This is a difficult time for everyone, and we hope all of you are taking care of yourselves and your families. We’re sorry we won’t be able to meet as many of you in person as we normally would, but the Admissions Office will be back up and running as soon as this is over. Given what everyone is going through, we will also be as flexible as possible. So don’t worry – and please reach out with any questions. Find answers to some of the most common questions.

2020-2021 #UVA Application Writing Prompts

There are three required pieces of writing on our application: the Common App essay and two shorter responses that are specific to UVA. The Common App prompts are on their website. Our prompts are below.

 As always, I'm happy to answer questions you submit in the comments.

2020-2021 First-Year Application Writing Prompts

1. 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 - 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 - Describe an engineering feat that serves the common good and why it inspires you to study engineering.
  • School of Architecture - Describe significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.
  • School of Nursing - Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying nursing.
  • Kinesiology Program - Discuss experiences that led you to apply to the kinesiology major. 

2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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.