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

There's a decade of posts here, so the search box can help find an answer to common questions. Pick a name, real or otherwise, if posting a comment.
Please link to the specific post if referencing what is written here elsewhere.

Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Three SIS Status Notes

A conversation elsewhere reminded me that there are common questions about SIS status pages that come up at this time of year. Let me address the big three.

1.  What does "initiated" mean?
Initiated is a term the SIS uses when it puts something on your "to do" list.  It means the item has not been filed in our office yet. Keep in mind that we have a deluge of documents to file. Don't worry about a missing credential yet. We'll be in touch by email once everything is filed to let you know if we need something from you.

2. The mid-year report is on my "to do" list, but that's not ready yet. What do I do?
Hooray!  If the mid-year report is the only thing left on your "to do" list, then you're done!  That means an Early Action file is ready for review. We leave that on your list because we need mid-year grades from students who are admitted and deferred. Lots of students don't revisit their status once they are marked complete. If we added the mid-year report later, lots of people probably wouldn't see the addition. 

3. Does "view decision" mean my decision is ready?
The Student Information System has a built-in feature that adds a box at the bottom of your status page when your file is deemed complete and ready for us to read.

Here's what it looks like:

If you see that box show up, it might cause a little excitement because "view decision" shows up in the box.  Alas, when you click on the words, you get a little message saying decisions aren't ready yet. Because they aren't.

Early Action Notification = January 31st
(any change will be announced on this blog ASAP)

We release all decisions at once. We've been able to release a little early since 2011, but we won't know the release date until we're almost at it.

Back in the paper days, we knew the release date a good week in advance because the last week was used to print letters and get them into envelopes.  We were basically done with the actual reading.

These days, there is no lag time between the end of the review and the release.  When we're done, we can release.  We don't have to wait for letters to be printed. 





Friday, November 18, 2016

Heads up: Thanksgiving Break is Coming!

Happy Friday!

Just a reminder that next week will be short week at UVA. Offices will be closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for Thanksgiving. No information session or tours will be offered during the break or the Saturday and Sunday afterwards. Safe travels if you'll be on the road next week!

Dressed for dinner!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Early Action Status Page Notes

The day after the Early Action deadline is always an interesting one. We look at the numbers, but know that the final application number won't be known for a few weeks. We only count completed applications in our statistics, so though we have a total number of applications right now, it's just the submitted number and we won't have an official count until all the credentials that have been sent by counselors and teachers are logged into the system. Our EA numbers higher than last year at this point, perhaps some haven't read/heard our information about deciding between EA and RD at UVA.

Let's talk about some of the topics that always come up after deadlines:

1. Teacher and Counselor Submissions are still being processed.

Early Action applicants had a November 1st deadline. We give their school counselors and teachers a grace period for submitting documents. Do not worry if your counselor or a teacher is still working to get all of those credentials out.


2. The first time you log into SIS, your file will probably be incomplete.

As I hope you read in the "After You Submit" part of the application instructions, a few days after we download your application and get it into our system, you'll get an email about logging into SIS. SIS is where you will monitor your application status for both admission and financial aid. On notification day, you'll also check your decision in SIS.

At this point, most applications are incomplete. Please do not worry! As long as you submitted your application in time, everything will be okay.

3. Mid-Year reports stay on the SIS to-do list.

This is also covered in the application instructions. If you receive an offer of admission or a deferral, we require that you send us your mid-year grades. We leave the mid-year report on the SIS to-do list for EA applicants so everyone is aware of this. If you get to a point when the only thing on your to-do list is the mid-year report, you are done for now!


As a reminder, here are posts about:
-sending supplements and resumes to UVA
-admission quotas
-the Class of 2021 Facebook group (students only)


As always, you can ask questions anonymously (but please pick a name!) in the comments.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Things You Want to Send (But Shouldn't): Resumes, Research, and Writing Portfolios

When you hit submit on your Common App, I think you should feel some relief. You've done the bulk of your job for the application and now you have to wait for the rest of the pieces to fall into place*. Unfortunately, there are students who seem to see the Common App as the first of many submissions they'll make to our office. Below, I'll go over the things people try to send us and why we don't want them.

1. Resumes

So many students email us asking if they can send a resume in addition to their Common App. UVA does not accept resumes. The Common App presents information in a systematic format, which allows us to zero in on pertinent information quickly.I know that some really, really want us to see a resume or another activity chart, but please respect our process and use the Common App to share information in a concise way.

2. Outside Recommendations

We require one recommendation from your counselor and one from a teacher of your choice. We are looking for insight into your style in the academic environment. People who have never taught you can't speak to your learning style or how you work in a classroom situation. Also, those people tend to think they need to summarize facts (hours worked, tasks performed). Repetitive information isn't helpful.

Some people want to send recs from faculty they met at conferences or special programs. Consider how long these people have known you. I recently saw a recommendation letter that started by saying the writer knew the students for nine days. Your teachers and counselors have a little more familiarity with you. Stick to the required recommendations.

3. Research Abstracts

It's great to tell us about research, but don't send us an abstract. A line or two summarizing what you did is great. A paper is over the top and not useful. In fact, if you send us a paper full of jargon, you're increasing the chances that the gist of the work won't be clear.

4. Writing Portfolios

We get three pieces of polished writing in the application. The Common App has a long essay and the UVA screen/tab has two short-answer prompts. That's plenty of writing for us. We don't accept portfolios.

5. Copies of Certificates

You sign off on our Honor Code when you apply and promise that the information in your application is accurate. We don't need a copy of a certificate to believe that you are a member of a certain organization or received an award for something. Leave those papers in the baby book or that folder where you stick important stuff.

6. Newspaper Clippings or Pictures of You Doing Something

Anyone who was on the staff of a literary magazine, newspaper, or yearbook is proud of their work. It's best to keep copies for yourself and your family. The same goes with photos (even the adorable baby-on-the-UVA-Lawn photos). They belong in a safe place at home, not in a college application.



Colleges ask for the things they need to make their decisions. If we don't ask for it, we don't want you to spend time (or money) on it. Further, to make this process fair, we have specific parameters of what we will review. We accept the Common App and supplements that fit the criteria for arts and architecture supplements. That's it. So when you hit submit, it's time to move on to monitoring your status, not time to craft extra items to send us.

Please don't spend your money on stuff like this.



*No one seems to read the "After You Submit" part of the instructions, but that's where we explain that it can take several weeks for all the components of your application to meet up in our system, so don't panic if there are items on your "to do" list initially.