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!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Update for the Waiting List

Here's what happens when admission officers find out it's time to work on waiting list offers:

There's a UVa reference there. Do you know it?

Making calls to offer students on the waiting list a spot in the class is probably the most exciting thing we get to do. It's the closest most of us come to witnessing a student's reaction to an offer (I was able to make an offer in person last year...such a fun moment!). We love this.

We are filling the four undergraduate schools/colleges (Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Nursing) and the Kinesiology program. We also have to keep the ratio of Virginia residents and out-of-state residents in mind.

We're going to start making offers today.

Official offers are posted in SIS, but we're going to call students to give them a heads up that their status is going to change and explain what to do next. You'll have two days to think things over and submit a deposit.

We try to call the number on the application between the end of the school day and 5 PM, when our office closes. It could take several weeks for this to play out. We'll make a few offers, give those students a couple days to deposit, make a few more offers, give those students a few days, etc.

Obviously, some will turn us down on the spot and that's totally fine. We realize that students on the waiting list may have deposited elsewhere and gotten excited about another school in the last few weeks.  I hope those students have already removed themselves from the waiting list via SIS.

I hope this is happy news for those of you who are waiting!

Monday, April 29, 2013


Remember that feeling you had in early March when you were waiting for us to finish reading applications? That's how admission officers feel right now.

You see, the shoe is on the other foot now. We're anxiously waiting to see who will accept our offer of admission. We've sent you a few emails to make sure you know what's happening with us and we're hoping that you'll reach out to us if you need more information to make your final decision.

To get my mind off the waiting, I went to a family reunion of sorts. You see, CavDog was one of twelve puppies in a litter when he was born. His parents and many of his siblings live in the counties that surround Charlottesville. There was a small reunion once before, but we found more puppies and owners since then and decided to have another one.

If you want to guess which dog is CavDog, head over to the blog's Facebook page and submit a guess under the family portrait. I'll reveal the answer on May 1st.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Paying a Deposit and Next Steps

The National Candidates' Reply Date is around the corner! By May 1st, you should pay a deposit to join the Class of 2017 at one of the schools on your list. We obviously hope you are planning on joining us at UVa!

Paying a Deposit
When you go to pay your deposit, click the "accept" button under your admission decision letter. Be sure to turn your pop-up blocker off. The payment screen will launch in a new window. The deposit system is an e-check system. You'll enter the routing and account numbers from the bottom of a check to pay the deposit, much like people who e-file taxes do. The system will take a couple kinds of credit cards, but it's a check system first and foremost, so it doesn't work with every kind of credit card.

At this point, you become a matriculated student. It might not sound like a big deal, but due to the security built into SIS, I can't "see" what you do beyond the admission process. While I will always, always be happy to help you, you have to get used to talking to other offices when you need something as a matriculated student.

Aside from collecting your final transcript and testing (see the last section below about that), the Office of Admission doesn't handle you any more.

Next Steps
Bookmark the Summer Orientation website and get familiar with it. That website lists out everything you need to do to prepare for coming to UVa. After 72 hours, you can take UVa's responsible computing quiz, set up your email account, and register for orientation. Housing, dining, and health forms get taken care of after that.

The Office of New Student Programs will send out a welcome book to give you things to think about as you get ready to come to orientation. If you're curious about that, you can read last year's welcome book online. I think they normally ship those out sometime in May.

Summer orientation is required, but there are lots of sessions offered. There is programming for parents and guests running concurrently with the program for new students during orientation. Additional orientation programming will take place in the fall.

Registration, Housing, Dining, etc.
We are not a school that gives priority housing to students who deposit early or come to an early orientation session. Pick the session that works best for your summer schedule. As long as you have forms submitted by the deadlines on the Summer Orientation website, you will be just fine when it comes to housing.

As you start to poke around in the registration system, do not be alarmed by classes that look full. Seats in the classes that first-years typically take are set aside for each orientation session, so a class may look full at the end of Session A, but seats will be opened up for Session B.

Final Transcripts and Test Scores
You must have your school send a final transcript once the school year is over. You will also want to send official results from any tests (AP, SAT IIs, IB) when they are available so you can get credit for some of your scores come orientation time.

