How to Get Into UVA (the University of Virginia)

University of Virginia
October 31, 2022
UVA Admission RequirementsUVA Essay Prompts & How to Ace Them How to Prepare for the Admissions InterviewUVA Acceptance RateAbout UVA FAQs: How to Get Into UVA


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

As a premier school of the American South, the University of Virginia offers a highly ranked Public Ivy-style education from the forward vision of its famous founder, Thomas Jefferson. If you’re looking to learn how to get into UVA, you’re in the right place. 

If you’re interested in learning how to get into UVA or the University of Virginia, you’re in the right place to start! The University of Virginia offers extremely high-quality education as an old, prestigious school in Charlottesville. The school qualifies as one of the top Public Ivies, meaning that it is highly ranked and comes with all the benefits of being a public college.

Any student who wants to attend one of the top 25 schools in the country that needs the benefits of financial aid, or wants to be in a large institution of like-minded students, should consider applying to UVA. If you manage to get in, an affordable, well-rounded, and dependable education worth the time and effort will be waiting for you!

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UVA Admission Requirements

The next step of understanding how to get into UVA begins with filling out all the admission requirements. Don’t be too daunted by the list, as some of the requirements have been revised or aren’t as big of a deal as they used to be; standardized testing scores are an example. Make sure you have gathered all necessary documents before you officially apply!

Below, we’ll go through the UVA admissions process and requirements step-by-step. 

Step 1: Fill Out the Common Application and Submit It Before Your Deadline

The first place to start with any application is to use the common application and apply to UVA. You will eventually come to this choice on your path of getting into UVA. However, before you fill out the application, make sure you know when your deadlines are. Once you know your deadline of choice, please do everything you can to meet it on time!

Step 2: Meet Coursework Requirements and Send Your Transcript

The University of Virginia wants all its students to meet a uniform educational class requirement. Most high schools have you fulfill this requirement through their class requirements anyways, but make sure you've completed all the necessary coursework. When ready, ask your school counselor to send your transcript to UVA for the admissions committee to process. 

Step 3: University of Virginia GPA and Education Requirements

If you are worried about how you're getting into UVA, this is the requirement that could sink your chances! To get into the University of Virginia, you need at least a 3.0 GPA or higher, a GPA above the top fifty percent in your school, or a high enough testing score. As long as you meet one of these education requirements, you're good! These requirements are not all mandatory.

While students do not have to take standardized tests either, we highly recommend it. If you want acceptance into the University of Virginia, you will need a competitive GPA and test score, especially if you want scholarships. Try to meet the UVA average GPA, which is a 4.0. The students at UVA outpace their minimums requirements considerably; you will need to stand out to get in!

The required UVA cumulative test score needed on the ACT sits at 17, while on the SAT, you will need a 900. UVA will use the best composite of your test scores to ensure that you meet their standards. However, we recommend meeting or beating the average scores at UVA. On the SAT, you should be above a 700 on all sections. For the ACT, you should average 32-35.

Step 4: SAT and ACT Test Scores

While getting into UVA does not require taking the SAT or ACT, if you have taken those tests, ensure you've sent them to UVA ahead of time. You will have the opportunity to do this at the end of your test session. Your test administrator should help you with this. Make sure you've filled out the proper school code for the University of Virginia, and you should be good!

If you took your test online or were unable to send your scores during the test, log into your college board account and follow their instructions for sending SAT scores yourself

Step 5: Apply to Your Undergrad School of Choice

If you know what educational major you want ahead of time, UVA recommends that you send those applications as soon as possible. Yes, you will need to apply to any of the following schools. You’ll need to do this as part of your application. Below you’ll find the list of school programs available to you at UVA.

Step 6: Optional Requirements You May Want to Consider

Since the University of Virginia is a public school, you will want to make sure you’ve confirmed your residency. If you live in the state of Virginia, this will vastly decrease your tuition costs. In-state students pay lower tuition because their parents or guardian(s) have paid the taxes and fees necessary to attend the school just by paying state taxes every year. 

If you know that you want to get into the University of Virginia as quickly as possible, consider picking an earlier deadline. If you're already in college and looking to transfer, you will also find the deadlines with that information.

UVA Essay Prompts & How to Ace Them 

For the optional essays on the UVA application, students must pick for themselves from two separate lists. The first list corresponds with what individual school the student is applying to, such as arts and sciences or nursing, and the student will have to answer the corresponding question. The applicants then pick two more questions out of a constructed list of ten others.

These example questions are from 2022 to 2023 and may be subject to change when you apply.

Example Questions

  1. For Arts and Science applicants, UVA asks, "If you could create a college course that all UVA students would take, what would it be about and why?"
  2. For School of Engineering applicants, UVA asks, "How will you use an engineering degree to change the world for the better?"
  3. What's your favorite word and why?
  4. We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. What is one of your quirks?
  5. Tell us about a place you'd like to share with everyone, and keep to yourself.

