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!

Monday, March 31, 2008

The pets of Peabody

CavDog's pictures have gotten so many lovely comments on this blog! It's only fair to give some of the other pets of Peabody Hall a chance to shine.

These pictures represent just a few of our pets. Not including the puppies below, the pets of Peabody include (roughly):

19 dogs19 cats
2 hermit crabs
a bunch of fish
and one mini rex rabbit.

A few of our friends...

For those who have been asking, CavDog will be making an appearance at a few of the Days on The Lawn events.

Now what?

I took the weekend off to give you all a chance to chat and share. I will begin to work through the questions and post answers in batches over the next day or two.

Just a few basics:

I haven't had any new information from the Rodman Program, but I will post an update as soon as I get it from them.

Attendance at Days on the Lawn isn't a requirement. It's just an admitted student open house. We'd love to see you here, but understand that plenty of you will not be able to make it.

The waitlist is not ranked. Your official decision will have an FAQ page with it that will explain the process and time line involved. In an ideal world, all of our admitted students would get back to us immediately and we'd know if there is space in the class prior to May 1, but this has never happened. The admitted students have until May 1 to weigh their options, so you need to deposit at another school to ensure that you have a spot in someone's freshman class. As soon as I have information about waitlist movement, I will post about it.

We will take what we call "decision calls" over the next few days. We'll talk with students about their application and give them some information about how they were reviewed. Before you call, I strongly recommend that you read the following:

1. Don't have mom or dad call for you. We're much more impressed by a student who shows initiative and interest in their application than by one who lets their parents do the talking for them. Even the busiest student can carve out five minutes during lunch or after school to talk with us (we're open until 5 PM).

2. Know why you're calling. Many people call us to rant and have no real questions to ask. We'll sit here and patiently listen, but we'll also think about the students we could be talking to; those who actually have questions for us. So, before you pick up the phone, think about the goal of your call. Write down concrete, specific questions. "How would you rate my program strength?" is specific. "You admitted my friend with lower scores than me" is not.

3. Refresh our memory. Sometimes I'll take a call from someone I've met, but don't remember. We meet thousands of students in our travels and while we try to remember them all, it's not always possible. Remind us of where we met and if we had a conversation, what we talked about.

4. Don't call to talk about other students. To be frank, when someone calls to complain about another student's decision, it's a turn off. I've already seen an allegation of cheating in the comments and that is completely out of line. That sort of conversation should be had with your guidance/college counselor. When you call us, you should be calling to talk about you.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Admitted to UVa!

Admitted students can use this entry to talk to each other.

Feel free to ask questions, but know that your envelope will contain more information! Stay tuned over the weekend for replies to questions and other information I can think to give you.

Here's a little admitted student video from last year that I really love. I think it still applies! Again, congratulations!

Early Saturday morning update to add a link to the Days on The Lawn 2008 website.

Waitlisted at UVa

Waitlisted students can use this entry to talk and ask questions.

The waitlist at UVa is quite large. In the past, this has been because there are so many different segments to the population here (CLAS/SEAS/SARS/NURS for both VA and OOS students). On top of that, there are always students with great stats that don't warrant a denial, but who we can't fit in the offer pool. And on top of all of that, this year was our first year without an early application program. As a result, we don't exactly know how our yield (the number of students who accept our offer of admission) will look this year.

About 3,000 students were offered a spot on the waitlist (the number that actually want a spot will probably be about half of that). There have been years when we've taken 50 students off the waitlist and years when we've taken 150 students off the waitlist. It is very hard to predict how things will work out.

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 waitlist and others will want to fully invest themselves in another school. Either way, you need to submit a deposit at a school by May 1st to ensure yourself a spot in another school's 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 will probably lose your deposit at that school). Just remember that you can't "double deposit".

It may be helpful to look at last year's entry "Notes on the Waitlist" and a later one that contained questions from waitlisted students. Feel free to direct questions to me and stay tuned over the weekend for replies. Also know that your envelope will contain a "Waitlist Frequently Asked Questions" sheet that will answer the most common questions (is the list ranked, what do I do now, what's the time line, etc.).

