UVA Adds Early Decision Option for Prospective Applicants

"The University of Virginia today announced a new option for prospective undergraduate students seeking admission.

A new early decision plan offers high school students the opportunity to apply to the University and receive their admission decision in the first semester of their senior year. Early decision is designed for students who have determined by the fall that UVA is their top choice for college. It is a binding admission plan, meaning students who are admitted to the University in the early decision round are required to accept the admission offer to UVA and cancel their applications to all other schools.

Admitted early decision applicants who apply for need-based financial aid and have completed the financial aid applications by Nov. 15 will receive their aid awards at the same time they receive their admission offer in December.

With the addition of early decision, UVA now offers three application options for prospective students:" …


Hmm. I remember reading on their site that they’d eliminated early decision because it favors the wealthy, who don’t need to consider FA. I thought that was an honorable decision at the time. This is disappointing.

“As part of its continuing efforts to increase accessibility for low-income students, the University of Virginia will no longer offer an early decision program for applicants beginning with students applying for the class that will enter U.Va. in the fall of 2008.”


Another one jumps on the bandwagon. Irresistible for the colleges - more full pays, better yield and dropping admit rate. Ugh.

I find this so interesting. UVA already offered ED from the mid 60’s until 2006, when they stopped, citing issues of access. https://news.virginia.edu/content/university-virginia-end-early-decision-program-admissions

What does UVA sees as different now? ED will still favor higher SES students.
Perhaps they feel they are losing out on good students who ED elsewhere? Do they want to increase proportion of full pays, while remaining need blind? Want to increase their yield?

It will be interesting to see how much of their class they fill in ED and whether they make all the athletes go ED.

I think this is a good move for students whose top choice is UVA. If you read these blogs you will find a lot of students who are applying early to Ivy league and other top schools also apply to UVA early as a back up plan since it has good rankings. These students already have good test scores and essays written. Many of these top students get into UVA early and take spots away from students who choose UVA as their top school. If these top students get into an Ivy or other top school they usually don’t attend UVA. The early decision plan will let students who really want to attend UVA get admitted early instead of students who have just applied to UVA as a back up plan. Since financial aid will be given with the decision, I don’t think it will hurt low income students. It doesn’t seem that federal financial aid differs much from school to school. UVA doesn’t give merit scholarships so most students will only receive federal financial aid. There are some special scholarships for certain students but not much. Of course private schools will offer merit scholarships and so you won’t be able to compare those but from reading these boards it seems since UVA is a state school a student applying should not expect anything other then federal financial aid. If you are looking for merit scholarships then UVA is not the school to apply to, look for private schools that offer that. So, I feel that ED is a good decision for UVA.

The top students who are applying to Ivy league schools can still apply EA and have UVA as a back up plan but not at the expense of students who have picked UVA first.

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UVA thought ED hurt low SES applicants in 2006

Most UVA financial aid is institutional, not federal. UVA is a Profile school and does meet full need, but uses loans…further, some believe they aren’t particularly generous when calculating one’s need. Not being able to compare financial aid offers will result in lower SES applicants necessarily choosing EA (or RD) over ED.

UVA now gives free tuition to in-state students whose families make less than 80K a year, this was not done in 2006.

If UVA is not generous when calculating need then students should know this going in and maybe should not apply to UVA if financial aid is a big concern. I am not saying this is a good thing but just a reality, students will do better with financial aid from private universities or schools that offer merit aid.

“Roberts said the three plans provide flexibility for students and their families based on their individual interests, but he added that all applicants will be evaluated in the same manner regardless of which plan they choose. There will be no advantage or disadvantage in the application process based on which plan the applicant selects”

Do you believe in this?

When there is no advantage then why ED? Just to receive decision earlier?

The advantage of ED for the applicant to any competitive university is that it takes out of the applicant pool a large number of other uber-competitive students. So, all of your super-competitive VA and out of state students who think they have a shot at getting into the Harvard, Yale, Princeton-type schools won’t want to bound by any ED acceptance to UVA. Therefore, the remaining competitive students who want UVA as their first choice will apply ED and they will be in a somewhat less competitive pool. And, their odds of acceptance should increase even more if UVA takes a large percentage of the class ED-which they probably will because their yield will be greater=better US News ranking.

