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, December 30, 2009

Let's define the deadline

There's always a little confusion about the specific moment of our deadline. Back in the days of paper applications, the deadline was whatever time your local post office was willing to post mark an envelope. These days, you have a little more time. With online applications came permission to procrastinate just a few more hours.

Our deadline is January 1st. Technically, you could submit an application at 11:59 PM on January 1st and meet the deadline.

The Common App system builds in a grace period in case there are technical problems, but I strongly encourage you to hit submit before that final hour. There is obviously a lot of traffic on the Common App servers on that final day and while I'm sure they can handle it, I can imagine the panic you'd feel if your internet connection cut out during those final moments of deadline day.

In addition, if you have questions for the Common App people, I imagine you'll get a faster response to a help ticket submission if you are asking during normal business hours. If you submit a help request at 10 PM, you'll probably be one of many doing the same thing and therefore won't hear back for a little while.

I know this is an extremely stressful time. I imagine there is some freaking out going on. Do yourself a favor and made a personal deadline that's before the official one.

Good luck! As always, you can post questions here and I'll do my best to answer them quickly!

CavDog knows you're probably sick of sitting in front of the computer right now

Monday, December 28, 2009

The app deadline is around the corner!

The January 1st deadline is around the corner! Inevitably, there will be last minute questions that will come up after our traditional office hours (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM). Here's how to get answers.

First of all, any trouble with the Common Application can only be fixed by the Common Application staff. If you have any problems with your Common App, submit a help ticket. If you wait until the last minute, you have to expect a delay in the resolution of your problem. Don't freak out! Don't submit something that's half finished or incorrect in a panic. Wait until you get an answer.

Once you submit your application (and all three parts, the Common App, Supplement, and payment must be completed and submitted to prompt anything to be sent to us), it will take a couple days for processing to prompt a login email for UVa's Student Information System to be sent to you. I assume that if you are about to leave for college, you will be able to follow the direction in the email and log into our system successfully.

When you log in for the first time, scroll to the bottom of the main page and become familiar with the different areas of the status page.

Don't be alarmed by your to-do list at this time.

Credentials may be in our system, but not yet linked to your file. It may take a few weeks to get through all the applications submitted in these last few days, so please be patient! If your transcript arrived a month ago, it was scanned and put in a miscellaneous credentials file. A staff member must manually link that transcript to your newly submitted application.

We will contact you when we are through the bulk of the processing if we are still missing documents. This will happen at the end of January or beginning of February. Don't freak out. Seriously. It will be okay.

That being said, here is how you can get answers to last minute questions when our office is closed:

I won't be logged into all of those all the time between now and deadline, but I will try to be on in the evenings. If I don't reply right away, I've either stepped away from my desk (I'm doing this from home) or am answering questions for another student.

Good luck with those last minute edits! Try not to submit at the very last minute!

CavDog realizes that the party is over. Back to the apps!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Office of Admission CLOSED Monday, December 21

I've just gotten an email saying that due to the tremendous snow storm that hit this weekend, the Office of Admission will be closed tomorrow. Driving conditions were less than ideal in Virginia this weekend, so I hope anyone planning to visit has decided to stay home.

Want to see pictures taken over the weekend around Charlottesville? Check out this slide show created by a reporter from The Hook.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Common App status

Last week, we used the Common App system to email out this reminder, but it's worth repeating here with an image. Within the Common App website, you have a box for each school to which you are applying that shows your application progress.

First of all, Common App has an FAQ about the little colored symbols. They only update on a set schedule, so pay attention to the text next to an item first and foremost. If you submit your application components at 3 PM, the test will say that they are submitted, but the colored symbol next to the item might remain yellow for a while until the system updates.

Second of all, we do not get any of the Common App items (Common App, supplement, payment) until all three parts are completed. So, you may have finished your UVa Supplement last week and hit submit, but it will not be sent to us until the other two parts of the application are completed. This saves our tiny staff from doing a ton of work on applications that will never be completed.

Lastly, on the application instructions page, we have a section that explains what happens after you submit. It goes without saying that you need to read this! You need to look for an email from that is going to the email address you used on your Common App. It should arrive within five days of our receiving your application (remember, all three parts). That email explains the login process you need to use to monitor your application status after submission.

Remember, don't worry about your status page items until late January/early February. The volume of submissions right now is so great that we don't always process items on the day they arrive. It can take a few weeks to get items checked into our system.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Updates (on our office and on your status pages)

It's been quiet around here for a reason. We're all tucked away in our offices so we can read files. I guess this debunks a popular one sits around waiting to read until the deadline hits. If we waiting until after January 1st to start reading, there's no way we'd be done by April 1st (the notification date). Well, wait. We could be done by then, but there's no way we'd be able to give all of the files the amount of attention they deserve. Even now, we are reading at a very fast pace. So fast that I'm thinking about the files I'm not reading because I'm writing this blog entry!

Our system is programmed to mark a file ready to read when the required components have arrived. As soon as the application (Common App + Supplement + payment) is complete, it gets sent to us by Common App. That's an important change for this year. You must submit all three components to get your application sent to us. When your school forms (your counselor's recommendation and related forms), transcript, official score report, and one teacher recommendation are checked in, your file moves to "ready to read" status. From there, it will get randomly distributed.

Now, a word about your status pages. We are now in the busy season, which means large numbers of documents are arriving in our office each day. If an item arrives electronically and the student's biographical data matches the data on their application (meaning, the same name, DOB, etc. is used), the item will be automatically matched and the status page will update fairly quickly. This isn't the norm, unfortunately. A lot of documents come in by snail mail or arrive with nick names and SSNs (instead of DOB, which is a big part of our matching protocol). Those items need to be scanned and matched to a file by hand. This can take a few weeks due to the volume of mail and the relatively small staff we have.

Please be patient. You won't see your status pages update for weeks. Do not freak out about them. We will contact you at the end of January or beginning of February if there are any problems.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ode to the Downtown Mall

I love it when students don't take themselves too seriously and are able to be a little goofy.

I took a quick break from reading to check and found this video. Anyone who has submitted their application and gotten their UVa computing ID will recognize the Youtube username that uploaded the video. Looks like a few students had some extra time on their hands recently. Enjoy!

Friday, December 04, 2009

A suggestion

Those of you who are still trying to write application essays may do some googling to find inspiration or advice. Dean Parke Muth has a suggestion for you as you do this. If you're going to lift content, don't do it from our website. We'll probably recognize our own words.

