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!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

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.  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!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Some 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:
  • Send me a tweet - the fastest method, I'll have my iPhone on me all weekend
  • Post a comment on this entry - the second fastest method, comment alerts are sent to my phone
  • Post on the UVa forum of College Confidential
  • Instant message me through Google Chat (UVaDeanJ)
I won't be logged into all of those at every moment 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!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Regular Decision deadline is around the corner!

The Regular Decision deadline, January 1st, is around the corner.  I thought I'd go over a few notes that might help those getting ready to hit submit.

1. There are three parts to your part of the application.  
We don't see anything until you submit all three parts via
The three parts are the Common App, the UVa Supplement, and the payment.

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.
If you have trouble, understand that the Common App team will have many help tickets to answer.

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!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Family roles during the application process

Someone shared a video with me the other day that lead me down the Youtube rabbit hole (when you find yourself watching way too many "related" videos).  I landed on this video from a teen show that I don't know, but I think it's pertinent to what is happening right now.

There are days when almost every call that comes into the office is from a parent filling out the Common Application for a student.  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, so they pick up the phone and call us.  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 also hope that you only allow your name to appear on work that is yours.

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.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Early Action Notification (a "no update" update)

We've been promising to have Early Action decisions released by the "end of January" ever since we announced a return to this early process.  Right now, assume that January 31st is the big day.

Please understand that we are working as quickly as possible. We'd love to be done right now, but we'd be shortchanging a lot of applicants if we rushed through this process. 

Hang in there.

Thursday, December 01, 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