A peek into the lives of those who learn, teach, research and work at the College.
December 6, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! The time has come. We are in the process of sending decisions via email to Early Decision applicants. Please be patient. It usually takes several hours (2-3 hours) for us to launch each of the 1200+ emails to each individual applicant. Plus there’s no way to predict how quickly your particular email server/client will receive and download the email we sent. But we can tell you some of the decisions are already on their way and more are in the queue. Here’s what you need to know about how decisions are released and what each decision means.
Receiving Your Decision
- Decision are sent via email to applicants only (parents do not receive a copy).
- They are sent to the email address you provided in your Common Application.
- The sender will be College of William & Mary.
- The subject line will be either “Good Things” or “William & Mary Admission Decision”
- Note that depending on your email server/client, our email might be sent to your spam or junk folder so please check those folders in addition to your in-box.
- Those admitted will receive both an email and a mailed letter. Those not admitted will receive an email only.
If you do not receive an email, and you’ve checked your spam and your junk folders, do not panic. There are a variety of reasons why this could happen. Please just call our office on Monday morning and let us know you didn’t receive a decision. We will investigate why that happened and will give you a call back. If a decision was sent and somehow didn’t get to your in-box, we will resend the decision email using a different email tool that evening (provided you call prior to 4:00pm) and we will send a hard copy in the mail. If a decision wasn’t sent we will let you know why and will move forward from there.
Types of Decisions
ADMIT: Congratulations and welcome to the Tribe! Yes, the “Good Things” email means what you think it means. You are the first members of the W&M Class of 2018. Pat yourself on the back, shout it from the rooftops, be proud of yourself – you’ve earned it! Break out your W&M gear, wear it to school on Monday; show your Tribe Pride to the world at large. You can be on the lookout for an official letter (signed by Dean Broaddus himself – he literally personally signs each and every offer of admission) in your mailbox in the coming days. The link in your decision email will take you to our admitted student website where you’ll find more information on W&M, how to submit your enrollment deposit and how to spread the good news on social media (be sure to use the #wm2018 hashtag). Again, congratulations and welcome to W&M!
Note: if you also applied to the Joint Degree Programme, those decisions are not made until the spring once we can review the entire applicant pool. You’ll receive a decision on that part of your application in the spring when we release regular decision results.
DEFER: We are truly sorry the decision could not be more positive. We know that W&M was your first choice and that you really love the College. We understand this news will be disappointing and likely also frustrating. We get it. You are bright, accomplished, stellar individuals and we wish we were able to admit every great student who applies to W&M. Unfortunately, we cannot. This decision is in no way a reflection of any wrongdoing or misstep on your part. It instead reflects the incredible strength of our applicant pool. This year more students applied for Early Decision than any previous year in W&M’s history; that means there was increased competition for a relatively similar number of spaces in the incoming class (we bring in about 35-37% of our class through ED).
Your application will be reviewed again in its entirety during our Regular Decision process. We certainly encourage you to make us aware of any new academic information (first-semester grades, new standardized test results, etc.) as well as any new high-level awards. You are also welcome to submit a letter/email/statement of continued interest. We will include that information with your original materials and review it all in the spring. We will send you another decision when we release results to our Regular Decision applicants (if you also applied to the Joint Degree Programme we will provide you that decision in the spring also).
DENY: We know there’s little we can say (and likely nothing at all) that will make this decision palatable. Please know that we take no joy in turning away any student, especially those who apply Early Decision. This decision in no way a reflection of any failure or fault on your part; nor does it mean you will not be admitted to or thrive at another college or university. It simply means that we were choosing from the best of the best, and we had to make some difficult decisions. This decision is a final one for your freshman application (likewise if you also applied to the Joint Degree Programme that decision is included in your email and is also final). We know that you will have other great options for next year, and those institutions will be lucky to have you as part of their incoming class. We wish you all the best in those pursuits.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
December 4, 2013 by Katie LeCornu
I can’t believe this is the last week of classes. Together, the students in our program have grown into young professionals and learned things that can never be taught in a classroom. I’ll give a recap of what we’ve been up to.
