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!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We've just returned from the trick-or-treat event on The Lawn. The crowd seemed much larger than in past years, which might be due to the beautiful weather today (it's about 65 degrees out).

Have a happy Halloween and a great weekend, everyone!

Note: CavDog only "endured" his mane and the attention that came with it for 15 minutes.

Common App! Common App! Common App!

A student told one of my colleagues that he didn't see "Fall 2009" as a choice for admit term on the application, so he just picked Fall 2008.

I don't know how, but this student somehow found his way into UVa's old online application. Yikes! Folks, we're a Common App school now. So many people have come up to me saying "we know you're a Common App school..." that I assumed everyone knew by now.

The Office of Admission website was stripped of any references to the old application and we have to assume that students are using outdated websites that we don't control to find that site. The old site was set to redirect to, but there is obviously a way around that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Onine reading begins tomorrow!

We already have a good number of complete applications, so we're going to start reading tomorrow. Take your time with your applications, but know that we greatly appreciate being able to do some of our reading before the holiday break, when the vast majority of students hit the submit button. Submitting early won't affect your chances of admission, so don't feel pressured to be done early.

Those of you who submit early are some of the very first people to move through UVa's new student information system. Over three years ago, the University assembled a team to prepare for the transition to this new system. This year's applicants are the first students to go into the system as prospects and they will retain the same record through their career at UVa and into their years as alumni. This is pretty exciting stuff!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Very important application reminders!

This is just a reminder that Common App will not send teacher recommendations to UVa (follow the link for details).

We only require one recommendation and the one your counselor writes as part of the secondary school report fulfills our requirement. We encourage you to submit an extra recommendation from a teacher, but that should be faxed to us at (434) 924-7674.

See the handy chart at the top of this post for a list of application documents and submission options.

I'll probably repost this message every now and then to make sure new readers see it.

With election day around the corner...

Here's a neat Youtube video in which Professor Larry Sabato, a very popular faculty member, talks about getting involved in politics. This isn't admission related, but I think it's a nice message as we head into the election.

Voting for UVa students is pretty easy. Obviously, many will vote by absentee ballot. However, Virginia has allowed college students living here to register to vote at school so they can vote in person. From what I've heard, our students vote at Alumni Hall or at University Hall (both buildings are on grounds and are on the bus routes).

I hope those of you who are already of age enjoy voting in your first Presidential election!

Friday, October 24, 2008

36 Hours in Charlottesville

My first trip to Paris lasted 48 hours.

When I studied abroad in the south of France, I was determined to pass as many of the French government's DELF/DALF exams as I could. Instead of spending my weekends traveling with friends on a EuroRail pass, I studied. When the group planned a trip to Paris, I had to put the books away and joined them. On the TGV ride up, I made a list of all the things I wanted to see and as soon as we had checked into our modest hotel, I was off. The 48 hours were a whirl wind and included what could only be described as a two-hour sprint through the Louvre (I "splurged" and gave myself five whole minutes with each of my favorite paintings by David and Delacroix).

It's crazy to only spend 48 hours in Paris. Similarly, it's crazy to only spend 36 hours in Charlottesville, but a travel reporter from the New York Times did it. The subsequent article and photo montage will be published in Sunday's paper, but is available online today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SAT scores released = phone ringing off the hook

I'm lucky enough to be the "Dean of the Day" today and just realized that many of you have just received results from the October administration of the SAT. The phones are ringing off the hook as parents and counselors call to get our take on the scores.

They've been ringing so much that four hours passed between writing the last sentence and writing this one.

Let's go over the basics:

1. There are no cut offs.
2. If you take the SAT more than once, we will look at the best score in each section.
3. SAT IIs are strongly recommended, not required. If you can work them into your schedule, take them.
4. UVa does not have a definition for the term "a good score".
5. Test scores are one component of our review. The four years of information on your transcript will take much more time to analyze than your test scores.

Post your questions about testing in the comments below...

CavDog wishes students didn't fixate on their test scores

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reading begins next week!

It's an exciting time here in Peabody. We already have a good number of applications that have reached "ready to read" status (meaning, all the required components have arrived), so we will start reading applications via the paperless system next week!

This brings up an age-old question: is there any benefit to submitting your application early?

In a nutshell, there is a us. We'd love to process as many applications as possible before the deluge arrives in early January. If you hit submit in the next few weeks, you're helping us out in that respect. However, there is no benefit to the applicant when the application arrives early. Don't feel rushed to submit. Only hit that button when you're ready. If you're sitting an a complete, but un-submitted application, we hope you'll go over it one more time and finally hit that button.

The scanners are whirling away!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The turtle of Peabody Hall

The other day, a colleague called me into her office to show me what her daughter had just found outside our office. I was expecting a pretty leaf or a flower, but instead found the little girl holding this:

This turtle was found in a planter outside our building. While UVa has some fountains and a little lake (really a drainage basin that was dressed up to look lake-like), they are quite a ways from Peabody Hall. Either this turtle hitched a ride with someone or it is a shining example of perseverance.

I could try to make a little metaphor out of this for you, saying that you are all little turtles trying to get to Peabody Hall, but that would be as cheesy as you writing an essay telling me that your favorite word is "honor".

