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, March 28, 2013

FIRST Robotics DC Regional Starts Today!

I'll be away from the blog for most of the next few days. I'm headed to the FIRST Robotics DC Regional. FIRST stands for For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and it's an incredible organization.

The DC Regional usually has some of the top robotics teams from our area and a few from other regions (some travel to have a better chance of making it to the nationals).

If you want to see what the picture below is all about, check out my post about last year's regional.

If your team is competing, come on by the UVa table to say hello!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Overnights with the Monroe Society

If you're an admitted student planning to visit us for Days on the Lawn, remember that you can always plan to stay overnight with a member of the Monroe Society. There's a good group of first year members who are eager to help you see what UVa is like beyond the tours and information sessions.

The Monroe Society hosts students all year long, but during March and April, they focus exclusively on admitted students. If you're interested in staying on Grounds the night before DOTL, submit a request at least a week in advance

Pack your bags!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Days on the Lawn Starts in Old Cabell Tomorrow!

We usually start Days on the Lawn outside at the Rotunda, but we're going to move the opening session to the rain location, Old Cabell Hall. Old Cabell faces the Rotunda, on the other end of the Lawn.  As always, student volunteers will be waiting at the parking garage to direct you.

Those of you who are already in town are going to experience a DOTL unlike any I can with snow on the ground!

Please be safe! If your roads aren't ready for travel in the morning, consider joining us on a different day. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Scholars Notification Update

I'm reusing images I used during EA because I think they are funny. 

I like art.

Echols/Rodman/College Science Scholars
Invitations to the Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs will in your email inbox by 6 PM. 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 a few (I think 3-5 was the last number I saw) Arts Scholars per department. Notification for that will come in a week or two. I'll have an update on that soon. 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.

A Message from Some UVa Students

This is floating around Facebook and I thought I'd share it here. This was completely student initiated. It just made my day.

Days on the Lawn Registration is Open!

Admitted students (both EA and RD) can register for Days on the Lawn now. Those who were admitted during Regular Decision should check their email for a message from us containing a link to the registration.

1.      Click the link, log in, then click “My Events” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
2.      Scroll down to “Group Invitations” and click “Days on the Lawn.”
3.      Click "Register" to the right of your preferred Day on the Lawn.
4.      Complete the registration form and click “Register” to submit your responses.

FYI, the early dates usually get filled immediately, so expect large crowds if you come on the first few days.

Hundreds of students sign up to meet you. They've been coming to Peabody Hall all week to pick their assignments.

If you see anyone wearing an orange shirt, feel free to ask them anything. They're there to help!

By the way, Days on the Lawn are totally optional events.  We created DOTL to help students "kick the tires" before they commit to the University. You'll be walking around the Grounds just like our current students do. Dress as you do for school (unless, of course, you wear a uniform to school).  We want you to be comfortable.

I'm more than happy to answer questions about directions, parking, and lodging if the DOTL page doesn't cover your concerns.

Thursday, March 21, 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. This could open up spots for students who are on the waiting list.

Congratulations to those with offers! 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 Waiting List

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

There's no way around it.  This is probably the toughest decision to get from a school.  We have traditionally offered waiting list spots to a large number of students. This is because there are so many different segments to the population here (VA and OOS groups for each of the four schools and the one program that take first year students) and we don't know where there will be openings in the class.

We won't know how large the waiting list is until you all accept or decline your offers.  Right now, you've been offered a spot on the list. You aren't actually on it until you reply using the response buttons in SIS (you have until May 1st to do this). You will not be ranked. There have been years when we've taken 60 students off the waiting list (2008) and years when we've taken 288 students off the waiting list (2009). Last year, we offered admission to 284 wait-listed students.

For now, you need to look at your other options and think about which one feels right to you. Some of you will want to hold on and see what happens with the waiting list and others will want to fully invest themselves in another school. Either way, you need to submit a deposit at a school by May 1st to ensure yourself a spot in a freshman class somewhere. If you are offered a spot in our class and you decide to accept it, you'll have to write to that other school and withdraw your name from the class (you may lose your deposit at that school). Just remember that you can't "double deposit".

Feel free chat here. You should have already seen the link to the waiting list FAQ page, which answers the most common questions (is the list ranked, what do I do now, what's the time line, etc.).

CavDog hopes you find a peaceful place to think about your options

Let's Talk about Decisions: The 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

This blog is almost 8 years old. A lot has changed at UVa and on this blog over the years. I was completely anonymous at first. CavDog wasn't even born when this blog started (he made his debut in 2008). Though I welcome change, I love traditions and my note of thanks has become one on the blog.

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. When I'm bleary eyed from staring at forms and transcripts, it's wonderful to look to the blog and be reminded of the students who are behind the applications. 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 continue to chime in to help the next group of applicants.

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

Let's give the applicants a hand!

Unofficial 2013 Admission Statistics

Here are some preliminary numbers about the overall admission process this year.

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.

Total number of applications: 29,005
Total number of VA apps: 8,831
Total number of OOS apps: 20,174
*These are the numbers of completed applications. Some schools report incomplete apps in their numbers.

Overall offers: 8,528
Total VA offers: 3,594 (40.7% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 4,934 (24.46% offer rate)
Enrollment goal: 3,485
(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).

