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, January 29, 2015

Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars

Invitations into the Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars programs are going in the mail today! Scholars get some nice perks during their time at U.Va. and you can read about them on each program's website.

Every applicant to the College of Arts and Sciences was automatically considered for the Echols and College Science Scholars program and every applicant to the School of Engineering was considered for Rodman. We will do another round of invitations during the Regular Decision process.

If you are not invited to join as an incoming student, you can self-nominate to join one you are here (see each program's website for specific information).

There is a fourth scholars program, Miller Arts Scholars. You can apply to be an Arts Scholar in your second semester. The selected group usually consists of students studying studio art, music, drama, and dance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

UNOFFICIAL Early Action 2015 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. 

Here are some unofficial numbers about the early action process. These numbers are up to date as of this morning. If you are a reporter, please contact the Media Relations team in the Office of University Communications for current, official information and all of your reporterly needs. :)

Early Action Applications
Total number of Early Action applications: 16,092
Total number of VA apps: 4,349
Total number of OOS apps: 11,743
We use completed application numbers in our statistics. There are schools that include incomplete applications in their stats.


Early Action Offers
Overall offers: 4,856
Total VA offers: 2,044 (47% offer rate)
Total OOS offers: 2,812 (23.9% offer rate)
*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). 

Early Action Defers
Overall defers: 3,963
Total VA defers: 1,048
Total OOS defers: 2,915
Some applicants will withdraw, so these numbers will go down.

Early Action Testing/Rank
Middle 50% SAT score (offers only): 2010-2270
Middle 50% ACT composite (offers only): 31-34
We use scores from each section in our review, but the reports on averages generate totals.

95% of admitted students 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. We are now immersed in the Regular Decision review process. There will be a post about scholars programs tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Days on the Lawn 2015 Dates

Happy Tuesday! I am working on generating some Early Action admission statistics and should have them soon. For now, I thought I'd share the dates that we'll be holding our admitted student open houses, Days on the Lawn.

DOTL is not required, but it's a chance to "kick the tires" and experience UVa in a deeper way than you may have if you visited us to attend an information session and take a tour. Admitted students can attend classes, tour residence halls, eat in the dining hall with a current student, and meet with staff members from different offices around the Grounds at a resource fair. There are also sessions about academics, student life, and resources for parents during DOTL (since parents don't go to class with the students).

Admitted students will get an email when registration opens. For now, think about which DOTL dates might fit into your schedule if you want to make a return visit to UVa before May 1st.
2015 Days on the Lawn 
Monday, March 30
Friday, April 3
Monday, April 6
Wednesday, April 8
Thursday, April 9
Wednesday, April 15
Friday, April 17
Monday, April 20
One of the things that I love about DOTL is seeing students who "met" each other via the class' Facebook page or other social media channels getting to spend time together in person. I feel like our classes show up more connected to each other than ever before because they get to know each other before they step foot on Grounds!

 DOTLs are CavDog's favorite days of the year

Friday, January 23, 2015

Let's Talk About #UVA19 Decisions: The Offer

Admitted students can use this entry to talk. I imagine you might also want to join the UVa Class of 2019 Facebook group to chat with your future classmates. That group is just for students. Parents, you can check out the UVa Parents Page.

I'll have post about Days on the Lawn, our admitted student open houses next week. Just for reference, 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 you'll get more information about that in the future.

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!
When the Rotunda is restored, I'll retake this picture!

*We have an e-check system for deposits.  You'll type in the numbers on the bottom of a check.  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 #UVA19 Decisions: The Defer

Students who were deferred can use this entry to talk.

This is probably the toughest decision to get from a school after applying under Early Action. Once your mid-year grades arrive, your files will be reviewed again during the Regular Decision round. 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 #UVA19 Decisions: The Deny

Denied students can use this entry to talk.

I'm 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.

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. 

Early Action Notification Update! #UVA19

Though we post that Early Action notification happens at the end of January, it's no secret that if we finish the review early, we release the decisions instead of waiting. It seems as though everyone has analyzed my past posts every which way and you know that we aim to finish up by the end of a week and we generally post decisions in the evenings.

Our counselor friends (and our staff members) want you checking your decision at home, where you won't have an audience of classmates and a parent is standing by to give you a big hug regardless of your decision. That's more likely to happen in the early evening on a Friday (we've actually consulted a lot of counselors about this).

So my anti-climatic announcement is that we are releasing decisions tonight! Please keep reading! I have a few notes...

1. The release is always exciting, but some of you aren't going to get the decision for which you hoped. I hope you'll focus on the college options you have instead of the ones you don't at the end of the day. I hope those of you who get offers will celebrate your success, but also be gracious around those who might not have gotten good news.

