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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's define the deadline

There's always a little confusion about the specific moment of our deadline. Back in the days of paper applications, the deadline was whatever time your local post office was willing to post mark an envelope. These days, you have a little more time. With online applications came permission to procrastinate just a few more hours.

Our deadline is January 1st. Technically, you could submit an application at 11:59 PM on January 1st and meet the deadline.

The Common App system builds in a grace period in case there are technical problems, but I strongly encourage you to hit submit before that final hour. There is obviously a lot of traffic on the Common App servers on that final day and while I'm sure they can handle it, I can imagine the panic you'd feel if your internet connection cut out during those final moments of deadline day.

In addition, if you have questions for the Common App people, I imagine you'll get a faster response to a help ticket submission if you are asking during normal business hours. If you submit a help request at 10 PM, you'll probably be one of many doing the same thing and therefore won't hear back for a little while.

I know this is an extremely stressful time. I imagine there is some freaking out going on. Do yourself a favor and made a personal deadline that's before the official one.

Good luck! As always, you can post questions here and I'll do my best to answer them quickly!


CavDog knows you're probably sick of sitting in front of the computer right now

Monday, December 28, 2009

The app deadline is around the corner!

The January 1st deadline is around the corner! Inevitably, there will be last minute questions that will come up after our traditional office hours (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM). Here's how to get answers.

First of all, any trouble with the Common Application can only be fixed by the Common Application staff. If you have any problems with your Common App, submit a help ticket. If you wait until the last minute, you have to expect a delay in the resolution of your problem. Don't freak out! Don't submit something that's half finished or incorrect in a panic. Wait until you get an answer.

Once you submit your application (and all three parts, the Common App, Supplement, and payment must be completed and submitted to prompt anything to be sent to us), it will take a couple days for processing to prompt a login email for UVa's Student Information System to be sent to you. I assume that if you are about to leave for college, you will be able to follow the direction in the email and log into our system successfully.

When you log in for the first time, scroll to the bottom of the main page and become familiar with the different areas of the status page.

Don't be alarmed by your to-do list at this time.

Credentials may be in our system, but not yet linked to your file. It may take a few weeks to get through all the applications submitted in these last few days, so please be patient! If your transcript arrived a month ago, it was scanned and put in a miscellaneous credentials file. A staff member must manually link that transcript to your newly submitted application.

We will contact you when we are through the bulk of the processing if we are still missing documents. This will happen at the end of January or beginning of February. Don't freak out. Seriously. It will be okay.


That being said, here is how you can get answers to last minute questions when our office is closed:


I won't be logged into all of those all the time between now and deadline, but I will try to be on in the evenings. If I don't reply right away, I've either stepped away from my desk (I'm doing this from home) or am answering questions for another student.

Good luck with those last minute edits! Try not to submit at the very last minute!


CavDog realizes that the party is over. Back to the apps!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Office of Admission CLOSED Monday, December 21

I've just gotten an email saying that due to the tremendous snow storm that hit this weekend, the Office of Admission will be closed tomorrow. Driving conditions were less than ideal in Virginia this weekend, so I hope anyone planning to visit has decided to stay home.



Want to see pictures taken over the weekend around Charlottesville? Check out this slide show created by a reporter from The Hook.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Common App status

Last week, we used the Common App system to email out this reminder, but it's worth repeating here with an image. Within the Common App website, you have a box for each school to which you are applying that shows your application progress.



First of all, Common App has an FAQ about the little colored symbols. They only update on a set schedule, so pay attention to the text next to an item first and foremost. If you submit your application components at 3 PM, the test will say that they are submitted, but the colored symbol next to the item might remain yellow for a while until the system updates.

Second of all, we do not get any of the Common App items (Common App, supplement, payment) until all three parts are completed. So, you may have finished your UVa Supplement last week and hit submit, but it will not be sent to us until the other two parts of the application are completed. This saves our tiny staff from doing a ton of work on applications that will never be completed.

Lastly, on the application instructions page, we have a section that explains what happens after you submit. It goes without saying that you need to read this! You need to look for an email from uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu that is going to the email address you used on your Common App. It should arrive within five days of our receiving your application (remember, all three parts). That email explains the login process you need to use to monitor your application status after submission.

