How is the University using social media in its admission process? From dispelling rumors to engaging students in a new way, the University’s Admission Office has found a valuable communication tool in social media. Prospective students are kept informed about the admission process and no longer are kept wondering what goes on between the application deadline and decision day.

Since 2005, Jeannine Lalonde, a senior assistant admission dean at the University, has hosted a blog called “Notes from Peabody” about UVA’s admission process. Last year, “Dean J” posted blogs about a variety of topics, including details of the Common Application, mid-year grade reports, an alert about the actual day and time decisions were announced, and questions about the waitlist.

This summer, she kept readers up to date with tips for incoming students, and she advised students on becoming a fan of the University on Facebook. “According to [one group’s] research, among schools with an undergraduate population between 10,000 and 19,999, we have the second highest number of Facebook fans,” she notes. Both the blog and her Twitter account are linked to the Facebook posts.

By providing timely information about admissions, the “Notes from Peabody” blog works to dismiss rumors that surround the process. “Rumors cause an unnecessary amount of worry among our students,” says Lalonde. “A lack of information can breed rumors, so the blog is a great way to inform students about the admission process and how it really works.”

Lalonde will continue to engage students as “Dean J” during the 2010 application cycle with informative, concise blogs at uvaapplication.blogspot.com.

For details, visit virginia.edu/undergradadmission/admission.html and the Alumni Association’s Admission Liaison Program at alumni.virginia.edu/admission.