The "good" example from Dean Muth's essay about essay writing:
The coughing came first, the hacking in the middle of the night. Then there were the multiple doctor visits, each one the same: the little white rooms with magazines where I tried not to stare at the bald, gaunt woman across from me. One of the white coats finally said something, steadily, forecasting an 80 percent change of rain. The list of second opinions grew too long to count, looking for someone to say the right thing. Finally, there was relief in hearing the name of a kinder killer: lymphoma.

An essay from an application Dean Muth reviewed yesterday:
Until finally, one of the white coats said something, steadily, predicting a 85 percentage of possibility. At the moment, I broke down. What the doctor said about hypothesis and suggestions sounded too long to count, there was relief in finally hearing the name of a kinder killer, breast cancer.

What happens when someone comes across an essay like that? Well, first it gets emailed around the office. Then we debate sharing this example with you. I bet you can guess what happens next.

By the way, you obviously shouldn't be lifting content from any source. These are personal statements. When you are about to hit that submit button, make sure those essays sound truly, authentically like you.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

These kids are good: Brown College Residents

One of the voices of reason in the chaos that sometimes happens at College Confidential is a Brown College resident. Last night, a reminder was posted that the most recent round of invitations to live at/in Brown College have been posted. I remember that I had taken a picture of CavDog next to Brown College sign on move in day this year and decided it was a good time to share it.

Brown College is one of the residential colleges at UVa. The residential college system differs from the traditional dorms a bit. In the dorms, all the first years live together. In the residential colleges, the class years are mixed and students often have a little more programming than the traditional dorms do.

When I first came to UVa, someone insisted that Brown was for "hippies". When I questioned the label, I found the words that described the Brownies were all, in my opinion, positive: open minded, smart, diverse, quirky, creative, laid back, etc. All nice things, right?

Anyway, congrats to the new Brownies!

If you'd like to know more about Brown College, check out the Office of Residential Live's Brown College Page (which includes photos of rooms), the Brown College website, and this video about Brown.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

One month until deadline!

Today is probably the deadline your counselors set for you to request transcripts and recommendations from them. I hope you'll give your teachers your requests as well. At this point, they'll probably be working on them over the holidays, so don't worry if there are outstanding school credentials on your "to do" list the first time you log into the Student Information System.

One month until deadline! Time to make a plan and get things done! Good luck with the final papers and exams that are looming, too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Submit early? Submit late?

There are some rumors floating around about admission being easier on students who submit their applications early, despite the fact that we have no early decision or early action at UVa.

While I think it's smart to submit in advance of the deadline, just in case there's some sort of glitch, you shouldn't feel pressured to submit your application right now if you haven't put the finishing touches on it. There IS an advantage to early submission, but it isn't related to the admit rate, it's related to your status page.

A few days after you submit your application, you'll get an email instructing you to log into our Student Information System (SIS). When you log into your SIS account, you'll see a to-do list for your application (and later, one from the financial aid folks). If you and your school officials submit items early and the chances are that your supporting credentials will be checked in more quickly and you'll see changes in your to-do list. By mid-December, the amount of items arriving in our office on a daily basis skyrockets and we can't check everything in on the day it arrives. So, you might wait weeks to see updates on your to-do list.

Now, there's no reason to worry about your to-do list until the end of January, but if you're the type to stare at your to-do list and worry, see if you can get some things in early.

Please don't call our office freaking out the first time your log into the SIS and see your status page. Give us until the end of January to get everything checked in. You won't be in trouble if school forms aren't checked until a few weeks after deadline. Your part of the application is what must be submitted by the January 1st deadline.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Q&A for Dean J

This message has two purposes. First, to give you a few words of encouragement and second, to provide a place for asking questions about your applications.

This weekend is the last weekend before the excitement of the holidays starts to hit. Next weekend, you'll either be in a turkey coma or frantically shopping to snap up some gifts during the big sales. After that, you'll be decorating, baking, and trying to get end-of-semester projects or assignments done. This weekend is a good time to get some work done on your applications! It's not so late in the game that you'll feel rushed (I hope) and it's not so early that you won't be motivated to get things done. So, log into the Common App and take care of some of those to-do list items.

Now, in the comments, feel free to ask some questions. I'll do my best to reply to them. Please don't use the anonymous button. Select "Name/URL" and enter a name, real or fake. I'll reply in the comments and bold the name of the person who asked the question, so check back periodically for answers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arts supplements

We used the Common App's neat features to send out a reminder email to students who had started working on their applications. The point first was about the video tutorial Common App made to help students assign recommendation writers to their applications. The second was about arts supplements. It said that those interested in major or minoring in the arts should submit arts supplements by December 1st for faculty review. The reaction of a student on College Confidential was interesting.
I just received an email from UVA saying that their Arts Supplements are due December 1st for students planning on being Music Majors/minors. Does this mean that I can send my supplement in later since I am technically not intending to major in music?
So, the assumption was that the deadline only applied to those who will be majoring or minoring in the arts and that other people who want to submit arts supplements don't have to abide by that deadline.

There is a small team of faculty who review arts supplements. They are looking at them with the idea that these are submitted by students who intend to be seriously involved in their departments. If your talent isn't at the level where you could major or minor in the arts or be significantly involved in arts groups when you get here, you might not want to submit an arts supplement. For example, if your arts supplement would look more like this than this, you probably don't want a professor of dance to review your work. Don't get my wrong...I think both videos are awesome, but we all know whose video will have the professor sending back notes that will add to the application file.

Remember: admission officers at UVa aren't reviewing the arts supplements. The faculty from the arts departments are reviewing the arts supplements.

By the way, the videos I used are just from Youtube. They aren't from UVa applications.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SAT freak out?

This is far better than any Thriller dance. The faculty at a high school in Brooklyn put this SAT video together for their students.

I've written a lot about standardized testing already. To read some of those past posts, just click on the "standardized testing" tag at the bottom of this entry.

Friday, November 13, 2009

There's an app for that, UVa edition

Hooray! While the City of Charlottesville has a website where you can look up a bus stop number and see when the next bus will arrive, it's a little cumbersome to use on a smart phone. Enter Yaogang Lian who, according to the UVa Today Blog, created the HoosBus app.

I have already downloaded the app and it works beautifully!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let's have a chat


7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern

Admission chat

Go here to join in!

