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

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Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jack's Visit to Brown College at Monroe Hill

The Dorm Tours are some of the most popular parts of Days on the Lawn. The University doesn't allow tour groups into the residence halls on a daily basis for privacy and security reasons. Can you imagine how disruptive it would be to have three groups like this parade through your home each day?

The dorm tours include the McCormick Road halls ("old" dorms), Alderman Road halls ("new" dorms), and a couple residential colleges. Residential Colleges are special-interest housing options. You can read about all of the options on the housing website, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse into one of them, Brown College at Monroe Hill, on the blog.



Brown is centrally located and just a few steps away from many academic buildings and Newcomb Hall (where they have a private dining room inside the dining hall!).

While traditional halls at UVA house first years, the residential colleges aren't specific to one class. First, second, third, and fourth years live in Brown.


Brown is known for being an inclusive community where everyone is welcome. I think that's why there are students who move in as first-years and stay in the Brown community for the rest of their college career. 



Each portal (four-room suites) in Brown feels homey, in part due to the mantles in many of the rooms. You can tell a lot about the residents by how they decorate their mantles.


The building is low and rambling, with lots of nooks and crannies. While I was walking around with Jack, we stopped in this sitting area for a moment to admire a letter the Seven Society sent to Brown residents several years ago.


The common areas in Brown include lounges and kitchen spaces. The one below known as Smith Cafe, which turns one of the study lounges into a little coffeehouse on certain evenings.



The different parts of the building are connected by tunnels in the basement. I think running through the tunnels was Jack's favorite part of our tour.


Brown has a bunch of beautiful courtyards. It's hard to believe we were so close to the hustle and bustle of Newcomb Hall and McCormick Road when we took these pictures.




The building isn't really the main attraction. The students are the best part of a visit to Brown. If you have a chance, make sure to stop by during your Days on the Lawn.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Brown application. The questions tend to be interesting and lots of students say they had fun filling it out. There have been times in the past when the Office of Admission has asked the Brownies to contribute a question to the essay choices on our application!


Friday, April 07, 2017

Notes for the #UVA21 Waiting List

If you were offered a spot on the waiting list at UVA, you had a link to the Waiting List FAQs in your decision letter. Many of the questions we're getting by phone and email are covered there, so please be sure to share that link with your parents so they understand the process. I'm going to go over the parts that come up the most and add some more information. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

How many people are on the waiting list? 

The waiting list forms as people hit the "accept" buttons under their letters in SIS. We offer spots to many, but about half of those students will actually put themselves on the waiting list. The Common Data Set, something every school fills out, has a section about waiting list numbers. Some schools omit this section, but here are our numbers from last year:
From the 2016-2017 Common Data Set:
Do you have a policy of placing students on a waiting list? Yes Number of qualified applicants offered a place on the waiting list: 4,987
Number accepting a place on the waiting list: 2,871
Number of wait-listed students admitted:360
Is your waiting list ranked? No
The waiting list will be big on May 1st because we need to ensure there are students to fit all ten sections of the first year class. The class is made up of Virginia residents and out-of-state students for each of the five schools/programs that take first years.

I accepted. Why are the buttons still there? 

If you hit the "accept" button, you can always come back and pull yourself off the list. That is why the buttons remain after you opt in. There is no going back once you decline, though. If you decline the spot, the buttons disappear.

How many people will come off the waiting list?

Even though I've been doing this for years, I can't predict this one. May 1st is when all of the admitted students need to have deposits submitted to reserve a place in the class, which should be about 3,725 students. If we don't have that number of admitted students accepting a spot, we move to the waiting list.

It's hard to cite trends with certainty. One year, we might have room for in-state Nursing students and the next year, that group could be full on May 1. We're all waiting to see how this works out right now.  

How many people got offers to come off the waiting list in the past?

Here's a decade of data, which should show you how unpredictable this part can be. I don't have a breakdown of where the offers were for these years. 

2016 - 360
2015- 402
2014- 42
2013 - 185
2012 - 284
2011 - 117
2010 - 240
2009 - 288
2008 - 60
2007 - 159
2006 - 145
2005 - 83  

How do I improve my chances of getting an offer?

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about this. Emailing a update letter to uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu is appropriate. Mailing a package is not. Updating us via uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu with significant news is okay. Bombarding every admission officer with an email each day is not. Please don't email admission officers directly with your updates. We're just going to forward your email to uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu and it will delay your email being filed. Please use the general account.

By the way, showing up in Peabody Hall will have no affect. I can't tell you how many students drive here and then sit on the sofa and ask the questions covered in the FAQs. This is not the best use of your time (or gas money!).

When/How do you make wait-list offers?

