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!

Friday, August 27, 2010

In a NOVA state of mind

Travel season is around the corner and I'm in the middle of planning my favorite trip of all.

I Love Northern Virginia

I grew up in an area very much like NOVA, so going there always makes me feel like I'm home. Our dean grew up there, so I'm not the only one in our office who likes visiting.

In past years, I've spent a week trying to get to as many schools in Fairfax, Loudoun, Alexandria, and Arlington as possible. I'm never able to get to them all. This year, I get to spend two working weeks (ten days) in the region. I decided to try to visit every public high school in the area and as many privates as I can fit in. I'm not sure I can do it even if every single school is able to fit me into their schedule, but I'm going to try!

So, if you live in northern Virginia, keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks. I'll be posting my travel schedule when I get my itinerary worked out (most schools, from what I understand, are back in session next week and I'll start making appointments then). I can't wait to meet some of you on the road!

CavDog using a dog water fountain in Old Town Alexandria

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's ranking time again

I'm happy to report that all the ranking methodologies out there still produce results that say UVa is a good school. Whew!

I have to admit that rankings are a source of entertainment for me. I don't know anyone who subscribes to the biggest name in the rankings business, but for some reason, they have become a must read for anyone interested in higher education. When the lists start leaking, emails fly and speculation ensues. I take solace in the number of comments on College Confidential that are critical of the rankings, though there are always a few who take them very, very seriously.

If you are interested in the rankings, I think the UVa press release about the most recent round of US News & World Report rankings would be of interest. It breaks down some of the numbers behind the methodology and some of the program rankings, too. If you were in any way interested in the Forbes rankings that came out earlier this month, please read the release about that. It's far more diplomatic about the methodology than I would have been!

You can see all sorts of rankings we've been given on the Facts At a Glance Rankings page.

Regardless of what the lists say, visit schools and decide if they deserve a top ranking on your list.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A quick note about the Common Application and timing

I got a call yesterday from a mother who was pretty worried that her son hadn't received a confirmation email from UVa about the submission of his application. She cited the application instructions, which state that students will receive an email containing Student Information System login information within 4-5 days of submitting their application.

Had the mother been here in person, I first would have hugged her for actually reading the application instructions. We pore over them to make sure they are thorough, but it's apparent that many (dare I say most?) don't read them.

It is very, very early in the application season. So early, that we are not yet taking delivery of applications from the Common App system. If you are one of the intrepid students who submitted an application via Common App already, you can probably see on your main Common App page that it has not been downloaded yet. That means it is resting in the Common App system for a little while. When we start up the Common App's scheduled delivery service (the automatic process that feeds your applications to us in the wee hours each morning), you'll see that download item update. Within four or five days of that download, you'll be getting an email from our system with your login information.

For now, you should make sure to add UVa's admission email addresses to your address book, which will hopefully limit the chance of our email going to your spam folder. Those email addresses are and Don't worry about your confirmation email just yet.

Here's CavDog biting off more than he can chew during a recent trip to Walnut Creek,
a county park just south of Charlottesville.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scholarship information

The application season has just started and I'm already getting questions about scholarships. I hope you've noticed that there's a link on the main Office of Admission page called "Paying for UVa". On that page, you'll find links to lists of scholarships and grants. You'll also find links to the financial aid website.

Monday, August 09, 2010

UVa Housing Blog

When people visit us, they really, really, really, really want to see the residence halls in which they'll live when they are students here. Unfortunately, our tours don't go into the halls for security reasons. The only people allowed in the halls are the students who live in them, their guests, and housing staff. I personally think this is a great idea.

I also think that showing you one room on a campus where there are so many varieties of housing doesn't make too much sense. Obviously, if we could go into the halls on tours, we'd opt for the nicest, newest hall to show you and you might wind up with a totally different style of room.

Here are a few resources that will help you learn about the many different housing options you'll have here.

UVa Housing Blog - written by the Director himself!

Incoming Student Housing Page - click on the building/area names at the bottom for floor plans, pictures, and a list of items that come in rooms

Returning Student Housing Page - pictures and floor plans of the rooms you may live in after your first year

Off Grounds Housing - website for students who are considering a move off Grounds after their first year

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Welcome to the 2010-2011 application season!

The phones have started to ring with applications questions.'s the start of a new application season. The Common App went live at midnight on Sunday night and it's as if the starting gates at the Foxfield Races just opened. On my side of the Common App, I can see that thousands of students have started applications already and several have submitted. Sometimes I want to say "Slow down! You have plenty of time!" but I realize that many students want to get as much done as possible before school starts in a few weeks.

Even if you think you've finished your application, I don't think you should submit it right now. While I think submitting early is great, I don't think you need to be racing to finish this process in August. Set your essays aside for a little while and revisit them later. I bet you'll have some edits.

Good luck...and feel free to post questions in the comment section.