*It can take a few minutes for the chat rooms to open, please be patient!*

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fall Fling 2009

The Outreach Office's annual Fall Fling open house was this past weekend. My favorite part of the event is the very beginning. A few members from the UVa gospel choir, Black Voices usually open the program nice and early at 8 AM with some very loud and very upbeat music. This year, they sang a cappella.

To give you a sense of how large the choir is normally and the power with which they sing, here's someone else's video of a performance from last year.

That'll wake any crowd up!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

International student chat this morning


International Student Chat


9 AM - 12 PM Eastern

We are five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

International student chat this morning


International Student Chat


11 AM - 1 PM Eastern

We are five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. :)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Application crunch time approaching

This is such a bummer

If you're a senior, it's kind of a lame time of the year. Applications deadlines are dotting the calendar, essays need editing (or writing!), friends are talking about college admission incessantly, and you're still getting adjusted to the toughest course load of your academic career. A lot of what you have to do is being dictated by other people - your parents, teachers, coaches, counselors, the colleges you want to attend, etc. Keep your eye on the prize, though. Doing all this stuff is going to pay off immensely when your college search comes to an end and you're making plans to head off to a great college.

Your season of stress and anxiety is quite a bit longer than the time it takes the woman at the dog wash to clip CavDog's nails, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing him enduring his own difficult moment. Hang in there! On the other side of this is an exciting time!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

International student chats

The Global Student Council here has set up two chat sessions to answer questions about life at UVa for international students. They have picked times that are a bit different from our normal chat times to accommodate those of you who are in other time zones. The dates: Friday, November 6th from 11 AM to 1 PM Eastern and Sunday, November 8th from 9 AM until 12 PM Eastern.

I'll post an update on the morning of each chat, but mark your calendars if you're interested so you don't forget. You can also check out their event listing on Facebook.

All chats take place on the Office of Admission chat page.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Don't forget the supplement!

The Common App people give us some general stats about applications in progress. Right now, there is a big difference between the number of Common App "basic" applications that have been started and the number of Common App UVa Supplements that have been started. There are 10,000 people out there who are working on the basic section, but who haven't touched the supplement yet.

Just a reminder that the supplement is a required part of the application. We don't even get your Common App "basic" until your supplement is complete.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another week on the road

My favorite trip of the year is around the corner. I'm headed to northern Virginia.

I've heard that some schools send rookie admission officers to NOVA as an initiation because of the notorious traffic and the advanced questions that get asked "up there". I personally love my time in northern Virginia. I enjoy being asked questions about topics that are far more interesting than SAT scores and deadlines. Hearing the current rumors that are getting passed around is interesting, too.

I'm going to post my schedule. Please understand that this year is a bit of a logistical challenge. Two of us used to split northern Virginia and each spend a week visiting schools. This year, I am trying to cover the entire region in one week. There is no way I can get to even half of the schools in Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, and the cities. The schools I'm visiting are just the ones I was able to fit into my schedule. I wish I could get to every school.

These appointments are for students who attend each of the schools below. Follow the procedure established by your Career Center if I'm visiting your school to make sure you have permission to attend.

Monday, October 26
8:30 AM Washington-Lee High School
10:05 AM Wakefield High School
1:30 PM Edison High School

Tuesday, October 27
7:25 AM WT Woodson High School
8:54 AM Fairfax High School
11:00 AM Robinson Secondary
12:45 PM Lake Braddock High School

Wednesday, October 28
9:00 AM South Lakes High School
11:00 AM Langley High School
12:00 PM Yorktown High School
1:15 PM McLean High School
7:00 PM STEM Program @ Langley High School

Thursday, October 29
8:45 AM Herndon High School
10:30 AM Park View High School
12:30 PM Briar Woods High School
2:15 PM Potomac Falls High School
3:15 PM Dominion High School

Friday, October 30
9:30 AM Freedom High School
11:00 AM Loudoun County High School
12:00 PM Heritage High School
3:15 PM Loudoun Valley High School

Unfortunately, the timing of my trip means I'm missing a huge tradition here on Grounds: the trick-or-treat on The Lawn. Each year, residents living on The Lawn host a trick-or-treat event for area children. CavDog turned into CavBee when he was still a puppy to take part in the festivities. Last year, he dressed up as a lion to prowl The Lawn for kissable children (a favorite past time of his). He has a costume lined up, too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More UVa blog goodness!

While I was at the national conference for those of us who are in the admission world, I heard a speaker talk about students' expectations. He basically said that if other schools do something, students will expect it of you. If you manage to do that something, you aren't necessarily distinguishing yourself, but keeping current with others in the field.

It was an interesting idea and I started thinking about our student blogs during the discussion that followed. Most school have fairly formal student blogger programs. The students are usually given a schedule or goal with some sort of incentive to stay on task.

Between our small staff and the prominence of students self-governance here, we don't really keep tabs on our student bloggers. We don't enforce a schedule or establish goals for them. Our students started their blogs on their own and maintain them on their own. I think it makes them write authentically and with enthusiasm. I wouldn't want blogging to become a chore for them!

Anyway, when you're looking for a break from admission talk, go read the student blogs and ask some questions over there. They're writing some wonderful posts and I'm sure they'd enjoy interacting with you.

Hoo Stories

A team blog written by eleven students with a range of class years


A team blog written by thirteen students, an activity of Hoos for Open Access, a student group that promotes awareness of financial resources available for UVa students

UVa Life
One student's life at UVa, including ups and downs, frustrations and celebrations

Transferring to Uva
Hints and updates from Transfermer, an admission dean who works with transfer students

UVa Today

The source for news and updates from around Grounds

There's a pretty comprehensive list of UVa blogs on the UVa Today website.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thoughts after a week on the road

As you can see from the last post, I just spent a week in New England with my friends from JHU and NU. We had a wonderful time meeting students, parents, and counselors during our programs.

A topic that came up time and again was one I thought we addressed and settled already. However, the daily questions about it beg me to revisit the topic of

Score Choice

First of all, most colleges in this country have been looking at your best combination of SAT scores for many years. When Score Choice was introduced, it was advocating a more restricted version of what we already do. At UVa, our practices remain the same. Our system is programed to pull the best verbal, best math, and best writing scores of those on file. Readers don't see anything else. For the ACT, we see the best composite score and the subscores related to that best composite score (we do not recombine ACT subscores to come up with a new composite).

I realize that some students won't believe us and will still use Score Choice to hide their scores. I only hope that they do not feel the need to take the test more times.

