So, you’re wondering how to get into UVA. Is your GPA good enough? Do they require a mountain of supplemental essays? And what about early admission?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. At Transizion, we’re devoted to guiding students through the college application process. We research a wide range of schools and give you the highlights so that you can devote more time and energy to living your best life and crafting an extraordinary application.
In this series, we’re focused on telling you just what it takes to get into each of the colleges that you’re considering. This will help you include one or two reach schools (that you would be lucky to get into), a number of colleges and universities that you stand a decent shot at getting into, and a couple of great safety schools that are more or less guaranteed to admit you.
This post will tell you everything you need to know before you apply to the University of Virginia. We’ll cover academics, test scores, and what UVA is looking for. By the end, you’ll know what it takes to become a Cavalier.
The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. Today, UVA is one of the best public universities in North America, often ranking among the top five public universities in the United States. Many regard its financial aid package as the best in the nation.
There are eight undergraduate schools at UVA. First-year applicants can apply to one of these five:
- College of Arts & Sciences
- School of Architecture
- School of Engineering
- School of Nursing
Students interested in enrolling in the McIntire School of Commerce, Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy, or the School of Education and Human Development will need to apply to the College of Arts and Sciences. All students are encouraged to list two academic interests in addition to your undergraduate school choice. Most won’t declare a major at UVA until the end of their freshman or sophomore year.
UVA is a large school with over eighteen thousand undergraduate students in attendance. Its 1,149-acre campus is nestled in the rolling green hills of Virginia. Students have access to both the thriving city of Charlottesville and the pristine wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Is it Hard to Get into UVA?
Ninety percent of students admitted to UVA were in the top tenth of their graduating class.
Admittance will be easier if you already live in Virginia. The school tries to maintain a two-thirds majority of Virginians in their student population, even though roughly two-thirds of their applications come from out of state. Most recently, the acceptance rate was 28% for Virginia residents and 17% for everyone else.
UVA does not offer interviews, so make sure your written application shines.
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GPA and Test Scores
The University of Virginia does not have a minimum GPA or a minimum SAT score. They recognize that a student’s GPA “says little about the difficulty of a student’s course load, or whether a student’s grades have improved over time, or the level of grade inflation (or deflation) in a student’s school.” Students who have shown significant improvement over time or submit an exceptional arts portfolio still stand a chance, even without a high GPA.
That being said, the average GPA of accepted students is 4.32.
UVA currently operates under a test optional policy. Students who wish to include test scores as part of their application may do so, but UVA emphasizes that those who do not will be at no disadvantage in the application review. They have no preference between the SAT or the ACT.
They always consider the best test scores submitted by applicants. ACT Writing sections are not taken into consideration. The middle 50% range for SAT scores at UVA are 700-780 for Math and 690-750 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The middle 50% range for ACT composite scores was 32-35.
What Should You Do in High School?
Here are some things that you can do now to increase your chances of being accepted to UVA.
1. Excel in Challenging Classes
You’ll want to take as many challenging classes as you can handle without overwhelm or a dip in your GPA. Advanced Placement classes show colleges that you’re truly interested in and dedicated to your field of interest. They have the potential to boost your GPA; a B in an AP class is as valuable as an A in a standard high school course.
If you already know (or at least have an inkling of) what you want to study in college, it’s best to choose AP classes in those subjects. If you’re not sure yet what you want to study, take the AP classes that you think you have the best chance of acing.
2. Earn High Test Scores
If you choose to take the SAT or ACT, we recommend that you test as early as possible. Give yourself plenty of time to study and take the test again if your first attempt doesn’t result in a satisfactory score.
3. Pursue Your Passions
At UVA, the “Admission Office actively seeks artists, musicians, dancers and students in all areas of theatre to invigorate our community through their dedication to the arts.” Students who wish to do so may submit an arts portfolio along with their application.