If you're still worried about what to say or have more questions, here are some essay tips that should help you ace your short essay! 

Tip #1: Stay Within the Word Limit

The word limit for the one school-specific question sits around 100, while the limit for the other two holds at 50. UVA likes short essays that get to the point, so keep within the limit and withhold details if they seem too long. Remember, UVA receives many applications; they may not even consider your essay if you don't meet their guidelines.

Tip #2: Go With Your First Answer

Don't sit there and try to sweat over these essays. They should be fun and show off your personality. Pick something about yourself and move on. As a high school student, you probably have plenty of other things to worry about, such as academics and extracurriculars. UVA wants to save both its time when reading responses and yours. 

Tip #3: Don’t Exaggerate or Try to Make Yourself Look Good

The best way to impress admissions to get into UVA is to be yourself. Try not to come off as cliche or lie. Someone will be reading your essay and want an answer that isn't just stock, full of bravado, or unbelievable. Try to come off as passionate or engaging without seeming arrogant or disrespectful. Fifty words can say a lot about you, so make it count!

Tip #4: Look at the University of Virginia Mission Statement

If you need more ideas or want to know what kind of stuff the University of Virginia would want to hear in an essay, try looking at its mission statement. If your personal goals or desires coincide with leadership, professionalism, the pursuit of knowledge and its preservation, or caring for people, consider adding them to your essay.

How to Prepare for the Admissions Interview

For students worried about an admissions interview, good news! You don't have to prepare for one because UVA does not offer them. Please put all your effort into your GPA and essays, as they are the most critical part of the application and improve your chances.

UVA Acceptance Rate

If, at this point, you're still worried about not getting into UVA, take a look at the data. Below, you will find the admission statistics for every possible application deadline and their acceptance rates. Luck is a factor in getting into college; know that your odds are at the highest if you've followed our instructions on how to apply and ace that essay. It's up to you if you get into UVA.

The overall University of Virginia acceptance rate sits at 20.75% as of the class of 2025. 

Students applying in-state to UVA have a 36% acceptance rate, while out-of-state students have an 18% acceptance rate. You have a much better chance of getting into UVA if you live in Virginia.

UVA Application deadlines
Source: UVA, US News

Now that you understand what it takes to get into UVA, let’s learn a bit more about the university.

About UVA 

The University of Virginia sits in the heart of the south, close to the heart of the city of Charlottesville, VA. Founded by former United States president, Thomas Jefferson, UVA set out to provide quality education and preserve knowledge for future generations. UVA offers majors in Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Architecture, Engineering, Kinesiology, and many more!

FAQs: How to Get Into UVA

Below you’ll find some common questions from UVA applicants. 

1. How Do You Get Into UVA as an Out-Of-State Student?

Getting into UVA will always take a certain amount of luck. It's no secret that out-of-state students have a disadvantage with acceptance. However, anything that makes you stand out personally and sincerely as an essay topic will help you. Any academic success you can show through your grades and test scores will also help. 

2. How to Get Into UVA With a Low GPA?

If you have a low GPA, it will count against you when it comes to getting into UVA. However, what exactly you mean by a low GPA can vary. So long as you have over a 3.0, you have at least good odds. However, a 4.0 GPA gives you the best possible chance. Anything lower than a 2.0 GPA could be difficult to get accepted with, as other students would outcompete you.  

3. What Kind of Students Does UVA Look For?

UVA looks for students that make the top 50% of their graduating class or higher, want to be leaders, professionals, or go into healthcare, and have an excellent aptitude for academic success. If you meet at least a couple of those qualifications, consider applying to the University of Virginia. 

4. What Is the Best Way to Get Into UVA?

The best way to get into UVA is via an early decision application. You have the highest odds of acceptance if you apply for early decision. However, if you do, you cannot apply to any other schools early or apply to UVA for a regular decision. 

5. Is UVA Ivy League?

No, UVA is not Ivy League. Ivy League schools only exist in the Northeastern United States. However, UVA counts as a Public Ivy or a highly ranked public university that rivals the Ivy Leagues schools on all the national college rankings. 

6. How Hard Is It to Get Into UVA?

While not as hard as the top-tiered Ivy League schools, UVA is a Public Ivy and, by that metric, makes for a challenge to receive acceptance. While there are certain things you can do to increase your odds, it comes down to good luck and whatever you put into your grades, classes, essays, and extracurriculars. Everything you do matters.

Final Thoughts 

As a high-ranking college, the University of Virginia makes for one of the best educational opportunities for any student looking to go to college in the United States. If you enjoy the Southern US, prefer going to a public school over a private one, and want to go into a career in business, nursing, science, or arts, consider applying to UVA. 

Good luck if you do! UVA has a low acceptance rate!

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