College Intel

University of Virginia Admissions

The snow-covered Lawn at the University of Virginia, looking south towards Old Cabell Hall.
The University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson (photo credit: Troy).

Few American universities can lay claim to the same degree of historical and architectural significance as the University of Virginia. Located in Charlottesville, the public research university has a storied legacy within American higher education not only for its academic renown, but for serving as a site of many major activist, civil, and educational movements. With roughly 17,600 undergraduates, 8,300 postgraduates, and a $13.6 billion dollar endowment, UVA has cemented its place as a fixture of elite education in the South and as one of the leading public universities in the nation.

Those who have joined the ranks of UVA faculty and staff include literary tycoon William Faulkner, former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond. UVA Wahoos (the affectionate name for alumni) have founded companies such as Reddit and CNET. Additionally, actress and director Tina Fey, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and a whopping fifteen Governors of Virginia get to call themselves bonafide orange and blue toting Wahoos. 

When applying, incoming first-year students must choose between UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, and the department of Kinesiology within the School of Education & Human Development. Undergraduates are able to join the McIntire School of Commerce, the Batten School for Leadership & Public Policy, the School of Data Science, or programs in the School of Education & Human Development other than Kinesiology by matriculating to the College of Arts & Sciences and choosing a major during their first or second year. Within the College of Arts & Sciences, UVA students are afforded the opportunity to choose between several different sets of general education curriculums, each with their own unique requirements. 

In the early nineteenth century, then-President Thomas Jefferson conceived of a university without religious affiliation that would provide Virginians with an alternative to the struggling College of William & Mary — Jefferson’s alma mater. The Commonwealth of Virginia chartered the University of Virginia on Charlottesville land formerly owned by President James Monroe in 1819. During its early history, the university’s administration was run by a revolving door of former statesmen, most prominently U.S. Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe.

The Charlottesville campus is referred to as “The Grounds.” A UNESCO World Heritage site, The Grounds are widely considered to be one of the most architecturally significant spaces in the nation. The UVA “Academical Village” houses a famous Rotunda designed by Jefferson and done in the, you guessed it, Jeffersonian style. The design of the campus has inspired buildings and spaces at many other elite universities, including Duke, Columbia, Yale, and Johns Hopkins.

Today, the university is a hotbed of innovative scientific discoveries in the fields of medicine, psychology, and air travel. As a pioneer of an extensive meritocratic scholarship system, UVA draws the best and brightest minds to campus with robust funding opportunities, including the Jefferson Scholarship, which is the most competitive undergraduate merit scholarship in the world. Between a highly ranked Division I Athletics program, a Greek life scene that draws 30% of the student body, a variety of student-run organizations, and a healthy sampling of secret societies, UVA students are never at a loss for fun and stimulating activity. 

In the context of an intense meritocratic admissions process that pulls two-thirds of the student body from within the state of Virginia, UVA has recently reported record-breaking numbers. 56,439 high school students applied to be members of the Class of 2027, an all-time high for the university. 16.2% were accepted (although this rate is higher for in-state applicants). According to the Office of Undergraduate Admission, ideal UVA applicants are “academically successful,” “capable,” have “purpose,” live lives of “impact” and “service to others,” and “demonstrate a determination to succeed.” At Ivy Coach, we will work with you to provide you with the best chance of gaining admission to those hallowed Grounds. 


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