When you hit submit on your Common App, I think you should feel proud of yourself. You've done the bulk of your job related to the UVA application and now you have to wait for the rest of the pieces to fall into place*. Unfortunately, there are people who are trying to tell students that the Common App is the first of many things they have to send us. Below, I'll go over the things you may have been told to send us and why you don't have to worry about them. In a nutshell, colleges ask for what they need to complete their review. If the admission office didn't ask for it, you shouldn't worry about sending it.
|Please don't spend your money on stuff like this.|
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 Common App 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 Common App to share information in a concise way.
2. Outside 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 learning style or how you work in a classroom situation. 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 long these people have known you. I recently saw a recommendation letter that started by saying the writer knew the students for nine days. 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 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. I promise we will be impressed regardless!
4. Writing Portfolios
We get three pieces of polished writing in your application. The Common App has a long essay and the UVA screen/tab has 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.
We try to make this clear on out website with a statement above our email addresses:
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. Further, to make this process fair, we are specific about what we review for each candidate. We accept the Common App and supplements that fit the criteria for arts and architecture supplements. That's 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.
*Be sure to read the "After You Submit" part of our application instructions. We explain that it can take several weeks for all the components of your application to meet up in our system, so don't panic if there are items on your "to do" list initially.