Early Friday evening, 3,187 high school seniors who applied for admission to the University of Virginia will have a burden of uncertainty replaced with the security of having a college destination come August.

Promptly at 5 p.m., all 11,753 "early action" applicants will be able to log in to a password-protected website and learn whether or not they gained admission as part of UVA's first early action admissions class.

While those offered admission are feeling relief, they should also feel some pride, said Gregory W. Roberts, UVA's dean of admission, who described the group as exceptionally well-qualified. One measure: The average SAT score of those who received offers was 1,413 on a 1,600-point scale, and 2,119 on a 2,400-point scale – compared to 1,380 and 2,066, respectively, for those offered admission to UVA last year.

"We're pleased with the diversity, and we're excited about the quality of the class," Roberts said. "This is clearly a distinguished group of scholars."

Those who receive admission offers will have until May 1 to submit their admission deposit to secure their place in the first-year class.

In the meantime, admissions officials will be evaluating the applications of students who applied by the "regular" January 1 deadline. Together with early applicants, the total application pool stood at a record 28,239 as of Thursday – a whopping 18 percent increase over last year's pool, even as some elite universities were reporting fewer applicants.

"We expected an increase, but the size was a surprise to us," Roberts said. He attributed the application boom to strong recruitment efforts, the availability of the new early action plan and an ongoing national trend of individual students applying to more colleges.

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