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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Notes from the Road

My last week on the road for the 2013 travel season is coming to an end. This week has been full of college fairs in Northern Virginia. Some of these events have been huge and I'm so thankful that our alumni have come out to help answer questions and talk about life at UVa.

Last night's table team at the Ballston Commons Mall

College fairs are always interesting. While we get the same questions over and over again, we also get insight into what rumors are floating around about admission to UVa this year. Some of the more interesting ones I've heard:

Rumor #1 
Only 2,000 students from Northern Virginia are allowed at UVa.
I've been answering the quota question for years (we don't have them), but I'm surprised that someone attached an actual number to that rumor. The number makes no sense. There are about 14,600 undergraduates at UVa. Using a pretty strict definition of "Northern Virginia," I counted well over 4,000 students from the region when I added up headcount totals.

Many students in densely populated areas worry about restrictions or quotas affecting them when it comes to the college admission process. I assure you that we don't have them for areas within Virginia.

Rumor #2
Having a Virginia529 college savings plan affects admission to UVa.
When someone told me this, I asked them for clarification. They said that some believe we are easier on applicants with Virginia529 plans because "UVa gets more money from them."

First of all, I don't know how the Office of Admission would even know that a family had set up a 529 plan for an applicant. The group that oversees that plan in Virginia is an independent state agency. They aren't part of University of Virginia.

In addition, our application review system has no financial data in it. That information is between you and Student Financial Services. When I review a file, I don't know if you applied for aid or if you have a college savings plan. My job does not include guessing about how you'll be paying your tuition bill.

Rumor #3
We don't recognize International Baccalaureate programs.
This one really surprised me. IB programs are extremely common in Virginia and have been for years. From the IBO.org:

"The states with the largest number of IB World Schools are California (120), Florida (114), Texas (102), Colorado (79), Virginia (73), New York (63), Georgia (57) and North Carolina (55). 

More than 55% of all U.S. IB World Schools are located in these eight states. California has the largest number of DP, while Virginia has the most MYP and Texas has the most PYP."
We also offer credit to students to score well on their higher level IB exams. This isn't new. I've been referencing the chart on that webpage for years.

Something else to consider, from an IBO report:



If you have a rumor you'd like to check out, feel free to post it in the comments.