Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Friday, September 06, 2019

Why Early Admission Statistics Shouldn't Determine When You Apply to UVA

Note: This isn't a post about Early Action and Early Decision. That's coming!

I'm often asked for admission rates for our early and regular rounds of admission by students and parents trying to decide which application option is most advantageous. While I have shared Early Action admission statistics for years on this blog (here's the post from last year), I am always hesitant to cite them without an explanation of why, at UVA, the admission rate of the early group shouldn't drive the decision to submit an application in the fall versus the winter.

Admission rates for the different rounds of review don't tell you much about the strength of the applicant pool. Historically, the Early Action pool at UVA has a higher admission rate than the overall pool, especially for Virginia residents. Someone may see a 43% offer rate for VA residents during Early Action, compare that with the post that shows an overall VA resident admission rate of 36% and assume that we were a little more lenient in our review during the early around. What's missing is information about the strength of the applicant pool.

A lot of people look to test scores to tell them about the competitiveness of the admission process (I've written so many posts about testing over the years that helps explain why that's not the best idea, but another one is coming), but our early and regular pools have pretty similar testing. What can't be conveyed in statistics: strength, consistency, and breadth of work in core subjects, recommendations, and essays.

Here's what I'm trying to say: Don't use admission rates to determine when you're going to submit your application to UVA. Those rates alone don't tell you about the pool. I can tell you that the early pool is traditionally quite strong. Only put your application in when it's in it's strongest position.