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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Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Return to Fairfax County

I'm almost in disbelief that my first week of high school visits in over a year is around the corner. The last time I was in my Virginia territory (Fairfax County) was the week of January 13, 2020, when I spoke at a series of programs for junior parents planned by counselors in Fairfax County Public Schools. Suffice it to say, I'm really looking forward to being back in my territory! Admission work is cyclical and I have missed the parts of the calendar that traditionally had me in high schools. 

Scheduling high school visits was a bit of a trick this year. Most schools have fewer spots in their schedules (totally understandable!) and some are only offering virtual appointments. I wasn't able to stack my usual 4-5 schools per day this time, but I'll look on the bright side and think about how much less stressful it will be to battle northern Virginia traffic. 

I have 24 in-person visits in the coming weeks:

Monday, October 4: Justice, Falls Church, TJHSST
Tuesday, October 5: Langley, McLean, Marhsall
Wednesday, October 6: Madison, Oakton, Woodson, Fairfax
Thursday, October 7: West Springfield, Lake Braddock, Trinity Christian
Friday, October 8: Centreville, Westfield, South Lakes, Herndon

Monday, October 18: Edison, Lewis, Mount Vernon
Tuesday, October 19: Chantilly, Hayfield, South County
Wednesday, October 20: West Potomac, Annandale, Robinson

If you're in Fairfax County and don't see your school listed, we probably scheduled a virtual event with your school. If you see your school list and would like to attend my session, be sure to follow the procedures set by your College & Career Center to sign up. These talks are for students...parents, feel free to call, comment, email, or message me if you have questions about admission.

Jack in NOVA (technically not in my territory, but close!)


Friday, September 17, 2021

How to Manage College Admission Email

When I was in high school, the college mailings started to arrive a few weeks after you took your first PSAT exam. The first few pieces of mail seemed novel, but then the deluge began. Managing the influx of mail was easy enough - it just required more frequent trips to the recycling center!

These days, the print mail arrives along with a steady stream of email. All that email sometimes leads to overlooked messages about important things - missing application items, invitations to special programs, or even financial aid information). Many suggest that students create a separate email account for college mail, but that doesn't really solve the problem. Students still have to wade through a lot of messages to find the important ones in a second email account. I have a different suggestion.

Learn to use email filters.

Email filters (also called "rules" in some email clients) automatically file email for you. In gmail, all you have to do is click the three dots in a message and select "Filter messages like these" to set one up. Create a folder for everything important and you can quickly scan the side of your email client to see if anything important has arrived. 


This is where to find the filter set up in gmail.


If you set up a filter for messages from your counselor, Common App, UVA, etc., it could mean that your main inbox becomes a miscellaneous inbox.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Live #UVA Admission Q&A Sessions Every Thursday!

I sometimes forget that people aren't aware of my accounts on the various social media channels. After years of doing live q&a sessions on my Instagram account and having thousands of views on each saved session. In the early years, I saved the sessions to Instagram Highlights (like this), but I started saving them all to IGTV last year. It's safe to say the Thursday afternoon live session is tradition now. 

The sessions usually start around 3 PM. I post an Instagram Story on Thursday mornings with two stickers*: one that lets students turn on a countdown reminder for the session and another that lets them submit questions they'd like me to answer. Students can also submit questions during the live session via a comment box and a live question sticker. 

Jack decided to participate in a session last December and he's been a fixture since. He starts the session by doing a trick for a treat (this buys us some time as people join the session). There are points in the application season when I give an update about our process and then I answer questions. 

* A sticker is a box or graphic added on top of a photo or video in Instagram Stories. Some of them are interactive.

It's almost time for this week's live session. I hope you'll join us on Instagram!