A few weekends ago, most of the program went down to campus for Homecoming. It was great to be surrounded by Tribe Pride instead of the concrete jungle of DC. The tailgates this year were awesome! A whole pig was being roasted on a grill and a bunch of student groups were rallying. Best of all, we won our game against JMU. Saturday night, a group of friends and I went to see Freelance Whales perform in Sadler. They were fantastic live – I’m always so impressed by the great bands W&M and AMP can book.
One of my highlights of the past few weeks was going to meet my Texas senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. I tagged along with one of my fellow Cato interns from Texas who was invited to “Texas Tuesday” where the senators meet with their constituents in town. There’s an inexplicable comfort that comes from being in a room of all Texans. Ted Cruz has made such a stink up here in Washington, and although I don’t always agree with his politics, I respect him as a Texan representative. And it was cool to meet the guy who shutdown the government.
We had our last Slice of Advice from Adam, and he told us how to wrap up our internship and leave a lasting impression. He said to hold onto projects that can be put into a portfolio. Write a letter of thanks to your supervisor, and write a letter of advice to be given to the next person in your position. I would have loved to have a bit of guidance coming into my internship, so I’m definitely willing to give some hints to the next person.
During the Slice of Advice, the W&M in DC office staff were decorating the room for a baby shower to surprise Roxane. She was so surprised when she walked in! We played games like unscrambling baby words and Nursery Rhyme Jeopardy. She got some baby outfits and baby necessities. Of course, she needed those things a lot sooner than she thought because 4 days later, she went into labor a month early, and now we have Piper Quinn Adler Hickey.
Upon realizing that we only had a few weeks left in DC, I spent a few weekends checking things off my DC “to-do” list. A friend from campus came one weekend and we went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. It wasn’t the best Smithsonian I’d been to – it was a bit sparse in exhibits – but seeing the Star Spangled Banner was amazing. So much history in just that piece of fabric! After the Smithsonian, we went to Hill Country BBQ, which is apparently the best BBQ in DC. “Hill Country” refers to where I live – the hills in and around Austin. As an Austinite who has the real thing at home, this restaurant was impressively like the real thing. They even had Bluebell Ice Cream! Little did we know when we went, there was a Longhorn football game on. The entire restaurant was dressed in burnt orange. One guy had a Longhorn cape and a burnt orange suit! When UT scored, the restaurant erupted in cheers and chants. Eating BBQ with a bunch of Austinites, I rarely feel so at home even at home!
Also on my to-do list was a trip to Alexandria. The shops in Old Town were all really cute, and the trip was perfect for a fall day. We ended up stopping to eat in Killer ESP (espresso, sorbetto, pie). When it said pie, I thought that meant fruit pie, but turns out “pie” is quiche-like meat pies that were delicious. Also, we tried their home-made sorbet, and it was fantastic! I see why people love Alexandria – it’s a great escape from the city.
The next weekend I got up early on Saturday to go to the Holocaust Museum when it opened. It’s an interesting set-up: on the first floor, you pick up a little booklet that tells about someone in the Holocaust. Then you get in an elevator that takes you straight up to the fourth floor. In the elevator ride, you are shown a video introducing you to the museum, then you work your way through the exhibits. The fourth floor gave an explanation about the conditions in Germany that made the Holocaust manifest. The third floor gave detailed stories about the Jewish ghettos and the concentration camps. The second floor showed the rescue efforts and the aftermath. As you reached the next floor, you turned the page in your booklet to follow the journey of your person, and in the end you learn their fate. My girl “perished”. The most moving part was when the exhibit lead you through a train car that the victims had been shoved into for transport to the concentration camps. Standing in the car, you could smell the mildew and sweat, see hand prints on the floor, and feel the ghost of previous human presence. It was creepy. The museum was definitely one of my favorite things in DC – it gave me a much better understanding of the Holocaust.
