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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Submitting Resumes, Research, Portfolios, and Non-Academic Recommendations to #UVA

 I'm gotten more emails from people trying to submit extra items this year than ever before. We cover supplements and updates in the application instructions and if you follow me on social media, you have probably watched me beg people to read the instructions over and over again. Let's go over things in a little more detail...

We instruct applicants to submit updates through the student portal, but we realize that there are other voices out there telling them to get in touch with admission officers. Please do not send updates, supplements, and other application items to admission officers. We want our staff to be dedicated to application review, not tending to a constant stream of emails. Following directions helps the process move quickly. Not following directions slows us down...and I know you all want us to work efficiently so we can get decisions made!

Remember that the application is enough. We ask for the things we know we need to make our decisions. If someone is telling you that UVA needs things that aren't listed in our application instructions, they are mistaken.


Here are some of the things people may tell you to submit and why they aren't necessary:

 

1. Resumes 

The Common App allows each college to turn the resume function of the app on or off. It is OFF for UVA. UVA does not accept resumes. The application presents information in a systematic format, which allows us to zero in on pertinent information quickly. You don't need to make more work for yourself. Follow our instructions and use the application to share information in a concise way.

2. Non-Academic Recommendations 

We require one recommendation from your counselor and one from a teacher of your choice. We are looking for insight into your style in the academic environment. People who have never taught you can't speak to your classroom performance. Also, those people tend to think they need to summarize facts (hours worked, tasks performed). Repetitive information isn't helpful.

Some people want to send recs from faculty they met at conferences or special programs. Consider how briefly these people have known you and remember that your teachers and counselors have a little more familiarity with you.

The required academic recommendations are perfect! Don't worry about sending extras!

3. Research Abstracts 

It's great to tell us about research, but don't send us an abstract. A line or two in the activity part of the application summarizing what you did is great. A paper is over the top and not useful. In fact, if you send us a paper full of jargon, you're increasing the chances that the gist of the work won't be clear.

4. Writing Portfolios 

We get three pieces of polished writing in your application. The application has a long essay and there are two short-answer prompts. That's plenty of writing for us. We don't accept portfolios.

5. Copies of Certificates 

You sign off on our Honor Code when you apply and promise that the information in your application is accurate. We don't need a copy of a certificate to believe that you are a member of a certain organization or received an award for something. Leave those papers in the baby book or that folder where you stick important stuff.

6. Newspaper Clippings or Pictures of You Doing Something 

Anyone who was on the staff of a literary magazine, newspaper, or yearbook is proud of their work. It's best to keep copies for yourself and your family. The same goes with photos (even the adorable baby-on-the-UVA-Lawn photos). They belong in a safe place at home, not in a college application.

7. Art/Music Supplements that Don't Follow the Guidelines

I've gotten several emails and DMs from students who have read the art and music supplement guidelines and want to send portfolios that don't follow them. Do not do this. Consider the message you are sending when you don't follow directions. You will not get a good review from the faculty if you don't give them what they want to review.  


Again, colleges ask for the things they need to make their decisions. If we don't ask for it, we don't want you to spend time (or money) on it. So when you hit submit, it's time to move on to monitoring your status. You don't need to spend time and money crafting extra items to send us.

Please don't spend your money on stuff like this.