Jun 5, 2019

UVa announces essay prompts for 2019-20

The University of Virginia announced this week that essay prompts for fall 2020 applicants will be looking pretty much the same as those in previous years, with only a few minor tweaks to keep things interesting.

Our prompts aren't changing too much,” said Jeannine Lalonde, “Dean J” of the UVa Admissions Blog.Our staff is really happy with the essays we've been getting and the student feedback we've gotten has been positive.

In addition to a required personal statement, UVa applicants will be asked to write two short responses to prompts specified in the application.

As in past years, UVa is “looking for passionate students” to join a “diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.” Applicants are asked to answer in a half page or approximately 250 words one of a series of questions corresponding to the school/program to which they are applying:
  • College of Arts and Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you design?
  • Kinesiology Program: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
  • School of Nursing: School of Nursing applicants may have experience shadowing, volunteering, or working in a health care environment. Tell us about a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.
  • School of Architecture: Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
For the second essay, applicants are asked to pick one of five questions to answer in a half page or roughly 250 words:
  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
  • UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
  • UVA students are charged with living honorably and upholding a Community of Trust. Give us an example of a community that is important to you and how you worked to strengthen that community.
In her advice to students, Dean J gently suggests, “A good essay conveys the voice and personality of the writer. A good essay shares something that hasn't come through in the other parts of the application. A good essay has made it to its final form after a round or two of editing.”

Students applying to the University of Virginia will be using the Common Application, which goes live on August 1, 2019.
In the meantime, the early release of essay prompts will give prospective ‘Hoos months to consider their topics carefully and write compelling essays in time to meet even the new October 15 early decision deadline, should they choose to go that route.

UVa reinstates Early Decision for 2019-20

After over a decade in mothballs,  binding early decision has returned to the University of Virginia for 2019-20.

The new old plan offers high school seniors the opportunity to apply to the University by mid-October and receive their admission decision before winter break. Admitted early decision applicants who apply for need-based financial aid and have completed both FAFSA and CSS Profile by November 15 will receive aid awards at the same time they receive their admission offer in December.

Early decision is designed for students who have determined by early fall that UVa is their top choice for college. It is a binding admission plan, meaning those who are admitted are committed to accepting an admission offer to UVa and promise to cancel applications to all other schools.
With the addition of early decision, UVa will offer three application options:
  • Early Decision: applications due by October 15 and students notified by December 15
  • Early Action: applications due by November 1 and students notified by January 31
  • Regular Decision: applications due by January 1 and students notified by April 1
“Early decision is for students who know without a doubt that UVA is their top choice for college,” said Dean of Admission Gregory W. Roberts. “Early action was established in 2011 and is for students who would like to receive an early notification of their admission decision, but want to keep their college options open over the winter.”

According to a press release, Roberts indicated that “all applicants will be evaluated in the same manner regardless of which plan they choose,” and he promises that no advantage or disadvantage will be given in the process based on which plan the applicant selects.

“Our mission is unchanged,” Roberts said. “We are committed to identifying and recruiting talented, interesting, ethical students from diverse backgrounds, high schools and communities who will both benefit from their experience at UVA and make our community, and the world, better.”

UVa began non-binding early action in fall 2011, after eliminating an older early decision option in 2007. At the time, Virginia stood alone with Harvard and Princeton supporting policies condemning all forms of early admission as disadvantaging low-income students. Although deans from the three schools have since traveled together as part of a fall tour promoting greater accessibility in admissions, they all eventually backed down from their positions and reinstated various forms of early admission. But only Virginia has gone back to early decision. 

Possibly a desire to spread the huge administrative crush of applications now routinely coming in early and a wish to improve yield (the percent of students accepting an offer of admission) figured into the decision to add early decision as an option. But the fact remains that UVa is the only college in the country that has opted for an October 15 early decision deadline—the earliest permissible under NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).