We start making waiting list offers as soon as we know we have space in the class. We move quickly because no one wants to drag this out. We aim to have everything wrapped up by the end of June. Last year, we completed the class on June 2nd. In 2015, we were done by June 22nd.

If you are going to get an offer, we'll call you at the number you put on your Common Application. The call is a heads up that your status is about to change in SIS. Of course, it's fine if you tell us "no thanks" and that's the end of it. We hope that people who are no longer interested in UVA use the "decline" button to remove their name from the list, but some people forget. When SIS updates, a new letter shows up along with the buttons to accept the offer and pay a deposit.

Because we want to give students a few days to think about the offer (and because the Financial Aid folks need time to post a package if the newly-admitted student applied for aid), this process takes a while. I can't give constant updates on the blog. I can usually check in once or twice in May. I will always tell you when the Dean says the class is full. 

What about aid?

If you applied for aid by March 1st and got all of your documentation in, Student Financial Services will put a financial aid package together. Once that's posted, you'll have a couple days to accept the offer and pay your deposit.
 

What now?

Look at your other options. Get excited about one of them and pay a deposit to guarantee yourself a spot in a freshman class somewhere.


By the way, calling a student and telling them that they are getting an offer of admission is probably the most exciting thing admission officers experience. We can't wait to make them and everyone has a story or two about favorite calls. I promise you that when it's time, we'll be working very quickly so we can deliver some happy news!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Admitted to #UVA21 and Want to Make a Return Visit to UVA?

I got word late yesterday afternoon that all of the upcoming Days on the Lawn dates are full! At this point, we can't encourage any more visitors on DOTL days due to parking availability and the fire codes for the spaces where we hold academic panels (for our students' safety and ours, the Fire Marshall attends to make sure our spaces aren't over capacity). We're excited that we've been able to host so many visitors during our seven open houses.

If you'd like to make a return visit to Grounds and weren't able to attend a Days on the Lawn, you can plan your day on our Visit page. The visit page has information about sitting in on classes, requesting an overnight host, and taking another tour.

The one thing you can't do on a typical visit day is tour our residents halls. For security reasons, non-residents can not have access to a dorm unless they are a guest of a student living in the building. Instead, check out the Housing and Residence Life website. The res life team has gathered images of rooms in every residence hall to give you a sense of the variety of accommodations here. Don't miss the residential colleges that are open to first year students. Brown, Hereford, and the IRC are fantastic options to consider!

Ready to explore!




Thursday, March 23, 2017

Unofficial #UVA21 Admission Statistics

My post about admission statistics hasn't changed much over the years, but I am so excited to share a big development over in The Office of Institutional Assessment. Every school has an office (the name usually has to do with institutional assessment or research) that publishes data about the school and answers surveys about statistics. I personally think UVA's assessment group has been one of the best around, maintaining clear, easy to digest data (with percentages already calculated, hooray!) about all facets of the University for years and years.

Accessing Official Data from the Office of Institutional Assessment

Our assessment team has recently migrated to presenting data using Tableau. Basically, instead of fixed charts showing years of data, you can now customize tables to show the data you wish to review. It's hard to explain, but you should take a look at the admission part of their website and play around a bit.

I just created this chart about Fall 2016 applicants using residency and school of entry as my variables. Isn't this cool?




Remember that the charts show you the results of an lengthy, elaborate review. They don't show you how we make decisions, but rather how our decisions correlate to different variables (just as the scattergrams your school just show correlation between decisions and testing a certain GPA).


There's also a really interesting report on the results of the SERU 2016 survey, which stands for the Student Experience in the Research University. A consortium of peer schools administered this survey, so you might be able to access the SERU survey for other schools on your list. Of course, make sure to check the percentage of students who completed the survey at each institution. At UVA, 30% filled it out, which I believe is a pretty good return rate for a survey.

If you love data, the Assessment website is a treasure trove that you may enjoy exploring.


Unofficial Data for this Season

These numbers are up to date as of yesterday, March 22, 2017. If you are a reporter, please contact the Media Relations team in the Office of University Communications for current, official information and all of your reporterly needs. :)

Applications for Admission

Total number of  applications: 36,807 (32,377 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 10,942
Total number of OOS apps: 25,865
We only count completed applications here. There are schools that include incomplete/partial applications in their statistics.

Offers of Admission

Overall offers: 9,957
Total VA offers: 4,276 (39% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 5,681 (22% offer rate)
Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind. Yield reflects how many students accepted our offer of admission.

Class of 2021 goal: ~3,725 students

Testing/Rank (offers only)

Middle 50% NEW SAT score: 1330-1490
Middle 50% ACT composite: 31-34
We use scores from each section in our review, but the reports on averages generate totals. Way more students submitted the new SAT than the old, so I'm dropping the stats about the old exam. 

