University of Virginia Acceptance Rate: What Does It Take To Get In?

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The University of Virginia accepts 27% of students. What does it take to get in?


One of the most prestigious public universities in the nation, the University of Virginia was founded in 1812 by Thomas Jefferson. The school prides itself on cultivating leadership and providing education at a reasonable cost. Located in beautiful and historic Charlottesville, UVA boasts distinguished faculty and alumni, numerous research opportunities (especially in medicine), and emphasizes the holistic student experience.


If you are looking for one of the best educations you can get at an affordable price, UVA might be the school for you. Keep reading to learn more about the tips that have helped CollegeVine’s students get into UVA.


Applying to the University of Virginia: A Quick Review


Apply using the Common Application or the Coalition Application. We recommend that students use the Common Application, because it is more established than the Coalition Application.


Students must apply by November 1 for Early Action, or January 1 for Regular Decision.


To apply, be sure to send in all of the following:

    • A general university application via the Common Application or Coalition Application
    • The UVA supplemental essay
    • SAT or ACT scores
    • One teacher recommendation
    • A school report and a recommendation from your counselor
    • High school transcript
    • $70 application fee or fee waiver
    • Mid year reports
    • Optional: art and architecture supplements

How difficult is it to get into the University of Virginia?


Getting into UVA takes hard work—last year only 27% of applicants were admitted. UVA had 36,779 students apply last year, and only 10,058 were admitted. As of their Early Action deadline this year, they already had 24,950 applications, so it’s definitely a popular choice for many high-achieving students.


UVA has a preference for in-state students, aiming for two-thirds of the student body to be from Virginia. Last year, 39% of Virginian applicants were admitted versus 22% non-Virginians.


If you aspire to attend a school like the University of Virginia, it’s critical to surround yourself with people who have been through the process previously. CollegeVine offers mentorship for underclassmen and applications counseling for seniors to help you set yourself apart from the crowd. Even if you don’t choose to work one-on-one with one of CollegeVine’s trained near-peer mentors, connecting with someone who has successfully gained admission to a school like UVA can make the difference between rejection and acceptance.


Why did you choose UVA? Check out this video to hear from real students and watch the rest of the livestream to learn more about the University of Virginia.


So, how does one get into the University of Virginia?


UVA is interested in you as a person, not just your grades or your essays. Use your application to reflect your strengths in these areas.


Academics. You’ll want to take challenging courses throughout high school, but you’ll also want to do well in them. Last year, 89.4% of the enrolled students ranked in the top tenth of their class. For standardized test scores, the middle 50% of admitted students earned SAT scores of 1320-1500 and ACT scores of 31-34.


It’s important to note that UVA is a Top 40-50 college for in-state students in terms of profile competitiveness. UVA for out-of-state students, however, is about as competitive as a Top 20 college (more than USC/UCLA, slightly less than UC Berkeley). Students should keep this in mind when looking at overall admissions statistics like GPAs and test scores.


Extracurricular activities. UVA admissions officers don’t care about what you love so much as that you pursued your passions meaningfully. This could mean founding new clubs, taking on leadership within existing school organizations, or creating opportunities within your school and community. But formal leadership isn’t the only way that you can show your passion—pursuing excellence through competitions or serving your community as a dedicated volunteer can demonstrate how you live your values.


Character. UVA spends a lot of resources on their students, providing enriching research and study abroad opportunities so that students can develop as leaders and pioneers in their fields. Use your essays to showcase your strengths and values, and choose recommenders who know you well enough to write a compelling letter for you.


Contributions to Community. UVA wants to bring together students with a wide array of talents and past achievements who will be a credit to their school. Whether you’re a leading medical researcher in the making or an aspiring entrepreneur, show how you will bring new ideas and energy to UVA’s community.


Submit your application early if you’re out-of-state. Applying EA at UVA has some value for out-of-state students but holds little admissions value for in-state students. It offers less of an admissions boost overall, however, than other colleges with unrestricted EA.


Also know that UVA tends to accept more students off the waitlist than peer colleges. So students who have lower chances should still consider applying to UVA, and waitlisted students should always follow the full follow-up process.

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Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Explain how your choice of school plays into your goals for college. When you apply to UVA, you’ll apply to one of 5 schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, or Kinesiology. You don’t choose a major until the end of your first or second year at UVA, so really hone in the reason behind your selected school and what your academic goals are.


Tell your story. The only things that a UVA admissions officer knows about you is what is in your application, so make sure you highlight your strengths, your values, and your passion. To provide a little extra insight into who you are, consider including the arts supplement if you are talented and have earned awards at performances or showcases.


Partner with recommenders. Most students choose a recommender and let the recommender do all the work. But because UVA doesn’t accept supplementary materials beyond the arts/architecture supplement, you need to make sure that every piece of your application is strong. Brainstorm ideas of what to include or emphasize in your letter with your recommender, and let them read drafts of your essays. Give them all the help they need to make their letters flow with the rest of your application.

What If You Get Rejected?


UVA receives more qualified applicants than it can admit each year, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re ultimately rejected. There are many other amazing schools where you can find success.


Admissions appeals are not accepted due to the long list of qualified applicants on the waitlist. We do not recommend petitioning your decision.


UVA does accept transfer students, but you need to have at least a 3.0 college GPA, and ideally a 3.5 GPA. The transfer acceptance rate is still selective, ranging from 35-40%. You may want to consider attending Virginia Community College to guarantee your ability to transfer. We think that the best option, however, is to commit to another equally great school. If you still want to transfer after a year or two, you can consider it then.


For more resources about UVA, check out these posts:


Curious about your chances of acceptance to UVA? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

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Gianna Cifredo
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.