Later I met up with other students in the program for Andrew’s birthday. He wanted to go to District Taco (yum!) and then to the Smithsonians. We started out at the Air and Space Museum, and then we were about to go to the American Indian Museum, when someone decided to jump off the fourth floor balcony and they evacuated the building…
On Sunday night, the program had our own little Thanksgiving. Everyone brought something, and we had a feast. Chris cooked a turkey, and Megan made fantastic sweet potatoes. There was mac-n-cheese and cranberry sauce and lots of desserts – it was perfect, and it got our tummies ready for the actual Thanksgiving!
For the next few days, we will be finishing up our essays and our internships and moving out. On Monday instead of class, Professor Abegaz invited a panel from the Millennium Challenge Corporation to speak to us and a handful of DC alumni. Tonight we have our farewell dinner with our bosses and mentors. It’s winding down, and I can’t believe this semester has gone by so fast!
December 2, 2013 by Daniel Reichwein
A fireman, a lawyer, an astronaut, a scientist, a professional lottery winner, a philanthropist, even a male model were all on my list of future careers as I was growing up.
Being homeless for three years certainly wasn’t on the list. Nor was the hereditary health problem that caused me to become homeless, be discharged from the U.S. Army reserve, and withdraw from Indiana University – where I used to study on academic scholarship. No, that sure wasn’t how I envisioned my future as I stared blissfully at that fire engine birthday cake. Those events stunted my academic career to the point where I am now an undergraduate student 10 years older than my peers.
The basis for my idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up matured as I matured. When I was in a foster home (the picture above is from one that was initially good), I wanted to be a fireman because that fire truck was just so cool. It had a ladder and could spray a ton of water everywhere. I could ride that truck on my way to rescue kittens in trees and save people. Then, when I was adopted into a family, Miles, the lawyer who arranged it, became my hero. I wanted to be like him – making things right, saving kids from bad people.
In elementary school, I started learning about science. What’s cooler than firetrucks? Being an astronaut in outer space, of course. It would be the grandest adventure ever. Exploring the stars, visiting all the planets, exploring the unknown, leaving the familiar behind. My mind seemed suited for science as I learned about Newton’s & Einstein’s work. There was so much depth and knowledge to uncover in our own world too.
As I got older, I became more aware of the need for money. My adoptive father worked a low-paying job at a bakery an hour away trying to provide for five children. Times could be tough back then. It showed in the disparity between us and the middle class kids in school. I knew the perfect solution: to become a professional lottery winner! In my late high school years, I became selfish in my career ambitions and thought of becoming a male model. They made a lot of money, looked good, and were smooth with the ladies.
Then, while I was in my second year of university, I began to experience the health problems that ultimately led to my homelessness. That journey is long enough to fill a whole book, but if you’re interested, you can check out an old blog I started in the twilight of my life on the streets. Being homeless opened my eyes to a part of the American population that most people disregard as self-made poverty cases. I didn’t find that to be true. Eventually I was connected with a homeless support organization where a social worker helped me get back into college and find a job. At my new job a co-worker discovered I was homeless. She let me live with her, and I found a new, “adoptive” family.
This exposure to a sometimes overlooked socioeconomic problem and the kindheartedness that strangers showed to help someone in need truly inspired me. It inspired me to my newest aspiration of what I want to be when I grow up. I want to use my new passion and experience with the homeless community and current alleviation solutions to help the homeless people throughout our country. I plan to repudiate negative stereotypes by telling people about my experiences and to utilize the kindness of others in intelligent ways.
The College of William & Mary recently helped me explore my passion by paying for me to attend a social entrepreneurship convention in North Carolina run by the Sullivan Foundation. During this “retreat” weekend, students discussed and contemplated big questions such as what are you truly passionate about and what would you do if money wasn’t a concern. Those who had an idea that they wanted to manifest into a positive change in the world got to sit down in a small group and exchange ideas with each other and a facilitator who works for a non-profit. We also had a crash course in design thinking and formed some mock business plans for socially-conscious firms. Through this exploration I came to the realization that while helping people was my passion, I was not willing to make sacrifices to my personal financial security.