93.4% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their high school class
This number only reflects those who attend schools that report rank to colleges. Even if your school ranks, they may not report that statistic to colleges. Your counselor can tell you if your schools reports rank.


These are all the statistics I have for now. We are now throwing ourselves into the transfer review process.


Some final notes:
-Waiting list students should be sure to click the link in their letter to read the FAQs. Most of the waiting list questions I'm seeing on the blog are answered there.
-Days on the Lawn emails with your personalized RSVP link will go out this afternoon.
-Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be invited to their programs via email today or tomorrow.
-Welcome packets with information about next steps have left the office via US Mail.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Decisions: The Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVA Class of 2021 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. That group is just for students. Parents, you can check out the UVA Parents Page and the UVA Parents Facebook page.

I'll have post about admission statistics in the coming days and you'll be getting an email with your personalized RSVP link for Days on the Lawn (admitted student open houses) soon. Below your letter are buttons to accept or decline your offer. If you accept, you will see a button to let you pay your tuition deposit online*. Orientation registration will open after April 1st and you'll get more information about that in the future.

You have until May 1st to decide whether you'll be joining us in Charlottesville. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer via your self-service page.


Congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVA!
Image by Jen Fariello Photography


*We have an e-check system for deposits. You'll type in the numbers on the bottom of a check. The system will take certain kinds of credit cards, but it's primarily an e-check system. Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker when you go to pay the deposit!

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Decisions: The Waiting List

Students offered a spot on the waiting list can use this entry to talk.

This is probably the toughest decision to get from a school. At UVA, the waiting list tends to be large because there are so many different segments to the population here (VA and OOS groups for each of the four schools and the one program that take first year students). At this point, we don't know where there will be openings in the class.

We won't know how large the waiting list is until you all accept or decline your waiting list offers.  Right now, you've been offered a spot on the list. You aren't actually on it until you reply using the response buttons in SIS.

Still, the numbers can change dramatically from year-to-year. We took 42 students off the waiting list in 2015 and made 402 waiting list offers the next year.

For now, you need to look at your other options and think about which one feels right to you. Some of you will want to hold on and see what happens with the waiting list and others will want to fully invest themselves in another school. Either way, you need to submit a deposit somewhere by May 1st to ensure yourself a spot in a freshman class. If you are offered a spot in our class and you decide to accept it, you'll have to write to that other school and withdraw your name from the class (you may lose your deposit at that school). Just remember that you can't "double deposit".

Feel free chat here. You should have already seen the link to the waiting list FAQ page in your decision letter, which answers the most common questions (is the list ranked, what do I do now, what's the time line, etc.).


We hope you find a peaceful place to think about your options

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Decisions: The Deny

Denied students can use this entry to talk.

I know this is hard to handle and some of you might not have gotten a disappointing admission decision yet. I hope you all can look at your options and get excited about your other schools. If your immediate reaction is "I'll transfer", don't let that plan keep you from getting involved in campus life at the school you choose. I think many students come to think of their next choice as "home" and can't imagine leaving it after a little while. Give yourself time to explore your options.

Some students inquire about appealing their decision. We do not have an appeal process, so the denial is your final decision.

Please be polite and respectful of others when posting.


BTW, if you signed yourself up to read the blog by email and don't want the messages anymore, there's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page. 



A Regular Decision Update for #UVA21 Applicants

When online applications became the norm, most college admission officers and school counselors agreed to a best practice around the release of admission decisions. To avoid disrupting the school day and saving students from hours and hours of worry, it was decided that we would notify students of their decisions after the school day was over in our time zone, where most of our applicants live. This also let our staff work on fine tuning decisions throughout the work day.

Most smart, resourceful applicants will look at the 10+ years of posts on this blog and zero in on the fact that we tend to finish our Regular Decision review in the last two weeks of March.

Jack practicing his surprised look.

So...it won't be much of a surprise that we're done with our review and we are releasing decisions tonight. Please keep reading. There's a lot of important info to go over.


1. At some point tonight (this is handled by the tech people these days and I don't control the exact time), the "View Decision" link at the bottom of your SIS page will go to a decision letter. If you can't find your login info for the SIS, review the "After You Submit" section of the application instructions. A welcome mailing with info about next steps will come later for those who are admitted. Please do not open multiple windows or constantly hit refresh. Students have slowed SIS down to a crawl in the past by doing it. Use one window. Set a time tonight when you'll check and do something offline until then.

2. The release is always exciting, but some of you aren't going to get the decision for which you hoped. I hope you'll focus on the college options you have instead of the ones you don't. I hope those of you who get offers will celebrate your success, but also be gracious around those who might not have gotten good news.

