uva supplemental essays

UVA Supplemental Essays 2023-24

The University of Virginia, a public research university in Charlottesville, is one of the top public universities in Virginia and nationwide. As a result, many students ask themselves how to get into University of Virginia. Well, one of the most important things is UVA supplemental essays. Strong University of Virginia supplemental essays can help you stand out in the competitive UVA applicant pool.

Each year, thousands of students apply to UVA hoping to gain access to its world-renowned academic programs and research facilities. In addition to academics, UVA also hosts an array of student organizations and off-campus opportunities in a thriving college town. It’s no surprise that UVA has a highly competitive 21% acceptance rate. In light of that, the University of Virginia essay is a critical part of the UVA application. Understanding the intricate details of UVA supplemental essays and UVA requirements is crucial to getting into UVA. Luckily, we are here to help.

In this guide, we will discuss the University of Virginia supplemental essay requirements, UVA application deadlines, and UVA requirements. Furthermore, we will cover the importance of the University of Virginia supplemental essays and analyze the UVA essay prompts. Most importantly, we will provide a variety of resources to help you craft the strongest UVA supplemental essays. Let’s get started.

University of Virginia Essay: Quick Facts

UVA Essay: Quick Facts

  • The University of Virginia Ranking Overall: #25 National Universities
  • The University of Virginia Public University Ranking:  #3 Public Universities
  • The University of Virginia Acceptance Rate: 21%– U.S. News identifies UVA as an extremely selective school. 
  • The University of Virginia Retention Rate: 97%
  • The University of Virginia Graduation Rate: 94% (the highest of any public university in America)
  • The University of Virginia Essay Requirements:
    • Common Application Essay
    • 1 (~ 300 words) The University of Virginia background essay
    • 1 (~ 250 words) School of Nursing Essay for School of Nursing applicants
  • The University of Virginia Admissions Application: UVA application is a Common Application member institution. Therefore, students must complete their application using the Common Application. 
  • The University of Virginia Application Types & Deadline:
    • Early Action: November 1st
    • Early Decision: November 1st
    • Regular Decision: January 15th 
  • The University of Virginia Supplemental Essays Tip: The University of Virginia supplemental essays have a very limited word count. Therefore, make sure your UVA essays are clear and concise.

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.

Does UVA have supplemental essays?

uva supplemental essays

Yes. In addition to your Common Application personal statement, all students applying to the University of Virginia must complete supplemental essays. Compared to previous years, UVA has reduced the maximum number of UVA essay prompts to two this year.

All students who apply to UVA are required to complete one UVA supplemental essay. This required University of Virginia essay is commonly known as the background essay. It forces applicants to consider how their background will impact their experiences at UVA. 

Even though all applicants are only required to write one UVA application essay, don’t think this makes the application process easier. In fact, having just one University of Virginia essay can be tougher for applicants than having multiple UVA essay prompts. You have only one opportunity, with fewer than 300 words, to make a good impression on University of Virginia admissions

In contrast, prospective nursing students can respond to two UVA essay prompts. Students applying to the University of Virginia nursing program must submit an additional University of Virginia supplemental essay. The nursing student UVA essay prompt asks students to recall a healthcare experience that deepened their interest in nursing.

Whether you must complete one or both UVA supplemental essays, we have answers to your questions. In the next section, we will dive deeper into both University of Virginia supplemental essays. 

What are the UVA supplemental essays?

The UVA supplemental essay that all applicants must complete asks applicants about their background. Specifically, applicants must explain how their experiences or perspectives will be a source of strength for themselves or their UVA peers. This UVA application essay showcases students’ ability to reveal how their personal experiences and backgrounds will strengthen the UVA community. 

The second University of Virginia essay is only for students applying to the University of Virginia nursing program. Nursing program applicants are asked to describe a healthcare-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened their interest in nursing. This essay provides students the opportunity to describe the roots of their passion and how it will positively impact UVA.