I don’t want to have to worry about paying my bills just because I choose to make a career out of helping others. Starting my own venture would be too risky, and I don’t want to grind years of experience to get a decision-maker/change-maker job helping people. Thus, I plan on attending graduate school and then either working full-time in a professional law or business career while manifesting my philanthropic aspirations on my own time OR earning an MBA then working full-time in management for a large, well-funded organization that helps Americans in need.
It’s tough knowing what you want to do with your life at such a young age. Some people are fortunate enough to find their passion as a kid with college just serving as credential development to get their dream job. Other times, you have to learn about different subjects or explore different jobs to find your passion, and that’s perfectly fine. A retiree turned business professor told me recently that sometimes you even find that what you’re passionate about changes every decade. Unexpectedly, I figured out what I wanted to do through a painful experience.
Whatever you want to be when you’re grown up and out of William & Mary, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about and don’t forget to take some time to help the community in which you live and work. And if you haven’t figured out your passion, it’s okay. Try a class that sounds interesting; talk to our wonderful faculty advisors or the Career Center; and don’t forget about your professors. They are fountains of knowledge and experience, eager to pass that on to you.
November 26, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! Committee is moving along well. In fact we have more behind us than in front of us. We’ve enjoyed digging back into reading season and laying the foundation for the Class of 2018. We’ve also enjoyed numerous snacks (the fruit snacks have been devoured, the Cheeze-Its are half-way gone, one bag of frosted animal crackers has come and gone and multiple cookie packs, chip packs, granola bars and candy bars have been consumed – for those of you concerned for our health, the bag of dried fruit is also empty). For the last “Overheard in Committee” blog from the 2013 Early Decision review, we thought we’d address an often discussed Committee topic.
Overheard in Committee today: That’s an impressive upward grade trend.
We were discussing a student who had improved from mostly Bs in 9th grade to all As in 11th grade. In GPA terms he had earned a GPA of 3.4 (weighted) in his freshman year and a 4.3 weighted GPA for his junior year. That’s a significant improvement to say the least. And his grades continued to improve as the course work got harder (he had only a few honors classes in 9th grade when his GPA was the lowest but had all honors and AP classes in 11th grade when he earned his best GPA).
With grade trends, we’d much rather see them on an upward trajectory than a downward one (that probably goes without saying). Oftentimes, outlier grades or significant blips in an academic record are accompanied by an explanation. However, many upward and downward trends are not (which is perfectly fine). In the case of upward trends we generally assume the earlier low grades are due either to the transition to high school and/or an underdeveloped work ethic (the increased work ethic tends to come with increased maturity which is a natural part of development during high school). Downward grade trends are most often caused by the transition into more challenging courses and the accompanying workloads and increased teacher expectations. Some students will dip initially and then rebound, others will continue the downward trend year after year.
What we’re evaluating here is a student’s overall work ethic and achievement record and whether both are at a level that will allow them to be successful at William & Mary. And of course we’re comparing those with both upward and downward grade trends to those who have maintained consistent academic records (remember, there are students who have demonstrated incredibly strong grades throughout high school). Of course, grades/grade trends are just one piece of this puzzle. Sometimes those with upward trends may have great other qualities (standardized testing, extracurricular activities, academic potential, intellectual curiosity, etc.) that help to balance the less stellar early grades. Likewise for those who have slight but not worrisome downward grade trends. At the end of the day, what the Committee is considering is whether we believe the student has adequately prepared themselves to be successful academically at W&M and how that student compares (both academically and personally) with the other great students applying for admission.
With that, we will head back to Committee (these decisions won’t make themselves after all). We wish everyone a wonderful holiday weekend and look forward to being in touch in December.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
PS: We know Early Decision applicants are eager to receive their decisions. While we do not have a release date as of yet, we do know that decisions will be released after December 1 (in other words at some point after the Thanksgiving holiday). We continue to appreciate everyone’s patience as we make our way through the review and Committee processes.