Associate Dean of Admission Jeannine Lalonde explained, “…we will release the results of the Early Decision review in December. We haven’t been able to do that in about a decade. The applications are a bit higher than back then, so the deadline for the first group is moving up to October 15.”

UVa joins a number of other public institutions squeezing the application process by moving application deadlines up to October 15, such as Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina. No doubt school counselors with start dates after Labor Day will feel the pressure placed on them by the new UVa early decision option to get recommendations and transcripts out by a deadline set a few weeks into the school year.

And note that the University of Virginia will only be accepting the Common Application this year, which doesn’t go live until August 1, 2019.

May 11, 2019

NACAC reports nearly 500 fabulous colleges still admitting students for fall 2019

According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) nearly 500 fabulous colleges and universities are still admitting qualified freshman and/or transfer students for fall 2019. And many of these schools also have financial aid and housing to offer.

Now in its 32nd year, the
College Openings Update is a wonderful search tool for counselors, parents and teachers as they work with students who have not yet completed the college application and admission process. The listing applies equally for students who may have gotten a late start on their applications as well as for those who weren’t totally satisfied with admissions results received by the May 1 response deadline observed by many colleges.

“The NACAC College Openings Update is a win-win for students and postsecondary institutions,” said Joyce E. Smith, NACAC’s CEO. “For example, some colleges and universities may face challenges in predicting how many students will accept an admission offer. They may find openings in their incoming freshman class for deserving students if their predictions are slightly off. This creates opportunities for students seeking a great match after May 1.”

Typically, colleges continue to join the Update after the public release date until the page closes on June 30. The Update is a voluntary “bulletin board style” listing for NACAC members, including domestic as well as foreign institutions. This year, over 90 percent of colleges on the fall 2019 Update are based in the U.S., although Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries are well represented.

Note that if an institution—of any description—does not appear on the list, it does not necessarily mean there are no openings.  Not every college chooses to participate.

Nevertheless, the NACAC list contains some amazing opportunities for students still open to offers.

For example, Appalachian State University (NC),
Arizona State University, Baylor University (TX), Belmont University (TN), Drew University (NJ), Florida Atlantic University (FL),  Hofstra University (NY), Iowa State University (IA), New College of Florida (FL), Oregon State University (OR), Pennsylvania State UniversityOhio Wesleyan University, St. Joseph’s University (PA), the University of Delaware (DE), the University of Denver (CO), the University of Maryland (MD), the University of Oregon, the University of San Diego (CA), Xavier University (OH), and West Virginia University (WV) are posting space available for the fall.

Chapman University, Providence College (RI), Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Salve Regina University (RI), Santa Clara University (CA), TCU (TX), the University of Connecticut, Ursinus College and the University of Miami (FL) have spaces for transfers.
But be aware that this list is highly fluid.  "Admission is an ongoing process for many institutions,” Smith has noted in the past.

Over the next several weeks, colleges will finish reviewing their incoming classes for vacancies and if they want to publicize openings, they will add their names to the Update.  Already, the list has risen from about 400 colleges when it was first published to nearly 500 colleges and universities, as of this publication. So keep checking back!

In addition to the NACAC survey, colleges still accepting applications may be found by searching the
College Board, Common Application and Universal College Application (UCA) websites (specific instructions are found here). As of May 11, 2019, the Common App shows 430 members still open to new applicants, including Christopher Newport University, Eckerd College (FL), the Florida Institute of Technology, Jacksonville University (FL), North Carolina State University (NC), “Ole Miss,” St. John’s College (MD/NM), Stetson University (FL), the University of Missouri (MO), Widener University (PA) and Xavier University (OH).

The bottom line is that you need to move quickly.  Colleges will only entertain applications as long as they have space available.

And for the most up-to-date information on specific colleges, contact the admissions offices of the schools directly. You may be surprised how glad they are to hear from you!