Ultimately, well-written UVA supplemental essays will illustrate how you’ll contribute positively to the UVA social and academic community. Supplemental essays allow students to prove to UVA admissions that they are the perfect fit for the university. 

UVA Common App Essay

As discussed earlier, the University of Virginia presents applicants with two distinct UVA supplemental essays. The first UVA application, known as the background essay, is mandatory for all applicants. In contrast, the Nursing School UVA supplemental essay is specifically required for those aspiring to the nursing program. However, beyond these University of Virginia supplemental essays, prospective students face an additional crucial component—the Common Application essay.

As part of the Common App, this essay—also called the personal statement—is sent to all schools on an applicant’s list. The Common Application essay provides students with a platform to share their unique identities, experiences, and aspirations. The UVA supplemental essays allow one to delve into specific aspects of one’s background and ambitions. On the other hand, the Common App essay casts a broader net with seven possible prompts. These range from overcoming a challenge to sharing an accomplishment, all to add depth to one’s personal narrative in the application.

In comparison to UVA supplemental essays,  the UVA Common App essay provides a greater word count of 600 words. This additional space permits an applicant to expand on what has not already been highlighted in their application. Therefore, selecting the best Common Application essay prompt can make or break one’s application. Writing a good personal statement is no easy feat and requires plenty of planning and preparation with example essays.

UVA Application Essay: Background Essay

uva supplemental essays

The University of Virginia essay that all applicants must complete is the background essay. The UVA application essay prompt is as follows: 

What about your background, perspective, or experience will serve as a source of strength for you or those around you at UVA?

When writing this University of Virginia essay, your response should offer a thoughtful exploration of a defining aspect of your identity. You should begin this UVA application essay by identifying a specific element, such as a cultural background, personal challenge, or unique viewpoint. Make your focus as specific as possible to make it easier to write a clear, concise essay.

Once you have identified your unique background or perspective, you should discuss how it will be an asset. How will it contribute to your personal growth and to building a stronger UVA community? You may have experience with caretaking that makes you an empathetic and effective leader. Or maybe you have overcome setbacks with help from others, making you both resilient and highly encouraging of your peers.

In this UVA application essay, you want to show that you have done your research on the University. Therefore, you should try to make connections to the university’s values and specific classes or organizations. Ultimately, your response should exhibit self-awareness and a deep understanding of UVA’s values. You should provide a clear roadmap for how your background, perspective, or experience will positively influence yourself and the campus community.

While there’s only one required UVA application essay for everyone, that does not guarantee an easier application. In fact, having just one essay can be seen as more challenging because you only get one shot to impress UVA admissions. You must ensure your one UVA supplemental essay is well-written, with intention behind every word. 

Keep reading for more about writing UVA supplemental essays and tips for impressing the UVA admissions committee. 

How to write UVA supplemental essays?

Crafting a standout UVA application essay can boost your application and help you get noticed by the admissions team. Your UVA supplemental essays are your chance to show your personality and explain how you can contribute to the UVA community. 

Helpful tips to make your UVA supplemental essays stand out:

1. Understand the University of Virginia

When writing your University of Virginia supplemental essays, take time to learn about the university’s values, goals, and programs. Use this knowledge to show your genuine interest in and connection to the University of Virginia.

2. Be Yourself

Write your University of Virginia supplemental essay in a way that reflects who you truly are. Share personal stories and moments that have influenced your beliefs, passions, and goals. Avoid generic answers and focus on what makes you unique.

3. Tell a Great Story

Narrative essays may not be strictly required, but there’s a reason they stay popular in college admissions. Make your UVA supplemental essays interesting and captivating by telling a compelling story. Use descriptive language and engaging words to grab the reader’s attention from start to finish. 

4. Check and Improve

Before submitting your University of Virginia supplemental essays, proofread and edit your essay carefully. Look for correct grammar, punctuation, and clear sentences. Since you have a limited word count, choose your words wisely and avoid repeating yourself.

By following these tips in your University of Virginia supplemental essays, you can create a knockout UVA application essay. Remember, the UVA supplemental essays let you shine and show admissions why you’d be a perfect fit for the University of Virginia.

