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!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Virginia Society call nights

I know you're craving information at this point in the process.  Unfortunately, we are still in the thick of the application review process and I don't have much to report about that other than to say that at this point, the majority of the applications in the pool have gotten read at least a couple times.  There are multiple rounds in this process, so we are still a few weeks away from having decisions ready.

Between now and decision time, the students of the Virginia Society are going to call applicants to chat about UVa.  We start this process early so this small, dedicated group can call as many people as possible.  Lots of schools do this sort of thing, so in a few weeks, you might get used to the calls.  Way back when I was a high school student, I was so surprised by the first call that I couldn't think of any questions to ask the caller.  So, here's your heads up so you can think of a question or two that you'd like answered by a current student.

If you happen to get a call (they usually call in the evening), remember that the student isn't an admission officer and won't be taking notes on your conversation. This is just a chance to talk, student to student, about whatever is on your mind.

By the way, I thought it was apparent, but this blog is a first year admission blog.  
There is a link to the transfer blog to the right.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last call for missing credentials!

We're going to send a last round of emails asking for missing credentials in the next day or so.  If you are one of the few that get one of these emails, time is now of the essence.  We need to you to quickly get us the item(s) mentioned in the email so we can get your file processed and in front of the Deans and readers.

Most of you won't hear from us at all.  No news is good news right now.  There will be more to talk about next week.  Right now, you should be working on your FAFSA and CSS Profile for the Financial Aid people.  You should really get those items filed by March 1st, which is next Tuesday.

I'm going to paste in a few notes from an entry I made a few weeks ago because it seems as though there are some new readers who haven't scrolled down.  Remember to use that little search box to the right...a lot of your questions have already been covered!

-"Initiated" in a term used by our Student Information System to show that an item has been added to your to do list. It means the item has not been completed yet.

-Once your application is complete and it moves to the "ready to read" mode, you'll see a box pop up at the bottom of the status screen. "View decision" will appear in the box. It doesn't mean your decision is ready. That's just something that's built into the computer system. If you hit "view decision", you'll just see a note about decisions not being ready at this point.

-When we "flip the switch" for notification (April 1 at 5 PM Eastern), that "View Decision" link will take you to your official decision.  We we are able to notify early, I will post about it on this blog.

-While the Office of Admission is paperless, admitted students will be mailed an information packet which includes an invitation to our open houses (Days on the Lawn).   You will see your official letter online.  The only thing we're putting in the mail is the information packet for admitted students.

-If/when you apply for Financial Aid, their office's to do list will appear on your status page. Our offices are separate, so we in Admission have no knowledge of what's going on with your aid application. Direct all questions about aid to them and all questions about admission to us.

-Financial Aid packages are posted online ONLY. They won't be sending your paper documents. You'll probably want to take screen shots or print out the screen when your aid package gets posted so you can share it with your parents.

-If you ever forget your SIS password or want to change it, you can follow the steps in that first email you got to generate a new password.


Monday, February 14, 2011

It's starting...

The nervous fidgeting has started.  You've been pretty calm and cool for the last month, but you're starting to think about the next phase of this process and you want it to come RIGHT NOW!  You're starting to hear about what schools send mailings or make phone calls or do whatever they do when they're through the bulk of their applications.  What if you get a missing credentials email? What if you don't? What if someone walks by you wearing a UVa hat and smiles? What does that mean?

Here's the thing.  We have a pretty small staff and we have this funny hang up about reading every file.  There's a common assumption that we sort files to determine which ones will be read and this is not the case.  Every file is read.  There is no rubric in our process, so while we do look at the statistics you schools send us, we don't base our decisions purely on numbers.  Program, methodology (with respect to grading, GPAs, and rank), recommendations, essays, and involvement all factor in. 

So, a small staff, a lot of applications, and holistic style of review all combine to make this process slow, but comprehensive.  I personally feel good about this.  I know you don't feel good about the wait, but it is going to take more than a month to complete this process in a thorough way that is fair to each application file.

