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

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

UVa Admission Quotas for Northern Virginia

If you ever want to fire an admission officer up, mention the word "quota." Back in 2010, I wrote a post in which I said we bristle at the word and I still think that's valid.

Every admission officer I know bristles at the mention of the word "quota". Maybe we hate it because it implies that we don't have control over our processes and that we are slaves to demographics while we read applications. During every Q&A session, every College Night panel, and every phone call, I think we all brace ourselves for that word, which usually comes in a sentence that starts with "We heard that UVa..." and ends with the name of a county or a region.
The one statistic that governs our process is that two-thirds of the students at UVa must have Virginia residency. One-third may come from out-of-state (commonly referred to as OOS). Beyond that, there are no restrictions on how many students we can take from a school, town, county, or region.

Rumors about quotas are particularly pervasive in densely populated areas. People worry that they are at a disadvantage because they are in NOVA or Richmond or at the beach. Those areas have lots of great students and we admit a lot of them. 

Year after year, when I talk to families from Northern Virginia (or read college admission discussions online), I find that someone has declared themselves an expert on our process and tells anyone who will listen that UVa has a quota for NOVA as a region or for individual schools in the area. This stuff never comes for someone who has worked in our office. Oftentimes, that person has never worked in any college admission office or a high school's guidance office or career center. They are wrong.

I'd be the first in line to rally against a NOVA quote if we had one. After all, I've been covering the region for a long time. I visit high schools in Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Loudoun every year (I'm well aware that the definition of "NOVA" now includes more areas, but others travel to those areas). I love those schools. They have amazing counseling staffs, the most amazing resource in those wonderful Career Center Specialists, and fantastic students.

CavDog is bored of quota talk.

If you want to dig around in more admission statistics, check out the Office of Institutional Assessment's website. They are the official statisticians of the University. Remember that the statistics are the result of the process. We don't walk into the year with targets beyond that 2/3 : 1/3 ratio.