No turtles were hurt in the making of this blog post.
The turtle was released in a wooded area, away from major roads.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The prevelance of the IB

This morning's Washington Post has an article about how IB programs are received at area colleges and universities. To say it baffles me would be an understatement.

I've been told that Virginia ranks third in the list of states with the most IB programs in high schools. Seeing IB courses on applicant transcripts is very common. In fact, there are a good number of schools in Virginia that are offering both the AP and the IB and some that offer AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment (hats off to the faculty and registrars at those schools who manage to provide so many offerings). The University's IB credit policy and related charts that cover AP, IB, and language about the British, French, German and Swiss systems are easily found by doing a search on the student handbook page:

The University’s undergraduate schools usually award advanced standing (course exemption and academic credits) to entering students for qualifying scores on a variety of advanced examinations if such examinations are taken before matriculation at the University or another college. For example, the College of Arts and Sciences awards advanced standing credit for scores of 5, 6, and 7 on most International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examinations. Advanced standing credit is also considered for qualifying scores on the General Certificate of Equivalency (GCE), British A-levels, French Baccalaureate, German Abitur, and Swiss Federal Maturity Certificate.

College of Arts and Sciences students should consult the chart included in the College website for credit awarded to students for International Baccalaureate, A-Level, Baccalaureate, and Abitur examinations. Students in the School of Architecture, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and School of Nursing should consult their undergraduate dean's office to find out what credit is given for these exams. Accepted students should have score reports sent directly to the Office of Admission in the summer following the final year of secondary school study.

The article claims "the academic departments [at UVa and other schools like William & Mary and George Mason] were refusing to give them the credit AP students received" when this clearly isn't the case. It goes on to describe the policies of these schools as discriminatory.

Perhaps the article is really about the IB Standard Level? If so, the author should have been much clearer, as those of us in Virginia are very familiar with the structure of the IB system.

Rest assured, IB students. If you score a 5, 6, or 7 on your higher level exams, you'll be getting some credit for your work here at UVa. Students can get anywhere from three to eight credits for scores from either the AP or the IB.

Monday, October 13, 2008

These kids are good: Cavalier Marching Band

Pardon the break from admission talk, but I just spent more than a few minutes watching videos of the Cavalier Marching Band and thought I'd share them.

Whenever I run errands during the summer, I hope I get stuck at the intersection of Emmet and Ivy so I can roll down the window and listen to the band practicing on the intramural field nearby. At football game halftime, I don't leave my seat so I can watch the marching band (there are plenty others who feel the same way). And while others are streaming out of the stadium after the game, many stick around to see the post-game performance, which is usually very impressive (if you have a Facebook account, check out this post-game video from a recent's fantastic!).

We've had a band in some form for many years, but the marching band in its current form was founded in 2004. You would never know that the program is relatively young from the performances. This band is awesome.

Greetings from Boston!

Greetings from Boston!

It's so great to be in Boston again. After a weekend with family, it was time to get down to business last night. Attendance at the evening program in Wakefield with UNC, Northwestern, and Hopkins was dramatically bigger than we had expected. I'm going to plead with you to RSVP to college evening programs (not just mine) because those RSVPs help us tell hotel staff how to set up our function rooms. It's really important so the session isn't interrupted as stacks of chairs are rolled in and set up to accommodate unexpected crowds.

Tonight we'll have a program in Dedham before heading down to Rhode Island. Red Sox score updates will be given during the program, if needed.

CavDog keeping an eye on Peabody Hall while I'm away

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

One last week on the road

My travel season this year isn't as long as in years past. I'm about the embark on my last week of travel for the year. Tonight, I'll be sitting on a panel at Midlothian High School (just outside of Richmond). After that, I'll be headed to New England, where I lived for about ten years, for some joint evening programs with UNC, Northwestern, and Johns Hopkins.

I'm always excited to meet blog readers at my programs, so please say hello if you come to one of our events!

Sunday, October 12 at 7:30 pm
Sheraton Colonial Hotel Boston North
One Audubon Road
Wakefield, MA 01880

Monday, October 13 at 7:30 pm
Noble and Greenough School
Lawrence Auditorium, Shattuck Schoolhouse
10 Campus Drive
Dedham, MA 01880

Rhode Island
Tuesday, October 14 at 7:30 pm
Providence Marriott Downtown
1 Orms Street
Providence, RI 02904

Wednesday, October 15 at 7:30 pm
Darien High School
80 High School Lane
Darien, CT 06820

Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 pm
Simsbury High School
34 Farms Village Road
Simsbury, CT 06070

Northwestern is coordinating the RSVPs for these events. If you'd like to attend, you can RSVP on their website.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Some interesting class size statistics

I've rattled off class size statistics for years. 47% of classes have less than 20 students, 84% have less than 50, 7% have more than 100. The overall student to faculty ratio is 15:1. I've never seen school-specific statistics and these numbers, though.

Today, we got some statistics that dealt specifically with the College of Arts & Sciences, which enrolls 74% of UVa students.

The student to faculty ratio is 17:1, but this includes graduate and undergraduate students. Our assessment office was not able to break that down, which makes me think the overall ratio might also include graduate students.

The average class size in the College is 33 students. The median class size is 17.

I don't like to throw statistics around when it comes to admission because I think people sometimes try to over analyze them (our average SAT score really isn't going to tell you much about UVa). I think class size statistics are interesting, though.