3. I will post blog entries where you can talk about the different decisions. I'll be back to work through any questions that are asked in the comments tomorrow.  I trust you to be respectful of others in the comments. A lot of people on Grounds will be watching #UVA21 so they can welcome our newest Wahoos to the UVA community. We love seeing your reactions when we check that hashtag!

Keep an eye on the UVA Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook accounts. There might be some nice messages!



4. Please don't post personal information in the comments (contact info, statistics, etc.). After all, school-specific statistics like GPA are subjective and don't represent the applicant accurately. GPAs are meaningless without the high school profile's explanation of the methodology used to calculate them. What's more, there have been times when enough information about an applicant has been shared that their classmates could identify them.

5. Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be notified by email by the end of the week. Posts about the waiting list and statistics will come in a few days as well. There is no lag time in our office, so we are now reading transfer applications. Please understand if my responses to questions are a little delayed.

6. You don't need to call us to verify this. It's true. We are releasing decisions tonight. The receptionists can't tell you an exact time or your decision.




THANK YOU to all of you who have read and commented on the blog so far this season.

Regardless of what SIS shows you tonight, you are going to attend a great school. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors, administrators, and peers. You're going to meet people with whom you will stay friends for the rest of your lives. You're going to pull all-nighters studying. You're going to pull all-nighters not studying. You're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably at some things. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your openness to learning from them, not your location when they happen.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. Most of our applicants are qualified. They are perfectly capable of doing the work at UVA. Our first-year class just isn't large enough to accommodate everyone.


Best wishes to those who won't be back to the blog after this (if you're reading this by email, you can unsubscribe yourself at the bottom of the email). To the rest, I hope you'll continue to comment and stay in touch.

It's a big night and I'll be thinking about you all. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Overlapp Season Returns to UVA

Just when you start to get really, really drained from reading season, the overlap season begins and saves the day. Days on the Lawn brought several hundred admitted students to Grounds over the last few days. These events are supposed to help admitted students, but they wind up giving us an infusion of energy that will carry us through the final days of the process. DOTLs also remind us that a careful, thoughtful review of every application is so important. There are wonderful people behind each application we consider.


When I refer to "overlap season," I mean a time when we are interacting with several different groups of students. We are working with our admitted EA students, RD applicants, transfers (their application deadline was March 1), and juniors visiting us during spring break.
 
 

I know our Regular Decision students are eagerly waiting for updates. As always, we will release decisions when we finalize all decisions. We promise decisions will be available on April 1st, but you all know that we will post them earlier, if possible. Keep an eye on one of my accounts (the blog, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook) for updates.

 

 By the way, the photos in today's post are from yesterday's DOTL. The first image is from the morning welcome at the Rotunda and the rest are from the student social in the afternoon. The social is "students only," but I took Jack over to meet some of our visitors.




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Class of 2021 Logo Revealed!

I was going to write about a totally different topic today, but a colleague told me that cards with the Class of 2021 logo just arrived and I had to post a picture!

The UVA Alumni Association creates a unique logo for each incoming class. In recent years, they've sent us stickers to give out at Days on the Lawn (DOTL). It's always funny to hear the staff members who are alumni talk about their logo and what they think of the newest one. At least one person in our office is jealous that the Class of 2021 has the Rotunda in their logo. 



Here are the logos of a few past classes. There are even more in my InstaStories, if you want to take a longer walk down memory lane. I personally remember thinking that the Class of 2014's logo was super modern and cutting edge. It seems so silly now!





On your first day as a student at UVA, you'll see your logo and the logos of the other classes on banners at the Opening Convocation.

Wahoowa, Professor West!


On your last day as a student at UVA, one of your classmates (or you!) will lead the class down the Lawn for Final Exercises. *tears*



Between those two days, you'll see your logo pop up pretty regularly online and in person.

The fact that we have a Class of 2021 logo means it's almost time to shift from admitting the class to meeting the class. We are still hard at work, but rest assured that as soon as we are done with our review, we'll release decisions. As always, I'll post here and on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook when I have news.

Hang in there, future Hoos!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

March Madness in UVA Admission

I'm so thankful the students on our basketball team aren't playing in the ACC tournament until this evening. They've been slated for afternoon games in the past and everyone winds up sneak peeks at the updates between files. We have a tradition of letting my dog "play" with our opponents' mascots before games. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see how things go this year.




March Madness for us is the knowledge that this process wraps up this month! The end of the tunnel is in sight, though it's still weeks away. At this point, there is still a lot to do! We are reading Regular Decision files and rereading the files that were deferred from the Early Action process now that midyear reports have arrived. We've emailed students missing documents twice at this point. In a few cases, we've called counselors to get some extra information or to track down a missing item.