2. Some time tonight (this is handled by the tech people these days and I don't control the exact time), the "View Decision" link at the bottom of your SIS page 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. A welcome mailing with info about next steps will come later for those who are admitted. Please do not open multiple windows or constantly hit refresh. Students have slowed SIS down to a crawl in the past by doing it. Use one window. Set a time tonight when you'll check and do something offline until then.

3. I will post blog entries where you can talk about the different decisions. 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. Feel free to flag a comment if you need me to step in. That notification will go to my phone. A lot of people on Grounds will be watching #UVA19 so they can welcome our newest Wahoos to the UVa community. Some of you seem to be using that tag already!

4. Please don't post personal information in the comments (contact info, statistics, etc.). School-specific statistics like GPA and rank are 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. What's more, there have been times when enough information about an applicant has been shared that their classmates could identify them.

5. Echols, Rodman, and College Science Scholars will be notified by mail next week. Posts about deferral, Days on the Lawn (open houses for admitted students), an EA statistics will come next week. We are moving into Regular Decision reading now and we have to do this all over again. Please understand if my responses to questions are a little delayed.

THANK YOU to all of you who have read and commented on the blog so far this season. I feel lucky that I get to stay connected with our applicants throughout the reading season via social media.

Regardless of what SIS shows you tonight, you are going to attend a great school. You're going to learn from amazing, inspirational professors, administrators, and peers. 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're going to have great successes and you're going to fail miserably sometimes. What's going to make or break those experiences is your response and your openness to learning from them, not necessarily your location when they happen.

Remember that your decision is not a statement about your value. Most of our applicants are qualified. They 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 comment and stay in touch.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Caption This, Part 4

When the comments show that people are getting a little antsy, I often post pictures and we play "caption this." I suggested we play in the comments the other day and I got a reply that there was interest, so here we go.

In the comments, you can submit your most clever/interesting/hilarious caption for the photo I post. Use the up arrows on the comments to "like" the captions you find amusing.

Professor Lou Bloomfield

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Caption This, Part 3

When the comments show that people are getting a little antsy, I often post pictures and we play "caption this." I suggested we play in the comments the other day and I got a reply that there was interest, so here we go.

In the comments, you can submit your most clever/interesting/hilarious caption for the photo I post. Use the up arrows on the comments to "like" the captions you find amusing.


Caption This, Part 2

When the comments show that people are getting a little antsy, I often post pictures and we play "caption this." I suggested we play in the comments the other day and I got a reply that there was interest, so here we go.

In the comments, you can submit your most clever/interesting/hilarious caption for the photo I post. You can use the up arrows on the comments to "like" the captions you find amusing.

Caption This, Part 1

When the comments show that people are getting a little antsy, I often post pictures and we play "caption this." I suggested we play in the comments the other day and I got a reply that there was interest, so here we go.

In the comments, you can submit your most clever/interesting/hilarious caption for the photo I post. Others can use the up arrows on the comment to "like" the captions they find amusing.

Edgar Allen Poe's statue in Alderman Library

Monday, January 19, 2015

Emails, Letters, and Brochures, Oh My! (College Mailings)

A friend of mine has a son in 10th grade who recently took the PSAT. She shared a screen shot of his inbox yesterday, which prompted me to write this entry. The picture shows a slew of emails from colleges. Some of the subject lines:

"You've impressed us"
"___ University has selected you"
"An exclusive invitation from ____ College"
"Great work, [Student's Name]!"
"[Student's Name], you've caught my attention."

If you're a senior, I'm sure you roll your eyes at some of this stuff by now, but for a 10th grader (and a 10th grader's parent), it can be kind of exciting! Some of those subject lines sound pretty awesome.

I applied to college before email (I got my first email address in college!) and I still remember the first brochure I got. I don't remember the name of the school, but the brochure had a pile of beautiful, red apples in a silver, Revere bowl. It made me feel special and wanted. A month later, the brochures were coming daily. I'd flip through some and recycle others without much more than a cursory glance.

Can we go outside to play instead of reading all that mail?
What's point? Well, obviously there are schools with which you might not be familiar sending you things in hopes that you'll take a look at what they offer. Then there are the schools that get lots of applications that might want more students from certain places or with certain interests (maybe that's why two schools known for engineering came after my liberal arts-loving heart when I was in high school!). Still others might have been charged with increasing their overall numbers so they can be counted among the most selective schools in the country.

Technology has improved so much over time that many colleges can personalize what they send you, which can do two things: catch your eye (how did they know that about me?) and creep you out (wait...WHY do they know that about me?). Most of this info comes off your PSAT registartion and is given to the schools when they buy mailing lists from the Student Search Service. There are other sources of mailing lists for students, but SSS is the original and still dominant one.

