The University of Virginia is regarded as one of the “Public Ivies,” along with establishments like UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, and the College of William and Mary. High-achieving students can receive an elite education at these institutions, including UVA, for a portion of the cost of attending a prestigious private school.
Long regarded as a top-tier academic institution and founded by Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s, UVA has recently witnessed a sharp increase in selectivity, like many of its peers. In 2005, the University of Virginia still accepted 38% of applicants; today, that number has been sliced almost in half Applicants from out-of-state face an even steeper climb. The purpose of this article is to give UVA applicants an understanding of the admissions snare that lies ahead by
YOU SHOULD CONSIDER UVA IF…
It’s no secret that UVA is a good choice for in-state students. In addition to the increased odds of admission for Virginia students (more on this below), Virginia residents pay significantly less in tuition and fees than out-of-state students. Take a look at UVA’s estimated costs of attendance to see the price breakdown by school.
You like history:
On top of its strong academic and research programs, UVA has a strong sense of history. Its Grounds—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—feature architecture designed by Thomas Jefferson, extensive archival collections, and countless student-led traditions. In recent years, UVA has begun to grapple with its history of slavery and racism through programs like the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University. Undergraduate students can also explore America’s presidential history by visiting nearby sites like Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Highland, and even carry out research at these institutions through programs like the Monticello-University of Virginia Archeological Field School.
You are interested in business:
The majority of prestigious universities don’t offer undergraduate business degrees, and the ones that do typically require high school students to apply directly to the business program. However, UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce—ranked #8 among undergraduate business programs by U. S. News and World Report—takes a slightly different approach. UVA students apply to the school’s B. S. after completing two years of liberal arts coursework, students enter the Commerce program during their second year. This gives admitted students some time to decide whether or not business is the right path for them as well as giving them a well-rounded education for business students.
You are a strong candidate for honors programs:
Although UVA doesn’t have a single honors college, it does have a wide range of honors programs. These include:
- The College of Arts’ Echols Scholars Program
- The College Science Scholars Program, which gives STEM-focused College of Arts students mentoring and research experience
- The Rodman Scholars Program, which offers priority registration, special scholar housing, and unique curricular opportunities to the top 5% of students admitted to the School of Engineering
These programs can offer accepted students a strong sense of community in addition to other benefits. You can submit your application to the College of Arts instead of directly to any of these programs. Students who are initially rejected from these programs in their first year have the chance to reapply while attending UVA.
UVA also offers two major scholarship programs for incoming students: the Jefferson Scholars Program and the Walentas Scholars Program. The Jefferson Scholars Program provides full merit scholarships, foreign travel experience, and career networking opportunities for exceptional applicants. The Walentas Scholars Program—which launched last fall—provides the same benefits to first-generation students. Applicants to both programs must be nominated by their high school, and each participating high school is limited to one nominee. If you are interested in being considered for either scholarship, we recommend talking to your counselor about it well before the nomination deadline.
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UVA ACCEPTANCE RATE: BY THE NUMBERS
Like most schools, UVA’s acceptance rate has become increasingly competitive. Check out the school’s five-year admissions statistics:
Class of 2024: 21%
Class of 2023: 24%
Class of 2022: 26.5%
It’s worth keeping in mind, too, that UVA’s acceptances are not distributed equally. As a state-supported school, UVA offers significant admissions privileges to in-state students. In fact, UVA has pledged that 2/3 of the students enrolled at UVA will be Virginia residents. This means that UVA’s admit rate for Virginia students is much higher than its admit rate for out-of-state applicants. The Class of 2026, for example, had an 18.7% admit rate overall, but that broke down to a 28% admit rate for Virginia students and a 15% admit rate for out-of-state students.
Additionally, UVA provides interested applicants with a number of admissions rounds, including Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision. In comparison to many of its peer institutions (UNC, University of Michigan, etc.), UVA is relatively unusual among state flagship universities in that it offers Early Decision. ) offer only Early Action and Regular Decision options. UVA claimed that by relaunching its Early Decision program in 2019, it was satisfying demand from students who had ranked UVA as their top choice. However, as we have previously mentioned, early decision is appealing to colleges as it enables them to guarantee a high yield of admitted students. In order to avoid having to compete with other top schools that might want to admit them, UVA can “lock in” strong candidates through early decision.