The Days on the Lawn (our admitted student open houses) planning team is also busy preparing for admitted students to arrive on Grounds. We have a few DOTLs in March for Early Action students and many more in April for EA and RD students together. Personalized links to register are emailed to admitted students. Obviously, we aren't done with the RD process yet. We'll send links after decisions are released.

To get you excited, here are some images from past DOTLs...



This next image is from a new tradition. When the previous First Lady suggested that all students celebrate "signing day," something that traditionally was associated with athletics, we created a faux press conference photo booth so students could take pictures of themselves to post on May 1st, the national "signing day." 

We'll have the photobooth set up in Peabody Hall again this year. Jack sometimes joins it!
 






Just collecting those images has me excited. Back to the files...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Academic Specialization in High School

Life is pretty cyclical in academia. Sophomores and juniors seem to be getting ready to register for next year's courses and we're getting lots of calls about course options. I sat down this morning to write a post about the curriculum choice that I think is a mistake and realized that I wrote about the same thing around this time in the past. If you don't want to click over, I'm talking about high school students tailoring their program to a certain major in order to "look good" on their college application.

Some people out there seem to think that a lopsided curriculum in high school is a great thing. They know what they want to be when they grow up and they just need to execute a finely crafted plan to get them there. These tend to be the same people show up at college orientation with four years of courses mapped out. We see this a lot and it doesn't always rarely works out the way the student planned.



At UVA, most students aren't doing work in a major until the second or third year. The exception is Kinesiology majors, who are admitted directly into the program. We hope that you'll see the first few semesters as a time to explore your options and determine if the paths that looked attractive in high school are still interesting. There are academic options that you aren't even aware of right now!  The path that seems clear in high school is apt to change. 

Sophomores and juniors, focus on getting strong courses in the core academic areas right now. Don't drop core subjects to go over board on one area. A lopsided curriculum doesn't "look good" to us. We want you to get a solid foundation so that you are prepared to go in any direction later on, not just the direction that is appealing right now.

I'm not talking about governors schools or magnet programs. My students at those schools tend to take care of their core. Perhaps that's mandated in some of those schools. I'm talking about students who don't establish a strong, broad foundation across the core subjects.

As always, I'm happy to answer questions in the comments.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mid-Year Reports Rolling In!

We ask that counselors submit mid-year reports to us by February 15th so we can review fall grades during the regular decision process. Receipt of these reports also allows us to review the files of students who were deferred to the Regular Decision pool after applying during the Early Action phase.

Around deadlines, we have thousands of documents arriving in our office via the Common App's transfer and traditional mail. It will take a few weeks to get thousands of documents filed, so you might not see the mid-year report disappear from your SIS account for a little while.

When things are on your to-do list, don't panic. Sometimes, documents are en route or they are here, but haven't been checked in. If you know an item was sent to us, sit tight. We'll be in touch if we need anything from you. Remember, colleges want to review complete applications. We always reach out via email (we give you the two email addresses we use in the application instructions) to get missing documents for incomplete files.

 Mailed documents waiting to be scanned into application files

In the meantime, keep an eye on your financial aid to-do list. Our offices are separate, but we know they sometimes add items to the to-do list if they need extra documentation while building your aid package.

Ready to cheer for the Hoos tonight!



Monday, January 30, 2017

Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars Update

I'm popping in very quickly with an update about scholars notifications. Letters inviting a small number of students into the Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs will be mailed tomorrow. There will be another round of invitations sent out at the end of the Regular Decision review. If you are not invited to join as an incoming student, you can self-nominate to join once you are here (see each program's website for specific information).

Every applicant to the College of Arts and Sciences was automatically considered for the Echols and College Science Scholars program and every applicant to the School of Engineering was considered for Rodman. 




There is a fourth scholars program, Miller Arts Scholars. You can apply to be an Arts Scholar in your second semester. The selected group usually consists of students studying studio art, music, drama, and dance.

Back to reading...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Deferred from #UVA21 Early Action? Read This.

Being deferred is tough. I still remember the feeling of limbo that I got when I was deferred in high school. The wait was so long and it suddenly got longer. Back then, we didn't have the internet and schools didn't provide you with much data beyond what was in the view book you got in the mail after taking the SAT. Today, I'm glad we can communicate with our students so they understand some of the reasons why we might defer a student.

There can be many reasons for deferring a student, but in my experience, two cases are most common:

1. The Big Senior Program

Many schools allow students to have more control over course selection as they advance. Senior year is often the year with the most freedom and many students go for the big finale. This is awesome! Senior year should be the finale to your high school career. Your transition to college is going to be smoother when the leap to college-level work isn't a huge one, so a strong senior program is smart.

