Ally Merrett 5 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, School Spotlight

What is the University of Virginia Known For?

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University of Virginia (UVA), founded by Thomas Jefferson, is a public research institution located in Charlottesville, VA. UVA has a heavy emphasis on its historic founding and boasts that it is one of the few universities in the country that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jeffersonian architecture pervasive throughout the campus has also led to UVA’s ranking as the most beautiful college campus in America. 

 

If you’re interested in attending UVA, here’s a look at its most unique characteristics and our advice on increasing your chances of acceptance.

Overview of UVA Admissions

 

Location: Charlottesville, VA

Undergrad Enrollment: 17,011

Acceptance Rate: 23.9%

Middle 50% SAT: 1440-1520

Middle 50% ACT: 30-34

 

As a public school, UVA seeks to maintain an enrollment of approximately 66% Virginians. For in-state students, UVA is a top 40–50 college in terms of profile competitiveness. For out-of-state students, it is closer to a top 20 college (higher than USC but slightly lower than UC Berkeley and UCLA). Students should keep this gap in mind when considering overall admissions statistics like average GPAs and SAT scores. 

 

UVA tends to accept more students off the waitlist than its peer colleges. Students who have lower chances of acceptance should still consider applying to UVA and waitlisted students should always follow through with the full process. 

 

Unique Aspects of UVA

 

Academics

 

UVA has 12 different schools, ranging from public policy to engineering. The oldest schools within UVA are the School of Law and the School of Medicine, both founded in 1819. The School of Data Science is the newest school, founded only two years ago. 

 

The most prestigious school within UVA is the McIntire School of Commerce, often regarded as one of the nation’s finest undergraduate business schools. In fact, we rank it #9 on our list of best colleges for business, and it’s the #1 public school on the list. The undergrad business program is 2 years long, taking place during junior and senior year. Students must take 2 years of liberal arts and business prerequisites before applying to the program. UVA has another business school, the Darden School of Business, which is focused on graduate business programs.

 

The most popular majors at UVA are Economics, Biology, Business, International Relations, and Psychology. Notable UVA alumni include Sasheer Zamata (actress), Tina Fey (actress), and Edgar Allen Poe (writer). 

 

A unique program that UVA offers is their Youth & Social Innovation Major. This program of study focuses on the biological, social, emotional, and cognitive development of young people. There is special emphasis placed on how youths’ assets and communities influence their outcomes. 

 

If you haven’t figured out that there are some pretty smart people here, check this out: UVA has had 55 Rhodes Scholars and is also recognized as leading 2 of the top 10 scientific discoveries in the world in 2015.

 

Extracurriculars

 

The fear for many freshmen is getting lost in the crowd and not finding friends after four years. It should follow that the more opportunities to meet people, the better. With UVA’s over 800 clubs, making friends should be a breeze. Why not Join Hot Kids Sketch comedy and perform on stage? If you’d rather be behind the scenes as a writer, maybe IfYou’reReadingThis is the club for you, an open-ended platform for students to share their experiences with mental health on campus. Neither of these fit? Accounting club, Deafness Education Club, Futures in Fashion, or 795 others may be the fit for you. My personal favorite is a barbershop quartet called The Barbers of C’Ville (get it?).

 

UVA also offers incredible sporting and intramural opportunities for students. Super Smash Bros., cornhole, volleyball, and Spikeball are just a few of the activities to get moving on campus. If playing sports isn’t your thing, how about watching them? The University of Virginia’s basketball team was ranked #4 going into the NCAA tournament so you know their games will be an exciting place to be.

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Traditions

 

What’s a good college without a few secret societies? In the time of Thomas Jefferson, these sorts of clubs were reserved only for those with special privileges. Now, there are many secret and semi-secret ribbon and ring societies that have been established at the University of Virginia. Members are selected or “tapped” based on demonstrated achievement in the eyes of current members. The University asserts, as do the societies, that the core of these clubs is a love of UVA. 

 

Other great traditions include The Lighting of the Lawn, a festive December evening full of a cappella, a student run newspaper called the Cavalier Daily (The C.D.), and visiting The Corner, an ironically straight line of restaurants and shops with a great hang-out spot at the end. 

 

Dorms

 

The most coveted living location on campus is living “On the Lawn.” The Lawn, or the Quad at other universities, is an open piece of land on campus surrounded on all sides by class buildings. Say hello to your 30 second commute! To become a “Lawnie,” you must submit an application based on academics, leadership, and diverse areas of service to the University.

 

First year students are lucky enough to get some of the most spacious rooms I’ve ever seen at a university. Students can choose to have 1, 2, 3, or 0 roommates! They can also choose to live on a floor with many students or with few. This is great because some incoming freshmen may want to be more social and some may want to be more solitary. UVA provides great options for both.

 

Financial Aid

 

For in-state students, full tuition scholarships are given for families earning under $80,000 per year. Each in-state student from families earning under $30,000 per year also received free room and board. If you don’t fit either of these categories, you still may be able to receive financial aid. 

 

In fact, UVA promises to meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need through grants, loans, and work-study. The Financial Aid Office has a helpful breakdown of UVA aid where you can learn more.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at UVA?

 

Every university has its own charm, it’s important that you choose the one that is right for you. Some students will want a mega campus with 50,000 students where they can get lost in the crowd whereas some students want to see the same faces every day. Different universities have different strengths — prospective students need to find what attributes will contribute to their success.

 

Because University of Virginia is a land grant school, they are required to have ⅔ of their admitted students live in-state. This means that the acceptance rate for in-state applicants is almost double that of out of state students. If you’re not a Virginian, don’t lose hope! You can still be the other ⅓.

 

To better understand your chances at The University of VIrginia, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Using a combination of your GPA, ACT/SAT scores, extracurriculars, and demographics, we’ll tell you which universities you have the best chance in. If your dream school doesn’t pop up, we’ll tell you some tips on how to get there.

 

You can also search for schools based on preferences like location, major, cost, and more. Give it a try to get a jumpstart on your college strategy.

 

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Ally Merrett
Design Researcher at Siebel Center for Design at Illinois
Short bio
Ally Merrett is a senior at the University of Illinois double majoring in Urban Planning and Sustainable Design, triple minoring in Sociology, Art & Design, and Informatics, and pursuing a certificate in Technology Entrepreneurship. When he's not studying, he can be found playing music, skateboarding, or eating an egg sandwich. Maybe all at the same time!