CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Despite the pandemic, and thoughts that students would balk at 4-year universities due to hybrid or entirely virtual learning, the University of Virginia (UVA) saw total enrollment rise once again. The increase came even as the Class of 2024 is the school’s smallest incoming group of first-years since 2016.
Many people thought that students would opt for gap years or 2-year degrees, putting off the cost of larger schools until COVID-19 was under control. UVA Dean of Admissions Greg Roberts says that was a concern, but ultimately one they were able to overcome.
“We spent most of the summer wrestling with, you know, making additional offers and trying to find ways to mitigate attrition over the summer,” Roberts said. “Our summer melt is what we call it. It was a little bit larger than normal, but we were able to compensate by making a few more offers in the end that allowed us to hit our targets.”
Enrollment rose to 25,642, an increase of 624 from 2019. That increase coincides with an incoming first-year class that is the smallest in four years, just 3,785 students. The acceptance rate was lower, but that’s something Roberts says is due to actually being over-enrolled in previous years.
“We don’t change the target when the previous class, you know, exceeds or is lower than what we anticipated,” Roberts explained. “We go with what we had planned all along. The offer rate was really just about identical.”
UVA also hails the Class of 2024 as the most diverse in the university’s history. Minority students make up 37% of that class, up 2% from the year before. African-American students make up 7.1% of the class, up from 6.8% last year. Similar trends can be seen in Hispanic enrollment which also jumped to 7.1%. Asian students comprise 17.2% of incoming first-years compared to 16.5% the year before.
“We’re just happy to continually progress,” Roberts said. “We’re not where we want to be, but I think we have made great progress over the past handful of years.”
Two places UVA did not see growth: the number of low-income students and students needing financial assistance for tuition. While the number low-income students fell slightly, down nearly 6% from 2019, the loss of students with needs is steeper. That group dropped nearly 8% from 2019, but still makes up 37% of the class: 1,410 students.
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If you were offered a spot on the waiting list at UVA, you had a link to the Waiting List FAQs in your decision letter. Many of the questions we're getting are covered there. Please be sure to share that link with your parents so they understand the process. I'm going to go over the parts that come up the most and add some more information. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.
How many people are on the waiting list?
The waiting list forms as people fill out the waiting list reply on the portal. We offer spots to many, but only a portion those students will actually put themselves on the waiting list.
The waiting list will be big because we need to ensure there are students for all ten sections of the first year class. The class is made up of Virginia residents and out-of-state students for five schools/programs that take first years.
What's this thing about UVA Wise?Virginia residents on the waiting list who applied for the College of Arts & Sciences are given the option of enrolling at UVA Wise for one year before guaranteed transfer to UVA. There are some academic requirements for the time at Wise, of course. If you are a Virginia resident, you will see a question about the UVA Wise option on your waiting list reply form. Answering yes will get you some more information from our colleagues at Wise. You won't be removed from our waiting list processand you aren't bound to Wise if you select the "yes" option.
I accepted. Why is the form still there?You can always come back and pull yourself off the list. That is why the form remains after you opt in. There is no going back once you decline, so there are confirmation screens if you want to opt-out.
How many people will come off the waiting list?Even though I've been doing this for years, I can't predict this one. If we don't have ~3,800 admitted students accepting a spot, we move to the waiting list.
It's hard to cite trends with certainty. One year, we might have room for in-state Nursing students and the next year, that group could be full on the deposit deadline date. We're all waiting to see how this works out right now.
How many people got offers to come off the waiting list in the past?Here's over a decade of data, which should show you how unpredictable this part can be. I don't have a breakdown of where the offers were for these years.
2020 - 915
2019 - 8
2018 - 13
2016 - 360
2013 - 185
2012 - 284
2011 - 117
2010 - 240
2009 - 288
2008 - 60
2007 - 159
2006 - 145
2005 - 83
How do I improve my chances of getting an offer?There is a lot of conflicting information out there about this. Uploading a letter in the portal is appropriate. Bombarding every admission officer with an email each day is not. Please don't email one or more admission officers directly with your updates. Following directions is important.
By the way, though this is not an option now (we are working remotely), showing up wouldn't affect our process. I can't tell you how many students have driven here ask the questions covered in the FAQs. It was not the best use of their time (or gas money!).
