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!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Deadline definition

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 has a grace period to account for time zones and 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!

Last minute application information

The January 1st deadline is around the corner! Inevitably, there will be last minute questions. 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 don't know how to do that, see #2 here. 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 (all three parts, the Common App, Supplement, and payment must be submitted for anything to be sent to us from the Common App system), it will take a couple days of processing to prompt a login email for UVa's Student Information System (SIS) to be sent to you. If you are about to leave for college, you should be able to follow the directions in the email and log into our system successfully.  You can do it!

When you log in to UVa's SIS 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 script and/or a staff member must link that transcript to your newly submitted application.  This takes time.

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 UVa questions (not Common App questions) now that our office is closed for the weekend:

I won't be logged into all of those all the time between now and deadline, but I will have my phone on me all weekend (hence Twitter and blog comments being the best ways to reach me). If I don't reply right away, I've either busy or am answering questions for another student.

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Family roles during the application process

Almost every call that has come into the office today has been from a parent filling out the Common Application for a student and some have been less than polite to the lovely women who answer questions at the front desk.  To be frank, I'm disappointed.

I am going to assume that the vast majority of applications are filled out by the applicants.  I imagine that we don't hear from them because a) our applicants are web savvy and can figure out the Common App pretty easily and b) students are more than comfortable with hitting the "help" link when they have a problem.  Adults might not feel the same way.  I myself have been guilty of calling a business about an online problem without consulting their FAQs and support pages first.  I imagine younger folks are apt to check the online resources first and pick up the phone only after exhausting those resources.

I'm not saying parents shouldn't be involved during application season.  In fact, I think this process is a great one to tackle as a team.  Adults should be providing guidance and that second set of eyes that might catch a typo or an awkward phrase in an essay. I do not think they should be assuming their child's identity online.  College bound students, even busy ones, can fill out the forms.  It might cut into their Facebook time over the winter break, but they can do it.

If you are headed for UVa, you should be more than capable of completing the Common Application.  I would also hope that you would only allow your name to appear on work that was yours.

As always, if you have questions before or after the deadline, just post a comment and I'll reply as soon as possible!

Application forms can be tedious...but a student bound for UVa can handle it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Year end video from athletics

Here's a quick look back at the year in sports at UVa...

(video removed because it's slowing down the site!)

Check out the Virginia Sports TV website for more great videos from UVa Athletics.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Greetings from UVa

Our friends in the Interactive Media Group in the Office of Public Affairs made this charming video that I thought I'd share.  The snow scenes are from last year, when we got a few freak snow storms here.  It's pretty rare for us to get enough snow to make a proper snowman!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Don't forget! There are application instructions

I've been fielding quite a few questions in the last few weeks that are answered in our application instructions.  Please, please be sure you read them!  Googling something isn't always the best way to get an answer.  Just the other day, someone citing a blog post from 2008 in trying to answer a question.  The information was out of date.

We update the instructions each summer.  Make sure you've read the instructions!  There is an entire section that tells you what is going to happen after you submit all three parts of your Common App.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three application reminders

1. There are three parts to the application.  
We don't see anything until you submit all three parts via


2. We can't fix problems you have with
Every single page on the Common App website has a "help" link.  
Hit the "help" link if you are having trouble and submit a help request.  

3.  Do not wait until 11:59 PM to submit.
The Common App team will undoubtedly have many help tickets to answer.
If you have a problem, it may take them a little while to help you.

I'll be checking for questions in the comments every day between now and deadline, so fee free to post questions.  I'll also be on Twitter (UVaDeanJ).

 CavDog and I are rooting for you!
Good luck!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Q&A with Dean J

I fear that you don't always go back to threads where you commented with a question.  Here are some answers to recent questions.
TN said...
When we will receive email confirmation of our arts supplements? 
We don't send emails confirming receipt of application components.  Required elements are checked in and you'll see them come off your "to do" list n the SIS.  Supplements that you send on top of the required credentials are not noted on the status page.
Hannah said...
Hi Dean J,

