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!

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Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

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.

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