I fear that that the seniors who are asking us about Score Choice are fixated on something that they don't need to worry about at this point. Send your scores and move on.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I love that dirty water! (on my way to Boston)

I'm on my way to Boston for a few days where after some time seeing friends and family, I'll join my friends from Hopkins and Northwestern for evening programs and counselor breakfasts in southern New England. Here's our schedule (click the links to RSVP for one of these programs):

Sunday, October 11 - Nobles and Greenough School in Dedham, MA
Monday, October 12 - Sheraton Colonial Hotel in Wakefield, MA
Tuesday, October 13 - Lincoln School Music Center in Providence, RI
Wednesday, October 14 - Darien High School in Darien, CT
Thursday, October 15 - Simsbury High School, Simsbury, CT

All programs are at 7:30 PM

In my search for a video of Dirty Water playing at Fenway Park, I stumbled upon video of a Charlottesville band (which includes one UVa graduate) playing the song.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Youtube break!

Just an FYI before I get to the good stuff. I created a Class of 2014 Facebook group for applicants to use as a place to chat and ask questions. After admission decisions come out, I'll hand over administration of the group to the students. Perhaps the class council should take it over when they are elected.

Okay, on to the post...

I link or embed Youtube videos now and then on the blog and I can't help but share some that made me laugh today. The second year class council has created a program called First Year Friends that aims to connect new students to second years with similar interests...sort of like a Big Brother/Big Sister group. The introductory video went out via the Class of 2013 Facebook group last night and I'm sure it had a few people laughing.

That same class council did some hilarious videos last year, when they were first year students. I'll link to just one and trust that like most people, you'll get lost in a Youtube labyrinth and spend the next 30 minutes watching related videos.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Should you waive your right to see recommendations?

The subject of waiving rights recently came up among our professional organization's membership and I thought I'd see how you feel about this.

When you request recommendations from your counselor and teacher, you'll be asked to indicate whether you waive your right to see the letters that are submitted for you. Back when I was in high school, there wasn't much debate about this. Everyone signed off on the waiver. I couldn't imagine why I'd want to hunt down what my teachers had said about me...after all, I was asking them to write for me because I knew their letters would be positive. However, things have changed and it seems as though more students are reserving the right to check up on their recommendations. Interestingly, this right is only intact at the schools where you matriculate, so the only recommendations you'd be able to see are the ones that were part of an application that got you admitted to a school.

Anyway, there was much debate over this topic. Some admission officers didn't seem to care much about whether rights were waived, but many felt otherwise. They felt that writers wouldn't write freely and that they'd be crafting a vague letter. In essence, they thought that not signing the waiver deprived students of a complete and comprehensive recommendation.

I personally don't take much time pondering the waiver part of the recommendation form, but I think that if you trust your teacher enough to request their recommendation, you probably don't really need to see that letter years down the line.

Another thing to consider: in almost ten years of doing this, I have only seen two recommendations that weren't positive or complimentary and both of those letters were read when I worked for another school. So, I have only read positive recommendations at UVa. Our applicants seem to do a good job when it comes to selecting their recommendation writers.

What do you think about recommendation waivers? Do you think admission officers should take into account whether an applicant has waived their rights or not?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy Friday!

Have a fun, relaxing weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Common App tutorial for requesting counselor & teacher recommendations

As if you haven't heard it enough, we're a paperless office. Ideally, each component of your application will be submitted electronically, including your school forms, transcripts, and recommendations.

The Common App has put together a quick video
that walks you through the process of requesting information from your counselors and teachers. It also explains how you can request a recommendation from a teacher for a specific school.

Please encourage your schools to move to electronic submission! If we all get on board with this, we'll save time and resources (paper, toner, transportation costs associated with mail). Online submission is easy and it is far more "trackable" than the mail is.

The Common Application

Let me put this out there right off the bat: I love the Common Application.

I came to UVa knowing there was a plan to move to a new Student Information System (central system where all student records are kept) and had a feeling we could go paperless and possibly move to the Common App at the same time. I was pretty adamant that the band-aid be ripped off all at once, meaning all three of these changes should be done concurrently. It would be hard, but at least the transition wouldn't be prolonged over many years. After a few years of meticulous planning by a fantastic team, we were live with all three - the new SIS, the paperless system, and the Common App.

During all of this, we worked with people from all sorts of outside organizations and the Common App group was an absolute dream. That contributed to my affinity for the new app. What's more, I remember friends applying to Common App schools back when I was in high school and they simply made copies of forms to send off while I sat in front of a typewriter (this is a while back) trying to fit my information into form after form because none of my schools were Common App schools (just checked and all but one are members today).

Anyway, there is a reason we are Common App exclusive these days. The Common App is a good vehicle and it has simplified the process immensely. There are bound to be hiccups with any online app, but with the Common App, there is a fantastic team waiting to help you and solve any problems you have.

Oddly, at the NACAC conference last week, another online app was marketing itself by calling the Common App "elitist" because only schools that are holistic in their admission process (meaning schools that consider essays and recommendations instead of just objective statistics) can use it. I realize that there are schools out there that have a formula for admission and that works for them, but I don't think it's fair to call us elitist if we want to read your words and hear about who you are beyond your grades and testing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You don't have to pay to play

A few weeks ago, we got invited to a college fair in the suburb of a small city in the south. The invitation came from a yahoo email address and no one recognized the name of the group behind it. The fair was being held at a golf club and the letter said there would be a $10,000 "scholarship" given out, raffle style, to one of the attendees. To have a table at the fair, all we had to do was pay $1,180.

Needless to say, we declined.

The person behind that yahoo email address has been pretty persistent and has continued to email us, wondering how we could pass up on this opportunity.

Around the same time, we got anther invitation to a fair, this time costing us close to $900. The students invited to attend were ones who paid $45 to belong to some scholars society. You probably know these groups...they sound impressive, but I could nominate CavDog for membership and they'd happily cash the check and add him to the rolls.

I asked around about whether people were seeing a rise in the number of these fairs and a colleague in Ohio reported back that their local TV station sponsored a college day and wanted $1,000 for a table that their fair and $17,000 from colleges that wanted to co-sponsor (no report on whether anyone took them up on that offer).

In case you didn't know, those costs are insane. Most college fairs are free to both the colleges and the students. There are a few, mostly those held in giant convention centers, that cost a little bit on the college's side, but the fees are no where near those I described above.

It's no secret that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to help you with your college search for a fee. Some of the help these people give is great, but there are people out there who are hoping to make some money off the fear and anxiety that surrounds this process. I want you to know and I want you to make sure your friends know that they don't have to "pay to play".

