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!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Missing Credentials Emails from UVA

On Sunday night, we emailed anyone missing a required application item. If you got one of those emails, don't panic. You aren't in trouble. We know that things sometimes get lost in the mail, sucked into a internet black hole, or misfiled. 

If you got an email from us, please double check your status in SIS and then get in touch with the appropriate person to get that missing item sent to us. We know some schools are already closed for Thanksgiving and are fine with items coming to us next week. Remember that if someone wants to email an application document, they should be using Don't send credentials to individual admission officers. This will delay filing of the document.

Do not worry about the mid-year report at this time. EA decisions come out before most schools send mid-year reports, but if you get an offer or are deferred to the Regular Decision round, we expect your counselor to send the mid-year report. Many students stop checking their status once the to do list disappears, so we need you to see this requirement now as opposed to adding it to the to-do list in January.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sending Application Supplements to UVA

I've already covered sending us resumes, papers, and abstracts in a past entry (tl;dr we do not accept these items) and today I want to cover a different kind of supplement. The expensive ones.

Every year, we get beautifully packaged submissions from students who want us to see pictures, certificates, art, and newspaper clippings. The use pretty folders, binders, and, in some cases, professional bindery services to present these items. They come in express envelopes or were dropped off by DHL/FedEx/UPS. It's clear that the students spent a bit of money on all this.

Everything that doesn't fit one of the categories of application credentials (transcript, recommendations, school profiles) goes into a bin labeled "Extra materials." Theses items are not reviewed by the deans. It's pretty time consuming to holistically review 30,000 applications. It takes us several months. We won't have time to include the books and binders in the review.

Please don't feel pressured to spend money on this kind of thing. The Common App is exactly what we need! Once you've completed your Common App, turn your energy back to the other things on your very full plate.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

About the SIS Application Status

I just got off the phone with a counselor from my territory who said he has a super nice family that is getting really worried about their student's status page. The counselor mailed the school credentials on the 29th and they thought that a week was enough time for the documents to get to us.

First of all, if you are at a school where counselors aren't allowed (ahem, my territory) or don't have the computer system to submit documents online, I can almost guarantee that it takes more than a week for a document to get to us. Just think about the chain of possession on that envelope.

1. Your High School
First, the counseling office prepares the required documents and probably sends them to the location where all the outgoing mail for your school is collected. Either the same day or the next day, the envelope leaves the building with the US Postal Service.

2. The Journey to Charlottesville
The US Postal Service has their own network of facilities that sort and distribute mail. We all know it is hard to predict how busy the distribution system will be. Eventually, the envelope will make it's way to Charlottesville, possibly after a stop in another city.

I don't have a picture of a mail truck. Pretend that is one. Beep beep!

3. The Journey to UVA
The US Postal Service delivers all mail for UVA to UVA's University Mail Services. Mail Services handles all of the mail for the University and the UVA Medical Center. This includes all the "messenger mail" that we send from one office to the next. Just because mail arrived at UVA doesn't mean we have it in our office.

University Mail Services sorts all the mail that comes in for UVA and then delivers it to each building. Once something arrives at Peabody Hall, our staff sorts it and distributes the items to the proper staff members.

Now, our staff members are pretty busy at this time of year. We have have a little over 16,000 Early Action applicants and each has a counselor and teacher sending us documents to support their application. Opening all that mail takes time and checking all those documents in takes even longer.

A long line of mail bins.

If your school sends items electronically, it still takes a few days for that information to make it into your file. The Common App doesn't send anything until YOU hit submit your application. After that, it will probably take a few days for us to get the documents downloaded from the Common App and then our staff has to match the newly-arrived item up with an application that is here. 

Bottom line: At this time, your SIS status is not a call to action. It is view into where we are with your file. There will be a point when we start contacting students about items that are missing, but that won't happen until December. Please do not rush into your counselor or teacher telling them they didn't send the documents correctly. In all likelihood, those items are either on the journey to us or are waiting to be checked in and linked to your application. I'll let you know when all submitted documents have been filed.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Post-Deadline Notes for #UVA20 Early Action Applicants

The day after the Early Action deadline is always an interesting one. We look at the numbers, but know that the final application number won't be known for a few weeks. We only count completed applications in our statistics, so though we have a total number of applications right now, it's just the submitted number and we won't have an official count until all the credentials that have been sent by counselors and teachers are logged into the system. For now, we are up over 16,000 applications. We are a tad higher than last year at this point, but we will see how many of those applications become complete.

Let's talk about some of the topics that always come up after deadlines:

1. Teacher and Counselor Submissions are still being processed.

We give school counselors and teachers a grace period for submitting documents. Do not worry if your counselor or a teacher is still working to get all of those credentials out.

2. The first time you log into SIS, your file will probably be incomplete.

As I hope you read in the application instructions, a few days after we download your application and get it into our system, you'll get an email about logging into SIS. SIS is where you will monitor your application status for both admission and financial aid. On notification day, you'll also check your decision in SIS.

At this point, most applications are incomplete. Please do not worry! As long as you submitted your application in time, everyting will be okay.

3. Mid-Year reports stay on the SIS to-do list.

If you receive an offer of admission or a deferral, we require that you send us your mid-year grades. We leave the mid-year report on the SIS to-do list for EA applicants so our applicants are aware of this. If you get to a point when the only thing on your to-do list is the mid-year report, you are done for now!

As a reminder, here are posts about:
-sending supplements and resumes to UVA
-SAT score report delays
-ACT score report delays

As always, you can ask questions anonymously (but please pick a name!) in the comments.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Final Countdown for Early Action Applicants

Early Action deadline day is here and we know there are still some applicants out there putting the finishing touches on their applications. A few reminders...

1. The Common App help desk is FAST.

Even when I have asked the most complicated question, I've had a response from the Common App folks in under and hour and often in just 15-20 minutes. If you have a problem while on the Common App website, open a help ticket. The individual colleges don't support the Common App website. The Common App has a great team of folks who do that.

2. You need to double check your responses to a couple questions.

Every year, we hear from students who accidentally applied under Regular Decision instead of Early Action. Double check your selection before you submit. If you hit RD, we won't even begin to work with your file until after the EA review is complete. While you're at it, make sure you are applying as a first-year student. Even if you are coming in with AP, IB, or college credit, even if you are getting an Associate's Degree concurrently, you are a first-year student if you are still working on getting your high school diploma.

You can verify all of this on the first UVA screen you come to on the Common App website.

3. Read the our application instructions.

The application instructions explain what happens after you submit your UVA application. If you read them, you will not be surprised to see items on your "to do" list the first time you log into the UVA student information system (SIS).

I'll be online as late as possible tonight to answer questions that come in by email, blog comment, Twitter, or Facebook. Our office will be open tomorrow morning in case you need to talk to someone about your application.

Good luck! Don't stay up too late!