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Monday, October 30, 2006

Printing a PDF of your application

The online application was written when the most current version of Adobe Reader was 5.0. For some reason, if you try to view a PDF of your application with version 7.0, certain components (essays, for example) won't show up.

Obviously, we're looking into the glitch. Rest assured that we receive the data you input on the application, not the PDF. If the fields on the online application are filled out, we will see that information.

Submitting standardized test scores

On our application, you may self-report SAT, ACT, SAT II, TOEFL and AP scores. Official scores should follow and, obviously, we expect them to match those reported by the applicant (especially since all applicants read and acknowledge the honor code prior to submssion).

We don't need official AP score reports as part of the application process, but they may be needed later on if an enrolled student requests credit for those exams.

More notes from Peabody Hall

I decided to start a blog exclusively about the application process at the University of Virginia. This blog will be a "newsletter" style blog, similar to those being done at other schools. I'll still be posting about higher education issues on the original Notes from Peabody blog, but thought this one might be more helpful for students in the midst of the application process at UVA.

Questions about the application process are more than welcome here and I'll do my best get to each and every one of them.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A reason to figure out which station is C-Span2

Being on the road, my access to cable TV is limited to whatever 10 channels my hotels deem important to their clients. This rarely includes C-Span, let alone C-Span2. I wish I could watch the channel right now, though.

C-Span's been doing a good number of programs about college admission and tuition. Yesterday, they showed a program about college rankings and one of the panelists was from US News & World Report. Oh how I wish I could have watched that! Today, a UVA student will be one of the panelists during a discussion about tuition and financial aid. I hope the program will be repeated when I'm back in Charlottesville so I can see it.

If anyone watched, please post a comment about anything noteworthy that was said!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth

A particular UVA alumna had a habit of mentioning UVA fairly often on The Today Show while she was a host. I thought the days of hearing about UVA on the show were over.

Imagine my surprise when UVA got mentioned on the Sunday morning edition of Today. Imagine my further surprise at hearing that UVA was part of the reason that American teens are more comfortable than ever with cheating.


The story in question was in response to the Josephson Institute on Ethic's study "A Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth". While 98% of high school students surveyed agreed with the statement "It's important for me to be a person with good character", 60% reported cheating on an exam in the last year and 33% admitted to copying information on the internet (presumably for a school assignment).

The Today Show did a short spot about the survey and then turned to their in-studio guests, one of whom was a student at McLean High School in Northern Virginia. When asked why he thought his peers seemed more comfortable with cheating than those in years past, the first thing out of his mouth was that schools like UVA "are telling people that if they don't have a 3.9 GPA, they shouldn't bother applying." The student then went on to talk about Turnitin.com, which didn't exactly seem on topic. Of course, I couldn't really follow the rest of the piece. I thought I had just heard someone partially blame UVA (and colleges like it) for cheating among high school students.

I understand that the college application process is extremely stressful. I'm not so old that I don't remember the uncertainty and anxiety of the process. I don't, however, remember cheating as being part of the process. With an honor code as prominent as UVA's, the message is clear: cheating is not acceptable.



As for the 3.9 GPA comment, just last week, I spent 45 minutes at McLean High School describing UVA's holistic review process and the use of the school profile as a filter through which we look at transcripts. My response to a question about the average GPA of the admitted class was quite long, explaining that GPA scales vary so much that it's hard to put much faith in such a statistic.

Friday, October 13, 2006

More paper...exactly what we don't need

I used to work for a wonderful man who could boast that among his many achievements in the field, he led USC (Southern Cal) into the world of the paperless admission process. He did this back when computers weren't very sophisticated, which was a huge feat. When I worked with him at a different college, he always pushed for us to "go paperless" and we made huge strides in that direction, but never completely got there. Years later, many colleges are making the move to a paperless admission process. Alas, saving paper isn't as en vogue as it used to be and paper is sneaking into the process in others ways.

Over the last two weeks, I've hosted a number of evening programs and sat on a few panels at college information nights. After most of these events, I've had a few students approach me and ask if I'd take resumes. A little baffled and taken a little off guard, I've been accepting them, but I'm starting to wonder if other students are copying this because the numbers keep increasing. Who started this and why? The only place these resumes are going is into the "miscellaneous credentials" files, where they'll sit until an application shows up from the student. I haven't even glanced at the pile that is sitting in the folder usually reserved for driving directions and hotel confirmations.

A colleague of mine thinks private counselors are planting this strategy in students' heads, thinking that every little bit of interaction will curry favor with admission officers. If that's the case, they're forgetting to tell students that we remember those with whom we have significant interaction. That isn't happening in most of these cases.

These same students are depleting my business card stash at an alarming rate. I wonder how many will actually call, email or IM me, as I tell them to or how many will forget about me after they file my card in a UVA folder, next to the brochures and postcards we mailed out a few months ago.