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How to Get Into UVA: All You Need to Know

Monday, May 22, 2023


The University of Virginia is one of the most competitive and exclusive public universities in the country. It was famously founded by one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, in 1819 in the beautiful city of Charlottesville, Virginia. UVA boasts a beautiful and sprawling campus that those in the know lovingly call “Grounds.” A campus quad is located within Grounds, known as “the Lawn,” where students attend classes, participate in student activities, and keep UVA traditions alive.

With 12 schools, from the McIntire School of Commerce to the School of Nursing, applicants have many excellent academic options to choose from. Known as a bastion of high quality, public education, UVA has become an increasingly popular college for applicants from across the country, though about 68% of students who enrolled in the fall of 2022 hailed from Virginia.

UVA students are proud Cavaliers who are just as likely to be found cheering on their football team at Scott Stadium as they are to be volunteering in one of the many service projects run through the university’s service center, Madison House. It takes a smart, engaged, critical thinker to excel at a place like UVA. Do you think you have what it takes?

Read on to learn how you can set yourself apart to increase your chances of admission to the University of Virginia.

How to Get Into UVA: Table of Contents 

  1. When to Apply to UVA
  2. How Hard Is It to Get Into UVA: Early Prep
  3. How Do You Actually Get Into UVA: The Application
  4. Class Profile
  5. What Makes UVA Unique?

When to Apply to UVA 

UVA offers a variety of different admission offers and timelines. Though the exact dates of the deadlines vary slightly from year to year, they follow the same general timeline. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these application types and deadlines as you consider your options.

UVA Deadlines 

Understanding different application options and deadlines is an important part of getting to know a university. UVA’s deadlines for students applying for fall 2023 admissions were:

Early Decision: November 1, 2022

Early Action: November 1, 2022

Regular Decision: January 5, 2023

Early, Rolling and Regular Decision 

The University of Virginia offers three different application types: Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision. Early Decision is an early application with a binding agreement. This means you can only apply to one university Early Decision. If you are admitted to UVA Early Decision, you agree to withdraw any other active applications and enroll at UVA.

Early Action is an early application type that is non-binding. This means you can apply to multiple places Early Action (As long as they are not REA, Restrictive Early Action or SCEA, Single Choice Early Action). This application type gives applicants the chance to show their interest in the school early and receive their admission results early. It is a good option for students with strong grades throughout high school who feel their profile is competitive without their first semester senior grades. If admitted, Early Action applicants can choose not to enroll and attend upon admission.

Regular Decision is a standard application type with a deadline typically between mid-December and mid-January. UVA’s deadline is always in early January. Regular Decision is a non-binding application type. Students receive their admission decisions by late March.

Finally, rolling admission is when applications are accepted and reviewed without a single deadline but on an ongoing, rolling basis. UVA does not offer rolling admission.

Waitlisted Applications 

Students who apply to UVA Regular Decision or who are considered in the Regular Decision round may get waitlisted. The waitlist is one of the possible admissions decisions applicants can get. It is neither an admission nor a rejection but rather a “maybe.” If offered a spot on the waitlist, you may accept or deny your place. At UVA, the deadline to accept your spot on the waitlist is April 15.

If you accept your spot on the waitlist, there is a chance a spot will open up during the summer and you may be given the opportunity to enroll. That said, you should commit to one of the schools to which you were admitted in case you don’t get off the waitlist.


A deferral admission decision is a possible admission decision in the Early Decision I and Early Action rounds. If you are deferred, your application will be reconsidered during the Regular Decision round.

Deferred students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the college’s policy on deferrals. Some schools ask for additional materials while others ask you not to submit additional materials. All colleges will ask for mid-year grades. First semester senior grades are treated as additional academic information that may prove pivotal in an application’s reconsideration in the regular decision round.

If you’re deferred from UVA, your application will be re-considered in the Regular Decision applicant pool. UVA states that letters of continued interest are not taken into consideration after a deferral. UVA recommends only submitting mid-year grades.

How Hard Is It to Get Into UVA: Early Prep 

UVA is one of the most competitive public universities in the country. The general admission rate for the class of 2026 was about 18%. It’s important to keep in mind that UVA strives to serve Virginia-based students first and fills a majority of its class with Virginia residents. This means that the competition for UVA admission for out-of-state students may be more competitive.

To improve your chances of being admitted to UVA, you should understand the application process and get started as early as possible. Read on to find out more about the holistic review process and how you can prepare your UVA application materials.

Build Your Profile 

The University of Virginia values students from all walks of life who will contribute to a vibrant and engaging exchange of ideas across Grounds.

Students looking to be competitive for UVA admissions should start building a strong profile from the beginning of their high school careers. A student profile includes academic history and grades, extracurricular activities, and other hard and soft factors.

UVA uses the holistic review process when evaluating students for admission. This means they take into account hard factors, like grades, rigor, curriculum, and test scores, as well as soft factors, like extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. Therefore, it’s important to be strategic about building a competitive profile so you can highlight your greatest strengths and what UVA admissions officers look for on your application.

Visit the Campus and a Class 

One of the best ways to find out if UVA might be the right fit for you is by visiting. One of the first things you will learn upon stepping foot at UVA is that the campus is called “Grounds.” The UVA admission website even invites prospective students to “Visit Grounds.” UVA lingo is just one of the many particularities and characteristics that make UVA a unique university!

UVA has multiple visit options. The in-person visit includes a welcome from the dean of admission and a student-led tour of Grounds. This is an excellent opportunity to see the campus and learn from current students.

