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!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Days on the Lawn 2012

DOTL 2011

It might seem a little early to be talking about our admitted student days, Days on the Lawn (DOTL), but there have been some requests for the dates.

At DOTL, undecided students and their parents get to tour Grounds, attend info sessions about each school, visit a resource fair, and tour the residence halls. Admitted students also get to sit in on classes and have lunch with current students while their parents are at a few sessions.

Days on the Lawn are a great way to figure out if UVa is the right place for you if you haven't gotten "that feeling" yet.

Registration for those admitted during Early Action is open (and you must register to attend). There is an attendance cap for each date, so please have a back up date in mind in case your first choice is full.  If your schedule doesn't allow you to attend any of these or the one that works for you is full, you can schedule an overnight visit on a better date and attend classes, too. 

2012 Days on the Lawn:
Monday, March 19th
Monday, April 2nd
Monday, April 9th
Saturday, April 14th
Monday, April 16th
Friday, April 20th
If someone in your party has a disability that requires an accommodation, please call us at (434) 982-3200 as soon as you make your travel plans. We want to arrange a comfortable experience for your family.

There is information about lodging on the main UVa website, but I'm happy to chat about the options and answer any questions you have about travel logistics. There are number of hotels within walking distance of Grounds or on the bus/trolley route. If you will be driving to Grounds, please be sure to read about the parking options. We rent out one garage so there is plenty of free parking available, but that comes with a 5 minute walk to the Lawn.

By the way, don't be afraid to come up and say hello at DOTL!  I'll be on the other end of CavDog's leash.

CavDog takes his DOTL duties very seriously  

Juniors and sophomores, if you are planning to visit us in March or April, please do not visit us on Days on the Lawn days. The Grounds are packed full of visitors and parking is very, very difficult as a result.

Oh wait! One more thing.  People often ask us how they are supposed to dress for DOTL. Dress as if you're going to be walking around Grounds all day.  Remember that we're not interviewing you, you're interviewing us.  We'll dress up.  You be comfortable.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Class of 2016 Facebook Page & Group

Years ago, an enterprising young college student had an idea to market a business to college bound students through Facebook in a new way.  Through made up Facebook accounts, he or his unpaid interns became administrators for hundreds of "Class of 20xx" Facebook groups.

Back then, most admission folks let Facebook groups grow organically.  Some excited student would start a group for their class and others would join as they got their admission decisions.  I shared that view. After the made up accounts were connected by a group of admission officers interested in social media, what was happening got picked up by the media and dubbed "Facebookgate."  The full story unfolds on the Squared Peg blog, but you can read a quick synopsis on this blog.

Each year since, that same enterprising, young man has tweaked his practices and tried again, more recently for his roommate matching website.  In 2010, even The Choice blog at the New York Times covered what was happening.

Why am I telling you this?  So you understand why I stepped in a few years ago to create class groups on Facebook.  I have absolutely no interest in tracking you on the internet or looking at your profiles.  My interest is in creating a page and group for each class where content won't include advertisements and your information won't be mined (my worry with groups that are tied to a company). 

Over time, I developed a plan for each class' Facebook groups.  I would create the group (and more recently, a page and a group) for each class.  Once the class was enrolled, I'd turn administration of the group over the current First Year Class Council, who would best answer questions and give advice.  When the incoming class elected their Class Council, class officers would become the new administrators.  I'm happy to say that most of the groups I created over the years are still in use.  

I've already sent an email to see if we can get the First Year Class Council to take over the Class of 2016 page and group.  I hope they'll be on board in a few days.  Until then, you'll see my name on the groups, but know that I'm far too busy with the application review process to keep up with your conversations there.

Click the images to go to the group and page for the Class of 2016:

By the way, if you're interested in how housing works, check out this post from last year, written by the Director of Accommodations in the housing office here.   He shared a ton of info about requesting a roommate or going through the roommate matching survey/process that his office runs. It's a really fantastic post!

Oh, one more thing.  Every year, the Alumni Association has a logo made for the incoming class and it becomes the avatar for the Facebook group.  So, don't be alarmed if the image changes at some point.  

