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, September 30, 2011

On the road in Northern Virginia

It's almost NOVA time! I'm on my way to Northern Virginia for three weeks of appointments 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 Loudoun into my schedule.  There's a third week of travel that I haven't posted yet, so don't worry if your school isn't listed.  Also, we don't use "demonstrated interest" in our application review, so coming to see me during my visit doesn't have any affect on your application.  Come if you'd like to ask questions and hear my advice for the process. 

The daytime high school 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 for the first two weeks.  I'll post my last itinerary next week.

Monday, October 3rd
8:30 AM    Yorktown High School
10:00 AM  Washington-Lee High School
11:30 PM   Wakefield High School
1:15 PM     Stuart High School

Tuesday, October 4th
9:00 AM    Falls Church High School
11:45 AM  TJHSST
1:00 PM     Robert E. Lee High School
2:30 PM     George Mason High School

Wednesday, October 5th
9:00 AM    James Madison High School
10:30 AM  Oakton High School
11:45 AM   Fairfax High School
1:30 PM     WT Woodson High School

Thursday, October 6th
8:00 AM     Robinson Secondary School
9:30 AM     Lake Braddock Secondary School
11:00 AM   West Springfield High School

Friday, October 7th
9:00 AM     Marshall High School
10:30 AM   Langley High School
12:30 PM    McLean High School

Tuesday, October 11th
10:00 AM  Annandale High School
6:00 PM     Freedom High School College Fair (Woodbridge)

Wednesday, October 12th
10:30 AM   NOVA Annandale Transfer Fair
2:00 PM     Episcopal High School College Fair
7:00 PM     Ballston Commons Mall College Fair

Thursday, October 13th
10:30 AM  NOVA Alexandria College Fair

Friday, October 14th
7:30 AM    South County Secondary School
9:00 AM    West Potomac High School
11:00 AM  Edison High School
1:00 PM    Mount Vernon High School

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Admission Chat TONIGHT!

The UVa Chat rooms will be open from 7 PM to 9 PM tonight. We'll have students and admission officers in the rooms to answer questions about UVa or the admission process. You'll have to register a username to participate and you can do that now or just before entering the chat.

Hope to see some of you there!

UVa Chat Rooms

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On the road in Richmond

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 coached the UVa Color Guard, part of the Cavalier Marching Band for a few years.  If you have questions about the band, she'd be a great resource!

There is another staff member visiting other schools in the area, so please don't worry if your school isn't on this list.   

Here's Merav's schedule in Richmond:

Thursday, September 29th 
8:30am             Saint Gertrude High School
11:00am           Saint Christopher's School
12:15pm          Saint Catherine's School
2:00pm             Powhatan High School

Friday, September 30th 
7:45am             The Steward School
9:00am             Collegiate School
10:30am          Trinity Episcopal School

Wednesday, October 5th  
8:15am           Thomas Dale High School
9:30am           Lloyd C. Bird High School
11:30am         Benedictine College Prep School
1:30pm           Goochland High School

Thursday, October 6th 
7:30am            James River High School
10:00am          Midlothian High School          
11:30am          Cosby High School          
1:00pm           Clover Hill High School

Monday, September 26, 2011

Recommended test dates for Early Action

We talked about recommended test dates in the comments on the Early Action post from earlier this month, but I thought I'd address that again.

The last recommended SAT test date for Early Action applicants is October 1, 2011.  If you list UVa in advance as a school that should receive your scores, we should get them on October 20th (we get everything electronically).  When you registered for the exam, you should have had the option to designate four schools to get your scores.  Here's the score report timeline right from the ETS website:

 If you wait until you see your scores to send them, they might not get to us in time.  The ETS people say that it takes FIVE WEEKS to send scores to colleges after you submit your request.  On top of that, there's a fee involved to send scores after the test date.


If you pay even more money, you can have scores rushed, but the price to do it is $40.50.  I just cringed when I looked that up. The test costs $49 to take in the first place.  Don't wait.  Use the free reports that you get up front and save yourself some money.

For those of you who are already planning for the Regular Decision deadline on January 1st, the last recommended SAT test date for you is December 3, 2011.

What are your questions about the application timeline?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arts Supplements 101

While serving as "Dean of the Day" on Monday, I got quite a few calls about arts supplements.  The Early Action arts supplement deadline is October 1st, so I imagine most callers were hoping to submit portfolios in the next week or so.  Here are the most frequent questions I received and how I answered them:

Who should submit an arts supplement?
Anyone who intends to major, minor, or be significantly involved in the arts at UVa should think about submitting an arts supplement.  Submission is not required for anyone.