If, for whatever reason, you are unable to travel to Charlottesville for an in-person tour, you can also visit UVA virtually. The UVA virtual visit is offered in three parts. First, UVA offers a brief admission information session delivered by a member of the Office of Admissions. Then, a current student gives a virtual campus tour. Finally, a current student hosts an interactive question and answer session. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the admissions process from the Office of Admission and to interact with current UVA students.

Connect With a Student 

Connecting with a current UVA student is one of the best ways to learn if the university is a good fit for you. You can connect with a student by visiting campus, either in-person or virtually.

If you are admitted to UVA, take advantage of UVA’s admitted student offerings, which give you the chance to interact with current students and attend classes. This is the ultimate way to decide if you might be a future Cavalier.

Learn About Any Student Experiences 

You can learn about student experiences through UVA’s website or by visiting campus. You can also learn about student experiences through UVA’s social media pages, which post about student life and academics.

Learning about student experiences may help you understand if you see yourself at UVA. UVA students tend to be very involved across Grounds. A day in the life of a UVA student might include a wide variety of activities, including classes and extracurricular and service activities. Following UVA’s website and social media pages will help you learn about current student experiences and decide if UVA may be a good fit for you.

How Do You Actually Get Into UVA: The Application 

Getting into UVA is no easy task—it requires advanced preparation and a strong, holistic application with impressive hard and soft factors. The UVA application, which is run through the Common Application, features several application elements including transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, and optional standardized test reports.

It’s important to take care in preparing each one of these application elements in order to submit the most competitive possible application. Here is a breakdown of each application element and UVA’s profile and requirements.

GPA Requirements 

UVA doesn’t have any official GPA requirements for admission. Their website states that they do not have GPA or testing targets or cut-offs. Out of the students enrolled in fall 2022, 86% were ranked in the top 10% of their high school classes.

So, even though UVA doesn’t set a minimum GPA requirement, you should consider that a very strong GPA is a prerequisite for UVA admission.

SAT and ACT Scores 

UVA has a test-optional policy for students applying to enroll for fall 2023. Students who are interested in reporting test scores should self-report their test scores on the Common Application. Then, if admitted with these self-reported test scores, students seeking to enroll at UVA must submit official score reports from the College Board (SAT) or ACT.

The middle 50% test score range for students who submitted scores and enrolled at UVA in the fall of 2022 are very competitive. For the SAT evidence-based reading and writing, the middle 50% of enrolled students was between 690 and 750. For SAT math, the middle 50% of enrolled students was between 710 and 790. The middle 50% ACT composite score was 32-35.

Students seeking to submit test scores for admission consideration to UVA should aim to score within the middle 50% range or above the middle 50% range to be competitive for admission.

Personal Statement 

The Common Application Personal Statement is one of the staples of the college application process. The personal statement is the essay students send to every college they apply to that participates in the Common Application. Capped at 650 words, the personal statement is the main piece of writing students will submit to every Common App school. Students can choose from seven different application prompts to write about. Consider brushing up on the Common Application Personal Statement and what you should do to prepare.


UVA also requires all applicants to write two short answer essays in response to 11 prompt options. Applicants must choose two out of these 11 questions to answer. Each essay response should be no longer than 50 words. These questions range from cerebral to quirky, including questions like: “What website is the internet missing?” and “What’s your favorite word and why?”

It’s important to take extra care to prepare excellent short answer responses, but try not to get hung up on the perfect response. Just be yourself and put your best foot forward.

Letters of Recommendation 

UVA requires two letters of recommendation, one from a teacher and one from the applicant’s high school counselor. Applicants should request their letter of recommendation from a teacher who can speak to their academic ability. Applicants should ask teachers of classes that they have excelled in.

Submit your request for a letter of recommendation with a copy of your resume and some highlights of your best work. This will remind your teacher what to highlight in their letter of recommendation.

Admission Interviews 

Admission interviews can be an important part of the admissions process, contributing to the soft factors of your application. However, UVA does not offer admission interviews. This means that UVA applicants should take extra care in their application essays, as they are the primary way that the admissions office will get to know them.

Contribution to the UVA Community 

UVA students contribute to the community in myriad ways, from their activity on Grounds to their involvement in the Charlottesville community.  The typical Cavalier is deeply committed to the UVA and Charlottesville communities and is fiercely proud to be a UVA student. Read on to learn more about what it takes to become a Cavalier.

Class Profile  

Acceptance rate 18.6%
Class size 16,793
Undergraduate majors 75+

What Makes UVA Unique? 

UVA has a unique history as one of the country’s first and foremost public universities. Founded by Thomas Jefferson after his presidency, UVA has built itself on its original goals: “to advance human knowledge, educate leaders, and cultivate an informed citizenry.”

UVA is the right place for you if you are both a well-rounded and specialized student and scholar who wants to fully engage in academics, service, student activities, and UVA’s strong code of ethics. It’s a place where you can get lost in the magic of Grounds and find yourself in the pride and joy of cheering on the Cavaliers.

Admission Consulting 

To gain admission to a top university like the University of Virginia, most students could benefit from receiving additional guidance throughout the application process.  A private admissions counselor is an invaluable resource for students looking to apply to highly selective colleges and universities. Counselors can guide students throughout the entire process, from building a competitive applicant strategy and balanced college list, to brainstorming strong essays and supplements.

You should contact an admissions counselor if you’re ready to take on the challenge of the college admissions process. If you’re interested in the University of Virginia and other highly selective schools, hiring a college admissions counselor may be the right choice for you. Why go through the process alone when you can do it with the guidance of an expert? College admissions counselors that are accredited, experienced, and knowledgeable in the field will provide key advice to set applicants up for success.

Getting into the University of Virginia can be tough, since it’s a very competitive school. That’s why IvyWise admission experts are here to make it happen. Take the first step towards getting into your dream school and set an Initial Consultation.


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