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!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reminder: aid packages start to show up tomorrow

Starting tomorrow at 7 AM, financial aid packages should start to pop up in your Student Self-Service accounts. If you don't have computer access at home, you'll probably want to print out the information for your parents to see.

If you have questions about aid packages, call the Office of Student Financial Services directly at 434-982-6000 or 800-391-0063. Keep in mind that this is a busy time for them, so you may have to leave a message or stay on hold for a while before a counselor is able to speak with you.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Transitioning to transfer application reading

Pardon my silence. We are back in reading mode and reviewing transfer applications is taking up most of my waking hours again.

I will try to get to the questions left in the comments in the next 24 hours.

Back to reading...

Friday, March 27, 2009

What next?

I trust that most of you have had a chance to share your feelings on the three decision entries by now. I will go through them tonight and over the weekend to answer as many questions as possible. If past behavior has repeated, some of you have answered questions for the others already. Thank you for that.

Official Decision Letters

Your official decision letters are coming in the mail. Obviously, what you saw online was just an excerpt. If you were offered a spot on the waitlist, you will also receive a "Waitlist FAQ" sheet with your letter. An entry just about the waitlist is coming.

Admitted Student Visits
Days on The Lawn are the admitted student events. Please read the entry to which I linked. These days are intended for students who have not yet made up their minds. Your formal invitation and a schedule are coming by snail mail with your official admission letter. If the DOTL dates don't work for you, you can plan your own visit, which might include staying overnight with a member of The Monroe Society or attending some open classes.

Financial Aid
Financial Aid awards for those who had their documents in before the "priority deadline" (it was March 1st) will begin to show up on your accounts on Wednesday, April 1st at 7 AM. I'm not sure if all packages will show up at once, like your admission decisions did, or if they will come up over a period of time. It takes time to ensure that all admitted students who have applied for financial aid have been properly awarded, so please be patient.

If you submitted your documents after the priority filing date, Financial Aid will process a financial aid package for you. The amount of your award will not change if you applied later, but the you may have to wait a little longer for your package to show up on your Student Self-Service page. As mentioned before, it takes time for aid officers to process these awards, and given the volume of documentation being submitted at this time of year, it can take a while for them to process and package you properly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Admitted at UVa!

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVa Class of 2013 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates.

I'll be back tomorrow to answer questions, but know most of your questions can be answered online. Just below your letter are buttons to accept or decline your offer. If you accept, you will see a button to let you pay your tuition deposit online (it's an e-check type in the numbers on the bottom of your check). On the SIS login page, you'll notice that a link to the Orientation page has been added. For now, you can just read the info. On April 1st, I believe orientation registration will open.

You have until May 1st to make your decision about whether you'll come to UVa or not. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer immediately via your self-service page. That will allow us to move to the waitlist more quickly.

Again, congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVa!

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, this is our first year with the Common App and our yield (students who accept our offer of admission) may be affected. And on top of all of that, there are people out there who are saying the economy will affect college choices and schools will be pulling large numbers off their waitlists. I honestly don't think we can predict what will happen at this point.

About 4,000 students were offered a spot on the waitlist and usually half accept the offer (yes, you have to respond online to the offer of a spot). You are not ranked. There have been years when we've taken 50 students off the waitlist and years when we've taken 150 students off the waitlist.

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 may lose your deposit at that school). Just remember that you can't "double deposit".

It may be helpful to look at past waitlist entries, which will give you a sense of the timeline and answer frequently asked questions. 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 quiet spot 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 entry 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", don't let that plan keep you from getting involved in campus life at the school you choose. I think many students come to think of their next choice as "home" and can't imagine leaving it after a little while.

I hope you'll read this post and remember that this decision is probably about our numbers. You didn't do anything "wrong" (a common question). Venting is okay, though. Feel free to share your thoughts. I'll leave you until tomorrow, when I'll be back to answer questions.

CavDog wishes he knew what to say to make this easier on you.

Letters have left the building!

The first load of letters has left Peabody Hall! From here, they'll go to be metered and sealed at the central mail room. They'll probably be in the US Mail by later this evening.

With that, I'm signing off until tomorrow. Know that there are tech people watching to make sure the decision release goes smoothly. If there are any glitches, please post a comment and I will pass them on. I'll answer questions left on the three entries that are about to post (admitted, waitlisted, and denied) when I come back tomorrow.

Good luck!