What does UVA look for in essays?

uva supplemental essays

When considering what UVA looks for in the University of Virginia supplemental essays, the best place for advice is admissions officials. Luckily, UVA’s associate dean of admission, Jeannine Lalonde, wrote about the importance of University of Virginia supplemental essays. She also outlines what admissions officials look for from their applicants’ University of Virginia supplemental essays.

In the article, Lalonde says, “I think that [the essay] helps us get insight into the personality, voice, and style of the student. The rest of the application consists of forms and other people telling us about the student. This is their chance to talk directly to us.” 

While the article is several years old, what she shared remains true for students wondering how to get into University of Virginia. UVA supplemental essays allow applicants to tell their stories using their unique voice and point of view. Therefore, be authentically you; ensure your personality shines through and truly connects to the University of Virginia community. 

In addition to the importance of University of Virginia supplemental essays, Lalonde also highlights three tips for approaching them. These tips may help students craft the strongest University of Virginia supplemental essays and stand out to admissions representatives.

Don’t overthink the topic

In your UVA supplemental essays, simplicity can often be the key to success. The admissions committee is interested in your genuine experiences and perspectives. Instead of selecting the “perfect” topic, focus on choosing an aspect of your background, perspective, or experience that resonates with you. By staying true to your story and not overanalyzing the topic, you can present a sincere and engaging portrayal of yourself.

You don’t have to write like it’s a school essay

UVA supplemental essays allow you to showcase your personality, creativity, and individuality. Unlike formal academic essays, you can infuse your voice, anecdotes, and even a bit of your sense of humor. By steering away from the formal tone of a typical school essay, you can create engaging, illuminating UVA supplemental essays. Strong UVA supplemental essays captivate the admissions committee and give them a deeper understanding of you beyond your academic achievements.

It’s smart to get advice, but be authentic

When crafting your University of Virginia supplemental essays, seeking guidance and feedback from mentors or peers can offer valuable perspectives. However, while incorporating advice, ensure that your UVA supplemental essays remain true to your narrative and maintain the authenticity that sets you apart. Your UVA supplemental essays should reflect your true character and motivations.

By adhering to these tips in your UVA supplemental essays, you can create a compelling and authentic narrative. Additionally, these tips are applicable to any college essay, not just UVA supplemental essays. Ultimately, your UVA supplemental essays offer a platform to showcase your personal growth, strengths, and potential contributions to the campus environment.

More UVA Application Info

uva supplemental essays

Of course, knowing critical information about the University of Virginia supplemental essays and UVA essay prompts is step one. However, students should also be aware of other critical UVA requirements and information that may play a role in your application. 

First and foremost, for the 2023-2024 application, the university limits the legacy factor in its admissions process. In the past, students could simply check a box indicating their legacy status on their application. Now, if students want to indicate this status, they may write about a personal or historic connection with the university. This change is incredibly important for students who are personally connected to the university by alumni or historical ties. Therefore, be mindful of how to communicate the impact of having a historical connection. Don’t just say that you have parents or grandparents who went to the university. Instead, focus on what that has meant to you growing up. How do you wish to use that connection to live up to UVA’s values and foster a greater sense of community at UVA?

Still test-optional

Another update or continued practice for 2023-2024 is that UVA will remain test-optional. As a test-optional university, students have the choice of whether or not they want to submit their SAT and/or ACT scores. UVA does super score for applicants who submit test scores and considers the best combination of section scores without recalculation. Whichever path students choose, UVA promises to consider your application carefully.

Besides understanding the legacy admissions factor and test-optional admissions options, there is also a lot of other information students may need to know prior to applying. Some of these factors include the AP/IB credit process, navigating the waitlist process, and using application fee waivers. If you are interested in finding information about these factors, you should check out UVA’s FAQ page. There, you will find a lot of helpful information about applying to the University of Virginia.

What is the application deadline for UVA?