Students who are interested in UVA therefore have the best chance of being admitted if they apply during the Early Decision round. Just have a look at some of the most recent cycles’ admissions data:
Class of 2026:
- Early Decision Admit Rate: 32% (38% in-state admit rate, 25% out-of-state admit rate)
- Early Action Admit Rate: 20% (30% in-state admit rate, 16% out-of-state admit rate)
- Regular Decision Admit Rate: 13% (17% in-state admit rate, 12% out-of-state admit rate)
Class of 2025:
- Early Decision Admit Rate: 33% (39% in-state admit rate, 26% out-of-state admit rate)
- Early Action Admit Rate: 21. 4% (30% in-state admit rate, 18% out-of-state admit rate).
- Regular Decision Admit Rate: 16. 4% (20% in-state admit rate, 15% out-of-state admit rate).
As you can see, applying in the binding Early Decision round has a significant advantage for both in-state and out-of-state students. Applying in the Early Action round offers some advantages, but your chances of admission won’t be quite as strong as they are in the Early Decision round, so don’t be afraid to commit if you know UVA is the school for you.
Finally, UVA offers guaranteed transfer admission to students attending Virginia’s Community Colleges who meet a defined set of standards. While these standards vary among UVA’s schools, they generally include a minimum number of transferrable credits, a specified GPA, and specific course requirements. (To see the full list of requirements, check here.) For Virginia students, this transfer policy offers a chance to pay a lower tuition rate for several years, while still graduating with a UVA degree. It can also offer students with a weaker high school record a path to enrollment at UVA.
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APPLYING TO UVA
What can you do, then, to make your UVA application stronger?
Take courses in all core areas:
Like all top colleges, UVA looks for students taking the most challenging classes available to them in core areas: English, history, math, science, and foreign language. While it can be tempting to focus on the subjects that come easily to you and to skip the ones that are harder, avoiding certain subjects will hurt your admissions odds at UVA (and other highly ranked schools). In fact, Jeannine Lalonde, Associate Dean of Admission at UVA, explicitly discourages high school students from “doubling up” on one subject at the expense of another. If you have a particular field of interest, you’d be better off exploring it in a sixth class or through a course at a local college.
Get involved in your community:
While academics are the most important piece of every admissions puzzle, UVA also looks for students “who will add to our community in different ways.” To show the admissions committee how you plan to get involved on Grounds in the future, make sure to take part in your community at home now. Could you get involved with local advocacy work? Launch an initiative to improve your area? Taking action now will also make it easier to write essays for the UVA application, which often include at least one community-focused prompt. In 2021, for example, UVA asked questions like:
Rita Dove, UVA English professor and former U. S. Poet laureate once said in an interview that there are times in life when, rather than moaning, you should take action. Describe a time when you acted for the greater good rather than whining.
Get to know the school:
Admissions officers want to admit students who have learned about the school and understand why it’s a good fit for them, even though UVA does not formally track demonstrated interest. In light of this, it’s a great idea to research the school before applying. Think about taking a tour of the university in person or virtually, going to an information session, or getting in touch with current students through UVA’s Monroe Society. If you want to read about events and viewpoints related to Grounds, you can also look into student publications like The Cavalier Daily. To assist you in getting ready and thoroughly exploring the school, look at our most recent advice for college visits!
How I Got Into UVA (Stats, EC’s & More)
Is it hard to get into UVA out-of-state?
Additionally, home state affects UVA admissions statistics. Virginians applying for UVA enrollment had a 29% chance of admission in the fall of 2021, while out-of-state applicants had a 17% chance%E2%80%94regardless of which UVA application deadline they chose
Is it easier to get into UVA in state or out-of-state?
Since UVA is a state-funded institution, in-state students have significant admissions advantages. In fact, UVA has promised that Virginia residents will make up 2/3 of its student body. This indicates that UVA’s acceptance rate for Virginia students is significantly higher than its acceptance rate for applicants from other states.
What SAT score do you need for UVA out-of-state?
Although UVA doesn’t have a strict SAT requirement, they really want to see at least a 1340 to be considered.
Is it harder to get into UNC or UVA?
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