November 25, 2013 by Richard Murphy
As a deeply nostalgic and sentimental person, I get very tense at the idea of things coming to a close. As seniors, I think we all have this sense of impending doom as that May 11th graduation date draws ever closer, and the number of times we can say “oh I’ll do it next year” has reached ultimate zero. Adding immense pressure to my imminent W&M departure is that the practical purposes of my job as a Senior Interviewer for the admission office are winding down; six more interviews and one more Fall Focus panel and I will close my interviewer notepad for good. At this point, the 13 other interns and I have written hundreds of pages about potential applicants’ academic performance, extra curricular activities and personal qualities. We gave upwards of 2,000 people tours of campus over the summer, drank hundreds of dollars worth of Coronas at Paul’s and College, and lost to the deans of admission in an epic game of kickball. Spending forty hours a week with the other 13 interns all summer made it feel like my senior year started with my internship back in May, and now that it’s concluding, it feels like the end of senior year’s first chapter.
As the weight of senior year becomes more apparent, I remember what my French teacher did for us on our last day of class senior year of high school. He read us the moment from Antoine Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince when the little prince is distraught to leave the fox, his best friend, to travel the world in pursuit of bigger and better things. To soothe him, the fox says that he will forever associate wheat fields with the little prince because of the golden hue of his hair, so at least part of their friendship will live on forever. What are my wheat fields from my Senior Interviewer experience? The Aquafina water bottles that I took every time I gave a tour this summer; the green W&M Athletics bag that stayed taped to our office wall and comprised its décor until mid-July; the countless information packets we stuffed at the front desk as tour groups trickled into the lobby; the blazers that one of the interns wore to professionalize her sundresses, and that awkward day when one of her interviewees was wearing the exact same blazer.
I think every senior will attest to having moments from their college experience they hope they never forget: those Friday nights with your freshman hall, the free water and cheap sandwiches from Wawa, your 21st birthday, LDOC(s), and any other ones unique to yourself. This Friday, when I leave my tiny office in admission for the last time as an interviewer, I’ll stash all those wheat fields away with the best of memories from the last four years. It comforts me to know, however, that the little things from my summer – and college experience overall – will carry special significance throughout the rest of my life.
November 21, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! It’s time for Early Decision Committee. Each morning, all dean staff gather in our windowless conference room armed with application files, caffeine, sugar (our Early Decision Committee snack cart consists of Sam’s Club-size Cheeze-Its, Fig Newtons, Lays snack-size bags of chips, candy bars, trail mix, dried fruit, animal crackers (both regular and frosted), chewy granola bars and fruit snacks) and enthusiasm to begin shaping William & Mary’s Class of 2018. As we engage in our committee deliberations throughout the year (Early Decision, Regular Decision, Spring Transfer, Fall Transfer), our “Overheard in Committee” blog series will continue. In this blog we take our readers inside our discussions to help you understand how and why we make the decisions we make.
Overheard in Committee today: What does the profile say? (PS: we’d like to thank a loyal Admit It! follower for proposing this topic…it’s overheard in Committee almost every day, but we had never thought to blog about it until he suggested it.)
Almost every high school produces what’s called a profile: a detailed description of that school’s curriculum, grading policies, community and often times much more. It helps admission officers to understand CONTEXT. Context is crucial to how we review applications and to how we make decisions at W&M. Whether it’s cultural, educational, geographic, socioeconomic, or any one of numerous other varieties, context is important. It helps us to understand the environment in which you’ve achieved the results demonstrated in your application.
School context helps provide guidance for evaluating your transcript. What classes were available to you and which ones did you take? Does your school use a traditional 10-point grading scale or something different? Does your school weight your GPA and class rank (if provided), and if so, to what extent? If your high school doesn’t rank students, does it provide context clues related to rank (decile parameters, a high GPA, a median GPA, etc.). How many students from your high school go on to two and/or four-year colleges after graduating?
