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

There are fifteen years of posts here. The search box works well, but please consider the age of the posts when you find them. The college admission process changes over time!

You are welcome to use the comment section anonymously.

Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Great news for international students

Some alumni have banded together to organize a bus to take international students from Dulles International Airport to UVa before orientation session L (just before classes start). Seems like a nice way to make the's free, too!

For international students who are attending Session L of New Student Orientation, the University of Virginia is providing a free bus service from Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC to Charlottesville on Tuesday, August 21 and Wednesday, August 22. First year international students should fly in to Dulles (IAD), where they will be greeted by U.Va. alumni and staff, driven to the University, and escorted to their residential halls to rest after the long day of travel. Students who do not ride the Orientation Express will not be allowed into their residential halls until Wednesday, August 22. For more information, please e-mail Kate Malay at Sign up online at

Transfer notification update

Transfer decisions will be posted to online accounts at 5 PM on Monday, April 30th. Decision letters will be mailed the next day.

As an aside, the Beta Bridge still looks as it does in the pictures below. I have never heard of a message staying on there so long during the school year. Walking down Rugby Road, I saw banners hanging from many Greek houses with messages about Virginia Tech. It's good to see the rivalry being put aside.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A quiet day at UVa

Forgive me if I don't have much to write today. It's a quiet day at UVa, as many of our students have friends and family members in the Virginia Tech community. Our first moment of silence will be at 2 PM and the next will come during a candlelight vigil at 7 PM at the amphitheatre.

Those looking for information may find the following links helpful.

Reaching out to Virginia Tech (from President Casteen)

Counseling services at Elson Student Health Center

Statement from the Dean of Students

Simplified emergency procedures at UVa
The comprehensive Critical Incident Management Plan

This is a photo of the Beta Bridge this morning.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Financial Aid & Social Security Numbers

We've been getting a few calls from people who want to correct their social security numbers in our system either because they mistyped their number on their application or because they didn't supply a number at all. As the note on the application says, a Social Security number is required if a student is applying for financial's a requirement dictated by the federal government.

Changing a Social Security number isn't something that can be done over the phone, for obvious reasons. A copy of a Social Security card or of a driver's license with SSN on it is suitable documentation, though.

The registrar's office will review the documentation and make the change. When the change takes effect, Student Financial Services can put the finishing touches on an aid package.

So, bear with us if you didn't supply a Social Security number or gave us the wrong one. The changes are being processed as fast as possible.

NOTE: SSN changes must be submitted to the Office of Admission. The change begins here, then flows to the rest of the University. Please do not contact the registrar or financial aid to make such a change.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thoughts on the latest round of decision calls

This season's round of decision calls have been pretty manageable so far. There have been a few difficult ones, such as the parent who was convinced that an updated ACT score would have changed our decision or the one who didn't realize extracurricular activities couldn't make up for a limited curriculum and average grades. These calls are fairly routine, so they don't surprise us too much.

What has surprised me is the number of admitted students (rather, their parents) calling to complain about not being designated an Echols Scholar. They seem to think that the transcript is the key to the Echols process. As I've explained before, we're looking for academic excellence, but we're also looking for love of learning or a clear passion for a subject. The essays, activities, and teacher recommendations all contribute to our review, it's not just about the GPA.

I've started asking what the student had found attractive about the Echols and Rodman Scholars Programs. Some don't realize that it's not an honors college and that while the perks are great, there are plenty of non-Echols/Rodman UVa students having a fulfilling, rewarding experience at UVa. Some don't really know what they wanted from the program. I imagine that they just wanted to be deemed special and wanted.

If you were admitted to UVa, you are special. You were selected from over 18,000 students to become part of our community.

If you were admitted to UVa, you are wanted. We work hard to show you this by putting together Days on the Lawn, organizing phone calling, and sending you congratulatory letters and emails from people all over the University.

Echols and Rodman are wonderful programs, but please understand that the decisions have been made for this year. If you strongly believe that you should be in Echols or Rodman, you can apply to join the programs once you get here (Rodman takes applications in the fall, Echols in the spring).

