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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thoughts on the latest round of decision calls

This season's round of decision calls have been pretty manageable so far. There have been a few difficult ones, such as the parent who was convinced that an updated ACT score would have changed our decision or the one who didn't realize extracurricular activities couldn't make up for a limited curriculum and average grades. These calls are fairly routine, so they don't surprise us too much.

What has surprised me is the number of admitted students (rather, their parents) calling to complain about not being designated an Echols Scholar. They seem to think that the transcript is the key to the Echols process. As I've explained before, we're looking for academic excellence, but we're also looking for love of learning or a clear passion for a subject. The essays, activities, and teacher recommendations all contribute to our review, it's not just about the GPA.

I've started asking what the student had found attractive about the Echols and Rodman Scholars Programs. Some don't realize that it's not an honors college and that while the perks are great, there are plenty of non-Echols/Rodman UVa students having a fulfilling, rewarding experience at UVa. Some don't really know what they wanted from the program. I imagine that they just wanted to be deemed special and wanted.

If you were admitted to UVa, you are special. You were selected from over 18,000 students to become part of our community.

If you were admitted to UVa, you are wanted. We work hard to show you this by putting together Days on the Lawn, organizing phone calling, and sending you congratulatory letters and emails from people all over the University.

Echols and Rodman are wonderful programs, but please understand that the decisions have been made for this year. If you strongly believe that you should be in Echols or Rodman, you can apply to join the programs once you get here (Rodman takes applications in the fall, Echols in the spring).