When we see a student with a wonderful transcript and an ambitious senior program, we sometimes feel that seeing mid-year grades from these top courses can help us make a final decision.


2. The Upward Trend

We try to counsel students about waiting for Regular Decision if they are rebounding from some shaky grades earlier in the high school career. There are other voices pushing students to submit applications early because there is a belief that early rounds are easier. Some schools may have a different process for their early round, but we have the same review style no matter when you apply.

When we see someone who is rebounding from a weak year (whether that's about a grade or program), we often feel it's best to get one more semester of work in the file. If you are rebounding, know that we are rooting for you!


How Do You Respond?

There's a link in the decision letter you received that goes to a Defer FAQs page that covers what you are supposed to do next.

We get plenty of emails/comments that question our advice on that page. You do not need to start a defer campaign. I think there are people out there who insist that you must do this and that might influence the process at other schools. If you look back at the two scenarios I cited above, the issue isn't with supplements or recommendations (remember, we turned off the non-academic recommendation function in Common App). An academic update about how the first semester went will be most helpful.

If you are a senior, you have a lot on your plate. I can't tell you how many essays I've read about sleep deprivation and time management in the last few years. We are trying to help you be smart about how you spend your limited time. If a college tells you not to worry about doing something, don't do it. It's not going to move the needle. Use your energy elsewhere!

I know there are folks out there who will cite the student from another year who sent all sorts of extras. They may be convinced they were offered admission during Regular Decision because of those extras when the admission officers were really just looking for those mid-year grades. Keep it simple.

A Word About Statistics

People inevitably ask me for stats about the defer pool. I don't have data to cite a trend, but I can say that residency will still be a major factor, with more deferred students from Virginia getting offers in Regular Decision. School choice and the size of the pool are also factors.


I know this isn't the decision you wanted to see the other night, but I hope you realize that deferral is not the end of the road. It means we see things we like in your file and we want to see more. Hang in there.
Not loving this situation.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unofficial #UVA21 Early Action Admission Statistics

The Office of Institutional Assessment is the source of all official statistics about UVA. They take a census to determine the final statistics for the class. You can see official admission data in the data digest part of their website. Obviously, what happened in past years isn't going to predict the future, but some people have fun playing around with the different charts on their site.

Here are some unofficial numbers about the early action process. These numbers are up to date as of yesterday, January 25, 2017. If you are a reporter, please contact the Media Relations team in the Office of University Communications for current, official information and all of your reporterly needs. :)

Early Action Applications

Total number of Early Action applications: 20,446 (16,768 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 5,278
Total number of OOS apps: 14,968
We use completed application numbers in our statistics. There are schools that include incomplete applications in their stats.

Early Action Offers

Overall offers: 5,914
Total VA offers: 2,575 (47% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 3,339 (22% offer rate)
Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind.Yield is how many students accept an offer of admission. Check out yield from past years, broken down by residency (these numbers are for the entire applicant pool, not just early action).

Early Action Defers

Overall defers: 5,458
Some applicants will withdraw, so these numbers will go down!

Early Action Testing/Rank (offers only)

Middle 50% OLD SAT score: 2020-2290
Middle 50% NEW SAT score: 1350-1500
Middle 50% ACT composite: 31-34
We use scores from each section in our review, but the reports on averages generate totals.  

94.6% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their high school class
This number only reflects those who attend schools that report rank.


Please understand that I do not have additional statistics. We are already immersed in the Regular Decision review process. There will be a post about deferral tomorrow, but if you clicked the link in your letter and read the Defer FAQs, you know much of the content.

The Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs are sending invitations in the coming days. I will post an update when I know specifics. Welcome packets with information about next steps will be leaving our office soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Early Action: The Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVA Class of 2021 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. That group is just for students. Parents, you can check out the UVA Parents Page and the UVA Parents Facebook page.

I'll have post about admission statistics and Days on the Lawn (our admitted student open houses) in the coming days. Just for reference, below your letter are buttons to accept or decline your offer. If you accept, you will see a button to let you pay your tuition deposit online*. Orientation registration will open after April 1st and you'll get more information about that in the future.

You have until May 1st to decide whether you'll be joining us in Charlottesville. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer immediately via your self-service page.


Congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVA!
Image by Jen Fariello Photography


*We have an e-check system for deposits. You'll type in the numbers on the bottom of a check. The system will take certain kinds of credit cards, but it's primarily an e-check system. Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker when you go to pay the deposit!

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Early Action: The Defer

Deferred students can use this post to talk.

Your application hasn't finished it's journey yet.