In undergraduate admission at UVa, we have a publication budget that allows us to send some mailings, but not as many as some of our peers. We do send emails, since the cost is an upfront investment in a communication system. We try to keep them reasonable (monthly newsletters plus application announcements), but feel free to tell me otherwise and I'll share the feedback. There are always links at the bottom of the emails that will opt you out of future communications.

Anyway, seniors, it might be a nice time to reflect and share some advice with the students who are coming behind you. Juniors are starting to make lists and sophomores are starting to do their research. They could benefit from what you've learned!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Status Page Reminders and Sending Application Updates

It's the time in the season when both Early Action and Regular Decision applicants are keeping a close eye on their status pages. I thought I'd go over some of the questions that seem to come up the most.

1. My application is incomplete because my Mid-Year Report isn't ready!

We know there's no way counselors can submit this around the deadlines, but we put that item on your "to-do" list from the start so you are aware that this component will be required. When the only thing on your list of missing items is that report, you have nothing else to do!

2. I requested a transcript weeks ago and it's missing!

Just after the deadline, we have a deluge of credentials to file and match to applicant records. Regular Decision applicants shouldn't be worrying about missing items at this point if they requested that they be sent. Give us a little time to process everything and we'll be in touch if we are missing anything in a couple weeks. Don't send duplicate documents unless we contact you requesting them! That just slows the processing down.

3. I found a huge mistake! I uploaded the wrong version of my essay!

I feel like this has become more and more common in recent years. Students are sleep deprived, they have a lot to juggle, and they are often working on applications in the wee hours. Email us at and include your name, date of birth, and high school along with the essay.

Any application update should be sent to Some students have taken to emailing half the office with their update when using that one address (which is on the Contact page of our website) is the fastest way to get new information into your application file.

Duplicates? Can you tell which one is CavDog?

Monday, January 05, 2015

Two Reasons the Early Action Review Take So Long

Most of the blog comments, tweets, and emails I've gotten from Early Action applicants in the last few days have inquired about our release date. We officially say that decisions are posted by the end of January. The timing isn't a strategy, it's a necessity. 

1. We have a small staff

We have about a dozen people who process and file documents. They had all EA and RD documents that were submitted by mail filed before we closed to the office for a three-day Christmas break. Since the 29th, they've been back at it.

There are about 18 admission officers reading full time between late October and late March to review applications. That's a fairly small staff for our applicant pool (when this blog started, we were able to send decisions to our much smaller early pool in December). We've been told that many of our peers have double the number of staff members we do OR have dramatically different review procedures that allow them to move through the bulk of their applications more quickly.

2. We read our applications. All of them.

Though our office went paperless years ago, our review is still fairly "old school." There are no preliminary rounds where certain GPAs or test scores get applicants tossed to a deny pile (remember what I've said about GPAs). We don't score application components or use a rubric to render our decisions. If we did those things, perhaps we'd be able to have a six or eight week turnaround, but much of the application is prose and much of our review is done in prose as well.

Even though it takes a lot of time and results in us pulling crazy hours during the application reading season, I feel good about our review. While the transcript, showing four years of academic development, is the largest piece of the puzzle, our in-depth review allows me to understand more about you. I get to hear about the topics that excite you, the experiences that have influenced you, and the obstacles some of you have had to overcome.

We're building a class through this review. This isn't just about admitting qualified students. After all, the majority of applicants are qualified...that's why they are filling out the application. But we don't have the space for all the qualified students who apply, so we have this review to select a great class out of this great applicant pool.

I know this wait is hard. We are moving as quickly as possible without sacrificing the review. Hang in there!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Regular Decision Deadline Tonight!

The Regular Decision deadline is tonight! If you are still putting the finishing touches on your application, don't wait until the last minute. There are lots of schools with January 1st deadlines and the Common App website is apt to have a lot of traffic on it today. Submit with plenty of time to spare in case something goes wrong and you need to submit a help ticket to the Common App team!

After you submit all required parts of the Common App (when we say "Common App," we mean the general app, the UVa section, and the payment), Common App will send the application to us. Within five days of that, our computer system will send you login information. The system is called SIS and that is where you'll monitor your application and your financial aid documents (if you submit them). Read more in the "After You Submit Your Application" section of the application instructions.

The first time you log in, you will probably see several items missing from your file. Don't worry about that yet! Your teachers and counselors have a different deadline for submitting their documents.

Good luck! I'll be monitoring the blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter tonight, so reach out if you have questions. 

Keep an eye on the clock!
(image by Jen Fariello, UVA '96)