A note of thanks

Some of you won't be visiting this blog after today, so I feel that this is a good time to express my thanks. Thank you for being part of this blog. I firmly believe that without comments, a blog is really just a journal. Blogs are supposed to initiate conversation and discussion. Your participation has made blogging a joy. Seriously.

We are going to make some of you very happy at 5 PM and we are so, so excited about that. However, we are going to upset a good deal more at 5 PM and that weighs very heavily on us. I console myself with the knowledge that you will have other attractive offers to consider and some lucky school is going to be made better by having you in their community.

Regardless of what your status page says, 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're going to have "ah ha" moments like you've never had before. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors. You're going to meet people with whom you will stay friends for the rest of your lives. You're going to pull all nighters studying. You're going to pull all nighters not studying. You 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.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. With the number of applications we had, we were not able to admit all of the qualified students. Many of those who wind up on the waitlist and deny list are perfectly capable of doing the work at UVa. Our first-year class just isn't large enough to accommodate everyone.

Thank you for reading and sharing yourselves with me for the last few months. Best wishes to those who won't be back to the blog after this. To the rest, I hope you'll chime in now and then while you're a UVa student to give the next group of students a little advice and comfort as they take their turn on this roller coaster.

Can you believe it?!? The big day is finally here! Good luck, everyone!

How CavDog deals with decision day stress

A very nice person dropped off some dog treats this morning, so perhaps the carnage will be abated.

Statistics for the Class of 2013

Here are some preliminary numbers for you to crunch on. Please understand that I do not have additional statistics. I am giving you all I can right now and the office is very, very busy today.

The Office of Institutional Assessment is the source of all official statistics about UVa. Their website will update in time with more data.

First of all, there were 21,839 applications. We expected a jump in applications and a jump in the number of incomplete applications because of the move to the Common App. We had 18,598 applications last year.

Total number of applications: 21,839
Total number of VA apps: 7,663
Total number of OOS apps: 13,764

Overall offers: 6,331 total offers (28.9%)
Total VA offers: 3,276 offers (42.7%)
Total OOS offers: 3,055 offers (22%)

Enrollment goal: 3,240 first-year students

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.

International Applications: 2,188
(1,484 last year...might be a sign of UVa's name recognition abroad)

Middle 50% on the first two parts of the SAT (offers only): 1300-1480
% in the top 10% of their high school class (offers only): 91

You can see statistics from past years by clicking the "statistics" tag below.

A few notes about today

Just a quick run down of some things of which you should be aware.

1. The release of decisions is pre-programed. The system will show the decisions at the appointed time. There are people in the Office of Admission and in the tech department who will monitor the system. The system has been tested many times and we don't anticipate any problems.

2. I will post three entries for you to talk about offer, waitlist, and deny decisions. I will step away from the blog until tomorrow so you all can chat about things. I realize that some will want to blow off steam and that's fine. You all have done a great job of moderating yourselves and I will leave you to do that.

3. Blogger, the site that hosts this blog, has some scheduled downtime this evening. The blog might be down for about 10 minutes.

4. I realize that you are going to be seeing decisions for a few other schools tonight. I hope you'll be gracious and compassionate when it comes to sharing your news with classmates.

5. I'll be posting a number of times today to pass the time. I will have some stats to share with you this afternoon.

Good luck, everyone!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where to click for your decision

I thought a screen shot would help with questions about where to see decisions on the big day. You will not see the area where the link is right now. If you don't know what time that means for you, go to and click on the east coast.

The screen shot is from the test side of the system. Your screen might have some different information showing. Don't worry about that. This is just to show you where the link will be.
Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good news!

I have been given the final word! Hope you like my hastily put together video. I'm uploading a low quality version for now (uploading the full quality would take at least 5 minutes). I hope you find my iMovie skills slightly better than last time. Good luck, everyone!

Last call for those who haven't logged into the system

We sent an email out a few hours ago to people who had not logged into the system as of yesterday morning. Please be sure to practice logging in so you aren't left waiting for your decision by snail mail.

The staff member who answers the email account has seen an increase in emails asking for login info to be resent, so it seems as though a good number of you already acted after reading my last entry about this.

By the way, our Student Council officially recognized Noble, dog of Vice President Pat Lampkin and Vice President Wayne Cozart, as the official dog of the University. CavDog will settle with being the official dog of UVa applicants and the Office of Admission. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

An admission free weekend

I had hoped that not posting over the weekend would allow most of you to relax and not think about the admission process, but I can see from the comments that this wasn't possible.