CavDog hopes you find a peaceful place to think about your options.

Denied by UVa

Denied students can use this entry to talk and ask questions.

I'm so sorry this sort of "thread" is even needed. I hope you all can look at your options and get excited about one of your other schools. If your immediate reaction is "I'll transfer", please keep an open mind. While I think the transfer process at UVa is fantastic, I hope you'll throw yourself into campus life at another school, not bide your time until transfer applications are due.

I hope you're read this post and remember that this decision is probably about our numbers. You didn't do anything "wrong" (a common question).
CavDog wishes he knew what to say to make this easier for you.

Last minute notes about your decisions

I have a few notes for those who plan on logging onto the online application status page to see decisions this evening.

1. I personally think you should check from home. However, if you happen to check from school or from a location where you'll have other students around, try to be considerate of others' feelings. Years ago, we released decisions at an earlier time and we heard stories of some students celebrating in the hallways while others were trying to console each other.

2. The status page will have a very short statement, not the complete decision letter. Your letter is coming to you in the mail.

3. If you submitted your application by paper, you can't check your status online. There are only about 570 people who did that, so this shouldn't be a problem for most of you.

4. Don't hammer the online application website. The decisions won't show up early. I will be watching to make sure I release decisions at the right time. At 6 PM Eastern, I'll start writing the code that makes decisions appear. It will probably take about 20 seconds for me to get through it all.

5. I will post some threads for you all to chat in (admit, waitlist, deny). In the past, people have sometimes been critical of other schools. I really hope that doesn't happen this year. If comments start getting offensive, I will disable comments. I completely understand that some of you will be upset and even angry, but try not to take that out on here.

I think that's it...good luck!
Still waiting...

Statistics for the Class of 2012

Here are the statistics I have so far. I'm giving everything I can right now, so please understand if I don't reply to requests for different stats. The official statistics will be published by the Office of Institutional Assessment. My numbers are unofficial and they never completely agree with the official ones.

Total number of applications: 18,531
Total number of VA apps: 7,355
Total number of OOS apps: 11,176

Overall offer rate: 35.7% (6,628 total offers)
Overall VA offer rate: 45.8% (3,372 offers)
Overall OOS offer rate: 29% (3,256 offers)

Enrollment goal: 3,170 first-year students with roughly 2,092 being from VA

The offers numbers for VA and OOS are similar because yield for OOS is generally lower and we need to offer to more students to get the number that we need to enroll.

Overall applications were up slightly, but international applications were up 21%.
Is it 6 PM yet?

A quick note of thanks

Thank you all the nice comments that have been coming in on the blog. The interaction we have here means a lot to me. I have to confess that I find "talking" to you on this blog more meaningful than all the resumes that get put in my hands after evening programs (by the way, juniors, most schools are trying to go paperless). I know in my heart that each one of you is going to have multiple, attractive options to consider next month. If UVa is on that list, we are better for it. If we are not, I'm truly sorry about that.

Let me take moment to tell you all something that I've started discussing with juniors who are just starting out with this process. If we were permitted to admit every qualified student; every student who was capable of doing work at the level expected of our students, we would have a much larger class than the one we d0 (the enrollment goal is 3170 first-year students). My sense is that of the 18,500 applicants, a huge number are well prepared for UVa.

Regardless of what your status page says tomorrow, you are going to be just fine. You are going to attend a great school and you are going to grow tremendously while there. You are going to have highs and lows, you're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably at something. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your attitude, not necessarily the location of the events.

You all have been amazingly good natured during this roller coaster. Thanks for your contributions...goodness knows a blog is only really interesting if people are reading and commenting (the first year was a little rough). You all have made this worthwhile. Thanks again and good luck tomorrow tonight!
Give the students a hand, CavDog!

Caption this, part 2 (to pass the time)

For the really, really bored, I have another opportunity to caption a photo.