Monday, April 09, 2007

Transfer update

We're a bit busy right now, hence this entry being started this morning, but not posted until now.

The transfer review process continues...we're still getting some credentials in, which is fine, so if you have any updated grades, feel free to send those along.

The University's commitment to transfers has led us to allow late applications for the transfer class. The hope is that more Virginia Community College System students will apply (preference is given to those with Associates degrees). The review process is continuing as intended, but we'll consider those late applications until May 1st.

We still plan on sending notification to those who applied by the regular deadline by May 1st. Those who submit late applications will be notified as soon as a decision on their file is reached.

Status pages will be deactivated

This is just a quick note for the first year applicants. The status page will stop showing your decision today.

I want to avoid a panic when the decision message is gone, so please pass the word along to your friends.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Q&A with Dean J, part 3

So many comments have come been posted in the last 24 hours that I decided to put the questions and replies in new posts to make them easier for all to see.

I'm going to split this into two posts, one for admitted students and one for waitlisted students. Feel free to post more questions in under the appropriate entry.

By the way, I'm not correcting grammar and spelling on the questions. Pardon the errors.

Update: New questions and answers have been posted.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Admitted Student Questions

Admitted students can submit questions in the comments and I'll update this post with answers.

Q1. Does UVA library only have scholarly stuff, or does it also have leisure reads like harry potter and dan brown? (if it doesn't then one would have to use the Charlottesville library system?)
---also is there arnes and nobles or borders nearby uva?

A1. There are 13 libraries at UVa and they include books and periodicals for scholarly and leisurely reading. Clemons library, in addition to having fiction books, has a DVD library with all sorts of movies, including new releases.

Charlottesville actually had the first Barnes & Noble outside of a major city. I often see students studying in the cafe there. We have plenty of independent book shops on The Corner and The Downtown Mall.

Q2. I applied through FAFSA and UVA and did what was supposed to be done, but am not completely sure how the notification will work. Should I expect something through e-mail or snail mail? And will that be soon or am I being too impatient?

A2. I believe financial services has begun mailing aid packages. A call to their office will confirm that your package is complete. If you call, remember that they are probably swamped right now and you might have to wait on hold for a little while.

Q3. It seems people received rejection letters before acceptances...are those generally the first to go out? Or is it just a false rumor?

A3. Scroll down and check out those photos from Friday, March 30th. Everything went out at the same time. You mentioned this is a "rumor". I'd suggest that if you don't hear about our policies from an admission officer at UVa or read it on our website, you should take it with a huge grain of salt. There are a lot of "experts" out there who purport to know how we operate.

Q4. Is it necessary to attend Days on the Lawn when I'm positive that I'm attending UVa?

A4. No, attendance at DOTL is in no way required.

Q5. My cousin applied to engineering grad school at UVA. Do you have any idea when these decisions will be announced?

A5. My office is the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Graduate admission is handled by the individual schools.

Q6. If we haven't gotten a Echols Scholar letter by now (4/6), does that mean we weren't chosen as one? Does the letter come with the admission offer?

A6. As I wrote before, Echols students have had follow up communication by email since letters were mailed. Students who were invited into the scholars program should know by now.

Q7. Are you going to the FIRST Robotics nationals next week?

A7. No FIRST for me this year. :(

Waitlisted student questions

Waitlisted students can submit questions in the comments and I'll update this post with answers.

Q1. Because the [wait]list is unweighted, is the only differentiation by letter of interest? In other words, are students who submit a letter more likely to be selected from the list, or is the process more similar to the normal decision review?

A1. I wouldn't say that the only students who come off the waitlist are those who write letters, but it can help if you feel an explanation of some part of your application is necessary.

Q2. I realize that the waiting list is huge, and that there are different categories (although technically they aren't already separated), but I was wondering if you had any exact numbers yet. I know last year the waitlist ended up around two thousand after people actually accepted spots.

A2. We won't have numbers for the waitlist until May 1st, when we hope all students will have replied to the offer of a waitlist spot.