May 4, 2019

The Common Application announces new members for 2019-2020

Florida Gulf Coast University will accept the Common App next year.
The Common Application recently announced the addition of 50 new members to a roster of what will be almost 875 colleges and universities accepting the Common App for 2019-2020. The popular online platform and college planning website annually serves and supports over three million students, teachers and counselors in the U.S. and around the world. And with the addition of several large public institutions including the University of South Carolina, the University of Arkansas, Florida Atlantic University and Florida Gulf Coast University well as Elon University, Duquesne University and Landmark College, these numbers are bound to increase significantly.

 “Our increasingly diverse member institutions, now located in all 50 United States, have demonstrated a shared commitment to pursuing access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Thanks to our members, all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to easily apply to the college or university that will help them achieve their best future,” said Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of The Common Application. “These colleges and universities are helping us forge a direct and unambiguous path to a viable future for all students, and we are elated and honored to welcome them into our membership.”
Membership in The Common Application is open to colleges sharing the organization’s mission of advancing college access and must be
  • Not-for-profit
  • Undergraduate degree-granting
  • Accredited by a regional accrediting association (if inside the U.S.)
  • A member of the Council of International Schools (if outside the U.S.)
  • Committed to the pursuit of equity and integrity in the college admission process
Member institutions are no longer required to also be members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). The requirement to evaluate students using a “holistic” selection process including a recommendation and an untimed writing sample (essay) was also dropped to accommodate a wider variety of member institutions.

 As a result, the Common App membership includes
  • Colleges from 50 states plus Washington, DC
  • 370+ colleges with no application fee
  • 170+ public universities
  • Over 330 colleges not requiring a personal statement
  • 64 international universities
  • 340+ test-optional/test-flexible institutions (including colleges that only “sometimes” require tests)
But the Common App isn’t the only online application from which students can choose. This year, the Coalition Application was accepted by over 140 colleges and universities, including four exclusives: Virginia Tech and the Universities of Florida, Maryland and Washington. The Universal College Application (UCA) was welcomed by 18 institutions including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, Cornell University, and Princeton. The Common Black College Application enabled students to apply to any number or combination of 53 HBCUs for a single low fee. The Cappex Application, with its promise of no application fees and no supplemental essays, was accepted by over 125 institutions including Cornell College, Eckerd College, Ohio Wesleyan, Queens University of Charlotte, and the University of Tampa. The Greenlight Scholars Application was accepted by 30 colleges and universities, including Carleton College, the College of Wooster and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The QuestBridge National College Match application was welcomed by 40 highly selective colleges and universities.

And the following new member colleges and universities will be offering the Common Application for 2019-2020:

·       Arkansas State University (AR)
·       Baruch College, The City University of New York (NY)
·       Bridgewater College (VA)
·       Brooklyn College, The City University of New York (NY)
·       College of Staten Island, The City University of New York (NY)
·       Duquesne University (PA)
·       Elon University (NC)
·       Florida Atlantic University (FL)
·       Florida Gulf Coast University (FL)
·       Hunter College, The City University of New York (NY)
·       Kansas State University (KS)
·       Landmark College (VT)
·       Messiah College (PA)
·       Methodist College of UnityPoint Health (IL)
·       Midway University (KY)
·       Missouri Southern State University (MO)
·       Missouri State University (MO)
·       Mount Aloysius College (PA)
·       North Central College (IL)
·       Pennsylvania College of Technology (PA)
·       Dominican University (IL)
·       Eastern Michigan University (MI)
·       Ryerson University (Ontario, Canada)
·       Shawnee State University (OH)
·       Simpson University (CA)
·       University of Arkansas (AR)
·       University of Charleston (WV)
·       University of Minnesota Crookston (MN)
·       University of North Dakota (ND)
·       University of South Carolina (SC)
·       University of Texas - Arlington (TX)
·       University of the Incarnate Word (TX)
·       Wichita State University (KS)
·       Wisconsin Lutheran College (WI)