Once your mid-year grades arrive, your file will be reviewed again during the Regular Decision round. At this point, you should simply make sure your mid-year report is sent when the grades are ready. Most of your counselors will do this automatically.

We know the wait is tough, but we think your mid-year grades could help your case. Hang in there! You should see the link to the defer FAQ page in your letter, which answers the most common questions.

Jack hopes you can find a peaceful place to wait.

Let's Talk about #UVA21 Early Action: The Deny

Denied students can use this entry to talk.

I know this is hard to handle and some of you might not have gotten a disappointing admission decision yet. I hope you all can look at your options and get excited about your other schools. If your immediate reaction is "I'll transfer", don't let that plan keep you from getting involved in campus life at the school you choose. I think many students come to think of their next choice as "home" and can't imagine leaving it after a little while. Give yourself time to explore your options.

Some students inquire about being moved to the defer group. Please understand that we do not have an appeal process.

Please be polite and respectful of others when posting.


BTW, if you signed yourself up to read the blog by email and don't want the messages anymore, there's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page. 



#UVA21 Early Action decisions come out tonight!

We're done with Early Action and we are releasing decisions tonight! Please keep reading. There's a lot of important info to go over.

Waiting

1. At some point tonight (this is handled by the tech people these days and I don't control the exact time), the "View Decision" link at the bottom of your SIS page will go to a decision letter. If you can't find your login info for the SIS, review the "After You Submit" section of the application instructions. A welcome mailing with info about next steps will come later for those who are admitted. Please do not open multiple windows or constantly hit refresh. Students have slowed SIS down to a crawl in the past by doing it. Use one window. Set a time tonight when you'll check and do something offline until then.

Our counselor friends want you checking your decision at home, where you won't have an audience of classmates and a parent can be standing by to give you a big hug regardless of your decision. That's more likely to happen in the evening (we've actually consulted a lot of counselors about this).

2. The release is always exciting, but some of you aren't going to get the decision for which you hoped. I hope you'll focus on the college options you have instead of the ones you don't at the end of the day. I hope those of you who get offers will celebrate your success, but also be gracious around those who might not have gotten good news.

3. I will post blog entries where you can talk about the different decisions. I'll be back to work through any questions that are asked in the comments tomorrow.  I trust you to be respectful of others in the comments. A lot of people on Grounds will be watching #UVA21 so they can welcome our newest Wahoos to the UVA community. We love seeing your reactions when we check that hashtag!

Keep an eye on the UVA Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook accounts. There might be some nice messages!



4. Please don't post personal information in the comments (contact info, statistics, etc.). As we discussed this morning, school-specific statistics like GPA are subjective these days and don't represent the applicant accurately. GPAs are meaningless without the high school profile's explanation of the methodology used to calculate them. What's more, there have been times when enough information about an applicant has been shared that their classmates could identify them.

5. Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be notified next week. Posts about deferral, Days on the Lawn (open houses for admitted students), an EA statistics will come next week. There is no lag time in our office, so we are now reading Regular Decision applications. Please understand if my responses to questions are a little delayed.

6. You don't need to call us to verify this. It's true. We are releasing decisions tonight. The receptionists can't tell you an exact time or your decision.




THANK YOU to all of you who have read and commented on the blog so far this season.

Regardless of what SIS shows you tonight, you are going to attend a great school. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors, administrators, and peers. You're going to meet people with whom you will stay friends for the rest of your lives. You're going to pull all-nighters studying. You're going to pull all-nighters not studying. You're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably at some things. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your openness to learning from them, not your location when they happen.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. Most of our applicants are qualified. They are perfectly capable of doing the work at UVA. Our first-year class just isn't large enough to accommodate everyone.


Best wishes to those who won't be back to the blog after this (if you're reading this by email, you can unsubscribe yourself at the bottom of the email). To the rest, I hope you'll continue to comment and stay in touch.

It's a big night and I'll be thinking about you all. Good luck!

UVA Admission's Holistic Review and GPA


I'm spending the week on the road to attend evening programs for juniors and their parents at a few high schools. The counselors at the programs go over all the incredible sources of data that students can access these days when doing research about colleges. Many of my schools use a system called Family Connections, created by a company called Hobsons, to assist with career discernment and the college search (among other things...it's a robust system, from that I've seen). One of the tools in the system is the college scattergram.

A scattergram I found online. This is NOT for UVA.

Scattergrams plot admission decisions from a college on two axis: GAP and test score. I always have to caution people to remember that scattergrams are plotting the results of a much more elaborate process using just two factors. They show the user correlation, not causation. An admitted student on a scattergram wasn't admitted because of their GPA and test score, but because their entire application was compelling.

How Do We Use GPAs?

