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, November 28, 2014

Important Reminders about Status Pages

We are one month into the Early Action application review process and that tends to be when people start getting nervous about their status pages. Here are a few of the most common questions and concerns with my notes about each.

1. My status is incomplete, but the only document missing is the mid-year report.

If you are admitted or deferred, you'll be required to submit your mid-year report. So that no one sees "complete" and never looks at their account again, the system keeps showing the incomplete status showing. If the mid-year report is the only thing on your "to-do" list, you are done for now and we are ready to work with your file.

2. I sent new test scores, but how do I know you have them?

Our system doesn't have date tags on your status page. To verify that your test scores from a recent date were sent, you need to check with the SAT or ACT folks. They've been transferring scores electronically for years without major issues.

3. I see a "View Decision" link, but there's no decision when I click!

We are only one month into the review. With about 15,000 applications, this process is going to take a while. We have always said that notification will be made by the end of January, but we'll notify early if we can. The "view decision" box shows up when your file moves into the reading pipeline. It doesn't mean we've reached a decision on your application yet.

In the paper days, there would be a 1-2 week lag between finalizing decisions and mailing letters (it takes quite some time to print all those letters, label envelopes, stuff envelopes, double check that the right letter is in the right envelope, and then send the letters to the mail room). These days, when we're done, we release!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We'll be back in the office on Monday if you need us.

Go Hoos!

CavDog guarding last year's turkey.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some of you have contacted me asking for my response to the Rolling Stone article that come out on Wednesday. President Teresa Sullivan and Rector George Keith Martin (the head of UVa's Board of Visitors) sent letters to us shortly after the article was posted online. Vice President Pat Lampkin sent this letter to our students this morning:

Over the past two days, our community has been deeply affected by the article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine earlier this week.  I know that many of you are feeling shocked, dismayed, saddened and, perhaps, betrayed.  Our community is hurting.  We are concerned about Jackie and we are worried about other survivors who have lived through the horror of sexual assault.  Many of us are confused by the contradictions between the U.Va. portrayed in the article and the U.Va. that we know.  Many of you are questioning your trust in our University.

President Sullivan and I want to be absolutely clear: we do not tolerate sexual violence in any form.  Sexual assault is a crime that can destroy lives and create profound suffering.  It has no place in our society, much less in an academic community characterized by freedom and civility. 

To add to these overwhelming emotions, we learned late yesterday of the death of a second-year student, the details of which we will share according to his family's wishes as soon as we are able.

This painful set of circumstances comes on the heels of other recent tragedies on Grounds.  The constellation of these events would be enough to put the strongest of communities into crisis.  But know that we will cope, and together we will heal.

We acknowledge how difficult it is for survivors of sexual assault to talk about their experiences and to feel confident in reporting them, whether to the police or to the University.  We will continue, as we always have, to encourage survivors to go to the police, to pursue the University's disciplinary process, and most of all, to take advantage of the many support services available at UVA and in the community.  (Please see the end of this message for a list of resources.)

This is a time for us to come together, not to be pulled apart. I hope that we as a community can address this issue in a spirit of deep compassion, concern, trust and resolution.


Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

How to Report Instances of Sexual Assault or if You Need Personal Support

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Website:
Counseling and Psychological Services:
Daytime Phone: 434.243.5150; After Hours Phone: 434.972.7004
Office of Dean of Students: 434.924.7133

You may be interested in this article that was published in The Cavalier Daily last year. It answers the most common question people have about the University's response to reports of rape and sexual assault.

Now, I'll share some of my personal thoughts, which were reviewed before I published this entry.

I have wavered between feeling angry and devastated since reading the Rolling Stone article. The stories are sickening and horrific, but I am thankful that sexual assault survivors are getting support from the entire community right now. Changes in policies (and perhaps legislation) are on the horizon as a result of their bravery.

I can't publish this without saying something about the Office of the Dean of Students. I started my career in student affairs (specifically, residence life) at another school. I was also part of the school's Sexual Assault Network (trained by the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center as a survivor advocate). It was the hardest job I've ever had. I am grateful to those who continue to serve in a role I found so incredibly difficult.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What are your "non-negotiables?"

The team that answers emails that arrive in our general email accounts shared a cute email with me yesterday. In case you didn't know, is for general inquiries and is for application questions and updates.

First of all, I want to address the mention of another school in that comment. It isn't a secret that most of you are applying to several schools. When I see another school mentioned in a message meant for UVa, it doesn't bother me at all.

Second, this brings up a larger point that I try to make to students who will be making a college decision in the near future. It's totally valid to have non-academic factors included in your college search. I tell students to go on their tours with 3-5 "non-negotiable" characteristics, beyond the academic ones, that they need a college to have. Maybe you love the atmosphere at a certain kind of sporting event or you want the opportunity to hike or fish near school. Maybe you are afraid of certain animals and don't want encounter them regularly on your way to class. I think that you are more apt to be engaged in the classroom when you feel comfortable and happy overall.

By the way, I haven't seen stray cats on the UVa Grounds. I wonder why...

Friday, November 07, 2014


In case you aren't following me (@UVaDeanJ) or UVa (@theUniversityofVirginia) on Instagram, I thought I'd let you know about the UVa Photo Contest. Over 1,000 people have posted images taken around the UVa Grounds and given them the #UVaPhotoContest tag.

Entries will be judged by Alexis Ohanian ’05, the co-founder of Reddit. The U.Va. Magazine did a great profile of him. I'll be judging a few of the specialty catagories. The prizes are gift cards for the UVa Bookstore and UVa swag.

If you aren't entering, follow along!

Last year's winning photo

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Five Post-Deadline Notes for Early Action Applicants

We are going to be processing documents that have come in for Early Action applications for a while, but I thought I'd go over a few things to keep in mind as we work on your files.

1. Applications are transferred from the Common App to our system once per day. Approximately five days after your file arrives in our system, you will receive an email from us with login credentials for our Student Information System (SIS).

2. When you log into the SIS for the first time, your status probably won't be current. Please don't worry about your status in SIS right now! Our staff is linking thousands of documents to applications right now. This can take some time. I'll let you know when we are done processing. Do not send duplicates of any item unless we contact you with a request.

3. We will email you from or about your application. It is extremely important that you read your email.

4. Once the mid-year report is the only thing left on your "to do" list, your file is ready for us to read! When your file moves into read to read status, you'll probably see a "View Decision" box appear at the bottom of the SIS Student Center. People always think this means we are already done reviewing their application. That box is built into SIS and we can't change it. I'm sorry to report that it doesn't mean your decision is finalized. That won't happen until January.

5. We are now moving into reading mode. Our staff is relatively small and our reading loads are large. As always, we will take turns serving "on call" duty, so if you have questions about your file or the process, you can call the main office number or email with them.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Deadline Day Motivation

Some of you will be putting finishing touches on Early Action applications today and I thought I'd share a little inspiration. This is one of our Student Ambasadors, Sierra, checking her application status on her decision day.

I know this process can cause a lot of anxiety and uncertainty at times, but there will be cause to celebrate on the other side when some of the schools on your list make you offers of admission.

Hang in there and good luck!