University of Virginia: Quick Overview
- Year Founded1819
- Number of students enrolled22,805
- Average cost (in total)$13682 (In-State)
- Average cost (in total)$44,724 (Out-of-State)
- Acceptance rate27%
- Application dateEarly Action: November 1
- Application dateRegular Decision: January 1
History and Mission
Founded in 1819 by one of the fathers of the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia (UVA) was established amid the creative tumult surrounding the birth of the United States. Jefferson, writer of the Constitution and third president of a new nation, envisioned an institution purely dedicated to higher education and learning. He wanted a school for both students from Virginia and “other states to come, and drink of the cup of knowledge.” Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe formed the Board of Visitors which functions as the governing body of the school instead of a president. Along with a group of equally prestigious figures of the day, land for the school was purchased in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1819. In 1825, the first classes were held.
Jefferson wanted to create a university that had no religious affiliations or ties to any church body. At a time when churches were not only the seat of spirituality but also of knowledge, the idea of a completely public university was radical. Furthering the idea of radical education, UVA opened with eight separate schools that students could choose from, including the fields of mathematics, science, and philosophy. In keeping with the idea that education should be separate from religion, there was no divinity school. Furthermore, the layout of the campus centered around a building designed by Jefferson himself: The Rotunda. This building served as a library and symbolized that knowledge was the center of education, and not any religion or church. To this day, the Rotunda remains the focal point of student life on the campus.
UVA held a unique position during the Civil War. Not only did it stay open throughout the entirety of the war, but it also had a large number of alumni on both the Confederate and Union sides.
After the Civil War, the University of Virginia continued its spirit of innovation by not mandating a core curriculum. Rather, students were allowed to choose their own path to study, obtaining their degrees across different disciplines and from multiple schools. This was always a part of Jefferson’s dream and continues to this day. While the idea of a multi-disciplinary education remains, the Board of Visitors, which was also the innovation of Jefferson, was unable to be the only governing body of the university. As the school grew it became necessary to have a president. In 1904, James Alderman accepted the position to become the university’s first president. Under Alderman, the school was able to grow and flourish. After a grant given by Andrew Carnegie in 1909, the university split into twenty-six departments and schools, including the Curry School of Education and the McIntire School of Commerce.
Prior to the 1940s, UVA admitted few women, but in 1944 the Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia became the women’s branch of the University of Virginia. However, the school became fully co-ed in 1970, and Mary Washington was long apart of UVA soon thereafter. The school was fully integrated by the 1960s.
Because of its rich history and status as the flagship university of Virginia, UVA is the only American school to be named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. It shares this honor with the nearby Monticello, Jefferson’s home and plantation.
The University of Virginia has had a revolutionary past and continues to find ways to innovate and lead in the modern era. Their statement of purpose was created to reflect their exciting history and even more exciting future.
“The University of Virginia is a public institution of higher learning guided by a founding vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of talented students from all walks of life. It serves the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world by developing responsible citizen leaders and professionals; advancing, preserving, and disseminating knowledge; and providing world-class patient care.”
Areas of Study
The University of Virginia is ranked the third best public university in the United States. Across its twelve schools, the UVA has forty-eight undergraduate degrees, ninety-four master’s degrees, and fifty-five Ph.D’s. Students can also receive their MD or JD at UVA. Following the idea of cross-discipline education, there are there ample opportunities for students to receive dual degrees, study at different schools, and tailor their education to fit their degree goals.
University of Virginia’s College at Wise
Established in 1954, the College at Wise is a four-year liberal arts college located in Wise, Virginia. The school offers thirty-one majors and seventeen licensure programs. At Wise UVA students can find an amazing student to teacher ratio with an average class size of just fifteen students. Students can expect an excellent education surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
Darden School of Business
Darden consistently ranks in the top twenty business programs in the country. After completing their bachelor’s degree, students admitted to Darden will find a program that prepares them to become leaders in the business world domestically and internationally. Its vast network of alumni and campuses across the world will ensure that students have a multitude of job opportunities after graduation.
School of Law
The UVA School of Law was one of the original schools founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, making it the second oldest law school in the country. Although the school is almost 200-years-old, it continues to innovate, giving its students essential hands-on experience outside the classroom such as legal clinics and an Externship program. The school offers fifteen different areas of law to study and twenty different concentrations.
School of Engineering and Applied Science
The School of Engineering offers seven undergraduate degrees and nine master’s and Ph.D’s, including Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Computer Science. Students in this school are partaking in some of the most cutting-edge research in the country administered by faculty who are at the tops of their fields.
The University of Virginia understands that not everyone is able to attend university in-person and full-time. However, this should not stop anyone from pursuing an education. The School of Continuing Studies and Professional Studies administers two undergraduate degrees, one master’s degree, and many professional certificates all from their online portal. Attending UVA’s online school is much the same as going to class in person. Prospective students must apply to the programs they wish to participate in, and gain acceptance. There are also technology requirements students must have in order to take online classes. These classes are almost entirely administered online, so distance learning is not a problem.
It is also possible to take online courses related to other fields of study. Visiting the specific school’s page will provide you with more information on which courses are available to take online. Some of their online offerings can be found at these sites:
How do I apply to the University of Virginia?
The process to apply to UVA is fairly simple and straightforward. All prospective students will use the Common Application or Coalition Application to submit their materials for the University. The application consists of filling out general information as well as essays. There is a fee to submit your application. Unlike most schools, the University of Virginia does not have a target SAT or ACT score or high school GPA for acceptance. Their admission policy is to look at each student holistically and not as just a collection of numbers and figures. While test scores and grades do make up part of the application, they are by no means the biggest determining factor in a student’s admission.