When/How do you make wait-list offers?We start making waiting list offers as soon as we know we have space in the class. We move quickly because no one wants to drag this out. In the past, we've wrapped the process up in June. Every year is a little different, with last year being verydifferent. When the time comes, we always email the entire waiting list to let them know the class is full.
If you are going to get an offer, we'll call you at the number you put on your application. The call is a heads up that your status is about to change in the portal. Of course, it's fine if you tell us "no thanks" and that's the end of it. We hope that people who are no longer interested in UVA use the portal to remove their name from the list, but some people forget. When the portal updates, a new letter shows up along with the ability to pay a deposit. We work a traditional business day, Monday through Friday. Our office hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.
Because we want to give students a few days to think about the offer (and because the Financial Aid folks need time to post a package if the newly-admitted student applied for aid), this process takes a while. I can't give constant updates on the blog. I will always post when the Dean says the class is full.
What about aid?If you applied for aid by March 1st and got all of your documentation in, Student Financial Services will put a financial aid package together. Once that's posted, you'll have a couple days to accept the offer and pay your deposit.
Will my housing and class options be limited if I come off the waiting list?In a word: no. Students coming off the waiting list aren't treated differently in the housing process. During the Orientation season, seats in certain popular classes are held for each orientation session. That means people who sign up for the first orientation can't scoop up all the seats in classes. What's more, the registration system opens up for course changes in August. Lots of students don't finalize their courses until that period. Many will continue to tweak their schedule during the "drop/add" period at the begging of the semester, when you can visit classes and make changes without penalty.
What now?Look at your options. Get excited about one of them and pay a deposit to guarantee yourself a spot in a freshman class somewhere.
By the way, calling a student and telling them that they are getting an offer of admission is probably the most exciting thing admission officers experience. We can't wait to make them and everyone has a story or two about favorite calls. I promise you that when it's time, we'll be working very quickly so we can deliver some happy news!
UVA Law School
The University of Virginia School of Law was founded in Charlottesville in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as one of the original subjects taught at his "academical village," the University of Virginia. The Law School maintains an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students in its initial degree program. The school's reputation as one of the most prestigious law schools in the nation is reflected by its perennial appearance among the "top ten" in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, where it is currently ranked 10th. The Law School receives no funding from public coffers except for in-state student tuition subsidies. Thus, the Law School depends upon the largesse of private donors, its substantial endowment and student tuition payments. In 1995-1997, the Law School used entirely donated funds to renovate and expand its buildings on the University's North Grounds to include the former facilities of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration which built a new campus several hundred yards away. The Law School's 51% alumni giving rate is among the highest of the nation's law schools.
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into the University of Virginia
1. Achieve at least a 4.31 average GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
A competitive applicant to UVA will have great grades in the most challenging coursework available—the university considers course rigor, class rank, and GPA all “very important” to admissions decisions.
The average high school GPA of UVA’s class of 2025 was 4.31 and roughly nine out of ten students had a high school GPA of 4.0. Students admitted to top-tier schools like UVA will have completed between five and eight AP classes, and out-of-state applicants to UVA will want to err on the high side.
Colleges that receive tens of thousands of applications annually, such as UVA, use a tool known as the Academic Index to expedite admissions decisions. Academic Index is a representation of an applicant’s entire academic performance as a single number. If your Academic Index doesn’t meet an institution’s standard, you risk being deemed academically unqualified and not having your entire application read.
If your GPA is lower but you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Letters of Recommendation
UVA considers letters of recommendation “very important” when making admissions decisions and requires two letters: one from your high school counselor and one from a teacher in a core academic subject. The counselor recommendation provides a broad view of you, while teacher recommendations offer insight into how you’re likely to perform academically. Both counselor and teacher letter of recommendations should speak to your character/personal qualities, which is another factor UVA considers “very important.”
Because teacher recommendations play a considerable role in admissions at UVA, it’s important to receive the best recommendation possible. Students are advised to follow the nine rules for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers:
- Plan ahead
- Ask nicely
- Ask what kind of letter you might get
- Be professional
- Include relevant details
- Follow up
- Make it easy
- Send a reminder
- Say thank you
Remember, teachers aren’t compensated for writing letters of recommendation and many end up writing letters for multiple students—make it easy on them and make sure to show your appreciation for the time they spent on it.