My entry: If this great dane advances, CavDog's bracket is ruined.

Letters have left the building

Mail Services has just picked up half of the letters. They should have the other half loaded in their truck within the next ten minutes. From there, the letters will be sealed and metered (stamped) by machines in Mail Services. After that, they'll be put into the U.S. postal system.

I took plenty of pictures as the letters were being loaded...

I can't predict when your letter will arrive. After all, you probably know how the mail works in your area better than I.

I've written this before, but I should repeat it. Waitlist and deny letters are sent in standard, #10 envelopes. Admit letters are in slightly larger envelopes, so you will probably know the news inside as soon as you see your mail.

Good luck, everyone! See you at 6 PM!

Financial Aid update

In my zeal to give you the last update, I didn't think to get clarification for which Thursday Student Financial Services was mailing aid packages.

Turns out they are mailing next Thursday, April 3.

Caption this (to pass the time)

A reader made a great suggestion that I post a picture and you all could think up captions for it. I think it's a great way to pass time, in case some of you are out of school today and want to take your mind off the what's happening at 6 PM.

I present your first photo to caption:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

College Science Scholars update

I just heard from the people involved with College Science Scholars. They'll be mailing (not emailing) their invitations tomorrow!

Updates from Echols and Financial Aid!

I just heard this news...The Echols Program is emailing all students today! Student Financial Services is putting financial aid packages in the mail today. In the past, the aid awards have been mailed after decisions, which I think is hard for some.

Getting close...

Bins of envelopes are lined up all over the office. We're almost there!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Echols, Rodman, & College Science Scholars notification

CavDog has gotten out his UVa gear in preparation for the big day.

I don't have much new information to share on the Echols/Rodman/College Science Scholars front, but here's what I know:

The Echols Program is aiming to mail their invitations or "Thursday or Friday".

The Rodman Program is doing their printing/stuffing. I didn't get a concrete date for their mailing.

I believe that the College Science Scholars Program made final decisions earlier this week and should be printing their invitations by now.

It looks like many will receive their admission decisions before invitations to these programs arrive.

As for questions about when letters will get to you, I can't be certain. Once letters leave UVa they are in the USPS's hands. I imagine that a few of you living in Central Virginia might get letters on Saturday, though you probably know how quickly your mail comes better than I.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Days on The Lawn

Admitted student open houses at UVa are called Days on The Lawn. At DOTL, you can take tours (including tours of the residence halls), visit the various schools and colleges at UVa, sit in on classes, meet current students, and get to know some of your future classmates.
This year, Days on The Lawn will be held on the following dates:

Monday, April 7
Friday, April 11
Friday, April 18
Monday, April 21

The day will start at The Rotunda (or Newcomb Hall Ballroom if it's raining). There, you'll pick classes to visit and have a chance to chat with current students. You can do as much or as little of the schedule as you'd like. Some people make it every session and others wander Grounds on their own.

Admitted students will receive the brochure below with their offer letters. The brochure will include the entire schedule and have information about RSVPing for the day that works best for you.

Transfer update

Transfers, we started reviewing your applications last week. For updates on your process, check the transfer blog.

Good luck!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Notification update!

Here's the news you've been waiting for.

As long as the printing/folding/stuffing continues at the same pace, your decisions will be leaving our office on Friday. Your status pages will reflect your decision on Friday at 6 PM.

Thanks for hanging in there! Just a few more days!

Happy day!

International decisions are on the way!

I just heard from Dean Muth that decisions for internationals are headed out by email! The international decision letters will go to the mailroom today, but it might take quite some time for them to get to certain countries.

Domestic students, please understand that the students who live abroad are facing very complicated logistics when it comes to coming to UVa, so we send out their notification a little early. We are still working on stuffing the rest of the letters. My promise to update you as soon as I know when the mail will go out stands.

Internationals, please be patient...getting all the emails out will take some time.

No one will see a change in their status page. That is an "all or nothing" page that will only change when I turn on decisions for everyone.