The University of Virginia offers three distinct application deadlines to accommodate a range of prospective students. For those who are eager to submit their applications early and receive a quick decision, the Early Action and Early Decision deadlines fall on November 1st. ED is binding, with admissions decisions released in mid-December; EA is non-binding, with decisions released in mid-February. Deferred applicants from both are reviewed in the Regular Decision round. Early applicants usually have a higher chance of admittance, but they also have stronger applications on average.

In contrast, the Regular Decision deadline extends to January 15 for those requiring more time to finalize their submissions. This later date allows students to better prepare their applications in order to craft the strongest application narrative possible. Although this later deadline has a larger applicant pool than EA or ED, a particularly strong application will still stand out.

Remember that each application deadline aligns with a separate teacher/counselor deadline. Therefore, ensure your teachers and counselors promptly submit their secondary information and recommendations. Choosing a college application deadline relies on several factors such as your grades, essay preparation, and overall interest in a university. Consider the strength of your application and how much you want to go to UVA when choosing a deadline.

Additional UVA Resources from CollegeAdvisor

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the thought of writing the best UVA supplemental essays and gaining acceptance into the college? Well, don’t fret. CollegeAdvisor has many resources tailored for UVA and University of Virginia supplemental essays. Here are a few that may help you. 

1. University of Virginia Webinar Panel

The University of Virginia panel is a recorded webinar and Q&A panel with alumni and current UVA students. They share their perspectives on campus life, academic programs, and career opportunities at UVA. 

2. University of Virginia Essay Examples

This guide will teach you about the University of Virginia supplemental essays through several UVA essay examples. The article includes UVA supplemental essays examples addressing various UVA essay prompts to teach you what a successful essay looks like. While the UVA essay examples are from last year’s admissions cycle, their advice still applies. Seeing how strong the University of Virginia supplemental essays were crafted will help you craft your own UVA supplemental essays.

3. How to Win UVA Scholarships

This article discusses two specific scholarships: the University of Virginia Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship. The article provides information on eligibility for these two UVA scholarships, academic scholarship requirements, and how to apply for them.

UVA Supplemental Essays – Takeaways

uva supplemental essays

In closing, we hope we have answered how to get into University of Virginia with a strong UVA application essay. Ultimately, the UVA supplemental essays play a pivotal role in the application process, providing applicants with a chance to distinguish themselves. In order to ensure you know how to craft the strongest University of Virginia essays, here are some key takeaways.

Importance of UVA Supplemental Essays

The UVA supplemental essays are instrumental in showcasing your unique qualities and compatibility with the university’s values. A well-crafted essay can set you apart in the competitive admissions process.

Two Types of UVA Supplemental Essays

UVA requires applicants to write two types of UVA supplemental essays. The first, known as the background essay, is mandatory for all applicants. The second UVA application essay is specifically for those applying to the Nursing School at UVA.

Background Essay

The UVA background essay prompt challenges you to articulate how your background will serve you or your peers at UVA. This essay offers an opportunity to reveal personal growth, resilience, empathy, and alignment with UVA’s values.

Nursing School Essay

For nursing applicants, the UVA supplemental essay describes a healthcare-related experience or significant interaction that deepened their interest in nursing. This University of Virginia supplemental essay enables candidates to highlight their passion for nursing and their unique motivations.

Tips for UVA Supplemental Essays

Crafting standout UVA supplemental essays requires a balance of authenticity and strategic storytelling. Research UVA’s values, show genuine interest, and make connections between your experiences and how you’d contribute to the UVA community.

University of Virginia Common Application Essay

Alongside the UVA supplemental essays, the Common Application essay holds significant weight. It’s a platform to showcase your identity, experiences, and aspirations, presenting a broader perspective than the targeted UVA supplemental essays.

Understanding the role of UVA supplemental essays and adhering to these tips can enhance your application’s impact. Good luck, and happy writing!

uva supplemental essays

This article was written by senior advisor Ashley Hollins. Are you looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. Our team will discuss your profile during your meeting and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.