Each of us at W&M has specific regions for which we read. As a regional dean, it’s our job to know the schools in our regions (along with their curricula, relative competitiveness, grading scales, specialty magnet programs, etc.) and provide that context along with general geographic context to the second read each file receives (each application we receive is read at least twice – generally the second read is conducted by the regional dean). While we are familiar with A LOT of high schools, we cannot possibly keep up with every individual high school in our region. In those cases, and even in those cases where we are familiar with the high school, the profile can help us provide great insight into how competitive academically your school might be, what if any limits are placed on your scheduling process (are APs limited for example or are students required to take specific classes each year or is there block scheduling) and the kind of academic environment of which you’ve been a part. Armed with this information, we can make more informed evaluations of your academic achievements relative to your individual high school environment.
We hope that this particular blog helps our readers to understand that individual context is one very important component of our evaluation process. We know that each high school and each individual applicant has been shaped by various outside forces. Part of our process is to understand those forces and evaluate each applicant in the appropriate context. That context will then help to inform the bold, dynamic, engaging class we bring together.
Stay tuned next week for more insights from our Early Decision deliberations!
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
PS: We recognize that commencing committee will lead our eager ED applicants to ask us to forecast a decision release date. Unfortunately, as we’ve mentioned several times, that’s simply not possible. There’s no way to put a time on our Committee deliberations and the steps taken once that concludes to actually releasing decisions. As soon as we know when we’re releasing decisions (which we usually don’t know until we push the metaphorical button and release the emails) we will be sure to let everyone know. In the meantime, we thank you for your continued patience…especially this year with our extended application deadline and working with the new Common App.
November 18, 2013 by Erin Spencer
Have you ever faced a moment that might change your life?
Do you remember the feeling? It’s a lot of nervous anticipation combined with excitement and cautious optimism. There’s also a lot of, “how did I get here?”
I know the feeling, because it’s exactly how I feel right now.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop just one block away from the National Geographic headquarters. In one hour, I’ll pack my bag and walk into the lobby, where I’ll be met by a stranger. She will lead me through the building into a conference room where there will be more people I’ve never met. I then have ten minutes to present my research from the summer and try to convince this group of strangers that they made a good investment when they decided to give me a grant. Oh, yea, and this group of strangers consists of some of the top leaders in the field—they are archaeologists, zoologists, writers, photographers, conservationists and anthropologists.
No pressure, right?
So as I sit here, between obsessively practicing my presentation and downing cups of coffee (but let’s be real – it’s not like I need more caffeine), my mind wanders to all of my senior friends who have experienced this exact feeling. That feeling your life is about to change.
When I was a freshman, seniors seemed in a league of their own—the three-year age difference felt like an unbreakable barrier. Although I had senior friends, our friendship was relatively superficial, as there were few that I found I could really relate to. It didn’t bother me much, I had plenty of underclassman friends to occupy my time, but I never quite understood the difference between the seniors and myself. Yea, they’re about to graduate, but we’re all college students, right?
Now that I’m a senior, I see things differently. As underclassmen, you may not know what you’re doing for the summer, but you know that ultimately you’re coming back to W&M. For the immediate future, you’re set. As seniors, we’re staring down a path with a “Road Ends Here” sign, and a great, empty void beyond it. Some view this void with great anxiety, but I find it unbelievably exciting (although ask me again in March and see what happens).
Our last year at school is dedicated to filling that void. Weeks consist of information sessions, job applications, Career Center appointments, and stressed conversations with friends to commiserate about it all. And within that are dozens of tiny moments where you get that feeling. You feel it in that moment right before you hit the “Send” button for that cold email to your dream employer. You feel it right before you drop the application for that fellowship you’ve been dreaming about for months into the mailbox. You feel it as you’re straightening your tie in the waiting area, right before the interviewer calls you in. And although you know there were hundreds of moments that led you to this point, this is the big one. Could this be the moment that changes my life?
Of course, there will be our fair share of rejections and dead ends. But we have no way of knowing, and that uncertainty keeps us pushing forward with each application and interview.