I don't think I'm going to be involved in the arts. Can a supplement help my application anyway?
I guess you could submit a supplement, but consider the fact that your supplement will be reviewed alongside those of students who are going to major/minor.  Submission alone doesn't help you.  The review by faculty is what could help you.

Can I submit ________ as part of my supplement?
Each type of arts supplement has specific instructions regarding format, length, and submission.  There are forms for visual art, dance, drama, music, and marching band.  Follow the directions on the form that corresponds to your discipline.

Can I combine a few areas into one supplement?
The supplements go to different departments for distribution and review, so if you want to submit a music and marching band supplement, you need to submit two supplements. One will get sent to the Marching Band Office and the other will go to the Department of Music.

The October 1st deadline is really early.  Can I submit late?
Yes, October 1st is early because faculty need to review the supplements and send their notes to the Office of Admission in time for our Early Action review.  I don't think late submission will help an Early Action application.

What about the Common App Arts Supplement form?
For now, we want you to use our forms.  We don't want recommendations (those are mentioned on the Common App's Arts Supplement form).  Just follow the directions on the UVa forms.

What questions do you have about arts supplements?

There will inevitably be another stretch of calls closer to the regular decision arts supplement deadline (December 1st), so I might have to write an "Arts Supplements 201" post.

Important Links

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Outreach chat TONIGHT!

The UVa Chat rooms will be open from 8 PM to 9:30 PM tonight for a diversity chat hosted by the Outreach Office. We'll have students and admission officers in the rooms to answer questions about UVa or the admission process. This chat is meant for juniors and seniors. You'll have to register a username to participate and you can do that now or just before entering the chat.

Hope to see some of you there!
UVa Chat Rooms

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall admission chats are scheduled!

The UVa Chat room schedule is set for the next few months.  We have students and admission officers in the rooms on designated nights to answer questions about UVa or the admission process.

Fall chats (7-9 PM):

Thursday, September 29th
Wednesday, October 12th
Monday, October 24th
Tuesday, November 8th
Wednesday, November 16th 
Tuesday, November 29th
Thursday, December 1st

Outreach chats (8-9:30 PM):
Tuesday, September 20th
Tuesday, October 18th
Tuesday, November 15th

International Student chat (8:30 - 9:30 AM Eastern)
Thursday, October 20th

I post a reminder on the morning of each chat.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Headed to New England

On Monday, I'll be meeting up with old friends from Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, and UC Berkeley for the first of four evening program in New England. If you're on any of our mailing lists, you 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 links on our "UVa Visits You" page.

Our evening programs:

Monday, September 12 - Noble and Greenough School (MA) - I think this session is full!
Tuesday, September 14 - Providence Marriott Downtown (RI)
Wednesday, September 15 - Darien High School (CT)
Thursday, September 16 - Farmington 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 next week!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Let's talk about Early Action

The 2011-2012 application season will be our first with Early Action.  It'll be our first year with two deadlines since 2006, when we got rid of that other kind of early deadline.

I have to admit that I liked having one deadline.  I thought it was the right thing to do in light of complaints about the admission process creeping earlier and earlier recent years.  Everyone was in the same pool.  Everyone was evaluated together.  I didn't read files on Thanksgiving for a few years.  It was nice.

Alas, we got an earful.  You want an early process.  So, we're giving you one.  We offer the basic early action program.  There are no restrictions.  We don't dictate how you apply to your other schools.  Of course, if you get in to another school through a binding early program, we expect you to withdraw your application to UVa.

I know many of you see Early Action as a way to get out in front of the pack (which isn't all that far behind).  Some of your perceive Early Action to be an easier way to be admitted.  That isn't going to be the case here.  We are going to read files the same way throughout the application season.  We don't have any statistics about Early Action at this point, so you can't use that as a factor when you are deciding whether to apply in the early or regular rounds.

Instead of consulting stats to make this decision for you, you need to think about what kind of application you can present in November and what kind of application you can present in January.

If you think you had an amazing junior year and your application is rock solid without the first semester of senior year on your transcript, consider applying early.  If you had a little stumble early on in your junior year (which sometimes happens when you step up the number of advanced classes* in your schedule, maybe you should apply under Regular Decision, when we'll have some senior grades to consider (my expectation is that you rebounded in a big way). 

Feel free to post your questions about Early Action in the comments!

CavDog staying ahead of the pack

* I use "advanced classes" a lot because there are different options out there.  I'm referring to the top classes at your school, often the AP or IB courses.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sneak peek...

This is just a teaser for a post that's coming.  We went over to the new Hunter Smith Band Building, which just opened this week.  As far as band facilities go, we're told it's one of the best and most modern ones in the country. 

I'll share some photos soon, but for now, you can watch a few of the deans try to carry the drum sets that the students in the UVa Drumline wear during games and performances.  They're heavy!