For new readers...

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!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Does #UVA Look for Consistency in Extracurricular Activities?

One of my colleagues spoke with a parent the other day who mentioned that her child was reluctantly continuing with a particular activity because someone told him colleges want to see consistency in activities. I'd like to share my thoughts on extracurricular activities.

We want students who will contribute in our community during their time at UVA. There are many ways and venues in which to make a contribution - through work in the classroom, research, at a job, in student organizations (we call them CIOs here), in the residents hall, around Charlottesville, etc.  The simple question that is in the back of my mind as I read a student's file is "will this student contribute in some way?"

1.  We don't value certain activities over others.

There are over 900 student organizations at UVA. All of those CIOs make UVA the interesting, innovative, and fun place that it is. Whether you are involved in the most popular club at your school or the most obscure one, we'll be happy that you are making a difference in some facet of your school community.

2. We don't expect you to fill out the entire Common App activity chart.

Most students aren't significantly involved in enough activities to fill every line of the activity chart. This isn't about who has the longest list, it's about understanding where a student spends their time outside of the classroom. The length of your list is not a factor in our review.


3. You don't have to show consistency.

If you are one of the lucky students who found an activity you love early on and have maintained involvement in it throughout high school, that's wonderful! If your interests have evolved over time, you are totally normal! You're a teenager and you are allowed to change your mind about your activities. Please don't apologize if your activities haven't been long-term.

It's fine if your activity list shortens a little bit in junior and/or senior year. As academic responsibilities increase, it makes sense to reshuffled your priorities and let one or two activities fall by the wayside. If you don't have to do this in high school, you'll certainly have to do it in college. Most first-years sign up for a few too many CIOs and realize about a month into school that they have to cut back!



The tl;dr: If you have something to put down in the activity section, we'll be happy.


Jack's activity list: looking cute and greeting visitors

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Picking a School and Academic Interest on the #UVA Application

Spending time in my Virginia territory always gives me a read on what the big concerns are for the year's applicants. I gave 21 presentations at Fairfax high schools last week and sat on a panel at one evening program. Far and away, the most common questions I heard were about picking a major.

Applicants to UVA can enter through one of four schools or one academic program. The options are:

College of Arts & Sciences
School of Engineering
School of Architecture
School of Nursing
Kinesiology
Students do not declare majors in Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and Architecture when they apply. The only students who are really entering directly into a program are the Nursing and Kinesiology students. Last year, there were 75 first years in Nursing and 49 in Kinesiology. In the class of 3,683 students, 3,559 have yet to declare a major.

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences declare majors by the end of their second year and students in Engineering and Architecture declare at the end of theor first year. Engineering and Architecture expose students to all of their options (10 majors in Engineering, 3 in Architecture) before they declare at the end of the first year. Once they arrive at UVA, students can also explore the Curry School of Education, McIntire School of Commerce, and Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

You aren't making a permanent decision with your choice of school and academic interest on the UVA application. Please don't stress out about this! Pick the area that feels like the right jumping off point in light of your current interests. Very few students actually have an academic plan right now and those who have plans probably won't follow them exactly!


Interests evolve...that's normal!