This presentation could be nothing more than a chance for me to practice my public speaking. They could be uninterested or preoccupied. They could be perfectly pleasant, but forget me as soon as I leave the room.
Or, not. I’ll have no way of knowing. I can only focus on putting my best foot forward and hope for the best. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do anyway?
For now, it’s time to go! Fingers crossed!
November 14, 2013 by Chuck Bailey
This post begins what I plan to be a recurring series on drainage basins and watersheds. For earth scientists interested in landscapes and surface hydrology: drainage basins are a fundamental component of these natural systems.
A drainage basin consists of all the terrain that contributes water to a particular stream or river. For instance, rain that falls on the Geology building at William & Mary runs off into College Creek, College Creek flows south into the James River, and the James River debouches into the Chesapeake Bay at Hampton Roads. Drainage basins are diverse, ranging in size from near continental portions (i.e. Mississippi/Missouri and Amazon) to modest creeks that drain a few square kilometers, and small drainage basins are nested inside progressively larger basins. In what drainage basin are you reading this post?
I grew up on a patch of rolling upland terrain near Ivy, Virginia about 10 km west of Charlottesville in Albemarle County. I spent much of my youth in the local creek that meandered across the rural landscape. This was Ivy Creek. It is a small stream, typically a meter or two or three wide, with a sandy to gravelly bottom and steep muddy banks (1 to 2 meters high).
My friends and I had many adventures in Ivy Creek and its tributaries. We traipsed through the creek on hot summer days searching for cool water and deep shade. After snowfalls we’d build a snow ramp on the edge of Ivy Creek Branch, take to our sleds, glide down the nearby hill, hit the ramp, and often land askew in the partly frozen creek – good times!
Fond memories aside, Ivy Creek and its drainage basin are quite ordinary. Because the Ivy Creek drainage basin is so typical (or perhaps classic) it makes a nice embarkation point for an ongoing discussion about drainage basins.
The Ivy Creek watershed encompasses nearly 60 square kilometers (23 sq. miles). The stream begins along the northwestern slope of the Ragged Mountains and flows in a northeasterly direction for over 20 kilometers (~13 miles) where it joins the South Fork of the Rivanna River (a tributary to the James River).
The Ragged Mountains are a group of subdued and rounded hills underlain by granitic bedrock that solidified about a billion years ago. For a not so subdued and phantasmagoric story of this range read Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” which ostensibly takes place here. All things considered, the old granitic bedrock in the Ivy Creek watershed is relatively uniform and homogeneous. As such, Ivy Creek flows across bedrock with a similar strength and erodibility throughout its drainage basin.
Consider Ivy Creek’s gradient: at its headwaters near Taylors Gap the stream has a steep gradient (~40 meters per km) that gradually lessens (~2-3 meters per km) near its confluence with the Rivanna. The longitudinal profile of Ivy Creek is steep near its headwaters and becomes progressively less steep further downstream. This concave up profile is very typical of many stream systems. Why do streams typically have such a profile?
Since the bedrock in the Ivy Creek basin is similar throughout the basin it is unlikely that the bedrock is exerting much of a control on the stream gradient. In a future post we’ll examine a stream that crosses bedrock of varying hardness and erodibility, but let’s get back to Ivy Creek.
Near Taylor’s Gap, Ivy Creek is perhaps 1 meter wide (~3’) and quite shallow; near its confluence with the Rivanna, Ivy Creek is upward of 5 meters wide (~16’) and plenty deep. As Ivy Creek flows downstream, traversing its basin, tributary streams join the main stem adding their flow to Ivy Creek, enlarging the channel and increasing the stream discharge.
These relations hold true for many stream systems:
- Stream channel slope (S) decreases downstream
- Mean stream discharge (Qm) increases downstream
Essentially, the gradient of a stream channel is proportional to an inverse function of its mean annual discharge. Perhaps a stream’s discharge plays a major role in controlling a stream’s gradient. I’ll leave it at that for the moment, but I am curious as to your thoughts.