Middle 50% SAT score (offers only): 1990-2230
*We look at each section of the SAT, but our reports generate totals.

95.3% of offers were in the top 10% of their high school class

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

Please understand that I do not have additional statistics.This is a very busy week between visitors (it's spring break at many high schools) and responding to emails/comments/tweets. I'll have scholars notification information tomorrow.

Decision Day Logistics

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. When you log into SIS tonight, Click "View decision" and you'll be taken to the decision letter. If you've done it in the past, you got a message saying decisions aren't ready yet. That won't happen this time. If you lost your password or have trouble, there is help information right on the login screen.

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. This time of year 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. Without the high school profile's explanation of the methodology used to calculate them, GPAs are fairly meaningless.

5. I will have some statistics to share with you later this afternoon.

Good luck, everyone!

Notification Update

What does that mean?

This better not be a joke.

We're done. Seriously. We're DONE!

Hooray! No more reading! More playing ball!

So, why don't we just release these decisions and get on with the fun stuff? We usually plan to be done on a Friday so you can view your decision at home and have a couple days before you go back to school, but we think you've waited long enough. We're going to release decisions tonight.

Decisions will post on Thursday, March 21, 2013 after 5:30 PM EDT!
(yep, that's tonight)
Happy Notification Day!

Now, this part is important: when decisions get posted, the system was hammered. Opening multiple windows slows the system down considerably. It might even kick you out and make you log in again. The SIS people are dedicating every bit of the servers to this release, but just be aware that you might experience an extremely slow SIS for a few hours.

I'm going to post a few entries between now and the end of the day to answer common questions.  I'll post admission statistics on Monday and answer as many questions as possible over the weekend. 

ETA: There is no need to call our office to confirm this. I wouldn't post this if we weren't notifying you today.

Katie Couric and Tina Fey Look Back

This isn't really admission related, but it's fun to hear about how some things have changed and some things are still the same here at UVa.

Check out two of our favorite alumnae talking about their UVa experiences in the late 70s and early 90s...

People still believe that the section of Grounds where they lived in their first year is the best (old dorms vs. new dorms). It's still harder to get admitted if you aren't a Virginia resident. I think our fashion has changed a little bit and the student body is certainly more diverse than in Tina's day. I'm pretty sure you can still find Tina Fey's sweatshirt at one of the bookstores.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Days on the Lawn 2013

It just occurred to me that I mentioned Days on the Lawn in yesterday's post, but some of you might not know what that is!

Days on the Lawn are open houses for admitted students at UVa. 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.

Coming to a DOTL isn't required, but it's a great way to figure out if UVa is the right place for you if you haven't gotten "that feeling" yet.

On top of that, you get to meet me and CavDog! Who am I kidding? Meeting CavDog is probably way more exciting than meeting me.

2013 Days on the Lawn
Monday, March 25th (for students offered admission through Early Action)
Monday, April 1st
Monday, April 8th
Monday, April 15th
Friday, April 19th
Saturday, April 20th

If you are offered admission, there will be information about registering for DOTL in the offer letter you'll see in SIS on notification day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Response to Comments about Notification

CavDog doesn't like reading season, either.

Building the new class is exciting and we are itching to be done with this process.  We know that on the other side of this is the fun part...meeting you all at Days on the Lawn! 

The release of decisions also means an end to sleep deprivation and the chance to spend more time with our families. For admission officers around the country, this is what November through March is like:

We can't wait to meet you all on the other side, but there's still a little work to be done.

I have repeatedly assured you that as soon as I get the green light to post about a change in the notification date, I will fly to the keyboard to get an update to you.  There is no need to ask for an update.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Be Careful on Facebook

They're at it again.

People have have NO connection to UVa are posting on the Class of 2017 Facebook page and have also created a shadow group purporting to be connected to the University.

It seems some of the new members have started some controversial topics. If you're a member, I hope you'll flag the posts so the students who admin the page can get rid of them. 

The people behind the second group are from a company that has been selling a roommate matching service for years. They often use a Facebook profile with the last name Blackwell, which is the case for this recent group that was created. If you want some background, check out this post and this post from the NY Time's admission blog, The Choice. Our students have created roommate surveys via their class Facebook group in past years, so I'm not sure UVa is a great market for that company. Regardless, I just wanted to post a heads up.

Obviously, you're free to join whatever groups you'd like on Facebook. If you join a UVa group, I hope you'll do a quick check to verify that the creator is somehow connected to the University.

The Class of 2017 Facebook page that I link to has two UVa ambassadors as admins. When the first year class elects their officers, the group will be handed over to them. I've been doing this for years and it has worked quite well. Older students still use their groups today to publicize events.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Right now, I bet March seems like a pretty long month in light of what's going to happen on notification day (officially April 1st, I'll tell you ASAP if we'll be early).  I thought I'd provide a little perspective about how far you've come.

On August 1st, the Common Application went live.  Most of you probably weren't aware.

At some point, you realized it was time to work on your applications and you sprung into action.

You plugged away here and there, trying to meet deadlines.

Goodness gracious, were there deadlines! Would you ever be done with this?

After you hit "submit" on that last application, you still had to keep an eye on your status.

Now you're in the home stretch. Your applications are complete and it's time to wait for decisions to arrive.

You've come a long way. Good job!

Do you recognize the beach where these photos were taken? Name it and I will give you a secret prize!