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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Notes from Northern Virginia

It's day three of my first week in my Virginia territory (I cover part of Northern Virginia) and I've had some great high school visits. Even after a few visits, you can start to see trends on topics that are on students' minds this year.

1. Study Abroad, Study Abroad, Study Abroad!
I love talking about study abroad options at UVA and it seems like more students want to talk about those options than ever before. When I was in school, the options were pretty limited - humanities majors studied abroad, usually in the spring of junior year. There are so many programs at UVA that any student can find a way to study abroad, regardless of their major. What's more, there are semester, summer, and January Term programs.

If you want to explore the programs we offer, check out this UVA study abroad search engine. You can search for programs based on time of year, region, language of instruction, housing style, academic discipline (some programs are tailored for a particular major), and other criteria.

2. Concerns about extra application components
I've gotten several questions about sending writing portfolios, research papers, non-academic recommendations, and resumes after submitting an application. The Common App is pretty thorough and provides us with a lot of great information. We don't encourage extra submissions outside of the optional art and architecture supplements.

What's more, the consistent format of the activity section in the Common App allows us to zero in on the pertinent data quickly. This lets us read efficiently.

3. Rumors
Some of the rumors students share with me make a little mad. We all know that students are anxious about the application process and it doesn't seem fair that some people are dialing things up with their made up stories about how our office works.

One student said that someone told her that her brother denying his offer of admission to UVA years ago would hurt her chances of being admitted this year. Thousands of students decline offers of admission every year. We don't hold a grudge! We hope all of our applicants choose the college they feel is the best match for their needs.

If you want to follow along as I make my visits, follow me on Instagram (@UVADeanJ). I try to post from each stop I make, bouncing between posting regular picture and using Instagram Stories.