3. Aim for a 1490 SAT and 34 ACT
The middle 50% SAT/ACT range of accepted students at UVA is 1330-1490/30-34. Any score in the middle 50% is good, but the higher into the range you score, the better your odds of admission are.
UVA has a long-standing policy of accepting an applicant’s best test scores. They use the top score from each SAT section across all administrations of the same exam. If you submit an ACT score, you’re directed to report the composite and sub-scores as they appear on your official score report without any recalculation. Because of this, sitting for either the SAT or ACT two to three times can increase your score.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
Challenges presented by COVID-19 led UVA to adopt a test-optional policy for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and the university will continue this policy for both the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 admissions cycles.
Just because UVA is test-optional, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit test scores. UVA considers them “important” to admissions decisions and students who submit scores are accepted at higher rates than those who don’t. CollegeVine recommends you submit a score if it’s the 25th percentile or above for accepted students at that school (1330 at UVA). You can get recommendations on whether or not you should apply test-optional using our free chancing engine.
4. Cultivate one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
The University of Virginia considers both extracurricular activities and talent/ability “important” to admissions decisions. Your application is more competitive at top schools like UVA if you have a highly developed interest known as a “spike” and one or two impressive extracurricular activities that show substantial achievement or leadership supporting it.
Just how impressive is an extracurricular? The four tiers of extracurriculars are a good guide to understand how influential an activity is:
- Tier 1: home to the most impressive and influential extracurriculars. These activities are uncommon and demonstrate extraordinary achievement or leadership and include everything from being a nationally recognized athlete or winning a prestigious national competition to attending a distinguished merit-based summer program.
- Tier 2: extracurriculars that show a high level of achievement or leadership but are more common than those of Tier 1. For example, state-level athletic recognition, winning a regional competition, or serving as student body president all fall under Tier 2.
- Tier 3: where activities that highlight your interests but lack distinction are categorized. These include being captain of a varsity sport and holding a minor leadership position in a well-known club.
- Tier 4: the least impressive and activities most often seen by admissions officers, including playing a sport, participating in a club, and doing general volunteer work.
5. Write Compelling Essays
Essays are an excellent way for you to separate yourself from other candidates and the University of Virginia considers them “important” when they make admissions decisions. All applicants to UVA are required to answer one of five essay prompts along with an essay prompt corresponding to the program they’re applying to.
In general, you’ll want to write your essay in your unique voice and use it to show who you are and why you’re a good fit at the school. For essay advice more specific to UVA, check out our article, “How to Write the University of Virginia Essays 2021-2022.”
6. Apply Early Action/Early Decision
Applying to UVA early decision/early action can give your odds of admission a boost, especially if you’re an out-of-state applicant. UVA has a three-phase admissions process that includes early decision, early action, and regular decision each with its own acceptance rates:
- 2021 early decision acceptance rate: 32.96%
- 2021 early action acceptance rate: 21.41%
- 2021 overall acceptance rate: 20.62%
Early decision applications offer the best chances of admissions but are also the most restrictive. If you apply ED at UVA, you’re agreeing to attend if admitted. Early action doesn’t offer the same acceptance advantage as ED, but is far less restrictive; it’s non-binding, which means you’re not committed to attend UVA if accepted and have until May 1 to make a decision of whether or not to attend.
Applying for early decision to UVA is a good strategy if UVA is your first choice and you’re positive it’s within your budget. Early action is a good option if you have a strong profile without your senior grades and want to wrap up your college search in advance and gain a slight edge in admissions. If neither of those applies to you, regular decision is a good path to follow.
How to Apply to the University of Virginia
The University of Virginia accepts the Common Application. You’ll also need:
- UVA supplemental essay
- Teacher recommendation
- Counselor recommendation
- School report
- High school transcript
- Mid-year reports
- Optional: SAT/ACT scores
- Optional: art and architecture supplements
Learn more about the University of Virginia
Interested in learning more about UVA? Check out these other informative articles:
Want to know your chances at UVA? Calculate your chances for free right now.
2024 uva acceptance rate
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise offers Early Action for freshman admissions. The Early Action (EA) deadline for Fall 2022 admission at UVA Wise is December 1. All early action applicants should receive an …
University of Virginia offers both Early Decision and Early Action for freshman admissions. This year, the Early Decision (ED) deadline for UVA is November 1st. All ED1 applications should receive an admissions decisio…
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