I just have a quick question. My guidance conselor was really busy this year. She only told me today that she accidently typed my GPA wrong on the SSR form. (I know there is very little difference to no difference between a GPA of 4.32 and 4.33, but does she have to resend a SSR form? I know on my transcript and the common app form my GPA is correct. Thank you so much. I'm sorry my question may seem silly
We check to make sure the SSR and transcript agree.  When they don't, we err on the side of using the statistic on the transcript. No worries!
L said...
I searched the blog, and I understand that you want us to stay roughly within the word limits, but I have been told that it is only detrimental to go over the limits provided, and points will begin to dock if I do so--will you really look at the specific word count, or see the about a half-page, and not mind 15 extra words? 
We don't count words here.  We also don't have a point system in place when we review applications, so we would never "dock" someone for a component of their application. 
 ghc710 said...
Dear Dean J,

I'm applying as a freshman to UVa. My application has not been submitted yet, but my testing scores and seconday school transcript have. Will it be a problem if the admissions office receives those documents before my application?
I answered this question in the post about behind the scene logistics. Application components have come in separately for decades.  
Anonymous said...
Hi Dean J,
I successfully submitted all three parts of my application to UVA, what do I do now? Will I get an email from UVA with some sort of login information?
This is addressed in the applications instructions.  There is an entire section called "After you submit your application."  Be sure to read that! 

Be sure to read application instructions, folks!
Anonymous said...
Just to clarify, the three parts of our application just have to be sent by January 1st. You don't need to have actually received them by that date though, correct? 
You must submit your items online by 11:59 PM on January 1st.    
 anam said...
Dean J,

I'm appering for my SAT subject test on 22nd january 2011.Will the test scores be considered after the application deadline?

There is a time line right on our admission information page that spells this out.  While you may take standardized tests in January, we will not get the scores until the middle or end of February.  It it quite late in the process.  We will take them, of course, but the chances are that a few readers will have already looked at your file by that point.

Feel free to post questions in the comments.  Make sure to check back to see my answers, though!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fitting in at UVa

Please note: this is a fun, lighthearted post for a Friday afternoon. 

I was just taking a little break from reading files and watched the students walk by my window for a little while.  I started to think about the number of times current students field questions about clothing styles via College Confidential.  It's strangely common for people to ask about how a "typical" student dresses. It's pretty hard to define a singular style for a student body of 14,000, but I decided to make a few notes about what I saw outside the window.

So, here are my observations, taken around 2 PM on December 10, 2010:

-The typical student wears jeans.  If you don't wear jeans, you will be okay here, as there were also students in leggings, sweatpants, and khaki pants.  Jeans were the dominant item, though.

-Male students seemed to be wearing two mains types of shoes: sneakers and brown shoes.  A few wore hiking boots (probably due to the's chilly here today).  I know I saw a pair of Toms (they have a pretty recognizable toe) and some Vans.  The sneaker is definitely the dominant item.

-Female students seemed to have slightly more variety in footwear, though boots were dominant (this is probably due to current trends and the temperature).  Other styles of footwear were sneakers (a very close second to the boot), fuzzy slipper looking things, and flats.

-Fleece jackets, ski jackets (I'm putting anything that's a little puffy with a synthetic shell in this category), sweatshirts, and pea coats seemed to be the most popular overcoats with fleece being the dominant material.

-Backpacks were the most popular accessory, though some carried messenger bags and a few girls had tote-style bags.

So, there you have it.   Any questions?

EDIT: I just saw someone jog by wearing shorts.  Just December.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

There are THREE parts to your application

Please don't forget that there are three parts to your application to UVa.  This should be very clear when you look at the main page once you log into your Common Application account.  

Submitting one part does not submit the other parts.  
Be sure you submit the Common Application, the UVa Supplement, and your payment (or fee waiver, if you have one).   Submitting the Common Application will not forced the submission of the UVa Supplement.  You must submit three different items in order for us to receive your application.


I will probably post this graphic a few more times in the next month, to catch new readers.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

When to submit your application

Students routinely ask us when they should submit their applications.  The easy answer: by the deadline.  However, we know what they are really asking.  There are rumors that would lead you to believe that you have to strategize when it comes to the date that you hit submit.

At UVa, there is no benefit to the application who submits their application early.  There is a benefit to us in that we are able to spread processing of applications out a little more widely when applications come in early.  The first few weeks of January are pretty crazy around here since most students submit their applications at or right around the deadline.

Our processing staff would love it if you were able to hit submit early, but from where I sit, I don't want you to hit submit until you are confident that your application is the best it can be.  If that happens on December 31st, we will mange just fine.

Good luck!  One month to go!