ETA:  Groups that overlap can definitely co-exist on Facebook.  In past years, I've seen groups created by incoming students from a certain country or students who are in the scholars programs.  I think that's a great way to foster community, if there's an interest in them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let's Talk About Decisions: The Early Action Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk.

You have until May 1st to make your decision about whether you'll come to UVa or not. If you decide to go elsewhere at some point in the coming weeks, I hope you'll decline the offer immediately via your self-service page.

Just below your letter are buttons to accept or decline your offer. If you accept, you will see a button to let you pay your tuition deposit online*.  After you deposit, it's time to sit back and wait for the Regular Decision group to get admitted.  Once that group admitted, I'll post information about signing up for summer orientation and a reminder to have your final transcripts sent.

You may want to like the Class of 2016 Facebook page.  This page will be turned over to the First Year Class Council on May 1st and they will hand it off to your Class Council when your class elects officers.

I hope you'll stay on the blog and chime in as students ask questions about the process!

Congratulations! We are so lucky to have you considering UVa!

*We have an e-check system for deposits.  You'll type in the numbers on the bottom of your check, much like the system used when filing taxes.  The system will take certain kinds of credit cards, but it's primarily an e-check system.  Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker when you go to pay the deposit!

Let's Talk About Decisions: The Defer

Students offered a spot on the defer list can use this entry to talk.

There's no way around it.  This is probably the toughest decision (or maybe it's a "non-decision") to get from a school after applying under Early Action.  In most cases (there are 3,150 of you), we have deferred students when we think senior grades are needed before making a final decision.  At this point, you should simply make sure your mid-year report is sent when the grades from the first semester or second trimester are ready.  Most of your counselors will do this automatically.

Feel free chat here. You should have already seen the link to the defer FAQ page, which answers the most common questions.

CavDog hopes you find a peaceful place to wait

Let's Talk About Decisons: The Early Action Deny

Denied students can use this entry to talk.

I'm so sorry this sort of entry is needed. I hope you all can look at your options and get excited about one of your other schools. If your immediate reaction is "I'll transfer", don't let that plan keep you from getting involved in campus life at the school you choose. I think many students come to think of their next choice as "home" and can't imagine leaving it after a little while.

I hope you'll read this post and remember that this decision is probably about our numbers. You didn't do anything "wrong" (a common question). I'll leave you until tomorrow, when I'll be back to answer questions.

Please be polite and respectful of others when posting.

BTW, if you signed yourself up to read the blog by email and don't want the messages anymore, there's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page.

CavDog wishes he could make this easier on you

Early Action Echols, Rodman, & College Science Scholars Invitations Coming on SUNDAY

Looks like the folks involved in the reviews for the scholars programs aren't going to be done today.  They just told me that they will be emailing invitations on Sunday evening.

The Arts Scholars are not finalized until the end of the Regular Decision process.

A note of thanks and an apology

It's become a tradition for me to write this post on notification day...

Some of you won't be visiting after today, so I feel that this is a good time to say thank you for being part of this blog. This blog is successful because you read it and you write comments.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to interact with you here.

It's exciting to know that we're going to make some of you very happy this evening, but that excitement is tempered by the fact that we're going to make many more of you sad or upset. One of the drawbacks to this job is that we have to say "no" more often than we get to say "yes". I console myself with the knowledge that you will all have many other attractive offers, some from our 14 public sisters in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Regardless of what your status page says, you are going to be just fine.  You are going to attend a great school and you are going to grow tremendously while there. While I obviously think UVa is a great, supportive place for the next chapter in your lives, I believe that what will make your college experiences valuable is what you learn from them, not necessarily your location when they occur.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. With the number of applications we had, we were not able to admit all of the qualified students. Most of our applicants are perfectly capable of doing the work at UVa. Our first-year class just isn't large enough to accommodate everyone.

And now, the apology.  This is the first time in a few years that I am not totally devoted to answering questions online on notification day.  We have moved into the regular decision review phase and we are all reading files today.  I try to reply to every question that comes in on notification day, but I probably won't be able to do that this year.

Best wishes to those who won't be back to the blog after this (if you're reading this by email, you can unsubscribe yourself at the bottom of the email). To the rest, I hope you'll chime in as we move into the regular decision period.

