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How do I get into the University of Virginia? -General Information

The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. The total UVA enrollment is just over 27,000, while the undergraduate UVA enrollment is just over 17,311 students. 

What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into UVA Guide:

  • UVA average GPA scores
  • Optimal UVA SAT scores
  • UVA application deadline
  • Details on UVA Early Decision and Early Action 
  • Guidance for the UVA supplemental essays
  • UVA admissions class of 2025 statistics, and more 

When thinking about how to get into UVA, you should make sure each part of your application—your GPA, test scores, and UVA supplemental essays—is top-notch. This means keeping your GPA high, studying well in advance to ensure strong UVA SAT scores or ACT scores, and building up your extracurriculars. To boost your chances, you should start strategizing well before the UVA application deadline. 

Figuring out how to get into UVA takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes UVA graduates. Want to maximize your UVA admissions odds?  Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

How hard is it to get into the University of Virginia?

As you build a strategy for how to get into UVA, rankings will likely come up. UVA is one of the most prestigious public universities, ranked #4 on U.S. News’ list of Top Public Schools. UVA is also ranked #25 on the U.S. News list of Top National Universities

Depending on the intended major you indicate for UVA enrollment, the UVA admissions statistics vary. Some majors, such as economics, are more popular than others. Choosing your major can be hard, but select the one that best aligns with your interests and goals rather than trying to game the system! Read here for more on how to study business at UVA.

Other elements will also factor into your how to get into UVA strategy. For example, the University pledged for two-thirds of UVA enrollment to be from in-state. This makes out-of-state UVA admissions more competitive. To overcome this barrier, review the UVA GPA requirements and average UVA SAT scores. Also, consider applying by the UVA Early Decision application deadline if you are serious about being a Cavalier.

When determining how to get into UVA, the UVA application deadlines should also factor in. In 2019, the University brought back the UVA Early Decision deadline. This binding UVA application deadline has a higher acceptance rate. Keep reading to learn more about UVA Early Decision and the other UVA application deadlines. 

What is the required GPA for the University of Virginia?

While there are no published UVA GPA requirements, the average admitted student for UVA enrollment has a 4.31 GPA. Additionally, 90% of students accepted by UVA admissions are in the top 10% of their high school class and have over a 4.0 GPA. 

These unofficial UVA GPA requirements may also vary by college and major, though this is not published information. Think of these UVA GPA requirements as a guideline. While there is not a strict cutoff, be aware of the UVA GPA requirements as a key factor in the UVA admissions process—that is, keep your grades up. 

Students who challenge themselves with rigorous coursework and earn high marks will fare better in the UVA admissions process. So, use the UVA GPA requirements as a benchmark when determining how to get into UVA.

Test Scores

The average UVA SAT scores or ACT scores are another thing to consider when thinking about how to get into UVA. The middle 50% average UVA SAT scores range from 660-740 (Verbal) and 660-770 (Math), while the middle 50% composite ACT scores range from 30-34. Alongside the UVA GPA requirements, your UVA SAT scores can help you see how you stack up against other students.

Regardless of which UVA application deadline you choose, academic success is a key part of your application. Your junior year grades carry even more weight in the UVA admissions process if you are applying by the UVA Early Decision deadline. However, all of your grades matter on your path toward UVA enrollment. 

What does the UVA application include?

It may seem obvious, but the first step in your plan for how to get into UVA should be to apply. You can do so on the Common Application or the Coalition Application

The following materials are required by UVA Admissions:

  • Secondary school report
  • Guidance counselor recommendation
  • Teacher recommendation(s)
  • Mid-year reports
  • High school transcript
  • UVA supplemental essays

The following materials are optional to be considered for UVA enrollment:

  • UVA SAT scores and ACT scores
  • Art and architecture supplements

All materials must be received by your selected UVA application deadline, whether you choose UVA Early Decision (November 1), Early Action (November 1), or Regular Decision (January 5).

For students applying in the fall of 2022 or 2023 for UVA enrollment, UVA admissions has extended its test-optional policy

What extracurriculars do I need for the University of Virginia?

If you want to know how to get into UVA, start by thinking about who you are. What makes you unique? How do you pursue your passions? There is no cookie-cutter UVA student. Rather, when building the next UVA enrollment class, the admissions team looks for students with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and experiences. 

Ultimately, there is no single answer to how to get into UVA. So, choosing one extracurricular will not tip the scales toward UVA enrollment.

Your extracurriculars are a big part of what makes you stand out. With this in mind, there are no right or wrong activities to choose from. Work hard and show your passion. Get started early in high school, especially if you are applying to UVA Early Decision.

The short answer to how to get into UVA is “authenticity.” UVA Admissions office will be impressed by a candidate profile that shows how you explore your passions, serve your community, and lead others. Read more about how to showcase your extracurriculars in your application here. For more tips, watch this webinar.