Passion projects and unique skills will help you to stand out amongst thousands of applications. You may find yourself short on time for extracurriculars during the school year, particularly if you’ve taken on a challenging academic load. Seek out meaningful volunteer work or internships in fields that interest you.
4. Serve Your Community
More than anything, colleges are looking for applicants that will be valuable additions to their communities. They want academically proficient students, yes. But they also want students who work well with others, think creatively and show leadership potential. You can join clubs dedicated to community service, spearhead your own projects, or volunteer with a local nonprofit.
5. Build Relationships with Your Teachers
UVA requires one teacher evaluation from an academic subject teacher for each first-year application. School teams, clubs, and volunteer groups are all excellent opportunities to build good working relationships with your teachers. These bonds will be very valuable to you when it comes time to solicit glowing recommendations for college applications.
UVA Essay Prompts
Here are the supplemental essay questions for 2022-23. Students will answer different questions depending upon their choice of college. So for the first question, students will submit a 100-word response to one of the following questions.
College of Arts & Sciences: If you could create a college course that all UVA students would take, what would it be about and why?
School of Engineering: How will you use an engineering degree to change the world for the better?
School of Architecture: Describe a significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.
School of Nursing: Describe a healthcare-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.
Kinesiology Program: Describe an experience that has deepened your interest in studying kinesiology.
After answering the first question, students will then choose two of the following questions and write 50-word answers. There are eleven questions to choose from.
- What’s your favorite word and why?
- We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. What is one of your quirks?
- About what topic could you speak for an hour?
- Take us to your happy place.
- You can wake up tomorrow and a skill you already have will become expert-level. What skill is that?
- What is the last gift you gave someone that wasn’t bought with money?
- What website is the internet missing?
- After a challenging experience, how do you recharge?
- Tell us about a place you’d like to share with everyone, but also keep to yourself.
- UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
- Tell us about a time when, faced with an opinion or perspective that differed from your own, you responded as an empathetic speaker or generous listener.
These quirky questions are your opportunity to add some vibrancy and personality to your application. Choose wisely and write from your heart.
Additional Essay Tips
Essays are your chance to distinguish yourself from thousands of similar candidates.
Writing outstanding college essays starts long before you put pen to paper or pull out your laptop. It starts with rich life experiences, with struggle and perseverance that give you something worth writing about. This is one reason that extracurriculars are so vital.
Make a list of the schools you intend to apply to, and include the essay prompts for each. Give yourself plenty of time to consider potential essay topics, take notes, and brainstorm when you feel energized and inspired.
Depending on how many colleges you plan to apply to, you may need to write ten to twenty supplemental essays by the time you’re through. If you leave this to the last minute, it can be an overwhelming prospect. These essays are far too important to be rushed, so start early. Many colleges release their essay prompts in the summertime.
Should You Apply Early to UVA?
If you’re certain that UVA is your first choice, you can apply Early Decision. This binding admission plan requires students to cancel their applications elsewhere and enroll in UVA upon acceptance; Early Decision candidates are notified within six weeks of applying. Deferred students are reviewed during Regular Decision, which begins in January.
Students who apply for Regular Decision have the chance to include classes and grades from the first half of their senior year.
There’s a third option for students who wish to apply early but don’t want to be tied into a binding admission plan. Early Action is an unrestrictive admission plan for students who can present a strong application without senior grades being reviewed. For deadlines and notification dates, see the table below.
|Application Type||Student Deadline||Teacher/Counselor Deadline||Notification|
|Early Decision||November 1||November 8||By December 15|
|Early Action||November 1||November 8||By February 15|
|Regular Decision||January 5||January 10||By April 1|
Final Thoughts: How to Get Into UVA
If you want to attend the University of Virginia, aim to keep your GPA above a 4.3 while taking demanding coursework. UVA does not accept resumes, research papers, or supplemental application items that do not fit the criteria for arts supplements – so it would be best to focus your efforts on academics and on one or two extracurriculars that you’re truly passionate about.
We wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions, please reach out. We’re here to help.