The big day is finally here! I'll be here at 5 PM and will be thinking about you all. Good luck!

Give the EA students a hand, CavDog!
They gave us some great applications to read!

Happy Early Action Notification Day!

Happy Day!

You made it to EA notification day! Hooray!

I have a few notes about what's going to happen this afternoon. I'll be posting a few more times today, so check back later for more information.

1. The release of decisions is set for 5 PM Eastern. The SIS has been tested many times and we have never had any problems with it on notification day.  Click "View decision" and you'll be taken to the decision letter.  If you don't have a login, you can generate the information yourself on the front page of the SIS.

2. I will post entries for you to talk about offer, waitlist, and deny decisions. I will step away from the blog after that to let you chat.  I'll be back late tonight or tomorrow.

3. Notification Day brings a lot of joy, but there are going to be some hurt feelings as well. While I want you to be happy and celebrate your successes, I hope you'll be gracious around classmates who might not get good news. If you don't get the good news, I hope you'll be happy about the options you DO have.

4. You all have done a great job of moderating yourselves and I trust you to be respectful of each other in the comments.  I caution you about posting statistics in comments.  As I've written before, GPAs are meaningless without context, so trying to compare your stats and decisions doesn't make much sense.

5.  There have been times when a reader has written about another school in a comment (as in "I'm going to go to ____ instead.") and they have been chastised by other readers.  I don't think you should put down the other options that you or your peers have.  Be proud of the offers that you've received!

6.  We have switched to Regular Decision review, so I have a full day of reading ahead of me.  I might not reply to comments right away, but I will reply eventually.  Check back on Monday if you post a question.

Good luck, everyone!

Early Action Admission Statistics

Here are some numbers about the class. Please understand that I do not have additional statistics. I am giving you all I can right now.  Questions usually come in consistently throughout notification day, but unlike previous years, I am reading files today.  I'll try to reply to comments over the weekend.

The Office of Institutional Assessment is the source of all official statistics about UVa.  They take a census in October to determine the final statistics for the class.   You can see statistics from decision days in prior years by hitting the "statistics" tag at the bottom of this post.  You can see admission data from the last twenty years in the data digest part of their website.  Another part of their site has data going back to 1977!  Obviously, what happened decades ago isn't going to tell you too much about this year, but some people have fun playing around with the different charts on their site.

Total number of Early Action applications: 11,753
Total number of VA apps: 3.514
Total number of OOS apps:8.239

Overall offers: 3.184 total offer
Total VA offers: 1,547 offers (44%)
Total OOS offers: 1,637 offers (20%)

Enrollment goal: 3,360 first-year students total (between EA and RD)

SAT Mean (of the offer group): 2119
% in the top 10% of their high school class (offers only): 98.3%

The offers numbers for VA and OOS are similar because yield for OOS is generally lower.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Early Action Notification Update!

I just got back from our weekly staff meeting and I have exciting news!  It looks like we are going to have decisions finalized this week.  That means the big day is moving up.

Early Action Notification is moving up!
Decisions will post at 5 PM Eastern
Friday, January 20, 2012

I'll try to answer questions and post some fun information to pass the time, but please remember that we don't stop reading.  We have about 17,000 Regular Decision applications to read.

If you haven't logged into SIS yet, now is the time to verify that you know how to get to your status page. If you don't know what SIS is, read this.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Moment of Zen from CavDog

Happy Friday!  I hope you can put college admission talk aside for the weekend and enjoy a little time with friends and family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Preliminary application numbers

For the last few years, we've heard about other schools having huge increases in application numbers.  Our application numbers have gone up a little bit each year, but we've never had the18, 20, or 44 percent increases that others have reported (here are some numbers from 2010 and 2011).  Seeing applications numbers jump at other schools for the last few years made me wonder if the same would happen at UVa at some point.

I'm still waiting for a final number for the regular decision pool, but it looks like we'll have around 17,000 regular decision applications this year.  That means the overall application number is somewhere around 28,000.   That's up from 23,982 applications (23,587 ultimately completed) last year.

