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!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Early Action Deadline Extension

The early action deadline is extended to 11:59 PM on 
Sunday, November 4, 2012

For only the third time in recent years, University of Virginia is closed today. Hurricane Sandy hasn't really hit us yet, but like most people in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, we're preparing for a major storm.

Stay safe, everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2012

An Overloaded October

My travel schedule was pretty packed this month and I never got around the posting itineraries for my last two weeks in Northern Virginia.  You already saw my first week in that area.  Here's where I was the last two weeks:

Monday, October 15, 2012
8:00 AM   West Potomac High School
9:30 AM   Mount Vernon High School
11:30 AM  Edison High School
1:15 PM  Robert E. Lee High School

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
10:30 AM   NOVA Woodbridge Transfer Fair
6:00 PM   Prince William County College Fair, Potomac Falls High School

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
10:30 AM   NOVA Annadale Transfer Fair
2:00 PM   Episcopal High School College Fair
7:00 PM   Arlington County College Fair, Ballston Commons Mall

Thursday, October 18, 2012
9:00 AM   Hayfield Secondary School
10:30 AM  NOVA Alexandria Transfer Fair

Friday, October 19, 2012
8:00 AM   Robinson Secondary School
10:45 AM  Lake Braddock Secondary School
12:00 PM  West Springfield High School
1:30 PM    South County Secondary School

Sunday, October 21, 2012
7:30 PM  Fairfax County College Fair, Fair Oaks Mall

Monday, October 22, 2012
9:45 AM   Heritage High School

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
3:30 AM   Loudoun County High School
11:30 AM  Woodgrove High School
1:45 AM   Tuscarora High School
3:15 PM    Loudoun Valley High School

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10:15 AM   Potomac Falls High School
11:30 AM   Park View High School
12:45 AM  Herndon High School
2:00 PM    Academy of Science
2:45 PM    Dominion High School
7:00 PM    Pope Paul VI Evening Program

Thursday, October 25, 2012
8:00 AM   South Lakes High School
9:45 AM  Broad Run High School
11:30 AM  Briar Woods High School
1:30 PM   Stone Bridge High School

Friday, October 26, 2012
8:30 AM   Chantilly High School
10:15 AM  Freedom High School
12:00 PM  John Champe High School

In addition to traveling, we've been reading transfer applications this month (yes, we're already reading!). 

I also gave a couple interviews over the last couple weeks, mostly responding to questions about social media.  Like clockwork, the media is talking about how social media is used in college admission right around the early deadlines and I think one or two stories are scaring people.  I've addressed how I use social media before (as early as 2009, when I actually mentioned Ning...ha!) and I'll revisit that topic soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How Many Teacher Recommendations Do You Need?

A thread on College Confidential jumped out at me the other day.  Despite our instructions that request one counselor recommendation and one teacher recommendation, people are planning on sending us five teacher recommendations.  So they are thinking of giving us a total of SIX recommendations?!?

No one at UVa wants this.  No one.  Colleges ask for the items they would like to receive.  We like having the counselor and teacher perspectives in the application,.  We always say that we'll read a supplemental recommendation if you feel like there's something else we need to know, but repetition is not needed.  In fact, when reading 28,000 applications, repetition can be a bit tedious at times.

Your counselor's recommendation will be the one that sets the stage. They usually talk about the "big picture."  The go beyond the information in the school profile to tell us about your class and what big choices you may have made about your academics.  Your teacher's recommendation will be about the day-to-day.  They are often more personal and more anecdotal.  They tell us about those great contributions you've made in class or the projects you've done that have gone beyond their expectations.

That's what we want.  Keep it simple. 

By the way, if people stop asking three, four, and five teachers to recommendations, maybe teachers will have a little more time to write great, thoughtful letters that give us better insight into who our applicants are in the classroom.

 CavDog's reaction to recommendation overload

Monday, October 01, 2012

A Week on the Road

I'm in Peabody Hall for the first time in two weeks.  It's great to be home!  Two weeks ago, I spent six days in New England with colleagues from UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins for "group travel" and last week, I was in Northern Virginia for high school visits.  I'm sure you know what high school visits look like, so I thought I'd show you what group travel looks like from our perspective.

Group travel is when a admission officers from a few schools organize programs together in a region.  At night, they often host information sessions for students and their parents and in the morning followed by breakfasts for area guidance counselors the next morning.  After breakfast, the group usually moves to another location for another set of programs.

UVa travels with quite a few schools, but I usually travel in New England with Hopkins, Northwestern and Berkeley.  This year's trip was a little different.  We went to two new locations and had a new Hopkins traveler with us.  Our friend from Northwestern couldn't join us this year, so we traveled as a trio.

Night 1: Burlington, MA

The crowd in Burlington (a Boston suburb) was large and they arrived quickly, so there wasn't much time for pictures.  Here's my colleague from Berkeley giving his presentation that night:

Here's when we told them we were going to post a picture of the crowd on our Facebook/Twitter pages.  We told them to tag themselves in our photos.  No takers on that, yet.

Night 2: Providence, RI

I lived in Providence for four years and have insisted that we eat well at lunch, since we rarely get to eat a real dinner on our trips.  We usually have to set up our presentation rooms around 6:00-6:30 PM because people start arriving up to an hour before the official start time.  We aren't usually done until 9:00-9:30 PM.  So, lunch has to hold us over.

We shared our Northwestern friend's favorite as a tribute. 

 This isn't becoming a food blog, but I had to share my pretty salad and those beautiful scallops.

Night 2 in Providence went well.  We had a nice crowd and great questions.  I even had a recent graduate join me at the UVa table to answer questions afterwards.

 Night 3: Tarrytown, NY

I have a bit of a uniform when I'm on the road.  I always try to wear something with our school colors, along with my gold name badge.

Inevitably, my hotel room is a mile away from the room where we are presenting, so I leave my room way early to meet my colleagues to set up.

Along the way, it becomes clear that the hotel has made the mistake that our Hopkins friends loath.  They forgot the "s" on "Johns."  Our banquet manager looks at her contracts and goes off to make new signs.

The Tarrytown room is huge, but they haven't set up a screen for our LCD projector.  It's 6:30 PM at this point, so they have an hour to set one up.  The first families start arriving at this point, an hour before the presentation is set to begin.

The banquet staff corrects the signage and the families start pouring in.

As I'm checking people in, I notice a funny entry for "high school" on the registration form.

Within half an hour, the room is almost completely full.

We've given ourselves 12 minutes each to present on our schools.  After that, we take general questions, then retreat to our school tables to answer individual questions.  By the third night, we've gotten our timing down perfectly.

Our program officially ends at 9:00 PM, but people always linger with questions. When we were finally done and packing up, a student came back to the ballroom with a question.  My Berkeley colleague made him help fold a table banner while they talked.

Night 4: Teaneck, NJ

Our last program brought two of us close to home.  My Hopkins colleague, who grew up in Queens, was presented a Giants hat by the banquet manager.  Interestingly, the room we were using is where the Giants gather before games to run plays. 

We were just a few towns away from where I grew up, so I decided to start the session with "My name is Dean J and I was born at Valley Hospital!"  As I anticipated, that got applause.  It's always nice to be in front of a Jersey crowd. 

That's a week on the road in pictures.  Have you been to these group programs at hotels before?  Are you planning on attending any this year?  How do you like these events?