Remember, don't worry about your status page items until late January/early February. The volume of submissions right now is so great that we don't always process items on the day they arrive. It can take a few weeks to get items checked into our system.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Updates (on our office and on your status pages)

It's been quiet around here for a reason. We're all tucked away in our offices so we can read files. I guess this debunks a popular myth...no one sits around waiting to read until the deadline hits. If we waiting until after January 1st to start reading, there's no way we'd be done by April 1st (the notification date). Well, wait. We could be done by then, but there's no way we'd be able to give all of the files the amount of attention they deserve. Even now, we are reading at a very fast pace. So fast that I'm thinking about the files I'm not reading because I'm writing this blog entry!

Our system is programmed to mark a file ready to read when the required components have arrived. As soon as the application (Common App + Supplement + payment) is complete, it gets sent to us by Common App. That's an important change for this year. You must submit all three components to get your application sent to us. When your school forms (your counselor's recommendation and related forms), transcript, official score report, and one teacher recommendation are checked in, your file moves to "ready to read" status. From there, it will get randomly distributed.


Now, a word about your status pages. We are now in the busy season, which means large numbers of documents are arriving in our office each day. If an item arrives electronically and the student's biographical data matches the data on their application (meaning, the same name, DOB, etc. is used), the item will be automatically matched and the status page will update fairly quickly. This isn't the norm, unfortunately. A lot of documents come in by snail mail or arrive with nick names and SSNs (instead of DOB, which is a big part of our matching protocol). Those items need to be scanned and matched to a file by hand. This can take a few weeks due to the volume of mail and the relatively small staff we have.

Please be patient. You won't see your status pages update for weeks. Do not freak out about them. We will contact you at the end of January or beginning of February if there are any problems.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ode to the Downtown Mall

I love it when students don't take themselves too seriously and are able to be a little goofy.

I took a quick break from reading to check CvilleNews.com and found this video. Anyone who has submitted their application and gotten their UVa computing ID will recognize the Youtube username that uploaded the video. Looks like a few students had some extra time on their hands recently. Enjoy!

Friday, December 04, 2009

A suggestion

Those of you who are still trying to write application essays may do some googling to find inspiration or advice. Dean Parke Muth has a suggestion for you as you do this. If you're going to lift content, don't do it from our website. We'll probably recognize our own words.

The "good" example from Dean Muth's essay about essay writing:
The coughing came first, the hacking in the middle of the night. Then there were the multiple doctor visits, each one the same: the little white rooms with magazines where I tried not to stare at the bald, gaunt woman across from me. One of the white coats finally said something, steadily, forecasting an 80 percent change of rain. The list of second opinions grew too long to count, looking for someone to say the right thing. Finally, there was relief in hearing the name of a kinder killer: lymphoma.

An essay from an application Dean Muth reviewed yesterday:
Until finally, one of the white coats said something, steadily, predicting a 85 percentage of possibility. At the moment, I broke down. What the doctor said about hypothesis and suggestions sounded too long to count, there was relief in finally hearing the name of a kinder killer, breast cancer.

What happens when someone comes across an essay like that? Well, first it gets emailed around the office. Then we debate sharing this example with you. I bet you can guess what happens next.



By the way, you obviously shouldn't be lifting content from any source. These are personal statements. When you are about to hit that submit button, make sure those essays sound truly, authentically like you.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

These kids are good: Brown College Residents



One of the voices of reason in the chaos that sometimes happens at College Confidential is a Brown College resident. Last night, a reminder was posted that the most recent round of invitations to live at/in Brown College have been posted. I remember that I had taken a picture of CavDog next to Brown College sign on move in day this year and decided it was a good time to share it.

Brown College is one of the residential colleges at UVa. The residential college system differs from the traditional dorms a bit. In the dorms, all the first years live together. In the residential colleges, the class years are mixed and students often have a little more programming than the traditional dorms do.

When I first came to UVa, someone insisted that Brown was for "hippies". When I questioned the label, I found the words that described the Brownies were all, in my opinion, positive: open minded, smart, diverse, quirky, creative, laid back, etc. All nice things, right?

Anyway, congrats to the new Brownies!

If you'd like to know more about Brown College, check out the Office of Residential Live's Brown College Page (which includes photos of rooms), the Brown College website, and this video about Brown.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

One month until deadline!

Today is probably the deadline your counselors set for you to request transcripts and recommendations from them. I hope you'll give your teachers your requests as well. At this point, they'll probably be working on them over the holidays, so don't worry if there are outstanding school credentials on your "to do" list the first time you log into the Student Information System.

One month until deadline! Time to make a plan and get things done! Good luck with the final papers and exams that are looming, too!