I'm still waiting for all of those applications to make it through the Office of Virginia Status' process, which determines whether an applicant is a Virginia resident or not.  My hypothesis is that the increase is on the out-of-state side. I imagine I'll have more information about how the pool breaks down in a couple weeks.

So there you go.  I have reading to do.

 CavDog trying to manage a really big stick

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A quick note about your "to do" list in SIS

We're processing right now.  We're going to be processing for a few weeks.  While we're working on that, I thought I'd make a list of things you should worry about and things you shouldn't worry about right now.

Things you should worry about:
-your school work

Things you should not worry about:
-your status on the UVa SIS
-your status on the UVa SIS  (seriously)
-your status on the UVa SIS  (really, I promise)

It will take us a few weeks to process everything we have gotten.  Right now, your "to do" list on the SIS may have items on it that have already arrived in our office, but haven't been checked in and matched up to your file.  I heard about a school that doesn't even let students check their status until February.  Part of me thinks that's a great idea.  Part of me thinks it would drive students crazy!  I wonder if it prompts more calls/emails from people who want to verify that items have arrived.  That reminds me...

Please do not call asking us to verify receipt of credentials.

Our staff needs to process.  They can not check on documents for you.  This is what the SIS will be for at the end of the month.

Oh, and here are photos of the two things college admission folks hate the most at this time of year:


Staples are not welcome in paperless offices!  If you send us paper, we have to scan it into our imaging system.  That slows the process down right there.  Adding staples (and for some reason, few people stop at just one staple) slows the process down even more.  Skip the staples.

Special packaging is a waste of money and materials.  Anything that arrives like this gets yanked right out of the folder or binder so we can scan the contents.  Please, please save your money and stop using these things!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"View Decision" = Ready to Read in SIS

I've written about this a few times in blog posts and in my responses to comments (did you notice that I respond to comments?), but I think I need to make a really simple blog post about it.

The Student Information System has a built-in feature that adds a box at the bottom of your status page when your file is deemed complete and ready for us to read. 

Here's what it looks like:

If you see that box show up, it might cause a little excitement because "view decision" shows up in the box.  Alas, when you click on the words, you get a little message saying decisions aren't ready yet.  Because they aren't.

Early Action Notification = January 31st
Regular Decision Notification = April 1st
(any change will be announced on this blog ASAP)

We release all decisions at once and we aren't done with the EA process yet.  RD applicants, you'll probably start seeing these boxes pop up in early February, at which point I'll probably repost this entire entry.  :)

That's the Reader's Digest version (does that phrase even make sense anymore?).  The long version is that student information systems are built by companies that are in the information management business.  The company that built the system that we use did a lot of things right. However, there are a couple things that those of us "on the ground" don't love and that is to be expected. 

The "view decision" box works for lots of admission situations (many undergraduate and graduate programs use a rolling notification).  It just doesn't work for schools that admit a class as a big group.  Our SIS does a lot of things really well, but this one feature doesn't work perfectly for us. 

I have a feeling that if you have an offer on the big day, you'll be pretty happy with SIS.  Without it, you'd be standing by the mailbox, waiting for the postal service to bring your decision the way I did a long time ago. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Last call

     Are you tired of seeing this graphic?  Apparently, about 1,000 RD applicants didn't see it. 


So here's what we're going to do: We're going to email those people today and let them know that they have to submit what's missing from their part of the application by noon on Thursday.  If they don't submit what's missing (payment, supplement, or Common App) by then, we're going to assume that they didn't mean to apply.
Once that's done, I'll know more about our total application number.  Determining residency stats takes longer since the Office of Virginia Status has to evaluation their part of the supplement (admission uses the first half of the supplement and status uses the second half).  While status does their thing, we continue to work on the Early Action process.

I can tell you that this is the direction that the total application numbers went:

That picture is NOT current.  We haven't had any snow accumulation yet this year.
When we tell you about the number of students who applied to UVa, we're talking about people who submitted all three part so of the Common App.  There is no "part 1" and "part 2" scenario here where you get counting for submitting one item of the three.  We are set up so that we only get your application from the Common App folks when you have submitted the Common App, the UVa Supplement, and the payment (or fee waiver).  Aside from covering this on the blog multiple times, it's also in the application instructions.