Now, the force you to think about something other than your application for a moment, I have a slide show about CavDog's weekend.

No updates yet. As I always promise, I'll let you know when I hear something.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rodman & College Science Scholars update!

I've been away from my desk most of the day, so I'm sorry for the very late update. The Rodman Scholars Program has begun to email students and the College Science Scholars letters will go into the mail on Monday.

Please understand that I don't know the method Rodman is using to email students. I don't know if they are sending batches of emails or contacting students one-by-one. I don't know the time they started or when they they will be done. As always, I will post updates as I get them.

Notification for these programs is sent early to allow students a little extra time to make travel plans to visit us for the Scholars Day on Saturday, April 4th. April is a difficult time to plan programs because of religious holidays (and we can't avoid every holy day, but we try to), so April 4th we deemed the best day for Scholars Day. We hope you'll be able to make it!

What would you tell the juniors?

I'm sorry for my silence last night. I was in Richmond at a program for juniors and their parents at Cosby High School. This time of year is always interesting because we work with seniors who are at the end of this process and juniors who are just starting at the very same time.

Which leads me to ask the seniors to leave a few comments with words of wisdom for the juniors. What do you wish someone had told you before you started this process? What would you have changed about your college search?

I'm the Dean on call today, so I won't have much time to answer your questions during the day. I'll do my best to respond to the comments that were posted last night and get you an update from the printing room, but I might not be able to post until this evening. Hang in there!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How to see your decision on the big day

There have been so many questions about how decisions will be seen lately! Let's go over how this works.

First of all, we won't be emailing you anything. You need to log into Student Self-Service within the Student Information System (SIS) to view your decision.

Decisions are posted at 5 PM on notification day (again, I'll post the date as soon as I know it). When you log in that evening, you'll see a link for "Admission". Click the link and you'll come to a page with "View Decision" at the bottom (you might have to scroll down a little if your monitor is small). Click that link and you'll be shown a short statement revealing your decision.

Sound good? In the past, I'd sit at my computer and type some code to make decisions pop up. Now, the system is programed to show those links at 5 PM. There is no point in "hammering" the site. In fact, that will probably slow it down. Watch a reliable clock and log in after it hits 5 PM.

If you never logged into the SIS, search your email folders for a message from That email contains instructions for generating a password for your SIS account. Follow the steps very carefully...the password generation process is a little tricky.

If you are completely certain that your email was lost, email your full name and date of birth to DO NOT email your SSN, high school, address, favorite color, debit card PIN or any other information. Just send your full name and date of birth. It'd be really nice if you made that info the subject line of your email, come to think of it. Send this email NOW. I guarantee that if you wait to send this email until the day before or the day of notification, you will be one of hundreds doing so and the lone staff member who handles that email account will be overwhelmed and unable to reply to everyone.

Practice logging in today
to make sure you're ready for the big day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In case you need some smiles

One reader requested some pictures of CavDog smiling. He's a serious little pup, but I've managed to put together a slide show to fulfill the request. I hope the smiles are contagious!

Update by picture (and What is it? answers revealed)

Undoubtedly, some of you have been waiting with bated breath to hear the answers to the "What is it?" posts from yesterday (okay, maybe not). Here are your answers and some more pictures.

#1 Boxes of letterhead

#2 Toner cartridges ordered specifically for letter generation

We're getting close! When I went to see where we were this morning, I found the printers getting a check up. We would hate to have printing come to a halt because one of the printers broke down.

We're probably a day or two away from printing at this point. We are still working through some decisions.

BTW, students volunteer to hang out in the reception area during their free time to chat with visitors.
I just went out into the reception area to find a student dressed as a banana answering a prospective student's questions. Spring Fever appears to have hit UVa.

The essay wall

Some of you have read old posts that mention my essay wall. In the past, when an essay has struck me as particularly good, I've photocopied it and posted it on my door. Now that we've gone paperless, this is a little more cumbersome...I have to take a screen shot, put it into Word or Paint, and print the resulting document. The essay wall isn't quite as big this year as in years past, but as promised, here's a picture:

The topics vary dramatically, from the silly to the serious. The common thread is that they are personal and unique. Thanks for sharing a little bit of yourselves with us through your essays. They really make each application come alive more than forms and statistics do.

The office is very busy right now. I do not have any time to crunch statistics and have already written that I will get to that when I have time. Please don't ask for statistics right now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Notification Day still not known (Please read!)

