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.


I'll be sharing some advice about writing for our application during those live sessions on Instagram in the coming weeks. Those happen most Thursdays at 3 PM. 

Monday, June 26, 2023

2023 Waiting List Update

If you watch my weekly live q&a sessions on Instagram, you've heard me talk about the waiting list a few times already, but I have an official update for the waiting list from Greg Roberts, the Associate VP of Enrollment and Undergraduate Admission. This update is going into portals and will go out by email momentarily. 

Thank you for your continued interest in the University of Virginia. We are grateful that you chose to remain on the waiting list, and we realize that waiting is never easy.  Thank you for your patience, and thank you - again - for your interest.

You have demonstrated to us that you are more than capable of thriving at UVA and contributing to the education and experience of your classmates. We want you to know that we respect and admire all that you have accomplished, and that we have great faith in your future.

At the same time, after considering the size of the first-year class and the spaces available, we have unfortunately concluded that we cannot offer you admission to UVA this year. I expect this will be disappointing news to receive, and I am very sorry that I have to deliver it.

If your heart is truly set on attending UVA, we are here to help. Many waitlisted first year students earn admission after one or two years elsewhere, provided they let us help them with planning. If you would like to talk to an Admission Counselor about transfer admission, or how you might begin your college career at the excellent and welcoming UVA Wise campus in southwest Virginia, please contact us. We would welcome the chance to answer questions and assist.

We appreciate your interest in the University of Virginia, and wish you the best as you begin your college career.

I know this is disappointing news for many of you. I hope you can look at your chosen school and move forward with you plans to go there with excitement. Best wishes for a wonderful summer and exciting start to your college career!

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Waiting List Update for #UVA27

Hello, everyone! I'm stepping back into the blog after a few weeks of student takeovers to let you know more about this year's waiting list. Here is what I can share today, May 2nd:

We are going to make some offers to students on the waiting lists. I can't predict exactly how many offers we make (more on that later). The total number of offers made will depend on how many people accept their offers.

At this point, it looks like most offers will be made to out-of-state, College of Arts and Sciences students, though there will be some offers made to Virginians and people in the smaller schools. If you've been reading the statistics posts on the blog, you know that Virginians tend to yield at a higher rate (that means say "yes" back to an offer of admission).

This is going to take time. Waiting list work happens in waves. For the rest of the week, we'll be reviewing applications from students who opted into the waiting list and going over additional information they may have submitted via their portals. Once me make an offer, the student gets a few days to think about it. Students waiting on a financial aid package will get a few days from the time their aid package is posted to SIS. Another factor to consider is melt. 

Melt (sometimes referred to as "Summer Melt") happens when students who accepted offers of admission decide that they aren't coming after all. You can see melt happen as schools go to their waiting lists. Someone who deposited at School A might get off the waiting list at School B and decide to withdraw from School A to accept that new offer. So, even if we fill spots that are available right now, on May 2nd, there may be other spots that open up later because of waiting list movement at other schools. 

The offers will go out via email at the end of the week. I will post a more specific update on my social accounts, if possible.


By the way, this blog is about the first year admission process. The UVA Transfer Blog is linked in the menu and will provide information for students on the transfer waiting list when there is news to share. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Student Takeover: Andy Nguyen

For the next few weeks, students will be taking over the UVA Admission account on instagram (@uvaadmission). I thought I'd introduce each student here before they start posting on the account. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to hear from Andy!

Name: Andy Nguyen

Hometown: Eastland, TX

Major:
 Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and Youth and Social Innovation in the School of Education

Activities:
 The Raven Society, Sigma Phi Epsilon, QuestBridge, HoosConnected, No Tones Acapella, Vietnamese Student Association, and Madison House. Outside of extracurriculars: working with Cavalier Connect Fundraising and involved with multiple research labs on-grounds.


Favorite UVA Memory: 
CultureFest, where organizations came together to showcase their unique cultural dances, outfits, and foods in the amphitheater, or the midnight snowball fight during third year. 

 


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Student Takeover: Lili Gomez

 For the next few weeks, students will be taking over the UVA Admission account on instagram (@uvaadmission). I thought I'd introduce each student here before they start posting on the account. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to hear from Lili!

Name: Lili Gomez

Hometown: Woodbridge, VA

Major:
 Computer Science in the School of Engineering, Spanish minor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Activities: 
SHPE at UVA (the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), Girls Who Code, and Dressember. From SHPE, I was able to get an internship with Apple.

After Graduation: 
I'll be a full time software engineer at Apple.


Favorite UVA Memory: 
Some of my favorite memories at UVA were spending time in the Center for Diversity in Engineering with all my school friends, and my semester abroad in Valencia, Spain.




Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Student Takeover: Sydney Mannion

For the next few weeks, students will be taking over the UVA Admission account on instagram (@uvaadmission). I thought I'd introduce each student here before they start posting on the account. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to hear from Sydney!

Name: Sydney Mannion

Hometown: South Orange, NJ

Major:
 I will probably be a Psychology major with a Sociology minor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Activities: 
Mixed Race Student Coalition, Hydra Club Ultimate Frisbee, Blueprint Leadership Program, working as a research assistant in the Social Cognition and Behavior Lab, and the Echols scholars program.



Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Student Takeover: Isabella Koch

  For the next few weeks, students will be taking over the UVA Admission account on instagram (@uvaadmission). I thought I'd introduce each student here before they start posting on the account. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to hear from Isabella!

Name: Isabella Koch

Hometown: Loudoun County, VA

Major:
 Architecture in the School of Architecture with minors in Civil Engineering and Spanish

Activities:
 I am a student ambassador for the A-School, very involved in outdoors club and love to climb, event coordinator for an architecture organization called AIAS, working wardrobe for the spring drama production, and involved in various intramurals (volleyball, ultimate frisbee, softball, and soccer).


Favorite UVA Memory: 
My favorite memories at UVA come from either hiking with friends in the Shenandoah, going to food trucks on Fridays with my best friends, working in the architecture studios with my friends all day, and playing intramural volleyball with my friends when none of us had every played volleyball before.