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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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Six Deadline Reminders for #UVA Regular Decision Applicants

Regular Decision applicants to UVA should be putting the finishing touches on their Common Applications this weekend. Here are a few of the most common issues and questions that come up around deadline time.

1. The deadline is January 1st, not December 31st.

You have until 11:59 PM on January 1st in your time zone to submit your application. Keep in mind that many schools share this deadline and while the Common App support team is going to be up 24/7 to help with issues, they are apt to be inundated with help requests on Monday night.

2. Counselors and teachers aren't subject to your deadline.

You need to get all of YOUR parts of the application submitted by the deadline. Plenty of counselors and teachers have already submitted supporting credentials for students, but the system stays open for them. Your counselors and teachers are on a much-deserved break. No need to be emailing/calling them over the weekend.

3. Paying the fee doesn't submit your application.

You have to go through a submission process through the Common Application. Don't stop with paying the fee.

4. Your application will be incomplete the first time you log into UVA's information system.

This is explained in our application instructions. A few days after your file is pulled into our system, UVA's Student Information System will send an email with login information to the email account you used on your Common App. On the main screen, you'll see a "to do" list of items that need to be checked into your file.

The first time you log in, you might see items that were submitted, but just haven't been matched up to your file yet. Please be patient. It takes a few weeks for our staff to match all those transcripts and teacher recommendations to newly submitted applications.We only log required documents due to volume.

Mid-Year Reports will be sent by your counselors once first semester grades are available.

5. We do not accept resumes, abstracts, research, or writing portfolios

We do not accept supplements that fall outside the lines of art supplements (for the arts, architecture, and marching band). Your activities should be listed in the activity section of the Common App. Be concise and brief. If we have any questions about your activity list, we'll email you.

Recommendations should come from your counselor and a teacher of your choice. The feature for submitting "other" recommendations is turned off in Common App.

6. Virginia residents must complete the residency questions to get in-state status.

If you are a Virginia resident, please be sure to fill out the residency section of the Common App. The first section asks questions about you (you'll answer "no" to most of them). The next section asks about a parent. The parent section is where most of you demonstrate residency since most of you are dependents. Only send extra documentation to the Office of Virginia status if they contact you with a request for supporting information.

Submitting unnecessary documents slows the process down for everyone. The Common App is a robust application that provides us with plenty of excellent information. Don't complicate the application process with extras!

Good luck! I'll be watching the comments below for questions. My Twitter client pushes notifications, so you can also tweet questions to @UVADeanJ.

Monday, December 18, 2017

On Grit, Passion, and Perseverence

I remember arriving at my first graduate school class ready for the most interesting discussions of my [short] academic life. It was a class about research methods during the summer session. I had walked for my college degree just two weeks prior and I was the lone new student in the class since most of my classmates had started the program the previous fall. I was energized and ready to go.

That first class was a blur, not because it was amazing, but because it was horrifying. I couldn't understand a lot of what my classmates were saying. I had read the first couple chapters of the text in my excitement to start my program, but it didn't matter. They were speaking a vernacular full of education buzzwords that I didn't know yet. My excitement dissolved and I dreaded going to that class for weeks as I struggled to adjust to the way people were talking.

I've been a little sensitive to buzzwords and lingo that fly around when people talk about college admission because of that confusing experience in grad school. I try to be simple and clear when I write about our process so  Right now, it seems like people in admission are talking a lot about grit, passion, and perseverance.

If today's buzzwords apply to you, that's great. If you don't think grit applies to you, haven't found a passion, or didn't persevere over a big obstacle, I don't want you to worry. Just because those words are popular right now doesn't mean those are the only things that colleges value.

At UVA, our first year class has about 3,700 students with interesting backgrounds and stories. We don't change our review based on the hot words of the moment. In fact, I have only heard someone say "grit" once or twice so far during our Early Action review. There's room for all kinds of students at the table here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

For those Affected by California Wildfires

I wanted to write a quick note to Regular Decision applicants and counselors in southern California who have been affected by wildfires in the area. Though we are still about three weeks away from the RD deadline, please know that we will work with you if access to the internet is a long-term issue.

Our thoughts are with our colleagues, students, and their families in the area.