Try to hit the pause button when the "what ifs" start to take over.  Rest assured that I will let you know when we start to do anything other than read files.

Hang in there!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Missing credentials emails to be sent shortly

About 1,500 of you are going to be receiving an email from us asking for document in the next few days.  Keep in mind that we want your application to be complete and "ready to read."  If you get one of these emails, we aren't mad and you aren't in trouble.  Do not panic.  Calmly, but quickly, get us the missing item.

If getting the missing document to us requires a visit to your counselor, keep in mind that they probably sent the item, but it was somehow lost in transit.  I cringe at the thought of someone flying into the counseling office in a panic, accusing staff of not submitting credentials.

If you do not get an email, relax.  Do not send us a document unless we have asked for it.  Sending duplicates slows down the processing of documents we really need to complete other students' files.

The only kind of duplicates we like (CavDog has 11 siblings)

Friday, February 04, 2011

A huge improvement for Notes from Peabody

I installed a commenting platform on the blog yesterday that will make it much, much easier to see my replies to your questions.  Up until now, I've posted long comments full of my replies.  I would bold the name of the person asking (and even though I plead with folks not to use the Anonymous button, it seemed like most did) and answer the question.  If you didn't know the question asked, you had to scroll up through the comments to find it.

Now, we can all reply to comments directly underneath them.  I love threaded comments.

In addition, there are now "like" buttons on the posts.  I guess because of Facebook's extensive use of "the like," people are used to being able to quickly register their approval of a post.

Below the comments, the new platform also reproduces any tweets that lead to the entry.  It's a nice way for me to see who is talking about what's happening at Notes from Peabody and it might introduce us all to Twitter profiles we didn't know about before.

Obviously, we're all testing these features out right now.  If you're something you like or don't like about the new format, let me know in the comments.  If you want to be "anonymous" on this blog, that's fine, but you now have to pick a name (it can be made up...see the screen shot below).  It's a little frustrating on my end to constantly be responding to "Anonymous." 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Please hold...

I'm changing the format of the comments section on the blog to allow me to reply to questions more easily.  It'll take a few hours.  During this time, it will appear as those there are no comments on the blog.  Sit tight!  They'll be back soon!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

It's February! Can we freak out yet?

All through January, I told you not to freak out about you status pages until I told you to.  I dangled February as the time when you could start worry about what's left on your to do list.

You still shouldn't freak out.

Here are some reminders straight from the staff members who are overseeing the processing of your applications.

1.  Some of you only have mid-year grades on your to-do lists.  That's great!  We hope that we'll have this by the middle of the month.  Most of your school counselors already have this covered.

2.  If you listed a school on the Common App and you aren't going to send us a transcript from that school, you may now email us to remove that item from your check list.  Please email about this.  You must use the subject line "Checklist adjustment request."  I have asked Common App to tighten up the language on that section so it's clear that the schools listed should be ones that have transcripts for you.

3.  Do not send duplicates of items that were already sent at this point.  We will contact you individually by email (check the email account you used on the Common App!) if/when we want you to send us something.  I promise you that we want your applications to be complete.  You aren't in trouble if we email you asking for an item.  Sometimes, things get misdirected and it's not your fault.

February is the toughest month of the application process for all of us.  There's a lot of reading on our side and a lot of waiting on yours.  I usually don't write as many blog posts during this month because most of my days are spent with your files.  Please know that I am keeping an eye on things.  Even if I don't post a new entry, I'm usually answering questions via the comment sections on the posts.

I usually check in via Twitter a few times per day (if you don't use Twitter, you can see the column to the right, where my most recent tweets are shown), take a peek at the bills I'm tracking on Richmond Sunlight (basically anything education related) each afternoon, and spend a few minutes on the UVa forum on College Confidential at least once per day.

On the bright side, things get much more interesting in March.  You can read last year's posts to get a sense of what that's like.

The CavDog equivalent to February