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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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Class of 2019 Update

A young man in the morning information session was one of the students I got to call about a waiting list offer. He just wanted to say hello before going out on the tour, but it was a good reminder this process still isn't over.

At this point, we have worked through most segments of the class (remember there are ten segments, VA and OOS for each school/program in which first years can enroll) and made some offers. A good portion of those students submit deposits. Some are still working with Student Financial Services to get their financial aid packages. Some have turned us down and we know they are off to wonderful schools in the fall.

It looks like we are pretty close to the usual timeline of having this work finished by early June. As always, once the class is final (meaning we are done making offers), I'll post about it here.

To those who have called, emailed, tweeted, and visited after getting offers, thank you! Seeing your enthusiasm and excitement inspires us as we do this work. We are so lucky to have you in the Class of 2019!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Social Norming, College Admission, and Stress

The concept of social norms was emerging when I started my career (I was in student affairs) and isn't really discussed in admission all that much. With a social norms approach, we talk about what is normal instead of what is happening with outliers when discussing behavior or outcomes. I use a social norms approach when talking to students about the college application process and I've been thinking that students could benefit from more widespread use.

I spoke on a panel at a Fairfax County summit on teen stress last weekend and it is so clear to me that many people draw conclusions about the college admission process based on stories they've heard about outliers. Outliers are probably interesting because their stories amaze and excite us. The outliers get so much air time that even the most calm, rational people lose sight of what is normal. If we focused more on norms, maybe there wouldn't be as much pressure to do what the outliers are doing.

Let's look at something as simple as the number of college applications high school students are submitting. This New York Times article says:

...In 1990, just 9 percent of students applied to seven or more colleges. By 2011...that group had risen to 29 percent.

In the class of 2014, according to Naviance, 16.5 percent of seniors using the system said they intended to apply to 11 to 20 colleges.

Flip that around so that the normal behavior is highlighted:

In 2011, 71% of students submitted six or less college applications.
In the Class of 2014, 83.5% of students who use Naviance intended on applying to 10 or less colleges

The data that the Common App puts out about the number of applications the average user submits might help back up the norms approach. They've been putting these charts out for years and the numbers haven't changed all that much. In fact, in our mid-Atlantic region, the average number of applications submitted was lower in 2014 than in 2012 at every kind of high school except the ones with religion affiliations. The number for those schools stayed the same.

It's still interesting to marvel at outliers (that NY Times article cites someone who applied to 56 schools!), but maybe we can take things down a notch by talking more about what is normal.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Happy Signing Day!

Have you noticed people announcing their college decisions on social media lately? We have an we've loved seeing the tweets and Instagram pictures that people have tagged with #UVA19 this year. It's as if we can see the Class of 2019 taking shape in front of our eyes!

If you are an admitted student and you still haven't accepted or declined your offer of admission, you have until midnight tonight to hit the right button (under your letter). When you go to pay your deposit, a screen will pop up (turn off your pop up blocker for this part) allowing you to type in the routing and account number on a check to pay your deposit. The system also takes a few types of credit cards, but it's primarily used for checks.

Next Steps for Admitted Students

About 72 hours after you deposit, you'll be able to register for orientation and start working down the list of things the Student Affairs folks want you to do. There's information about setting up your UVa email account, your UVa ID card, housing, dining, placement exams, and more on the Summer Orientation website.

Next Steps for Waiting List Students

Remember that you are not on the waiting list until you opt into it. To be considered for a spot, you need to hit the "accept" button under your admission letter in SIS. The accept/decline buttons remain visible so you have the option of removing yourself from the waiting list at any point. If you have anything to add to your file, send it to right away.

I don't know how much space there is in the class at this point. Remember, the admitted students have until midnight to deposit and then their payments have to be processed. 

When we make an offer to someone on the waiting list, they get a new decision letter in SIS. We always call students to give them a heads up that their status is going to change and explain what to do next. You'll have a few days to think things over and submit a deposit if you get an offer.

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, but that's not always the case.