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!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, I'll be on way way to St. Louis for NACAC's annual conference.  NACAC is the National Association of College Admission Counseling.  Most of the admission officers you encounter during your college search are members and many of your college counselors are, too.

Right after the conference is my first trip to northern Virginia, so the blog might be a tad quiet for a few days. 

Here's a CavDog picture to tide you over until the next entry...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Introducing the Pre-Comm Blog

Photo from the Pre-Comm Blog

I'm so excited to announce that there is now a blog dedicated to pre-comm students!

At UVa, we have two schools for students interested in studying business.  The McIntire School of Commerce is the school for undergraduates and offers Bachelor's and Masters degrees.  The Darden School of Business is the graduate school that offers M.B.A. degrees.  McIntire is located in Rouss and Robertson Halls on the Lawn in the middle of Central Grounds and Darden is located on the outskirts of Grounds.  Obviously, readers of this blog who want to study business are more interested in McIntire than Darden.

If you want to be a student in McIntire, you'll be applying to the College of Arts & Sciences on your first year application.  You'll spend your first two years getting ready for the move to McIntire (see the coursework you'll need on their website).  Applications to move into McIntire are filed in your second year and you'll spend a whole lot of your last two years at the University in Rouss and Robertson Halls if everything works out.

Here's a glimpse into the buildings, which were reopened after renovation in 2008:

And here's a more in-depth video about McIntire:

Friday, September 24, 2010

One the road in Tidewater, Hampton Roads, the Penninsula, etc.

I offered my colleagues the opportunity to share their travel plans on the blog and Merav Frazier has already taken me up on the offer!  Aside from being an admission counselor in our office, Merav coaches the UVa Color Guard, part of the Cavalier Marching Band.  This means she's one of a handful of adults sitting in the student section at football games (lucky duck!).

There is another staff member visiting a slew of other schools in this same area, so please don't be worried if you don't see your school on this list.  

Monday, October 4th 
8:50am           Indian River High School
10:30am         Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Tuesday, October 5th 
9:00am             Stonebridge High School
10:30am           Hickory High School
12:45pm          Great Bridge High School
2:30pm             Deep Creek High School

Wednesday, October 6th  
9:00am           Western Branch High School
11:00am         Ocean Lakes High School
12:25pm         Kempsville High School
2:30pm           Oscar F. Smith High School

Thursday, October 7th 
8:00am            Landstown High School
9:00am            Floyd E Kellam High School          
10:30am          Princess Anne High School          
11:45am         Bayside High School
1:15pm           Green Run High School

Friday, October 8th 
7:15am              Tallwood High School
9:15am              Frank W. Cox High School
10:45am            First Colonial High School
12:30pm            Cape Henry Collegiate School

Monday, October 18th
7:00pm             Hayfield High School (College Fair)

Tuesday, October 19th
7:00pm              TC Williams High School (College Fair)

Thursday, October 21st
9:00am              Essex High School (College Fair)
1:00pm              Northumberland High School (College Fair)
5:00pm              Gloucester High School (College Fair)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let's talk about demonstrated interest

I often find myself saying that filling out our application is the best way to demonstrate your interest in UVa.  There are many schools out there that track contact with students and use demonstrated interest as a factor in admission, but UVa does not.  Sending notes/emails, dropping business cards or resumes, and getting "face time" really doesn't affect application review here.  Similarly, visiting the Grounds or coming to evening programs will not increase your chances of admission.

So, see the interaction you have with us prior to filing your application as a huge opportunity.  Ask us questions.  Ask us about the things that are really on your mind.  Ask us about the rumors you're hearing from friends, family, and the guy down the street.  No one will connect the questions you ask now with the application you may file in the coming months.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Upcoming visits in Northern Virginia

It's almost NOVA time! I'm on my way to Northern Virginia for two weeks of high school visits in October. 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 there. I personally love my time in northern Virginia, probably because I grew up in an area just like it. 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 so excited that I was able to work visits to most of the public schools in Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria into my schedule. If I am not coming to your school, it is due to my own scheduling conflicts or a visit being made by another staff member or at another point in the season.

With the exception of the STEM program at Battlefield (link opens a PDF invitation) and the College Night program at Paul VI, these visits are for students who attend each of the schools below. If your school is on my schedule and you'd like to come see me, you already know the drill. Your Career Center Specialists have probably made you aware of the sign up procedure you need to follow to get a pass.

