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Friday, May 20, 2016

UVA and the New SAT

I usually write a post about a big admission issue when that topic has come up over and over again in discussions with prospective students or their parents. When it comes to the redesigned SAT, it seems like students and parents that are visiting us this season aren't all that worried. Maybe there are so many changes in college admission that a test redesign doesn't cause anxiety. Or maybe people are happy about the new scoring...


Anyway, we have a page on our website that addresses our testing policy.  I thought I would go into a little more detail here.

1. By the application deadline, send something.

While it's nice to have one thing in the file that is standardized (remember, schools have very different styles when it comes to calculating GPA and rank), we don't have a preference when it comes to the test you take. By the deadline, you want a score from the ACT or SAT (either of them) in your file.


2. We recombine sections to get the best set of scores.

I shy away from saying we "super score" the SAT because that implies that we are just looking at your total SAT score. Students with identical total scores could have very different sections scores. For example...

Student A:  1300 SAT (500R/800M)
Student B:  1300 SAT (650R/650M)

This isn't to say those two students would be put side-by-side in our review like that. I just want you to consider why we don't just use total scores in our review.

When we open a file, our system will automatically look for the best possible sections to show to us. We don't even see all of the scores you send us. 


3. Scores from different exams aren't combined.

We don't mix sections from different exams together. So we wouldn't put a math score from the ACT together with a reading/writing score from the SAT. Similarly, we won't mix sections from the old SAT and the new SAT. The College Board directed colleges on this last summer. They said it isn't appropriate to mix old and new because the exams are different.


4. For the 2016-2017 application season, we aren't using essay scores.


We won't be using the essay score from the new SAT next year. It doesn't mean you should take a name during that portion of the exam since plenty of schools will be using it. In light of this, we won't be using the writing section of the ACT next year. 

Let me reiterate that my statement is about next year. This doesn't mean we won't ever use those sections.


5. Four hours doesn't overshadow four years.

At the end of the day, remember that the testing piece of your application is a four hour piece. It does not take precedence over the four (okay, 3.5) years of information in the rest of the file. Test scores are interesting and helpful, but they don't "make or break" the application.



What are your testing questions? Share them in the comments and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Keep in mind that we have Final Exercises this weekend and we are still working with the waiting list, so my replies might not be immediate.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A 2016 Waiting List Update

It's waiting list season! I can't help but be excited about this part of the process because we get to make admission offers to some of the students we really wanted to take, but couldn't fit into the class back during the RD review. We like to move quickly, so let me explain what is happening around here...

When we finished the transfer review, we moved right into re-reading the applications of our students on the waiting list. Remember that about half the people who are offered a spot on the list opt to take one and they fall into ten areas - Virginia and out-of-state (OOS) students for each of the five academic areas that take first year students (Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Nursing, and Kinesiology). I don't know how much space there is in the class at this point. The admitted students had until midnight to accept their offers and some of their deposits may still be processing.


Waiting

How Do Offers Come?
When we make an offer to someone on the waiting list, they get a new decision letter in SIS. We always call students to give them a heads up that their status is going to change and explain what to do next. You'll have a few days to think things over and submit a deposit if you get an offer.

Obviously, some tell us they aren't interested anymore when we call and that's totally fine. We realize that students on the waiting list have deposited elsewhere and may have gotten excited about another school since accepting their spot on UVA's waiting list.


When Will Offers Come?
We try to call the number on the application between the end of the school day and 5 PM, when our office closes.

It could take several weeks for this to play out. We'll make a few offers, give those students a couple days to deposit, make a few more offers, give those students a few days...this repeats until the class is complete. We usually finish things up in June. Looking back at my "the class is full" blog posts, we finished the waiting list process on June 22, June 6, June 3, and June 11 in past years.


What Do Applicants on the Waiting List Do Next?
Keep focusing on school work and your other commitments while hoping for the best.

The accept/decline buttons remain visible in SIS so you have the option of removing yourself from the waiting list at any point. If you have anything to add to your file, send it to uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu right away.



Having done this for a while, I know there are questions coming that I can not answer. Please understand that there are times when I can't talk about everything that is happening in our office. Rest assured we move as quickly as possible. We are eager to see the Class of 2020 complete!