If we don't get a final transcript from you, you'll have a hold placed on your account. I don't want to scare you, but it's not easy to get this squared away when your high school is closed for summer break.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are you coming to Days on the Lawn #5 on Friday?

The fifth DOTL is tomorrow and we've been nervously watching the news in hopes of a sunny day. Right now, it looks like we might see thunderstorms coming into the area in the afternoon. For now, registration and the morning welcome talk will be on the Lawn in front of the Rotunda. If the rain comes early, we will move to Old Cabell Hall, which is on the opposite end of the Lawn from the Rotunda. It's not far. CavDog can run down the Lawn and back in under a minute.

We have emailed everyone twice with information about parking, but it seems like some students aren't sharing the email with their parents. So let me go over it here.

If you visited UVa in the past, you probably parked in the Central Grounds Parking garage and we validated your ticket for three hours to cover the time you'd be at the information session and on the tour. That garage isn't big enough to accommodate everyone coming for Days on the Lawn. So, we rent out the entire Emmet Garage, which is at the intersection of Emmet Street (which is Route 29 when you get out of the UVa area) and Ivy Road. The garage is behind the Cavalier Inn, which is diagonally across the street from the UVa tennis courts.

In our email, we said it could take you about 20 minutes to talk from the free garage to the Rotunda. That's might be a tad generous. I think 10 minutes is okay...but leave a little extra time in case there's rain.

Any questions about DOTL?

By the way, if it rains, CavDog stays home. Old Cabell Hall isn't pet friendly. :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For Boston and Blacksburg

I had planned to post a short note of support for our friends at Virginia Tech yesterday, but it seemed like a day to let the blog be quiet in light of the horrible tragedy in Boston on Tuesday. You see, yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech. I imagine there aren't many in the Commonwealth who don't remember where they were when they heard about what was happening.

Here at UVa, the welcome talks that start Days on the Lawn were underway when the news broke on April 16, 2007. Jack Blackburn, our dean who passed away in 2009, shared the news with the crowd and offered our office's phones to those who needed to call a loved one in Blacksburg. What was going to be a fun, upbeat day on Grounds became one full of fear and worry. The entire UVa community came together to support Virginia Tech in a variety of ways.

While some people insist that UVa and Tech are rivals, the fact is that we are more like siblings than rivals. Every UVa student who went to high school in the state probably has a former classmate at the other state universities. Faculty and administrators here know their counterparts at the other schools. We look forward to seeing each other while sitting on panels or attending conferences. There are many families who have "house divided" stickers and flags because one child goes to UVa and another goes to Tech.

We are Hoos, but we love our Hokie friends.

The longest lasting message ever painted on Beta Bridge, April 17-June 9, 2007

Beta Bridge, June 9, 2007

I can't publish this without adding a note about what happened at the Boston Marathon on Monday. As a former Bostonian, I always quipped that my favorite days of the year in Boston were July 4th and Marathon Monday. I love my old town and while devastated to hear about the victims of the tragedy there, I'm heartened to know that so many emerged to help however they could. I'm also relieved that the UVa students, faculty, and administrators who ran or went to support the runners are all okay.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

What's Next for the Waiting List

This is going to be a bit long. It's 3 AM and I've been losing sleep over getting this post done for you all. There's a lot to include here. If you were offered a spot on the waiting list, there was a link to the Wait-list FAQs embedded in your letter. I'm going to share some of the same information here and add my own notes.

How many people are on the waiting list?
I think the biggest thing that students skim over is the part where we say that you have to accept or decline the offer of a spot on the waiting list. The waiting list doesn't really exist until people hit the "accept" buttons under their letters in SIS.

If you hit the "accept" button, you can always come back and pull yourself off the list. That is why the buttons remain after you accept a spot. If you decline the spot, the buttons disappear. 

On May 1, the waiting list will be big. There's no way around that. While we don't have a ranking, you can think of the list as having ten sections. The sections are for Virginia and non-Virginia residents for each for the five schools/programs that take first year students.

How many people will come off the waiting list?
No one will know this until May 1st. Even though I've been doing this for years, I can't predict this one. May 1st is when all of the admitted students need to have deposits submitted to reserve a place in the Class of 2017. The class is supposed to be 3,485 students. If we don't have that number of admitted students accepting a spot, we move to the waiting list.