Good luck to you all!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Meet CavBunny

Extra special guest blogger CavBunny hopes the wait isn't too stressful for all of you!

Someone asked for a new CavDog picture each day until decisions are posted...I'll do my best.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weekend Topic: Heading home

When you start thinking of the logistics of your move to college, you'll probably wonder how you'll get to and from Charlottesville in the future.

First of all, rest assured that Charlottesville, though a small city, is a city nonetheless. There are plenty of transportation options here.

1. Planes
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO) is a relatively small airport that is served by Delta, Northwest, US Air, and United. Non-stop flights generally go to Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Cincinnati, JFK, and Dulles (the Dulles flight is only 30 minutes long). The airport is 10-15 minutes north of town and most students get there by sharing a cab/shuttle with other students.

The Richmond Airport is just over an hour away. I don't know of any public transit that goes there. Dulles International Airport is about two hours away. Though there isn't direct public transportation to Dulles, some alumni have organized bus that meets international students who come to the last orientation session ("Session L", the one that is held just before the official move in). Washington, DC's Reagan Airport is accessible by public transit, though I'm not sure this is a popular option with students. To get there, you'd take Amtrak from Charlottesville to Union Station, then take the DC Metro to the airport.

2. Trains
There's an Amtrak station about a 1/2 mile down Main Street from The Corner (the student shopping district). The free trolley stops right at the station. Trains run a few times a day and go up to DC and down south.

3. Automobiles
Charlottesville is on I-64, about 45 minutes from I-95 and I-81 and two hours south of Route 66. First year students can't have cars, but there's a "ride board" online that you can use to find an older student who might be driving home to your area.

4. Buses
Obviously, we have bus companies like Greyhound here, but even more convenient are the buses that make trips just for students around the holidays. There's a bus service about which I've heard (forgive me for not knowing the name at the moment) that has two general "trips". One drops students off at a mall in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area and another drops students off at one of the Tysons Corner malls in northern Virginia. I'm sure that you'll hear about this from older students if you wind up here.

Any questions?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Still printing, but stuffing has begun!

The printers continue to churn out letters, but the stuffing of envelopes has begun! Comparing this photo to one taken last year of all the decisions and a few more from the days when we were stuffing, we have quite a ways to go before we're done.

By Monday, I should know if we'll be done early or if we'll stick to the April 1st notification date.

A few words about blog interaction

This is obviously an emotional and stressful time for all of you. While I understand that it's sometimes cathartic to blow off steam on message boards and blogs, I hope we can keep the discussion here polite and thoughtful.

I have few suggestions for those who want to discuss topics on the blog. It's fine to address each other (in fact, when students answer each others' questions, it's very helpful!), but I hope that you'll keep a few things in mind.

1. Be welcoming of newer readers.

2. Don't gang up on other readers.

3. Don't horde information.

4. Be patient when waiting for answers to questions.

5. Know when to take a break from all the admission talk.

This was really another "zen moment" is disguise. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Process reminder

CavDog wants you to go outside and smell the spring flowers

The frantic phone calls about decisions have begun. A few things to remember: the notification date (written on every time line and publication) has always been April 1st. Early notification is something we aim for, but can't guarantee.

As I've stated in the past, we don't want to hold onto your decisions, but we also want to be thorough and careful with each student's decision letter. A parent called to ask why we didn't mail letters as soon as they were printed. That's not how we operate and I honestly think that would cause a lot of heartache a school (Jenny could get her letter on Monday, but Bobby might not get his until Friday).

We do not give decisions out over the phone. Your letter is your official notification.

For those who haven't followed my suggestion and looked at past entries about decisions, let me explain again how this works.

1. We print all the letters.
2. We put all the letters in envelopes.
3. We send all the letters to the mail room.
4. The letters are run through a machine that meters (stamps) and seals them.
5. The letters are released into the US Postal Service system.

Last year, the process wrapped up on March 30th.

