University of Virginia Admissions Essays

UVA Essays, Essays for UVA, UVA Admission

UVA is being rather sneaky placing their supplemental admissions essays in the “Questions” section of the Common App (photo credit: Karen Blaha).

Don’t think that there are supplemental University of Virginia admissions essays? Think again. While the University of Virginia isn’t the only culprit in concealing their supplemental admissions essays (it’s really not a big deal), they are a highly selective university that chose to do so and so we figured we’d draw this to the attention of our loyal readers. So what does that mean exactly…concealing their admissions essays, you ask? It means that while most colleges have the supplemental essays in a supplemental application to the Common App., with UVA and various other universities the supplemental essays are stealthily placed within the “Questions” section of the Common App. itself. It’s quite tricky! Especially since the colleges that are placing their supplemental essay questions on the Common App. within the “Questions” section have a dash through the “Writing Supplements” question on the dashboard of the Common App. This dash should mean that the college has no writing supplements. We at Ivy Coach urge the Common App. to address this at once as it’s rather misleading to stressed out college applicants! UVA, Thomas Jefferson would so not approve.

The University of Virginia’s supplemental essays within the “Questions” section of the Common Application read as follows:

1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.  Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words.

  • College of Arts and Sciences – What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences – U.Va. engineers are working to solve problems that affect people around the world, from our long-term water purification project in South Africa to continuing to research more efficient applications of solar power. However, most students start small, by using engineering to make a difference in daily life. If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make your everyday life better, what would you do?
  • School of Architecture – Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
  • School of Nursing – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  • Kinesiology Program – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.”

2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language (we’ll welcome you to Grounds, not campus) and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
  • While a student at UVA, Fulbright Scholar Rowan Sprague conducted groundbreaking research aimed at protecting the complex structure of honeybee hives. We know that colonies include bees acting in a diverse range of roles, all equally important to the success of the hive. What role will you play in the UVA hive?
  • To tweet or not to tweet?”

Again, UVA is by no means the only highly selective college that has chosen to put their supplemental essays within the “Questions” section of the Common App. Perhaps UVA chose to do this to encourage students to apply, to kind of trick them into thinking that they didn’t have to answer supplemental essays to apply to UVA. Highly selective colleges are always looking for more students to apply as the more students who apply, the lower the admission rate will be and the stronger the school’s “US News & World Report” ranking will be the following September.

What do you think about these stealth supplemental admissions essays? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you! And, while you’re here, check out last year’s UVA admissions essays if this should interest you.


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