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Days on the Lawn gives newly admitted Class of 2028 a taste of Grounds

DOTL offers insight into University resources, advising and student life for thousands of admitted students

<p>This year’s programming was the third in-person DOTL since cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.&nbsp;</p>

This year’s programming was the third in-person DOTL since cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. 

The Good Ol’ Song echoed across the Lawn Friday morning as admitted students to the Class of 2028 gathered for the final session of Days on the Lawn, an annual spring program that invites newly admitted students and their families to experience information sessions, resource fairs and tours around Grounds. This year, DOTL welcomed admitted students from all schools of enrollment across four days, as opposed to last year’s DOTL, which featured four school-specific days.

This year, the Office of Undergraduate Admission and Virginia Ambassadors hosted DOTL April 1, April 5, April 13 and Friday, encouraging students to experience Grounds before the University’s decision deadline, which was extended to May 15 this year. Students who were unable to attend DOTL may register for admitted student events through their MyUVA Application Portal.

According to Zachary Hallock-Diaz, DOTL co-chair and fourth-year College student, this year’s schedule aimed to give admitted students flexibility during their stay. Rather than attending on a date based on their school of enrollment, admitted students could visit Grounds on any of the four DOTL days and attend an array of activities, including school-specific information sessions and tours of the Aquatic & Fitness Center and Shannon Library. Hallock-Diaz said the change encouraged families to tailor DOTL according to their interests.

“It allows [admitted students’] experiences to be a bit more personalized and what they really want and what they’re looking for most out of these days,” Hallock-Diaz said.

With roughly 1,200 to 1,500 students attending each day, this year’s programming was also the third in-person DOTL since cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. As someone who could not attend DOTL due to COVID-19, Olivia Wilkinson, DOTL co-chair and fourth-year College student, said she was inspired to see admitted students mingle with each other. She said events such as the Student Social and Parent and Guardian Panel aimed to connect visiting families with University members. 

“It’s always really fun and rewarding to see them meet each other and make those connections,” Wilkinson said. “That's what this whole day is about — getting [admitted students] to see themselves here at U.Va.”

Friday’s programming also offered “Spring Blast” and “Spring Fling,” two events where students share resources for Latinx and Hispanic students and Black and African American students, respectively. Foladayo Akinbi, admitted student to the School of Engineering and Applied Science, said DOTL events like “Spring Fling” gave her a better understanding of student life on Grounds.

“This is my first time, I'd say, going on more of a complete tour of the University,” Akinbi said. “I wasn't aware that they did Spring Fling or gatherings for African American [students] around every Friday.”

Volunteers at DOTL acknowledged the difficult decision high school seniors face when weighing their options, from financial aid packages to academic majors. While talking with admitted students, Katelyn Chu, DOTL volunteer and first-year College student, said she tried to remember how she felt when choosing a college this time last year. 

“I'm definitely trying to put myself in [admitted students’] shoes,” Chu said. “I had a really hard time deciding what college I was going to, so just thinking about what I was curious about [at the time] and trying to address that when I'm touring students is really important.”

DOTL is hosted solely for admitted students, but Associate Dean of Admission Jeannine Lalonde, widely known as “Dean J” from her admissions-centered social media presence, offered advice for any students on the waiting list for admission.

“I would say focus on the doors that are open [and] put your energy into the colleges that said ‘yes,’” Lalonde said. “It's okay to still have a college you love and which you're on the waiting list for in the back of your mind, but you want to make sure your energy is focused on the schools that said ‘yes.’”

According to Hallock-Diaz, DOTL has already affirmed many admitted students’ decisions to say “yes” to the University. Hallock-Diaz said several families have come up to him and Wilkinson during DOTL to commemorate the moment students decide to spend the next four years on Grounds.

“At the end of the day, we always have a couple families come up [to us] and say, ‘I've officially decided to commit to U.Va. This day was such an amazing experience for us all,’” Hallock-Diaz said. “That's really just a rewarding experience on our end — to see the impact that the community has on some families.”

For students like Akinbi who remain undecided, DOTL still provided a fresh perspective on Grounds. Akinbi said regardless of where she decides to go for college, her acceptance to the University is a recognition of the hard work she put into her secondary education. She said seeing all the University has to offer energized her.

“I think today definitely provided a little bit of insight into what the University of Virginia is about,” Akinbi said. “It was really assuring that a lot of the students were happy and bright and willing to help us figure out where we needed to go.”

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