Students and parents should not be paying a fee to attend college fairs or information sessions. We hear about events with admission fees every year (especially events about financial aid and scholarships), but it seems as though the number of them is growing. Stay away from them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…college fair season

My post title is actually a little sarcastic. It’s college fair season, when admission officers pack their trunks full of boxes of brochures, don their most comfortable shoes, and race around the country while trying to stay ahead of hunger pains and caffeine headaches. We encounter all sorts of people, from the bewildered to the clueless to the fearful to the aggressive. At some fairs (especially those at malls or large venues), our alumni help us by answering questions with us. It’s chaotic and tiring, but also fun. We wind up having a lot of stories by the time the college fair season is done.

The real point of this post is to give you some things to think about before you head off to a college fair. These are things that will help you get better information out of us and help us not leave the fair contemplating a career move.

1. Do a little homework
If you already have a few schools on your list, go to their websites and look up the basics (population, number of applications, deadlines, and admission stats). At one mall fair a few years ago, the only questions being asked were about the average SAT scores and the average GPA. The firsts stat is on our website and on the brochures we give out at these fairs. The second is a tricky statistic because of all the different GPA scales and weights out there. It’s not really a significant stat. I got so tired of the questions that I made two table tents with the answers on them. Of course, then people would read them, look at me, and ask the same question again in the form of a question (“So the average SAT score is 1250-1430?”).

2. Don't ask “How is your __ department?” or “Tell me about your ___ department.”
These questions make admission officers cringe. At a busy fair, few admission officers are going to give anything other than a vague, positive response. There was a time when I would respond asking for clarification (“What would you like to know about our psychology department?”) hoping to get a more specific question. I had a friend at another school who used to simply reply with “very strong” and wait for follow up questions, which didn’t always come.

There is rarely enough time for us to remember who asked us certain questions, so feel free to ask about the fun stuff - food, dorms, activities, sports, etc.

3. We don't expect you to have a resume

A few years ago, I started seeing students arrive at college fairs with stacks of resumes in hand. To be frank, we don’t want your resumes. If you wind up applying to our schools, you will probably fill in a chart with your activities anyway. The resume is redundant. What’s more, those of us who work in paperless offices don’t want to arrive home from a week on the road with stacks of paper.

We aren't expecting you to be perfectly polished at a college fair. You don't have to dress up or be ready to recite your stats. There really isn't enough time for us to get to know you, so relax and don't feel pressured!

4. Conserve your energy and our paper
One of my colleagues called me this morning to say that she went through 750 brochures at a college fair last night. She said that the students at the fair were younger than ever, including a family shopping around with their 5th grader. Pace yourselves. Whatever information you gather from a college fair is going to change in a year or two. While it’s good to attend a fair when you first start your search, there is no reason to go to one of these things if you aren’t going to file an application in the next couple of years. Starting early is good, but starting too early is going to lead to burn out.

For those of you who are juniors and seniors going to college fairs, take it slowly and if you are there when the fair starts, skip the first row of tables so you can walk around without a crowd on your heels. Bring some address labels to stick on the postcards each college will have. It will save time and make sure that colleges have your correct contact info (important for matching things up and avoiding duplicates on our mailing lists).

My colleague also noticed that a family would approach the table and each take a brochure. Now, some schools are happy to unload all of their “stuff” on you, but being a public school on a budget and also being a paperless office, we hope that you’ll help us conserve resources by taking one brochure and sharing it with your family. The school website is more up to date than the brochures are anyway.

I’m sure there are more pointers to be give on getting the most out of a college fair. Feel free to ask questions or share you advice for others in the comments.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites

Let's get this out there first and foremost: I have no interest in tracking applicants down online. I have no interest in reading their feeds, seeing their pictures, or gauging their interest based on online content.

My old philosophy about social media was that it was the students' domain and we should stay out of it. I've changed my stance over time, though. Now, I figure that I should provide students with as many easy ways to contact me as possible so they can get questions answered. So, I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Ning (rarely), instant messengers (on deadline nights), and the blog. The important aspect of my presences is that I'm not searching students out. They decide how they want to get in touch with me. The contact is on their terms.

If you want to make up an alias and comment daily, that's great.
If you never talk to me using these vehicles, that's fine, too.

EDIT: I should add that I post something like this each year, just to restate my position on the issue. I gave an interview to USA Today about this last week and the resulting article spawned similar pieces by Reuters (with quotes from my interview, interestingly) and CBS.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On a rainy day...

...there's nothing better than thinking about how beautiful this region is in the fall. UVa Magazine has a nice web feature showing 16 things to love about Charlottesville in the fall. At the end, there's a video of students chiming in with the things they look forward to about this season.

I can't wait to put away the rain boots and do some of the things on the list.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The logistics of filing applications and credentials

For a few decades now, admission offices around the country have been processing applications and filing all the supplements (required and completely superfluous alike) that come along with them. Everything was paper "back in the day" (and by that, I mean 2006) and an entire room of our office was dedicated to keeping track of of the paper.

Applications got file folders. Anything that arrived before an application got filed in miscellaneous credential files. Each time an application arrived, staff members would go through the credential files to match supplements with applications. This process was used at every school at which I have been employed. It worked quite well.

With the implementation of paperless admission processes, all of those physical files are gone, but the process remains, albeit with a few changes. When credentials arrive before your application, they still get filed, but they get filed electronically. Ideally, the items coming from your school would come electronically, though the Common App's counselor and teacher portals. If something comes in the physical mail, it has to be opened, have staples and any special packaging (folders, binders, etc) removed, then scanned into our paperless system, and manually labeled with your information and the document type (transcript, recommendation, etc.). Items that come in through the Common App's system already have all of that information embedded in the electronic files, so our system can automatically file them.

The testing agencies have been sending scores electronically for years. Scores show up almost daily and they just sit in the system until there's an application.

One thing that we've have to deal with since going paperless is, surprisingly, MORE paper! For some reason, despite getting confirmation that an electronic item has been submitted to us, people are sending us paper duplicates. Some applicants fill out the Common App online, but print it out and mail it to us. Others send us elaborate supplements (and I'm not talking about the portfolios submitted by students who are going to study performing or visual arts). Please help us out! We are a relatively small office and all of this extra paper slows down the process.

Remember that colleges ask for what they need to make an admission decision and they will provide a vehicle for you to submit that information. You don't need to submit complex extras. This process is complicated enough without worrying about those sorts of things!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Under the weather

I had hoped to have a few posts for you this week, but I'm under the weather right now. I promise to be back and posting more regularly in a few days.