As I've mentioned many times before, it will take a few days to print all the letters, fold them, and put them in their envelopes. If it looks like we will mail before the notification date, as promised, I will let you know on this blog. The frequency of my posting should tell you that I really try to keep you in the loop. No need to hammer your status pages...I will let you know a specific date and time to check for decisions online.

As much as I love to read your comments, think about whether you need to step away from the blog and message boards for a few days to give yourself a rest from thinking about all this. The traffic on this blog is hitting record levels this week. I'd love to think that's because you're enjoying CavDog pictures, but I know better.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Printing has begun!

Decision letter printing has begun! Four of these massive printers will be churning out letters and envelopes for the next few days. For a few days after that, we'll be stuffing the envelopes. After that, comes the big day!

I do not know the exact day of the mailing/posting of decisions online. As soon as we are certain of the date, I'll be posting an update here.

Hang in there!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A special note for those planning visits

CavDog was distracted by a large tour on The Lawn this afternoon.

It's spring break time at many high schools and that means those of you hitting the road for college visits will encounter packed information sessions and large tours at many of your stops.

At UVa, we've added extra sessions on Sundays at 10 AM and weekdays at 8:30 AM during our busiest weeks. The University Guide Service is also scheduling extra tour guides in hopes of keeping groups a little smaller. For the full schedule of sessions and tours, along with the list of open classes and information about arranging day and overnight visits, check the "Plan a Visit" page of the Office of Admission website.

Admitted student open houses, called Days on The Lawn, are scheduled for April. Information will be included in offer letters.

We're looking forward to seeing you!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weekend Topic: Free and cheap entertainment options

Someone suggested that I attempt to let you know about some of the low cost options for entertainment around Charlottesville as a weekend topic. UVa events are either free or cheap because the audience is the students. Sporting events are free (you'll have to swipe your ID card for major events like football games, but you won't be charged anything), movies are a few dollars (many that have just left the big theaters...No Country for Old Men is showing tonight), lectures are free, and outdoor events put on by different student organizations are almost always free or charge a small fee that is used for future club events or donated to charity.

On the official student events calendar
, there are 15 events scheduled for today, ranging from a 5K to benefit a summer camp for children with serious illnesses to a festival sponsored by the Thai Student Organization. There are undoubtedly events going on that weren't submitted in time to be listed on the official calendar. Most students hear about them by checking out the bulletin boards around campus or by simply looking down at the chalk ads that can be found all over Grounds.

Charlottesville being a college town, you'll find that there's plenty of free and nearly free entertainment if the many options on Grounds don't pique your interest. The Corner area is full of little shops and cafes that are geared towards the students. Down the same street about a mile is the Downtown Mall, which is a pedestrian only shopping district. Now, I normally caution visitors that this is generally where students go when their parents are in town, as there are some pricey restaurants and boutiques there. However, there are some great, cheap options as well. The entire mall is littered with street vendors and performers.

Thanks to asphaltbuffet on Flickr for the photo

At the "top" (really the west) of The Mall, there's an indoor rink where you can ice skate free on your birthday (and a little more on other days). On the other end, there's a concert pavilion. Friday shows at the Pavilion are completely free. Tickets for other shows at the Pavilion are going to cost what normal concert tickets do, however the best part about this venue is that it's completely open. Plenty of people go to the show, but never walk in the gate.

Thanks to Chris Makarsky from Flickr for the photo

For the artists out there, all the galleries in Charlottesville open their doors on the first Friday of the month. People wander from place to place, checking out what's on display and many of the galleries have food and music to add to the atmosphere. If you want to make some art, grab some chalk and hit the free speech wall outside the pavilion. You'll find all sorts of messages there.

Photo courtesy of mitznc, phedlund33, and Gary Glass on Flickr

From April through October, early risers can check out the Charlottesville City Market, an outdoor market in a parking lot just off The Mall. I rarely see students at The Market, which is a's a great place to get produce, flowers, jewelry, plants, and handmade gifts. The fresh donuts, coffee, and cider are addictive!