Each entry seems to have a comment asking when decisions will be released (nothing wrong with that, I know you're anxious).

We can usually predict if we will be early when printing starts. Our staff has been doing this for so long that as soon as the printers start working, they know how many days printing and stuffing the envelopes will take. Last year, I knew the decision day would be early on March 24th. So, it's possible that by the end of the week, I'll know what day will be The Big Day.

Hang in there!

Notification is around the corner!

Echols notification has begun

Apparently, the Echols Scholars Program has changed their plans and instead of mailing invitations to the program later this week, they have started to email students. If you get one of these emails, congratulations! It means that the suspense is over. You have been offered a spot in the Class of 2013!

As far as I know, Echols is the only group contacting students at this time. If I get information about Rodman or College Science Scholars, I will post it immediately.

Click the "Echols" link above to go to the Echols website and the tag below to read past posts, which explain Echols and how Echols Scholars are selected.

What is it?

What do you think is in these boxes? Post your answer in the comments.



Questions answered

If you go back to a post where you asked a question, you'll probably see an answer. Comments have been closed on those old posts to make it a little easier for me to get answers to you. When I have to check 4-5 different entries, it gets a little time consuming.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I have not forgotten about you!

Dear readers, I haven't forgotten about you. I know that there are many comments that need responses right now. Please bear with me. We are very, very busy right now. I hope to have a few office pictures and replies to post by the end of the day.

I usually end posts made at this time of year with "hang in there" and I think I need to do the same. Let's hang in there together today.

Don't worry...there will be more news soon

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CavDog on The Lawn

Amazingly, we're expecting rain and freezing rain today. We went from snow, to a few 80+ degree days, to this! I have a feeling CavDog wishes we were getting snow...

My iMovie skills aren't stellar, so please be kind.
I was thrilled just to figure out how to get music and the fade outs in there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Offer Rates

Offer rates fluctuate from year to year. Because it seems as though many don't go looking for the stats available on the Office of Institutional Assessment's website (and every one of your schools should have a site where you can see this data), I thought I'd post a few screen shots for you to look over.

Basic math tells you that with 22,000 applications this year, the offer rate will go down. I don't have a statistic for you yet, as we are still working on finalizing decisions. As always, as soon as I have numbers for you, I will post them. The state mandate that 2/3 of our students be from Virginia has not changed.

General admission stats, going back to 1980

Admission stats by residency, going back to 2000

You can get older data on the website. I just posted what I could fit in a screen shot.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Carpe Donut

In an entry about free and cheap entertainment in Charlottesville last year, I posted about Marco & Luca, the dumpling shop on the Downtown Mall that has a cult following. The post has loads of comments about those dumplings and I hope those who wound up at UVa have had a chance to try them by now.

I feel that I must tell you about another snack that Charlottesville residents find addictive because it is parked outside of Peabody Hall right now: Carpe Donut. It's a donut cart. I'm not trying to turn this blog into an advertising vehicle. When a donut cart shows up at your office, it's worth mentioning.

Carpe Donut is a fixture on the Downtown Mall. You can often find it at the Saturday morning city market (a food and crafts market in a parking lot behind the mall), at events at the Pavilion, and parked near the central part of the mall. Apparently, an office here on Grounds hired the cart for a few hours, which is why it's parked outside my building.

If you wind up at UVa and see this thing parked somewhere, check it out. I don't even like donuts and I'm tempted to run out to it right now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Days on The Lawn 2009

The Days on The Lawn schedule for 2009 has been set and it's a little different this year. DOTL are open houses for admitted students.

Saturday, April 4th will be Scholars Day. This day is set up specifically for the students invited into the Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs. You aren't required to attend this day and you can attend a different DOTL if it doesn't work with your schedule.

The regular Days on The Lawn are:
Monday, April 6th
Monday, April 13th
Friday, April 17th

Monday, April 20th

You are not required to attend. In the past, we've had many students show up for what some call a "victory lap", meaning they are already decided and have deposited at UVa. While we love having you here, keep in mind that these events are crucial for students who are still weighing their college options. We want to allow those students to get as much time with us as they need so that all of their questions can be answered.

Juniors and sophomores, if you are planning to visit us in April, please try to avoid these days. The Grounds are packed full of visitors and parking is very, very difficult as a result.

For more info, see the Plan a Visit page on our website. See past entries about DOTL by clicking the tag below this post.