What is the acceptance rate at the University of Virginia?

Figuring out how to get into UVA is hard. For the class of 2025, UVA admissions selected 20.62% of a record number of applicants—over 48,000—for UVA enrollment. The UVA Early Decision acceptance rate was 33%, while the Early Action UVA application deadline had an acceptance rate of 21%.

UVA admissions statistics also vary based on the applicant’s home state. Virginians applying for UVA enrollment had a 29% chance of admission in the fall of 2021, while out-of-state applicants had a 17% chance—regardless of which UVA application deadline they chose. 

Of note, the number of students who applied by the Early Action UVA deadline rose 17% for the class of 2026. Also, the UVA admissions statistics from the waitlist vary widely, with 915 students admitted off the waitlist in 2020 and only nine admitted from the waitlist in 2019. 

There is no magic formula for how to get into UVA, but there are ways to strengthen your application. Again, while there are no formal UVA GPA requirements, you should still work hard to strengthen your grades. Do your best in tough classes, aim to surpass the average UVA SAT scores, and strive to write unique UVA supplemental essays.

Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our expert guide.

Does the University of Virginia offer interviews?

UVA does not interview candidates for UVA enrollment. However, there are other ways to show you are excited to attend. In your UVA supplemental essays, you will have the chance to discuss your intended major, opportunities that interest you at UVA, and any connections you have to the campus.

How do I write a supplemental essay for the University of Virginia?

The UVA supplemental essays should play a major role in your “how to get into UVA” game plan. Your UVA supplemental essays should clearly and concisely show who you are in the first prompt and answer “Why UVA?” as it pertains to your chosen undergraduate school in the second prompt. 

Prompt 1:

Required of ALL applicants, regardless of school or program. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

Option A: What’s your favorite word and why?

Option B: We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

Option C: Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?

Option D: UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?

Option E: Rita Dove, UVA English professor and former U.S. Poet Laureate, once said in an interview that “…there are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” Describe a time when, instead of complaining, you took action for the greater good.

Prompt 2:

We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists. Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words.

College of Arts and Sciences Applicants: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, literature, or other media has surprised, unsettled, or inspired you, and in what way?

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Applicants: Describe an engineering feat that serves the common good and why it inspires you to study engineering.

School of Architecture Applicants: Describe significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.

Nursing School Applicants: Describe a healthcare-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying nursing.

Kinesiology Program Applicants: Discuss an experience that led you to apply to the kinesiology major.

Whether you choose to discuss your favorite word or design a Flash Seminar, your UVA supplemental essays should provide a window into who you are as a person, student, community member, and leader. The UVA admissions team will be impressed by UVA supplemental essays that highlight your best qualities. Be vivid and descriptive, but most importantly, be yourself. For more guidance on the UVA supplemental essays, read our UVA Essay Guide

How does the University of Virginia review applications?

According to the UVA admissions Common Data Set for 2020-2021, the school considers the following factors when evaluating candidates for UVA enrollment. While you can’t control these factors, knowing their relative importance can help you build your strategy for how to get into UVA.

Very important: 

  • Rigor of secondary school record
  • Class rank
  • Academic GPA
  • Recommendation(s)
  • Character/personal qualities
  • State residency

Important:

  • Standardized test scores
  • Application essay
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Talent/ability

Not considered:

  • Interview
  • Religious affiliation
  • Demonstrated interest

Consider how you can show what makes you special through your application, especially in your UVA supplemental essays. The UVA admissions office evaluates you based on your potential to succeed, so paint a clear picture of your path to success!

Will the University of Virginia consider my social media?

While thinking about how to get into UVA, you may worry about how your social media presence might affect your admissions odds. UVA receives tens of thousands of applications each year, so readers usually don’t have the time to look at your accounts.

However, you still shouldn’t post offensive or irresponsible content on social media. Even beyond the college application process, you should use social media responsibly. So, our final recommendation is to play it safe. UVA likely won’t read your Twitter or check your Instagram, but there’s always an outside chance.

Is the University of Virginia the school for me?

Ultimately, the UVA admissions process is a two-way street. UVA seeks to cultivate the leaders of the future. However, you must also evaluate whether UVA is the best fit for your goals. 

To listen to the insight of a panel of UVA students, watch this webinar. Visit campus in person or virtually, and get any of your questions answered by emailing The Virginia Ambassadors!

Additional tips to get into the University of Virginia

Start early

The UVA application deadlines can sneak up on you, especially if you are applying through UVA Early Decision. The sooner you begin planning how to get into UVA, the more time you have to improve your profile, activities, and supplemental essays.

Be yourself

UVA admissions wants to get to know who you are. In your UVA supplemental essays, let your personality, interests, and character shine!


This guide was written by Caroline Marapese, Notre Dame ’22. If you want to know how to get into UVA, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes UVA graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.