The way I see it, the GPA is the schools' way of summarizing the work that's on the transcript. GPA methodologies vary from county to county in Virginia (and this is fine with us...each district uses the method that works for their students). The GPA doesn't tell you the full story, though. You may have classmates with identical GPAs who have very different coursework and grades on their transcripts. Resists the urge to fixate on GPA and instead think about how we read your transcript.

The transcript is where we learn about your academic progress. We know that most first years in high school are told much of what they are going to do, but most schools give students more options as they gain seniority. We're looking to see that you challenge yourself with an interesting program that includes advanced options (whatever your school has - AP, IB, DE, etc) in a way that's appropriate to you.

"In a way that's appropriate to you" means we want you to stretch and challenge yourself when it comes to course selection, but we also want to see strong grades. Hopefully, your counselor and parents have helped you think about the right mix of courses for you.


What Does Holistic Mean?

Holistic admission means we look at the entire application before we render a decision. There are no "cut offs" (remember GPA is not standardized, so that doesn't make senses in Virginia). We read every file, front to back, before we make our recommendations. We read and double check our files multiple times. You can read more about the holistic review here.


As always, I'm happy to answer questions in the comments.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A #UVA21 Early Action Update

It's the time of year when Early Action students get a little punchy. They're obsessively checking SIS to see if it will give a sneak preview of decisions and every tweet or post that mentions UVA has them looking for hidden meaning.

We say notification will by "by the end of January" to give us the flexibility to ensure a thoughtful, careful review of every application, regardless of how many apply. The number of Early Action applications increased this year. I know Early Action applicants are eager to know admission decisions, but I hope you understand that you benefit from the fact that we will not sacrifice when it comes to giving every file a thorough review.

You will hear from us by the end of the month, but there is still work to be done.



golden retriever UVA grounds
No time to play! There's work to be done!


Friday, January 06, 2017

Showing Interest and Sending Supplements

We have this great page on our website with all of our email addresses on it. We put our photos on it to show that human beings read all of the applications. 

Side note: There was a dad at a college fair this year who could not believe that we read all the applications and nothing I said could convince him otherwise. I hope he saw my Instagram post on Thanksgiving! We do read the applications. It's hard work, but we enjoy it and believe it's important to review every file. 

Anyway, it's pretty awesome that people are using the Contact page. 



I fear that something is being missed, though. Before you get to our lovely pictures, there's some text. I underlined two points I want to explain on the blog today.



1. Demonstrated interest is not a factor during Early Action or Regular Decision.

I've gotten several emails from students in the last two weeks that contain declarations of love for UVA and even promises to enroll if we offer admission. I get that there are schools out there that are using interest right now, but we don't expect or desire students to tell us where UVA is on their list of colleges. Your application is enough demonstration of interest for us.

You're going to be making a big decision once decisions are out and we think every student should have until May 1 to thoroughly evaluate their options. 

 

2. The Common App is enough.

I wrote a post about this during Early Action, but it bears repeating. The Common App is lengthy and robust. It provides us with A LOT of information. Still, there are those who want to make the app even longer by sending supplements. We take two kinds of supplements: arts supplements and architecture supplements. You can read about them in the application instructions

We don't accept resumes, writing portfolios, research papers, research abstracts, outside recommendations, newspaper clippings, or certificates. I went over each of those in the post that went up during EA, so take a look if you are curious. 




The point is that you have a lot going on during senior year and getting your college applications submitted should feel like a huge accomplishment. Submitting shouldn't feel like the start of a campaign. 

I know waiting for decisions is hard. We are working quickly, but carefully, to make sure every file is reviewed in a thoughtful way. The release of decisions is exciting for us and we're eager to finish our review! There is still a lot of work to do, though. Hang in there.

May your wait not be as difficult as Jack's.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Post-Deadline Notes for UVA Regular Decision

Happy New Year! Peabody hall is back open and our administrative staff is processing Regular Decision applications while the admission officers continue to read Early Action files.

Most of the emails we're getting are from students worried about their application being incomplete. Let's back up and cover how we'll communication with you about your status and why it's too early to be worrying about a Regular Decision application status.

1. Add uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu and undergradadmission@virginia.edu to your safe senders list.

We send important application updates and requests for info from these two accounts. If you put them in your address book, that will hopefully make sure our emails don't go into your junk folder. I know a lot of people use email sporadically these days, but we use it a lot. You need to keep an eye on your inbox for messages from us.

2. Keep an eye out for a SIS Login email.

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.

3. Your application will probably be incomplete when you log in.


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

It can take several weeks for us to match recommendations, test scores, and transcripts with Regular Decision applications. This is true even if you submitted days or weeks before the deadline since our Early Action applicants were the priority early on in the season.



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.