I could go on for pages and pages about all there is to do here. Let me suggest that you do what I did for inspiration and go to to search for Charlottesville photos. It's a great way to get a feel for town.

One last thing. I will get complaints if I don't tell you about the best, cheap meal in all of Charlottesville: dumplings. For $2.50, you can get these amazing dumplings at a little shop on the Downtown Mall. They used to operate out of a window on a side street and people would line up down the block for these things. The business has moved to a storefront, but the lines are just as long. I had my doubts when I was told about this place, but I have to admit that they're quite good!

Photo courtesy of Janet Moore-Coll on Flickr

One really, really last thing. In my Flickr browsing, I came across this set titled "Renegade Poets" that contained a series of pictures of the construction barricades that surrounded Ross Hall here on Grounds back about a year or two ago. I wish I had seen the barricades in person. The photos are great!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Do not panic. Stay where you are.

Another round of those "likely letters" should be hitting mailboxes today and tomorrow (or over the weekend if you live very far away).

For more information about these letters, read this entry.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Where's Dean J?

As I've shared before, UVa will be using the Common App and moving to a new student information system next year (if you've heard current students complain about ISIS, you'll be happy to hear it won't exist in the near future). The preparations have been going on for about three years, but the end (or really "start") is in sight.

I now divide my time between the Office of Admission and the office that is responsible for setting up and preparing for the implementation of the new system. Some days, I'm surrounded by antiques in Peabody Hall with a window overlooking a busy lawn full of students going to class, and other days I'm surrounded by computers with a view of the highway.

The point is to let you all know why my comments aren't as quick and frequent right now. I'll still be at Days on the Lawn (admitted student events on Mondays and Fridays in April), but I won't have my eyes on the blog as consistently as I have for the last few months.

Off topic: financial aid documents

Before I start, let me say that we are not Student Financial Services, so questions about aid really can't be answered here. I'm just giving you all a heads up...

The "priority deadline" for financial aid has just passed. Be aware that the aid website has a list of documents you MUST complete and submit to be fully packaged. At some schools, the FAFSA is enough, but not at UVa. Our aid officers want all documentation up front (my understanding is that it gives you a better, more final package the first time around).

In the past, the aid office HAS taken documents late, so if you did not follow the "Applying for Aid" instructions and need to send in more forms, do so immediately.

I'm closing this entry to comments. Please direct questions to Student Financial Services.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Weekend Topic: Sports

CavDog's a big fan of the fantastic UVa tennis team

March is a great time in the Office of Admission. The end of the review process is in sight. Bookmarks in books that have been neglected start to advance for the first time since December, very understanding friends and family welcome us back from our little caves in Peabody where we read applications, and and we're able to fully enjoy something that grips many college campuses: March Madness. Our dear Cavs have had a rough seasons, so maybe it's best not to focus too heavily on basketball...

What would you like to know about UVa sports? Last year's sports entry might be a good place to start.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Photos from Peabody

Everyone loves some "inside the office" photos, right? These ones from last year were a hit, so I thought I'd throw a few your way. Looking at them, I hope you understand why notification probably isn't going to be made early this year. April 1st is the day.

The first photo shows one dean's reading sitting in "buckets" outside his door. His desk and the floor around it have piles as well. These folders have already been read twice, but it's the time of the year when we do some rereading, double check decisions, review mid-year reports, and select students for Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars (the search box will get you more info about those processes).

The second photo is of our "miscellaneous credentials" file. This is where the components of an incomplete application sit.

As always, click to enlarge!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

As the seniors wait, the juniors begin

I sat on the first of probably many Junior Night panels this evening at a high school over in Richmond. These nights remind us that the new class of students is embarking on their search. I'm wondering if some of the seniors might use the comments to give some tips to the juniors who might be reading.

What do you wish you had known a year ago? What would you have done differently during your college search?

By the way, one of the students at that Junior Night sent CavDog a belly rub and asked for more pictures. How could I resist such a nice request?