A note about parking: We have rented out the entire Emmet/Ivy Garage for DOTL. For those familiar with Grounds, that is the garage behind The Cavalier Inn, at the intersection of Emmet Street (Route 29) and Ivy Road. The UVa bus has a stop right outside the garage for those who don't want to take the short walk up to Grounds. We will not be validating for the Central Grounds Garage that day. We want that garage to remain as open as possible for people who have other business on Grounds on DOTL days.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Q&A with Dean J

A few months ago, a reader said that it would be fun to know a little bit more about me. I've resisted making this blog a personal journal, but I realize that you may be curious about who I am.

So, to keep you occupied until I'm back in front of a computer on Sunday night, feel free to post any questions you have about me in the comments. Obviously, I reserve the right not to answer some questions if they're a little too personal.

Again, this was another reader's idea for a post. I hope we can have a little fun with it.

Have a great weekend, all!

Out of the Office

I'll be away from the blog until Sunday night, at which time I'll respond to questions that have been posted in the last day or so.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

These kids are good: Madison House

I'm watching one of our Public Access channels right now because CavDog was tapped to open a show (the producer shot some video of him on the Downtown Mall this morning) and one of the guests is from Madison House, which is something I haven't mentioned on the blog this year. Madison House is our volunteer clearinghouse, of sorts. Thousands of students are active in this organization, which is student led, with a professional staff of four. The professional staff does not run things. Rather, they train the student leaders early on and support them as they manage the organization. This is yet another example of student self-governance, something that is considered one of UVa's hallmarks.

One of the student directors at Madison House, Stephanie Passman, is a former Office of Admission intern. Stephanie just started a blog to document the service work she's doing this semester. I hope you'll check it out.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Likely Letters, round 2

Another batch of Likely Letters should hit the mail over the weekend. Everything we mail has to go to the central mail services to be sealed and metered, so I don't know exactly when they'll be released to the US Postal Service. Sorry I can't be more specific about the time frame. I don't think there will be another "wave" of these letters.

Read past posts about these letters and then read the following before posting questions:

1. A small number of likely letters are sent each year. There is no set number of letters sent.

2. The letters are sent in waves, not at once. I can't predict when a letter will arrive. I can only tell you when letters left my office.

3. The absence of a letter does not mean you are going to be waitlisted or denied. The vast majority of admitted students never receive one. Assume that you won't get one and then it'll be a little surprise if you do.

4. There is no relationship between likely letters and Echols/Rodman/College Science Scholars.

5. The letter means exactly what it says, no more, no less. It is not an offer letter. We have not made final decisions yet.

6. International students can get one of these letters, but the letters are sent via regular mail, which can take a long time.

7. We do not expect replies to these letters.

Okay...let's hear those questions!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Double eek! My application is still incomplete!

If you are a first year applicant with items on your to do list and you have not gotten an email from us asking for the item, relax.

Do not send unsolicited duplicates of any credentials. Only send additional copies of documents if someone from the Office of Admission contacts you. Please monitor your email and make sure is in your address book. You still need to monitor your spam folder, as some staff members will email you directly and not use that general email account.

Frequent, repetitive questions

An anonymous reader asked a question today that I think I'll turn into a full post. The question:

Dean J -- Do you ever get frustrated with the constant, and I'm sure, repetitive questions? I imagine you get all sorts of e-mails and blog posts of students freaking out about this time of year.


In a nutshell, the answer is no.

Application review season is definitely stressful, but I come to the blog to take a break from that. I get email updates when any of you comment and there are times when I'm tempted to take a break sooner than I should to come see what you all are talking about. I enjoy this! If I'm frustrated about something, I usually won't post at all. There are times when I think that I should be using smiley faces and "LOL" to show you all that I'm not annoyed.

The repetitive questions don't bother me all that much, but they sometimes make me wonder if some of our applicants are ready to move on to college, where deadlines aren't as soft as in admission and professors might not be so amused by having to repeat themselves (how many times have I written the words "you will not be penalized" in the past month?).

I really enjoy the comments posted by readers who use a consistent alias (hit the "Name/URL" button when you post a comment and you can pick a name). In past years, I've had a few students come up to me at Days on The Lawn and introduce themselves by their nickname. It's always great to put a face with those names.

I should add that I used to add nice language to "frame" my answers when I emailed or chatted with students online, but feared that my answers got lost. That's why my responses to questions are in the format they are: reader's name in bold, short answer to question. I want you all to be able to zero in on the question right away, without a lot of extra fluff.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day at UVa

As always, click to enlarge!