I guess my question would be what happens to those who apply early action now? That is still an option

Unclear how ED and EA will co-exist with each other. Things can get very complicated at schools (e.g. Tulane and U.Chi) that over more than one early option. But this makes a lot of sense for UVA and, imho, is a smart read of the market.

Probably won’t affect IS admissions that much – UVA’s yield on in-state offers is already very high given the strong price/value proposition. And as everyone on CC knows, ED is all about driving up the yield. My guess is that this move is targeted at out-of-state non-legacy applicants.

Kids in that pool face meager Ivy League level admit odds. And the kids that get in through that narrow door enroll at low yield – because their ultra high credentials are getting them admitted RD to other elite schools and the cost to attend UVA OOS is basically the same as elite private (or perhaps higher after fin aid). Under the current rules, UVA EA is a popular back-up application for SCEA to HYPS or ED to other elite privates.

Right now, my sense is that the OOS pool is dominated by the legacy applicants. Either (i) kids who are hoping the legacy tip will make UVA their reach school or (ii) high stat kids who (with the benefit of the legacy tip) think that UVA will be a match/safety.

So UVA ends up rejecting a lot of HQ OOS non-legacy applicants that, with the advent of ED, they will now end up enrolling.

P.S. The tell on this is Dean Roberts saying that ED will not impact the admit standards. The easiest way for UVA to sorta make that happen is to make it a little easier for high stat OOS non-legacy to get in. Those kids would still have stats higher than the OOS legacy pool and the IS pool. So UVA enrolled class stats (and yield) will likely go up. Even if they are lowering the bar a little bit for the OOS non-legacies. End of the day, your school gets measured mostly by who you ENROLL, not who you admit.

OOS legacy applicants are considered with the in-state applicant pool - both Dean J and Dean Roberts have stated this multiple times. Note OOS legacy students do pay OOS tuition rates if accepted.

This is about attracting more OOS non-legacy, high stat, full pay students. UVA knows how ED works, they previously had it for 30 years…stopped it in 2006, citing it disadvantages low SES applicants. News flash: ED still does disadvantage low SES applicants

Legacies are not considered in-state applicants. People often try to explain the legacy advantage with that language, but we have been trying to curtail that for a decade now. You can probably fine numerous posts by me on here and other sites explaining this.

In Fall 2018, the legacy group had a higher offer rate than the VA residents. This was reported here: https://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2018/07/legacy-applicants-admitted-to-at-nearly-two-times-the-rate-of-non-legacies-in-2018

OOS legacies are not counted as VA residents in our statistics and they pay the non-resident tuition rate.

Please note that I am sharing the facts here and not giving any opinion on this issue.

Thanks for clarifying Dean J. It sounds like you are saying that practices have changed since the publication of these articles/interviews—

“While legacy admission has come under more intense scrutiny at colleges and universities around the country in recent years, we plan to maintain our current model, in which out-of-state legacy applicants are treated as if they are Virginians.”

“For out-of-state students, a legacy status puts them in the in-state pool, where their odds are better.”

Both articles are obviously dated being from 2009 and 2006. However, if the policy has changed since then, I gently suggest posting that info on the UVA website, or perhaps in the ALP FAQs…That would reach far more people than posting it here on CC and over time would probably result in a better understanding of UVA’s admissions policy with regard to OOS legacies.

I think you are confusing language and policy, both of which are addressed in my post. The policy has not changed. The article I shared from 2018 has current data.

@DeanJ I don’t see any differential noted in the article you posted about higher legacy admission, in terms of OOS, IS legacies. Do the higher admit numbers for legacies relate to both groups or just OOS legacies?

Yield issues?

Did UVA meet full need back in 2006? Because that’s a huge variable. Low SES students currently apply to meets-full-need schools in large numbers bc of their robust financial aid. It’s the middle class (donut) that doesn’t benefit. I think that’s an important component in this analysis.

And yes, I realize this discussion is from 2019 but it’s relevant to my student’s college process this year.

I don’t know if UVA met full need in 2006. I don’t disagree that ED can make sense for applicants of any income level, assuming the NPC looks affordable, but NPCs aren’t accurate in many instances (divorce, business or property ownership, etc.).

Also, for high stats kids with an EFC that might be hard to fund (whether it’s $5K or $50K), it can make sense to not apply ED to compare offers and/or compete for some schools’ elite scholarships.

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