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

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Another round of Q & A with Dean J

Lots of questions came up in the comments section for the last post and I thought I'd answer them here so more people will see them.

Q. I am wondering if you read all the personal letters that applicants write to you personally? Does writing a personal letter to you hurt or help us as applicants? -Anonymous

A. Of course we read any letters sent to us, but writing to me isn't going to change your transcript, recommendations, essays, activities, and testing. At this point, unless something dramatic has changed in your program, there isn't really a reason to write to us. Wait until you get your decision and go from there. Waitlisted students often write us letters. You can read more about that if you look back at last year's blog entries from around decision time.

Q. Because we are entering our midyear grades and not sending an official transcript, does this mean that the UVA admissions office does not consider mid-year semester grades and class rank in the application process? For example, if my GPA or class rank have improved over the last semester, how can I tell the admissions office? Thanks! -Jessica

A. Jessica, if we ask you for something, we're considering it in our review process. Your first semester grades are very important to us. The comments section of the MY report is for adding any info you'd like to share with us.

Q. Under transfer FAQ's for the UVA transfer webpage, it said a student should have a B+ average to be competitive. If we've got just below a B+ average, will recs and essays come into play or will that low GPA knock us to the bottom of the pile. -KS

A. KS, courses taken also factor into our review, so don't assume you're out of the running if your GPA is a little short. As I'm sure you've read, transfers with a solid 3.4 GPA are competitive.

Q. How can I be sure my fine arts supplement was received? I sent it in and I don't know how to check...:( -Andy

A. Andy, art supplements are not checked into the computer system. They are sent to various departments for review. I believe the instructions tell you this.

Q. Do I absolutely have to send in my ACT score, even though I took it only once, and four years ago at that? I am a prospective transfer student. Thanks! -Rene

A. Rene, sending in your score can only help you, not hurt you.

Q. Can midyear grades break a decision? I have my lowest GPA(a lot of B's!!), but I am taking my most challenging course load yet. I know midyear grades can help an applicant but can they hurt them too? Sorry these questions must get tedious...just shows how nervous we all are! -Hooareyou

A. Hooareyou, midyear grades can change a decision if they show a dramatic departure from the grades earned in the past. Now, it's normal to see some change in grades when the challenge level goes up in the curriculum, so it's not the end of the world if a few Bs creep into the transcript.

Q. I am so anxious about finding out if I've gotten into UVA. I check the status of my application everyday and I've read probably all of this blog. My question is about the likely letters, because I want as much info on my admission ASAP.

Do you send likely letters to all applicants that are likely to get in? Like, are there some students likely to get in, that you never send letters to and for what reason? Will they all be sent at the end of February? -Anxious

A. Anxious, first of all, there's no reason to check your status everyday. The way our system works, decisions are "turned off" right now. They WILL NOT show up until I edit the database settings that govern what shows up on your status pages. If you read back, I talk about this fairly often and I tell students not to hammer the system because decisions won't show up without my giving you a heads up on this blog first. There is no ways, barring a bizarre computer glitch, that decisions will show up before

Likely letters are sent to a small percentage of students. A VERY small percentage. Perhaps I should repost the "Letter Frenzy" post I made last year.