CavDog's even happy when he's sick

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Paint the Town Orange Pep Rally

iPhones aren't the best at catching action shots, but I figured I'd share a few pictures I snapped last night at the pep rally. The last photo was attempt to catch Tracy Clemons, a local television reporter, completely fired up and dancing throughout the rally. I have a feeling he was a member of the marching band when he was a student at UVa (edit: just checked his profile on the station's website and he was in the band).

By the way, before home football games, the University sponsors free lectures for visitors and alumni. If you plan to be in town on a football game day (we don't really encourage prospective student visits on these days, but we realize they sometimes happen), check the More than the Score website for info about the lectures!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Getting ready to hit the road

I'm getting a late start with the travel season this year. We're cutting back on travel (again) and my trips will be limited. I'll be spending a week in northern Virginia and one week in New England with my friends from Hopkins and Northwestern. I'd like to do a STEM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) in northern Virginia, but changes in policies up there have stymied our plans a little bit.

Next week, I'll post my specific travel plans. For now, check out the "UVa Visits You" page on our website. We have most of our evening programs scheduled and ready for RSVPs.

By the way, please RSVP for evening programs if a registration form is provided (we ask you to RSVP for our group programs, the ones we do with other schools). We report headcounts to the venues where the events take place and rooms are often set up to accommodate those numbers. Last year, it seemed that many people showed up without RSVPing, which overwhelmed meeting spaces and left many people without a place to sit during our presentations. Even if you only realize a day before the event that you can attend, you should fill out the RSVP form if there is one.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New energy monitors on Grounds

As I was walking to an information session last week, I wondered why a flat screen monitor was mounted waist high on the wall. Turns out that Newcomb Hall (our student union) has kiosks where you can monitor the energy consumption of the building. I haven't made a point to track these down elsewhere, but I think it would be neat to know how much energy different buildings use during the day.

I took these photos around lunch time on Friday, which is when Newcomb is pretty crowded with students. It's no surprise that energy consumption peaks in the middle of the day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pictures from move in day

While the crowd from Saturday's information session were off on a tour, CavDog and I took a walk around Grounds to see how move in day looked. Here are a few pictures from our walk...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The SAT and Score Choice

I figured I'd make the title of this post very simple so it comes up in searches.

When we read your files, we are only interested in seeing your very best scores. We set up our system to pluck the best composite ACT score (we don't recombine the sections) and the best of each section of the SAT (sometimes called super scoring). If you take the SAT more than once, we will only see your best score from each of the three sections.

I'm really not interested in anything but the best scores. Just send your reports through the official channels and the application system will make sure we see the highest scores.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Please don't send us paper...

...but if someone had tracked these stamps down back in the days of paper applications, we would have fawned over the envelope.

Thanks to Dan at the UVaToday blog for the heads up. These are very cool.

Friday, August 21, 2009


The rankings that get the most attention and took a weekly news magazine from struggling to best selling, are out.

A few years ago, Jack Blackburn told me he met with the team that cooks up the methodology behind one of the major names in college rankings and he said they were absolutely convinced that they had determined the very best way to rate schools. Even gentle suggestions that other factors could come into play (student satisfaction, for example), weren't of interest.

Of course, the methodology gets tweaked each year and there's bound to be some shuffling. Inside Higher Ed has a run down of the changes in their Ratings Frenzy piece.

Walking backwards, part 2

Photo courtesy of vid.rm

My last post, asking your opinions about the tour guide practice of walking backward, was inspired by a New York Times article and blog post, which pointed at that practice, and others, as evidence of "staid" college tours. Apparently, many schools are hiring consultants to review and tweak their campus tours and these consultants have labeled many traditional tour guide practices as ineffective and old fashioned.

We don't have any money to hire a consulting company. I'm not sure we would hire one if we had the money. You see, we have some really great consultants right in house. We have about 120 students, aged 17-22, who run our tour guide group. They decide the content and routes of our tours. The way the group operates is an example of student self-governance here. Perhaps the students who just went through the college search, the ones who visited a dozen or so peer institutions during their college search, the ones who are just a couple years older than the prospective students, have a good idea of what the students on tour want to hear.

The University Guide Service is an independent student organization. While we have a liaison (a former tour guide herself) who lets them know about high traffic days or special groups that might need a tour outside of the schedule, but we don't tell the University Guide Service what to do. The UGS selects and trains new members each year. Tours aren't scripted, but the group makes a list of topics that need to be covered at some point on the tours and new guides shadow experienced guides to see how those topics can be organized on the various tour routes. They combine those topics with their own anecdotes to give visitors a mix of the official and the personal.

They do this beautifully.

Time and again, we're told our guides are wonderful. People are often surprised that the Office of Admission is not involved in picking the guides or managing the group.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Should tour guides walk forwards or backwards?

To be quite honest, I couldn't care less about the direction in which a tour guide walks. If they have a big tour group and want to walk backwards while getting them around Grounds, great. If they have a small group and can walk along with them, great.

Students and parents: do you feel strongly about this?

I'll be posting more about this later today, but thought I'd get you thinking about this.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Attention incoming students: check your SIS for holds!

Word has come down that incoming students who have holds on their SIS accounts for one reason or another will be dropped from classes on August 28th. Your access to dorms and the dining halls will be cut off on September 2nd if you do not resolve your hold.

There are a few different reasons you could have a hold, but the one that relates to the admission office is regarding your official, final transcript. Without an official, final transcript, you can not be a student here. Check your SIS account and verify that you have taken care of this.

In a little while, I'll start switching over to posting for the rising seniors, but thought I'd give a heads up in case there are some matriculated students reading.

If you are reading this via email, you signed up for a subscription via FeedBurner. If you no longer want to read the blog, there is a link for unsubscribing at the bottom of the email.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New applicant pool looks promising!

We just had a wonderful thing happen in our office. A tour group returned and one father pulled someone aside to tell us a quick story and to ask for our help in resolving it.

Two hours north of Charlottesville, the man's family stopped at a gas station where his wife found a purse in the rest room. There was a cell phone in the purse and they used it to call a few numbers, but didn't get in touch with anyone. The gas station attendant was just going to hold the purse in a lost and found, but the family determined that the purse belonged to a member of the UVa community and decided to bring it down to Charlottesville in an attempt to get it back to the rightful owner more quickly.

