Aug 15, 2011

Early Applicants to UVa Will Just Have to Wait

If you’re planning to be one of thousands of early applicants to the University of Virginia this fall, you may be in for a small surprise.

Unlike many of its peer institutions with similar early action (EA) policies, UVa will not be providing decisions until the end of January.

In other words, if UVa is your first choice, you won’t have your college future signed, sealed, and delivered before Christmas.

In all fairness, UVa is not alone in its Grinch-like decision to delay early admissions notifications. Although all of the Ivies and most other “heavy hitters” reward students organized enough to meet early paperwork requirements, a handful of schools enjoy having the extra time to think things over.

And there’s no way to know who does what based on application deadlines, selectivity, or size of the applicant pool.

For example, Bowdoin, Mt. Holyoke, and Pitzer advise early applicants around the first of the year. James Madison, Chapman, Wake Forest, Centre, Christopher Newport, Rhodes, and Holy Cross wait until mid-January. But Dickinson and Furman, as well as the Universities of Connecticut, San Diego, North Carolina, and Miami make students wait until the end of January or the first of February.

And while U Conn, Dickinson, and CNU give students until December 1 to file early applications, prospective Tar Heels must get their early action paperwork in by October 15th.

The early press surrounding UVa’s return to early admissions suggested that the decision was made in part as a response to requests from guidance counselors and students who wanted stress relief in the application process.

“The fact of the matter is that some students want to have an admission decision or an offer in their hip pocket early in the year,” said UVa admissions dean Greg Roberts in a carefully worded interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Even better, they’d love to have that decision before Christmas.

But by waiting, UVa is more likely to be providing stress relief to admissions staff, which will have a huge hunk of its total applicant pool in the door by November 1st and will gain time to provide the kind of holistic application reviews they promise.

In addition, the admissions office can take advantage of having several weeks to assess the strength of the entire “regular” applicant pool, as those candidates are required to file by January 1st.

Early decision applicants to other schools as well as strong students applying to single choice early action programs at Stanford and some of the Ivies will no doubt appear among those applying regular decision.

And so there will be stress relief—just not so much for UVa applicants.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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