Q3. I have a quirky question, if you are accepted off the waitlist, which happens around late June, when it comes to housing, are waitlisters offered last options, I mean arent housing assignments already mailed out by the time waitlisters are chosen?

A3. Housing assignments aren't made until the summer, so students who get in off the waitlist in June are not at a disadvantage.

Q4. I thought that anyone who got deferred ED WAS still competitive, otherwise he/she would have been denied even after the ED round. I guess that means that the people who applied regular decision were even stronger than the ED hopefuls, so a number of the ED deferreds were no longer competitive. Am I getting that right?

A4. Back in November and December, we deferred applications for whom we couldn't make a decision for various reasons. We often think that senior grades will give us more to go on. However, when regular decision applications arrived in greater numbers than we expected, obviously, those early notions of how strong the pool would be get dashed.

Q5. Is there any such procedure such as appealing an admissions decision at UVA

A5. No, there is no appeal process.

Q6. but I'd like to know where in the required ratio of instate/OOS do OOS legacies fall?

A6. As far as the state is concerned, alumni children who do not have Virginia residency are not in the 2/3 part of the ratio. You are a resident of your home state.

Q7. would a waitlist applicant looking to enroll in the 5 year teacher education program only be considered when there were more decline responses than expected from other admitted teacher education applicants?

A7. After May 1st, we'll see which parts of the class need more students. Since first year students don't apply to the education school, that is not really a factor in the process. We'll be looking at VA/OOS in each of the four schools (CLAS, SEAS, SARC, NURS).

Q8. kinda confused, did UVA accept for students then needed? I mean did they accept like 4000, when they only had 3,500 spaces (exaggerated numbers)? so wailisted people would have to pray that more than 500 people decline?

A8. This is how all colleges operate. Because students apply to so many schools, we can't be sure that an applicant to UVa will actually come. We use past yield rates to determine the appropriate number of students to admit in order to get down to a class of around 3,170 (the target was increased by 70 this year). So, we admit around 6,000 students, knowing that many of them will opt to go elsewhere, leaving us with around 3,100.

Enrollment management is a tricky thing. Sometimes, admission officers don't see something coming and the yield changes dramatically. A good example of this would be from George Mason last year. Their basketball team did amazingly well in the NCAA tournament last year and they got a lot of wonderful media attention because of that. As a result, many students who hadn't been inclined to go to Mason were excited about going there and their yield jumped. Great for the yield rate, not so great for the housing folks, who have to find spaces for more students than they expected to have on campus!

Q9. If letters were sent on Friday, I thought I would receive it by now, but it has yet to arrive. Should I be worried?--Worried Idaho girl

A9. I imagine that it might take a bit of time for letters to make it out west. If you don't have a letter as of today (Friday, 4/6), give us a call and we'll either email or mail out a copy.

Q10. dean j, after all the numbers are in for the people accepting waitlisting, could you lets us know, please? I know it wont be for a while though, thanks!

A10. No problem. We're in the middle of the transfer review process, but after we get through that, I'll have some more official numbers to share.

Q11. this might be a stupid questoin, but when you write a letter to UVa expressing your interests...who do you direct it towards? thank you!
~wahoo wannabe

A11. You should write to the Dean of Admission. His name is on your decision letter.

Q12. is it true that UVA only accepted so many people from northern virginia?

A12. Anyone interested in the truth behind all those rumors about who we can admit should read this post from last year.

Q13. If the decisions for the waitlist pool are released around the 3rd week of May, when should our guidance counselor send in our final year grades if final year grades are not completed at my school until the 1st week of June?

A13. We don't have a rock solid time line for going to the waitlist. Send those updated transcripts as soon as their available.

Other questions
Q1. I think people would leave their names with comments but uva admissions has a weird policy of writing down notes in applicants' files following phone calls. this sort of process freaks many people out, thus they choose anonymity.

A1. This is why I suggested making up a name.

Tracking communication is very common in college admission. It helps jog our memories when we take a call from a student with whom we've talked before.