There are no tends to cite here. One year, we might have room for in-state Nursing students and the next year, that group could be full on May 1. We're all waiting to see how this works out right now.   

How many people got offers to come off the waiting list in the past?
Here are numbers from the last few years:
2012 - 284
2011 - 117
2010 - 240
2009 - 288
2008 - 60
2007 - 159
2006 - 145
2005 - 83

How do I improve my chances of getting an offer?
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about this. Emailing a letter of interest is appropriate. Mailing a package is not. Updating us with significant news is okay. Bombarding us with an email each day is not.

By the way, showing up in Peabody Hall will have no affect. I can't tell you how many students drive here and then sit on the sofa and ask the questions covered in the FAQs. This is not a good use of your time (or gas money).

When/How do you make wait-list offers?
We start making waiting list offers as soon as we know we have space in the class. We want to move quickly. No one wants to drag this out. Last year, I think we were able to start pretty early, around May 3rd. We aim to have everything wrapped up by the end of June.

If you are going to get an offer, we'll call you at the number you put on your Common Application. The call is a heads up that your status is about to change in SIS. Of course, it's fine if you tell us "no thanks" and that's the end of it. We hope that people who are no longer interested in UVa use the "decline" button to remove their name from the list, but some people forget.

Anyway, the usual response is screaming or "OH MY GOSH!" When SIS updates, a new letter is viewable along with the buttons needed to accept the offer and pay a deposit. We'll give you a couple days to think about things.

What about aid?
If you applied for aid by the March 1st deadline and got all of your documentation in, Student Financial Services will put a financial aid package together. Once that's posted, you'll have a couple days to accept the over and pay your deposit.

 What now?
Look at your other options. Get excited about one of them and pay a deposit to guarantee yourself a spot in a freshman class somewhere. 

By the way, calling a student and telling them that they are getting an offer of admission is probably the most exciting thing admission officers experience. We can't wait to make them. Everyone has a story or two about favorite calls. I promise you that when it's time, we'll be working very quickly so we can deliver some happy news!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Days on the Lawn Arts Receptions

If you were admitted and indicated that you are interested in programs in the fine and performing arts at UVa, you probably got an email inviting you to the arts receptions at Days on the Lawn. I thought I'd remind those who have yet to visit that there are three more receptions left. Students and faculty from several disciplines are eager to meet you!  RSVP today!

Monday, April 15th
The Fralin Museum of Art
3 PM

Friday, April 19th
Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library
3 PM

Saturday, April 20th
Creatures Festival - Nameless Field
3 PM 

Visit the Arts in Action website for more about the arts at UVa.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Two Weeks Unlike Any Others

I don't know how many visitors we've had on Grounds over the last two weeks, but I am confident that this has been the busiest two weeks of my tenure at UVa. We moved our information sessions into Old Cabell Hall for these last two weeks because our sessions couldn't be held in our usual spots (Newcomb Theater, the Rotunda). Tomorrow should be our last day of this, but we'll have a nice, big crowd back on Grounds for Days on the Lawn on Monday.

If you are coming to Days on the Lawn, you probably have the basic information already. Free parking is in the garage behind the Cavalier Inn, at the intersection of Emmet Street and Ivy Road. You can either take a shuttle bus or walk up to the Rotunda for the welcome session. 

There is a check in table on the Lawn and a light breakfast (banana bread, fruit) up by the Rotunda. CavDog and I usually hang out in front of the reception table to greet people. Around 9 AM, Dean Roberts will start the program. We usually have one speaker from the faculty and one from the student body.

CavDog listening to Dean Roberts

After the speakers are done, we'll sing you the Good Ol Song and you'll be off to explore. There are sessions to attend, a bunch of different tours to take, and classes to visit (students only in classes), but everything is optional. You decide how you want to spend the day.

  Belly rubs from students are CavDog's favorite things!

There are signs around Grounds to point you in the right direction, but you can always stop a student if you get lost. 

If you have any questions, come back to the Office of Admission in Peabody Hall. That's your "home base" for the day. There will be students and admission officers around the answer questions.

Dress comfortably! If you want to see a lot, you'll want to have walking shoes on. Dress is casual.

Any questions?

By the way, in the comments on past posts, people have asked if students on the waiting list can attend DOTL. 
These events are meant for admitted students.