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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Early Action Status Pages (and Why this Takes so Long)

It's the time of year when Early Action students get a little punchy. They're obsessively checking SIS and wondering if it will give a sneak preview of decisions and every mention of UVA has them looking like Jack waiting for a treat.

Can I have it? Can I have it? Can I have it?

First of all, UVA's SIS is a system that was created by PeopleSoft called Campus Solutions. Lots of schools around the country use the same system. When you implement a SIS, it takes a few years and a lot of resources (human and financial). Customizing parts requires even more resources. There are always going to be features that aren't used by a certain school (but might be perfect for another). I know the boxes that pop up during the application season are confusing, but we can't get around them.

As always, we will have decisions ready by the end of January. I always post an update here, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Word spreads quickly. We also queue up a mass email to go out, but those can take a little time to land in in-boxes. You'll know when notification is coming, I promise.

Now, I want to address the timing of our process. Years ago, our early pool was pretty small, just a few thousand applicants. In those days, our review was done before students went on winter break. These days, half of the applicant pool is applying early. It just isn't possible for us to read 16,000+ files in six weeks unless we a) dramatically changed our review or b) had a way to significantly increase the size of our staff.

I like the holistic review that we use here. It means that decisions aren't just about GPAs and standardized test scores. Recommendations, essays, and activities also factor in (though academics come first!). In addition, we don't "auto" admit the top of the pool and deny the bottom. We read every application. I'm sure there are admission folks out there who might find that antiquated or quaint, but it works for us.

As for our staff size, Peabody Hall is already bursting at the seams and I don't think resources allow for more counselors or deans at this point.

So, the process continues. Hang in there, everyone. Decisions will come, but there is still a bit of work to be done.