The school does not accept any kind of supporting documentation like a resume or portfolio. The application does require two letters of recommendation, one from a guidance counselor and one from a teacher of the student’s choice. These letters can be submitted via the online portal or by mail, all other materials will be submitted online. Students can either choose to submit their application for early or regular decision.
Because the University of Virginia is both public and very prestigious, the overall acceptance rate is relatively low at twenty-two percent. The undergraduate acceptance rate is made even smaller for those who do not reside in the state of Virginia. As UVA proudly serves the state of Virginia, the school reserves two-thirds of its undergraduate spots for residents of Virginia. In 2018 the acceptance rate for Virginians was thirty-nine percent, and twenty-percent for non-residents. This means the acceptance rate for Virginians is about seventeen percent higher than that of non-Virginians.
Student life at the University of Virginia
While UVA is one of the most academically rigorous schools in the nation, students also have ample opportunities to enjoy themselves outside the classroom. As with many southern public universities, college sports are a very important part of student life. The UVA Cavaliers have twelve men’s teams and thirteen women’s teams. UVA is a leader in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conference with both the men’s and women’s teams winning multiple championships in soccer, baseball, basketball, and rowing.
If your interest in sports is a little more casual there are over fifty club sports and intramural leagues at UVA, including Quidditch, ballroom dance, and dressage. Those students just wishing to remain fit and active can use the school’s seventeen state-of-the-art sports and athletic facilities, which include gyms, courts, and pools.
There are more than 800 clubs at the University of Virginia, so any student can find an organization that interests them encompassing the arts, social advocacy groups, and journalism just to name a few. These clubs often arrange events and parties for the entire campus to enjoy.
When the University of Virginia was still young, student-organized societies were a focal point of student life. This tradition has continued as about thirty percent of students are a part of Greek life at school. There are professional, social, and honors fraternities and sororities present on campus. Kappa Sigma and Pi Kappa Alpha were both founded on UVA’s campus and continue across the country to this day. A large portion of both Greek life and student life in general is giving service to the community and volunteering. The Madison House is an organization that allows students of UVA to find a program that speaks to them, so that they may give back to society. Programs include Adopt-a-Grandparent, Latinx and Migrant Aid, and the Big Event, which is a massive student outreach and community service event that happens annually.
The University of Virginia Campus
The first thing students will learn about UVA is the unique vocabulary that people use to describe the campus. The Grounds is the umbrella term usually used to refer to the entire campus. All designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Rotunda, the Lawn, and the Academical Village are the dominating features of the campus. As the name suggests the Lawn is the wide-open green space that the campus is settled on. Jefferson designed the Rotunda to be half the length and width of the Pantheon in Rome; it is the symbol on the school’s insignia. In 1895 the Rotunda caught fire and was largely destroyed. It was then redesigned by architect Stanford White, but in honor of the United States’ bi-centennial celebration in 1976, the Rotunda was restored to Jefferson’s original design. The Grounds as a whole have been praised as a feat of Jeffersonian architecture.
Costs of Studying at the University of Virginia
Named one of the best educations for its value, UVA is dedicated to trying to provide an affordable education for its students. The financial aid site says the 100 percent of financial aid needs are honored. This would certainly be useful as there is a marked difference between tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.
- Tuition (In-State) $13,682
- Room and Board $6,490
- Dining $5,100
- Student Fees $2,838
- Books and Supplies $1,350
- Personal Expenses $2,490
These estimates are calculated for an undergraduate first-year student in fall 2018. There are more detailed breakdowns of cost by program and year on the university’s site.
Location of the University of Virginia
The university is located in Charlottesville, Virginia. This small town is full of southern charm and culture which creates a pleasant backdrop for learning. Located only a few miles away from the Appalachian Trail, students have multiple opportunities to hike, walk, and run the scenic paths. The campus itself is very walkable so students will not need a car to get around. Charlottesville is only two hours away from Washington DC if students want to see national landmarks, museums, or simply have a night out on the town.
Q: How much money will I make with a degree from the University of Virginia?A: The average salary of a UVA alumni can vary depending on what they studied and how advanced their degree was, however, the job outlook is generally extremely positive for those who graduate with a degree from UVA. A graduate with BA can expect to earn about $66,715 upon graduation, but that figure raises drastically for graduates with a BS. They can expect a salary of almost $82,000.Some of the highest earning degrees from UVA are those with an MBA, a master’s degree in nursing, and a master’s in engineering. All of these graduates can expect to earn a six-figure median salary upon graduating from UVA. Q: How does the accreditation process work?A: The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This organization awards all degree levels offered by the school, as well as education specialist titles. Q: Are there any notable alumni from the school?A: The alumni of the University of Virginia span many fields including politics, arts, and entertainment. Woodrow Wilson and Robert Kennedy both graduated from the school, as well as Tina Fey, Edgar Allen Poe, and Tiki Barber just to name a few.Q: What is the relationship between student and teachers?A: Not only are class sizes kept very small, but the relationships between faculty and students are much closer than at average universities. There are often dinners, talks, speeches, and other events where students can benefit from a more developed relationship with their instructors. This allows for every student to feel mentored and supported by their professors both in and out of the classroom. Q: Are there any secret societies at UVA?A: As the university has one of the longest histories of any school in the nation with some of the most influential people of the world passing regularly through its doors, there are bound to be some secret organizations. There are still six extant secret societies at the University of Virginia, some of which have survived since the school’s inception in 1819.