So, here is where I'm headed:

Monday, October 4
9:30 AM Freedom High School
11:00 AM Park View High School
12:45 PM Herndon High School
2:30 PM Potomac Falls High School

Tuesday, October 5
8:30 AM Wakefield High School
10:00 AM Stuart High School
1:00 PM Annandale High School
7:00 PM Lake Braddock High School

Wednesday, October 6
8:00 AM James Madison High School
9:30 AM Oakton High School
11:00 AM Fairfax High School
1:30 PM Marshall High School

Thursday, October 7
8:30 AM Langley High School
10:00 AM McLean High School
11:30 AM Yorktown High School
1:30 PM Washington-Lee High School

Friday, October 8
8:15 AM Hayfield Secondary School
9:30 AM Lee High School
11:00 AM Edison High School
12:45 PM WT Woodson High School

Monday, October 18
9:30 AM Stone Bridge High School
12:00 PM Broad Run High School
1:30 PM Briar Woods High School
2:30 PM Academy of Science
3:15 PM Dominion High School

Tuesday, October 19
7:30 AM South Lakes High School
9:30 AM Westfield High School
11:00 AM Chantilly High School
1:00 PM Centreville High School

Wednesday, October 20
8:00 AM South County Secondary School
10:00 AM Mount Vernon High School
11:15 AM West Potomac High School
1:45 PM West Springfield High School
7:00 PM Paul VI College Night

Thursday, October 21
9:30 AM Loudoun County High School
11:30 AM Tuscarora High School
1:30 PM Heritage High School
3:15 PM Loudoun Valley High School
6:00 PM STEM Program at Battlefield High School (PDF of the invitation)

Friday, October 22
8:00 AM Falls Church High School
10:00 AM Robinson Secondary School

Please feel free to suggest options for a good, quick lunch if you're from a school I'll be hitting just before or just after lunch. Panera gets a little old after a while. :)

FYI, another admission officer will be at TC Williams for a fair on Tuesday, October 19 (7-9 PM) and I'll be at Woodgrove High School for College Night on Tuesday, November 16.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Planning your visit to UVa

If you're thinking of heading to Charlottesville this fall to visit the University, there are a few things you should know about.

First of all, visitors always seem to want appointments for information sessions and tours. We run sessions and tours regardless of how many people are going to show up, but we decided to institute a reservation system so we can plan our room reservations and give the University Guide Service a heads up about how many tour guides they'll need to schedule.

The tour and information session schedule is always posted online and once you pick a visit date and time, you can move to the reservation page to let us know when you'll be coming. Even group visits can be scheduled via the reservation system.

You can contact the Monroe Society if you'd like to stay overnight and shadow a student during their day. If you want to plan your own visit without an official host, you can consult the Open Class List to select a couple classes that interest you.

Feel free to post questions about visits in the comments. We hope to see you on Grounds soon!

CavDog is not a fan of travel season

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New England Group Travel

In a little over an hour, I'll be meeting up with old friends from Johns Hopkins and Northwestern, plus a new one from UC Berkeley for the first of five evening program in New England. If you're on any of our mailing lists, we probably already know this because we mailed and emailed invitations to these programs last month. However, if you'd like to join us this week, you can RSVP via our "UVa Visits You" page.

Our evening programs:

Sunday, September 12 - Noble & Greenough School (MA)
Monday, September 13 - Andover High School (MA)
Tuesday, September 14 - Providence Marriott Downtown (RI)
Wednesday, September 15 - Darien High School (CT)
Thursday, September 16 - Simsbury High School (CT)

We'll also be hosting counselor breakfasts each morning for your guidance staffs, who also received invitations by mail and email last month.

Hope to see some of you this week!

Friday, September 03, 2010

News from the front desk

Our administrative staff went on retreat the other day and the deans took turns covering the phones at the front desk. I actually enjoy this little tradition (much like I enjoy opening mail during the heaviest mail days of the year). First of all, it's interesting to hear the questions that come in to the front desk. Second, I enjoy hearing the surprise in someone's voice when I tell them I'm a dean and am happy to answer their more complex question. There are also a few callers who won't tell the front desk why they're calling...they just insist that they must talk to an admission officer directly.

The questions were pretty interesting. One woman had questions about a pension plan and thought we could help her. She wasn't a former employee of the University, but I guess I should be flattered that she thought we could explain how her plan worked. Many wanted to know if their credit would transfer if they came to UVa. They didn't seem to realize that there's a handy transfer credit analyzer on the website.

The most unexpected question, though, was from a woman from my own home state. She wanted to make sure we'd keep her tour appointment for Friday. We get a lot of people who think they need reservations or to sign in for tours and information sessions. So many, that we looked into implementing a reservation system (we're going to demo one today and will probably launch it in the coming weeks). After chatting for a minute, it became clear that she thought Charlottesville was at the beach and that Hurricane Earl would affect us.

UVa is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from the beach, so we'll be open as usual today and over the weekend. Any changes to our schedule get posted on the Plan a Visit page on our website, which is where all info about tours, information sessions, open classes, and shadowing can be found.