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

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Notes for the #UVA23 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 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 fill out the waiting list reply on the portal. 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 2018 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: 5,972
Number accepting a place on the waiting list: 3,588
Number of wait-listed students admitted: 13
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.

What's this thing about UVA Wise?

Virginia residents on the waiting list are given the option of enrolling at UVA Wise for one year before guaranteed transfer to UVA. There are some academic requirements for the time at Wise, of course. If you are a Virginia resident, you will see a question about the UVA Wise option on your waiting list reply form. Answering yes will get you some more information from our colleagues at Wise. You won't be removed from our waiting list process and you aren't bound to Wise if you select the "yes" option.

I accepted. Why is the form still there? 

You can always come back and pull yourself off the list. That is why the form remains after you opt in. There is no going back once you decline, though.

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 3,750 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 over 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.

2018 - 13
2017- 117
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. Uploaded a letter in the portal is appropriate. Bombarding every admission officer with an email each day is not. Please don't email one or more admission officers directly with your updates. That will delay your email being filed. Following directions is important.

By the way, showing up in Peabody Hall will have no affect. I can't tell you how many students drive here 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 May 14th. In 2017, we were done by June 13th. Every year is a little different. When the time comes, we always email the entire waiting list to let them know the class is full.

If you are going to get an offer, we'll call you at the number you put on your application. The call is a heads up that your status is about to change in the portal. 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 portal to remove their name from the list, but some people forget. When the portal updates, a new letter shows up along with the ability to 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.

Will my housing and class options be limited if I come off the waiting list?

In a word: no. Housing doesn't even open their system until June and students coming off the waiting list aren't treated differently in their process. During the Orientation season, seats in certain popular classes are held for each orientation session. That means people who sign up for the first orientation can't scoop up all the seats in classes. What's more, the registration system opens up for course changes in August. Lots of students don't finalize their courses until that period.

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!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Unofficial Admission Statistics for the #UVA Class of 2023

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 later in the year. You can see official admission data in the data digest part of their website, including admission data by residency and school of entry.

Here are some unofficial numbers about this year's process. These numbers are up to date as of yesterday, March 24, 2019. 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. :)

Total Applications

Total applications: 40,869 (37,182 last year)
Total number of VA apps: 12,010
Total number of OOS apps: 28,859
We use completed applications in our statistics.

Total Offers of Admission

Overall offers: 9,787
Total VA offers:  4,331 (36% offer rate)
Total OOS offers:  5,456 (19% offer rate)
Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind. Yield is how many students accept an offer of admission.

Testing/Rank (offers only)

Middle 50% SAT score:  1340-1500 (VA)  1430-1540 (OOS)
Middle 50% ACT composite: 32-34 (VA)  33-35 (OOS)
These are the results of our review. These were not targets. We use scores from each section in our review, but the reports on averages generate totals.

Defers and Waiting List

Deferred students offered admission: 12% (16.6% last year)
Waiting list offers: 13% of Regular Decision applicants (28.6% last year)
The waiting list forms as students opt into it via the portal and we have seen up to HALF decline putting themselves on the list. The waiting list will have ten different segments (in-state and OOS for each of the five academic areas that take first-year students).

A couple notes:


1. I do not have additional statistics. You can see last year's stats broken down by residency, school of entry, and other criteria using the "official admission data" link I provided in the first paragraph.

2. Scholar status is shown in the portal. If you were invited to join Echols, Rodman, or College Science Scholars during this round, you will see this in the portal. If you were not invited to join now, you can join them after the first semester. Information about this is on each program's webpage.

3. Welcome packets with information about next steps will be leaving our office soon!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Let's Talk about #UVA23 Decisions: The Offer of Admission

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVA Class of 2023 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. Parents, you can check out the UVA Parents Page, the UVA Parents Fund Facebook page, and the UVA Parent Network group (a social group run independently by parents).

I'll have posts about admission statistics and Days on the Lawn (our admitted student open houses) in the coming days.

You have until May 1st to decide whether you'll be joining us at UVA. You can accept your offer and pay the enrollment deposit through the student portal. The date you deposit will not impact your housing or course registrationOrientation registration will open on April 1st and Housing opens their system on May 1. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer via your portal.

Congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVA!

Let's Talk about #UVA23 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 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 via your portal.

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.) and provides a decade of data about waiting list offers.

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.



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

Let's Talk about #UVA23 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 being moved to the waiting list. 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. 



#UVA Regular Decision Notification is Tonight!

As if we aren't excited enough because the men's basketball team is playing the first game of the NCAA tournament this afternoon, we also get to share our decisions with Regular Decision applicants! I have a few notes about this evening's decision release. This might be a little long, but this is important info.

1. At some point this evening (I don't control the exact time), you will be able to see your decision in your student portal. You will also get a formal letter by mail in an orange packet.

2. The release is always exciting, but some of you aren't going to get the decision you wanted. I hope you'll focus on the college options you have instead of the ones you don't. Celebrate your successes, 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 #UVA23 on social media so they can welcome our newest Hoos to the UVA community. We love seeing your reactions when we check that hashtag!

Keep an eye on the UVA InstagramTwitter, 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 I've talked about before, GPAs are not calculated the same way at all schools and don't represent the applicant or their program accurately. Parents, please be careful about sharing your student's profile. There have been times when enough information about an applicant has been shared (here and elsewhere) that classmates could identify them.

5. EcholsRodman, and College Science Scholars will see their status in the portal as well. They will also receive a letter in their admit packet.

6. I will write posts about the waiting list and share admission statistics in the coming days. There is no lag time in our office, so we have transitioned to reading transfer applications. Please understand if my responses to questions are a little delayed.



THANK YOU to all of you who have read and commented on the blog and chatted via social media this season. The Instagram Q&As have been a highlight for me. They are a much-needed way to interact with students while spending most of my days staring at a computer screen.

Regardless of what the portal shows you tonight, you are going to attend a great school. You're going to learn from amazing 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 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 19, 2019

Course Rigor is Not a Number


I often mention the cyclical nature of admission work. There are certain phases that happen every year and certain issues that come up when we talk to families. I want to address the questions we get about rigor in the high school curriculum.

1. All of your core classes are important.

A lot of people focus on the core areas that correspond to their current academic interest. I've even had people wave off certain subjects because they aren't interested in them or they don't come "naturally" to them. I wish they'd stop this. High school is the time to get a broad foundation in several areas and college is the time to specialize. We most concerned with a student's work in four core areas (in alpha order, not order of importance): English, Math, Science, Social Science, and World Language. 

At UVA, students don't even declare a major until the end of the second year in the College of Arts and Sciences or the end of the first year in Engineering and Architecture. The Nursing and Kinesiology students are the only ones admitted directly into a program. 

2. The number of APs doesn't drive a decision.

Plenty of people want to know how many AP courses a student should take to be competitive in our process. We don't approach applications this way. First of all, not everyone goes to a school with APs as an option. Second, some schools limit how many AP courses a student may take. Third, with the number of AP courses offered these days, you can rack up a lot of APs in just one subject. There could be students with big AP numbers who also haven't take an advanced course in other core areas. 

3. Doubling up in one subject at the expense of the core doesn't "look good."

There are some students who are so excited about a certain subject that they want to double or even triple up on courses in that area. I don't think it's smart to drop core subjects to load up classes in one area. Cover the core and use your electives to explore your interests.


As always, I'm happy to answer questions about rigor of curriculum or course selection in the comments.