The purse is now on Grounds and calls have been made to make sure the owner comes to get it. It's so nice to see people who aren't even part of our community (yet?) making an effort to help a Wahoo.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Heads up for incoming students

I posted this elsewhere, but figured I'd repeat it here. This is not meant to be a commercial, but since so many of you will visit the Bed, Bath, & Beyond near Grounds during move in, I thought I'd let you know that that store will accept expired coupons. If you live near a store, you probably get blue, 20% off cards almost weekly. If you are so inclined, you could save them up and use them here regardless of hold old they are.

I guess I should also warn you that all of the big stores that sell dorm supplies will be a bit chaotic at times during the move-in.

Some of our current students also offered some move-in day advice here. Here are a few gems from current student, DB123, who used to post comments on this blog as an applicant:

When thinking about the things you need for your room consult your parents! Mine were invaluable on move in day.

Why? Your parents think of things you would easily overlook; they're trained for it! After moving in, I realized I forgot to buy socks (I hate shoes; love sandals), an umbrella (my rents bought me two; one for heavier gusty winds and one lighter one that would work in most situations. I would never think of that. And, buying two means you'll have an extra if you lose one.), a basic screwdriver set, scissors, flashlight, cotton balls, first aid kit, FOOD, storage, etc.

Your parents will also be there for most of the day. Buying all the stuff you forgot, putting everything together, making sure you're settled in. Always remember to thank them and tell them you love them. You, their baby, is going off to college!

And, if they offer to unpack your stuff, let them. Unpacking will go by much, much faster and they just know where to put stuff. Seriously. If mine hadn't unpacked my stuff despite my protests, I wouldn't have unpacked for weeks. And the first thing you should unpack is your fan. Set it up and turn it on immediately.
There's plenty more advice out there. Do some reading and don't just go off the lists of "dorm essentials" that stores produce. They are generic and often lead you to believe you need more than you really do. Remember to consult the "what to/what not to bring" lists that housing publishes. There are also some fire safety regulations to consider when thinking about decorating your room.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The waitlist is released

I just got out of our staff meeting where the Dean announced that he is releasing the waitlist. SIS statuses will start to change today and letters will start printing tomorrow. Keep in mind that it will take a few days for letters to be printed, folded, and stuffed into envelopes, so you may not have an official letter in your hands until sometime next week (depending on your mail service, of course).

Knowing that many of you will never visit the blog again, let me say that it's been a long year for all of us and I've valued our interaction on this blog. Best wishes for a wonderful time at your chosen school. While your first year might not be at UVa, I know it will be an exciting time for you all.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are you a "fan" of UVa on Facebook?

I just came across an interesting slide in a presentation posted by a group that consults colleges about their presence on the web. According to their research, among schools with an undergraduate population between 10,000 and 19,999, we have the 2nd highest number of Facebook fans. At a little over 13,500 students, we're probably smaller than some of the other schools on the list (Kansas State, ranked first, has over 16,000 undergrads).

I'm a fan of UVa on Facebook because I work here and I love this school. I'm wondering if the number of fans is related to employees, current students, and alumni who use Facebook or about prospective students tagging a college in which they are interested.

So, my question is: did you become a "fan" of UVa on Facebook? If so, did you do it because you already have a connection (current student or alumni) or because you have become interested in UVa though your college search?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Away for a few days

If you follow my Twitter feed (see the column to the right), you know that I'm out of the office, at a conference in Boston. Hang in there. I hope to have an update for you when I get back to the office on Friday.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

CavDog on Lawn Life

I love Lawn Life, a photo blog that captures some of the moments that happen on Grounds. Today, they posted my favorite picture of CavDog.

You can follow Lawn Life on Tumblr or on Twitter.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Katie Couric's reunion video

One of our local websites picked up on this video that Katie Couric made a few weeks ago when she was on Grounds for her 30th reunion. The luncheon where she is filming when the video starts took place in front of Peabody Hall (visible when she turns the camera on herself). Other stops: The Lawn, Katie's old room, and The White Spot.

Enjoy...especially the part when they're dancing to OutKast.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another student blog!

You've probably already seen UVa Life, a blog that was started by a student about a year ago. Now, to join the student bloggers, we have a team blog called Hoo Stories. The group has already racked up a good number of posts and I'm sure they'd love to read your comments and answer your questions.

An even better look at the residence halls

This link deserves its own post. You can get 360 views of the residence halls on our website.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wider, cleaner layout

I've been doing some tinkering today. I never liked the amount of empty real estate on the blog, but also don't want to clutter it with extra columns or images. So, I changed the layout a bit, made the columns wider, and simplified the color scheme.

You'll notice buttons for subscribing to the blog via common RSS Readers. Those of you who currently subscribe via email might be interested in using a blog reader, especially if you like to read multiple blogs (goodness knows many admission officers have jumped into blogging in the last few years).

Anyway, I hope you like the new format! Let me know if anything looks buggy to you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A look inside the residence halls

Just in case you haven't found them yet, the housing office has photos of students' rooms from various halls around Grounds. While I'm sure some of the students did some tidying up before the photographers showed up, these were not rooms set up by the University.

Note: these are just pages with pictures. Go to the housing website to read general info about each building. There are more halls than those below. This is just a list of the pages with photos.

McCormick Road Halls
Alderman Road Halls (here's a special page about Kellogg Hall and some info about future buildings)
Brown College (also check out Brown's website)
International Residence College

As a little bonus, here's a blog entry written by a 2004 graduate who saved pictures of both his first year and fourth year rooms (he lived off Grounds his fourth year). Perhaps these are a better representations of men's residence hall rooms!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Visiting us this summer? Please take note of parking instructions!

This information is on our website, but I thought it would be helpful to post it here in case there are prospective students and parents reading.

From June 19th through August 31st (with the exception of July 17th and 18th):

Visitors are invited to park in the Emmet/Ivy Garage located at 123 Emmet Street South, Charlottesville, VA 22903 behind the Cavalier Inn and Italian Villa. Parking is FREE in this garage from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; the garage is closed on Sundays. We cannot validate parking elsewhere.

Directions to the Emmet/Ivy Parking Garage:
Utilize exit 118B off Interstate 64 and travel toward Charlottesville on the 29/250 Bypass. Take second exit onto Route 250 Business East. Turn right at the top of the exit onto Ivy Road. Turn left at third traffic signal into garage entrance.

Click here for a detailed parking map (PDF).