November 14, 2013 by Skyler Paltell
As I’m sitting here in Swem for the fifth night in a row, procrastinating on a paper I should have started yesterday, I’m thinking about how quickly this semester has gone—it has been, undoubtedly, the best semester I have had thus far.
Junior year, with graduation becoming now more of an imminent event rather than a vague possibility (providing I pass art history), has forced me to consider my growth as a person during the past five semesters. In the past week alone, I’ve pushed my comfort zone, met some amazing people, been to the Career Center, and conquered a fear. I’ve seen the leaves change from green to gold and then fall, gleaming, to the brick paths; I’ve engaged in leaf fights and stayed out till 2 am on a Monday.
The things I have done, the experiences I have had this week, this month, this semester alone, would have been unimaginable before my time here at the College.
Two years ago, I was shy. I had acne, slept with a pillow pet, and I doubted my abilities. I was afraid to look people in the eye for fear that they would instantly recognize my insecurity, and I realize I was not the “perfect” shell I projected. I lost sight of myself for a while, jumping between groups of friends and various clubs until I found the people who would help me realize my potential when I could not.
This semester, something changed, something clicked—a missing puzzle piece fell into place, and suddenly, I became the person that I had wanted to be, but was too afraid to find. This semester, I am myself—I say awkward things, I laugh loudly, I break rules, I eat copious amounts of tater tots. I’m not afraid to be nonsensical, to say the things that I mean, to relinquish the death grip on my GPA and have some fun.
I have found, unsurprisingly, that being yourself does not mean that your friends will desert you—instead, they will come to know you better, to appreciate you for who you are, to see your genuineness as a gift and know that when you speak, you speak from your heart. This semester, I have comforted friends on their bad days, and been comforted by people who I never expected would reach out to me; I have failed a test, and I have accidentally killed my pet fish.
It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to accept that you are not perfect, that you are young, you are human, and the world is infinitely beautiful and terrifying. It’s okay to be teased, and to tease others, and its okay to allow yourself to be vulnerable. By putting yourself out there, you are taking a chance—but the rewards are innumerable. It takes too much energy to wear a mask, to hold tightly to a persona that does not allow the world to see you for who and what you are.
You are wonderful. This place–this college–is wonderful. We are a school filled with brilliant, quirky, driven people—just be yourself, and let it rip. There are people waiting to embrace you with open arms.
November 12, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! The application engine needed a little bit of a kick to get started, but now it’s humming away. Early Decision and Spring Transfer applications are rolling in and making their way through our processing area (being downloaded from Common App, being matched with accompanying materials, etc.). There is still a bit of a backlog due to some of the technical glitches students, high schools and colleges have been experiencing, so we continue to ask for your patience.
Every 24 hours we update our system. So each day, any newly downloaded application from the Common Application will trigger the initial “we’ve received your application” email to both you and your parents. Likewise, any application completed in the past 24 hours will trigger the follow-up “your application is now complete” email to you and your parents. Remember, there can be a one to two week (and maybe even longer) delay between the initial and second email during Early Decision/Spring Transfer timeline and a three to four week delay during the Regular Decision timeline. Keep in mind we are also focusing our efforts first on Early Decision applications, than spring transfer applications, then Regular Decision applications and finally Fall Transfer applications. So if you’re a Regular Decision or Fall Transfer applicant, we may not process your application at this point as quickly as someone who’s applied for Early Decision or Spring Transfer.
If we get through processing every application and every accompanying document we have and your application remains incomplete, we will send you an email to let you know what we’re missing and how to submit it. So please check your in-boxes frequently.
We still do not know to what, if any degree, the extended deadline will alter our review timeline for Early Decision and Spring Transfer applications so please don’t press us for a release date. We will launch those decisions as soon as our process can run its course. We likely won’t know when we’re releasing decisions until we’re ready to send the emails but we promise to keep everyone posted.
Stay tuned for more on our Early Decision and Spring Transfer processes through our “Overheard in Committee” blog series in the weeks to come.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M. Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission