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!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Missing Credential Emails Going Out Today

We are up to date with processing mail, so we'll be sending emails to anyone with missing credentials this afternoon.  If you haven't been monitoring your application status via your SIS account, you might not know if you are missing items from your file.  If you happen to get an email, please log in to see what might be missing. 

In some cases, we might be missing an item that was sent to us, but was lost in transit. Please don't fly into the your school's counseling office in a panic if something is missing. Calmly follow up with the appropriate party and ask for the item to be submitted.

Remember 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.  We understand that mid-year grades are only just becoming available at many schools. Those are due February 15th.

Please do not send duplicate document unless you get one of these emails. Sending duplicates slows down the processing of documents we really need to complete other students' files.

 Some duplicates are cuter than others.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Financial Aid Deadline

Everyone in the region is excited about the inch or so of snow that we got over night, but I have a something serious to share.

This is serious.

There's a hard and fast deadline for financial aid this year at UVa. 
You must submit all financial aid documents by Friday, March 1st.

I'm happy to say that admission and financial aid are separate at UVa, so whether you file for financial aid or not isn't a factor when we review applications.  Your finances are between you and Student Financial Services.

If you're interested is learning more about the financial aid process, check out the SFS website, the financial aid Twitter feed, and the financial aid Facebook page.

Now, back to playing in the snow!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Our office is closed today. All eyes seem to be on Washington, so I don't think anyone is missing us.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Let's Talk about the Weather

You'd think weather would be a lame topic for a blog, but weather posts on Notes from Peabody always get people talking.  Perhaps I find talk about the weather, and specifically snow, entertaining because I have northern roots and it's funny to see people fret about flurries when I trudged to school in several inches of snow (uphill both ways, mind you).

My snow posts actually started in 2007, so this is quite a tradition.  A 2008 post about snow was CavDog's debut on the blog. In fact, the response to that post (large at the time with nine comments) convinced me to make CavDog a regular part of the blog.  

Here was CavDog's reaction to a snow "storm" in Charlottesville This was the first snowfall he ever saw:

Clearly was not impressed by the snow.

We don't get a lot of snow.  It snows now and then, but the snow often melts pretty quickly.  Sometimes, the melted snow will freeze overnight and we'll get a second day of messy roads.

We get slammed with a major snowfall once in a blue moon.  There was a "snowpocolypse" a few years ago (check out how one of the funniest weather guys reacted to that) and another major storm that dumped three feet on the area about 10 years prior. 

If you are from the north, you'll find winters in Charlottesville delightful.  If you're from the south, you'll want to buy a couple pairs of gloves/mittens and a hat or two so you are ready for the weather. 

Oh, and if you love to ski and snowboard, we have a mountain resort called Wintergreen about 45 minutes away.  The ski and snowboarding team use the facilities up there.

Just for fun, here's a video from the last time we got some serious snow:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Early Action Admission Statistics

Here are some numbers about the early action process. I ran these numbers in the wee hours of the night, so they are up to date as of 1/16/2013. 

I am not the source of official statistics. 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 official admission data in the data digest part of their website.   Obviously, what happened in past years isn't going to predict the future, but some people have fun playing around with the different charts on their site.

Early Action Admission
Total number of Early Action applications: 13,670
Total number of VA apps: 3,985
Total number of OOS apps: 9,685
*These are the numbers of completed applications. Some schools report incomplete apps in their numbers.

Overall offers: 3,841
Total VA offers: 1,695 (42.5% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 2,146 (22% offer rate)
Enrollment goal: 3,475
(between EA and RD)

*Schools admit more students than the enrollment goal with yield in mind.
Yield is how many students accept an offer of admission. Check out yield from past years, broken down by residency (these numbers are for the entire applicant pool, not just early action).

Overall defers: 3,454
Total VA defers: 1,001
Total OOS defers: 2,453
*Some applic
ants will withdraw, so these numbers will drop.

Middle 50% SAT score (offers only): 2030-2260
*We look at each section of the SAT, but the reports on averages generate totals.

97.8% of offers were in the top 10% of their high school class

*This number only reflects those who attend schools that report rank.

Early Action Scholar Invitations
1 in 20 early applicants to the College of Arts & Sciences invited into Echols Scholars Program
1 in 25 early applicants to the School of Engineering invited into Rodman Scholars Program
1 in 200 early applicants to the College of Arts & Sciences invited into College Science Scholars
*These numbers are a result of our review.  We didn't not start the year with these numbers in mind.

Please understand that I do not have additional statistics.This is a very busy week between application reading, responding to emails/comments/tweets, and evening programs.


Early action statistics are coming! Between emails, calls, applications, and evening programs, I'm a little swamped! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Scholars Update!

I like art.

Forgive the late post! We have jumped into the regular decision review and I'm traveling for evening programs this week.  I have an update about scholars programs, but the statistics post might not come until tomorrow.

Echols/Rodman/College Science Scholars
Invitations to the Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs were mailed today. We will follow up with emails on Wednesday.  Keep in mind that these are comparatively small programs.  Rodman and CSS are especially small.

If you are not invited into the programs now, you can apply to join them during your first year at UVa.

Arts Scholars
Faculty members will name 3-5 Arts Scholars per department at the end of the regular decision process. Invitations should go out shortly after we post admission decisions.  Check out the Arts Scholars page for more information.

Don't know what those are? Click the links to learn more about each program.

 Art is tasty.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Let's Talk About Decisions: The Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk.  I imagine you might also want to join the UVa Class of 2017 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. That group is just for students.  Parents, you can check out the UVa Parents Committee and the UVa Families 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*. I believe orientation registration will open after April 1st, but I will verify that and post about it next week.

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.

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, 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 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. Give yourself time to explore you options.

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

A Note of Thanks

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

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 of you sad or upset. One of the drawbacks to working at a highly selective school is that I have to say "no" more often than I get to say "yes". I console myself with the knowledge that you will all have 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. You're going to have "ah ha" moments like you've never had before. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors. You're going to meet people with whom you will stay friends for the rest of your lives. You're going to pull all nighters studying. You're going to pull all nighters not studying. You are going to have highs and lows, you're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably at something. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your openness to learn from them, not necessarily the location of the events.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. 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.

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.

It's a big night and I'll be thinking about you all. Good luck!

Early Action Notification Update!

The theme of this post is "speed over ceremony."  Here's the deal:

We're done with the early action review. It's waaaay early, but there's no reason to hold onto these decisions.  Therefore, tonight is the night. Please keep reading!


1.  You have to log into your SIS account to see the decision.  Some time tonight, that "View Decision" link that goes to a dead end right now will go to a decision letter.  If you can't find your login info for the SIS, use the links on the login page to generate a new password.

2.  I will post blog entries where you can talk about the different decisions. I will step away from the blog and social media this evening to give you time to chat.  I'll be back to work through any questions that are asked in the comments tomorrow.  I trust you to be respectful of others in the comments. I've only had one person flagged in the comments before.

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.  Please don't post personal information in the comments (contact info, statistics, etc.). This is not a private page. What's more, statistics like GPA and rank are highly subjective these days and don't represent the applicant accurately. GPAs are meaningless without the high school profile's explanation of the methodology used to calculate them.

5.  I'll post early action admission statistics on Monday.  I'll post one more time before the office closes.

Good luck to you all!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

About Demonstrated Interest

Demonstrated interest is the admission world's term for activity that shows how much a student desires to attend a school.

Some colleges and universities will try to determine interest based on the number of contacts they've had with a student via visits, emails, and online activity. The benefit of using demonstrated interest in an admission process is that it can lead to a higher yield rate.  A school's yield rate is the percentage of admitted applicants who accept their offers of admission.  If you're trying to "wag the dog" when it comes to your yield rate, using demonstrated interest in the application review process can help.

UVa does not use demonstrated interest during the early action or regular decision review processes.  We know people don't believe us when we say this.  They come to our office dressed to the nines after already submitting an application.  They come to our college fair tables without any questions, but want to shake our hands and say their names.  They send us cute packages.

The way I see it, your application is how you demonstrate your interest.  After all, submitting a Common App takes more than the few clicks some people say it does. Those who can afford to travel to Charlottesville to visit us do not get an advantage on our side of the process.  We obviously think a visit is really important for your side of the process.  Soon, you'll have to decide which school you'll be joining as a student and a visit can really help with that.

Do I have to wear a tie?

Friday, January 04, 2013

Still Waiting

I'm starting to get multiple questions each day about when we will be done with the early action process.  I remember how long the wait felt when I applied to college and I assure you that we are working as quickly as possible in our review.

Here's the thing. Holistic review, which is the phrase admission folks use to describe a process where a decision is rendered after reading the entire application, takes time. If we leaned solely on the numbers, we'd be done much more quickly.  But we have this habit of analyzing transcripts and readying essays and recommendations in addition to the other stuff that we just can't shake. 

We are moving quickly, but I don't think anyone wants to sacrifice a thorough, thoughtful review, right?  We feel really strongly about this. We're working weekends and over holidays in hopes of releasing early.  In fact, I really should have my head in the files right now, so I'll sign off.

Hang in there, early action applicants.  We're getting there.

Slow down!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

One More Chance...

I feel as though I post this graphic a lot on the blog.  The good news is that the vast majority of applicants saw that there were three items to submit for each application on their My Colleges page in the Common App.

About 900 students successfully submitted part of their application, but neglected to submit one part. 


This afternoon, we're going to email those students and give them a little window to get their missing part submitted. If they don't submit what's missing within the window, 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.  My sense right now is that we'll see a slight increase.  This is a good thing.  We are not on a mission to dramatically increase applications numbers at UVa.
Determining residency statistics takes longer since the Office of Virginia Status has to evaluate 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.
Feel free to post questions or discuss in the comments...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Day After the Deadline

Our office will open this morning for the first time since deadline. Inevitably, there will be a mountain of mail to process (and plenty more arriving for the next two weeks), the front desk will be overwhelmed with calls, and there will be hundreds of emails in the general account to answer.

Please do not call to confirm receipt of materials.  Even if a supporting document was sent weeks ago, if you just submitted your application over the weekend, it is going to take time for the items to meet up in our system.  You need to give us time to process everything and they you can check your status page in SIS (SIS login info is emailed within 5 days of application submission).  I will let you know what we have the bulk of the processing done.

Do not worry about your status pages at this time.

We always contact students with incomplete applications who don't check their SIS accounts (we can see the last date that you logged into SIS). This will happen at the end of January or beginning of February.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy Deadline Day!

I am going to assume that all but a few applicants have already hit submit.  It is now after 5 PM on the east coast and while I know the Common App folks lose a lot of sleep on big deadline nights helping procrastinators, please anticipate a delayed response to help requests tonight.

Remember my three big reminders about submission and good luck!