On Friday, July 17th and Saturday, July 18th ONLY
The Emmet/Ivy Garage will be closed for maintenance and visitors may park at the Culbreth Road Garage located at 130 Culbreth Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Parking is FREE in this garage from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We cannot validate parking elsewhere.

Directions to the Culbreth Road Garage:
From Interstate 64, take exit 118B towards Charlottesville. Merge onto the Route 29/250 Bypass. Take the second exit onto Ivy Road. Pass through the intersection of Ivy Road and Emmet Street (Route 29) and turn left onto Culbreth Road.

Click here for a detailed parking map (PDF).

We can not validate parking tickets for those who park in the Central Grounds Garage.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2010 Essay Questions

The future applicants out there might be interested in knowing the essay questions that will appear on next year's UVa Supplement to the Common Application. The Common App will have one general question which you must answer. In addition, we ask for two short responses that are specific to UVa. Please pay attention to the limits! We aren't expecting you to write term papers. We're looking for thoughtful, concise statements.

For advice about essays, click on the "essays" tag at the bottom of the post and you'll see all related posts from past years.

UVa Supplement Essays for First-Years

1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists. Answer the question that corresponds to your intended school. Limit your answer to a half page or roughly 250 words.
  • College of Arts and Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • Engineering: Discuss experiences that led you to choose an engineering education at U.Va. and the role that scientific curiosity plays in your life.
  • Architecture: What led you to apply to the School of Architecture?
  • Nursing: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.

2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words
  • What is your favorite word and why?
  • Describe the world you come from and how that world shaped who you are.
  • Discuss something you secretly like but pretend not to, or vice versa.
  • "We might say that we were looking for global schemas, symmetries, universal and unchanging laws - and what we have discovered is the mutable, the ephemeral, the complex." Support or challenge Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine's assertion.

UVa Supplement Essays for Transfers
1. How do the possible career or professional plans you indicated on the Common Application relate to your planned course of study?
  • If you are applying to the College of Arts and Sciences and are undecided about your major, indicate your general area of interest.
  • If you are applying to the Architecture, Commerce, Education, Engineering, or Nursing Schools, tell us why you have chosen this field and what experiences (work, internships, etc.) have prepared you for it.
  • If you are applying to the Five-Year Teacher Education Program, indicate your academic major within the College of Arts and Sciences and your intended teaching area (e.g., elementary education, secondary education).

2. Since you graduated from high school, have there been periods of time (other than summer vacations) when you were not enrolled in college? Do you plan to spend the Spring term away from your current college or university? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, please describe, in chronological order, your activities or employment during these periods.

3. Answer one of the following essay questions. Limit your response to one page.
  • Stephen Hawking asked the question, "What is the probability of life existing elsewhere in the universe?" in his public lecture, "Life in the Universe." If life does, in fact, exist elsewhere in the universe and you could send one thing to represent the human race, what would it be and why would you choose it?
  • If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead or fictional, who would they be and why would you select them?
  • What issue of local, national, or international significance concerns you? Why?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Over the weekend...

Check out this article and let me know what you think about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waitlist offer ramifications

Some of the waitlisted students who have been offered a spot in the class have asked if they are at a disadvantage when it comes to orientation, housing, and registration.

First of all, you should know that in the Student Information System (SIS), only the Office of Admission can see that a matriculated student was previously on the waitlist. Your professors and peers will only know that you were waitlisted if you tell them yourself.

Orientation registration opened in May and I imagine that there are some early sessions that have filled up by now. So, in a sense, you may be at a disadvantage in that you could have fewer session options. That being said, all orientations sessions are the same. Coming to an early session is not better. I might add that from in my experience, the skits and sessions that the orientation leaders give get better and better as the days go by.

As for registration, there is no advantage to those who come to an early orientation session and therefore register early. The registration system reserves a certain number of seats for each orientation session. A class may appear full once all the spots give to a particular session are taken, but the class will open up again when the next orientation session starts (and only students in that orientation session can snap up those seats). This is why some of you who have already gone into the registration system are seeing classes that are full.

Lastly, housing forms were due on June 5th. However, housing assignments are random for first year students, so I do not think those of you who submit forms a little late will be penalized. The Housing Division has a webpage just for first year students that will give you more information about the assignment process.

Congratulations to those of you who are getting offers! Don't hesitate to go call offices around Grounds if you have questions that aren't answered on the website. While I try to be a font of knowledge, it's always smart to get information right from the source. To those still waiting, hang in there. Again, we are trying to make this process as quick as possible while still being thorough.

All incoming students should be keeping an eye on the deadlines listed on the Summer Orientation page (scroll down). One of the deadlines, the health form deadline, is firm and there is a penalty for missing it!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tree planting honors Jack Blackburn

After a few days on retreat, our staff returned to Grounds for a tree planting ceremony to honor our late dean, Jack Blackburn. It seems fitting that Jack's tree is on The Lawn, close to the intersection of some major paths that are filled with students making their way to and from classes during the year.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Back from vacation

As you could see from the tweet sent a few days ago from my phone (see the menu to the right), I was out of the office for a few days. I was also away from an internet connection for that period, so the blog was pretty quiet.

The class continues to take shape and the waitlist is still active. Again, when the class is complete, a letter will be sent to all waitlisted students. I will also post a note on the blog.

Friday, May 22, 2009

These kids are good: CMB Colorguard

This is the time of year when Grounds start getting taken over by campers of all sorts. Between the American Physics Society (on Grounds currently...what a rowdy bunch those physicists are), sports camps, academic camps, orientation, and UVa students here for the summer jobs or coursework, there's actually a bit more activity on Grounds during the summer than you'd expect.

One of my favorite times during the summer comes when the different groups associated with the marching band are on Grounds. I've mentioned the band and my admiration for them in the past, but I didn't really touch on the CMC Colorguard, which is one of a few specialty groups within the marching band (I think the others would be the drum line and the twirlers). Anyway, Colorguard has a nice little website, a Youtube channel, and their own summer camp before the larger band camp. One of their alumnae also maintains a Flickr page with photos from the past few years.

I know absolutely nothing about being in colorguard, twirling things, or being in a marching band, but between the websites to which I linked above and this fantastic video hosted on the CMC Colorguard's website (some of the best parts are towards the end!), I find myself trying to figure out a way to be part of this group...or at least sit with them at games. Their section looks like a lot more fun than where I sit at Scott Stadium.

Perhaps CavDog could beat a drum with his wagging tail...

*Incoming first years: if you're interested in being part of the colorguard or the band, you might want get in touch with those groups now so you can come to camp.