Characteristics & Qualities of Competitive Applicants

Students who are academically successful, capable and/or have the potential to contribute to our vibrant intellectual community at UVA 

Successful applicants are students who have done well academically within the context of their high school or college setting, based on their coursework and grades. While taking into consideration what is offered and recommended within a student's school, we are interested in applicants who embrace academic challenges across the curriculum, and who are successful within the classroom space.

We are looking for students who love to learn, solve problems, and are actively engaged with peers in the classroom. These students might have a breadth of academic interests, or they might be more singularly focused on one area of study in college. Most first year applicants are unsure of their intended major or college course of study when they apply, and that is fine. A student's academic focus is only a factor when it applies to their choice of undergraduate school at UVA. First year applicants applying to the College of Arts and Sciences, and Schools of Architecture, Education (Kinesiology), Engineering, and Nursing are reviewed by separate admission teams. The same is true for transfer students who are also able to apply to the Batten School of Public Policy and Leadership and the School of Commerce as well as our Teaching, Youth and Social Innovation, and Speech Communication Disorders programs in the School of Education.

We welcome first year applications from, and offer admission to, students who have grown and evolved as students and young adults while in high school. Applicants do not have to present a perfect academic transcript with all A's and double-digit AP courses to be competitive to UVA as a first-year student, but we do look for applicants who have the ability to contribute to the academic life of the University.

We do not use an algorithm or formula when making admission decisions and we do not have thresholds for GPA's, test scores, or the number of AP, IB, dual enrollment, or Cambridge courses a student must take to be eligible for admission. Each applicant is unique and is reviewed within the context of their unique backgrounds, experiences, opportunities, and challenges. Applicants are encouraged to share these stories and this context, and how they have been shaped by them, in their applications.

Students with potential to live lives of purpose, impact, and service to others

Understanding that students have different opportunities based on their background, school, and community, we look for students who have the potential to make a difference in their community, in the UVA community, and in the world. UVA will support students to help them reach that potential.

We seek students who engage in impactful activities and experiences within their schools and communities, and we are especially interested in how these activities and experiences have shaped their character, skills, and knowledge. These activities need not be high school sponsored organizations or events, nor do they need to consume a student's life. We do not count the number of clubs or teams a student has been involved with during high school in order to predict their level of involvement in these, or other, organizations at UVA. We simply invite students, and those who recommend them, to share information with us that will help us to get to know the applicant as an active member of their family, high school, town, or community.

We are deeply interested in students who show kindness, care, and compassion to others and demonstrate character and integrity in all they do.

We are interested in students who directly or indirectly lead others, or who have the potential to lead, ethically and collaboratively. Students might demonstrate leadership in a variety of ways: leading school or community-based organizations, leading in their home or work, leading in the classroom, or leading by example through their character, work ethic, and an ability to build bridges.

Students who demonstrate a determination to succeed

Some students may have overcome significant challenges or shown unusual resilience in their pursuit of success. They may have succeeded in spite of limited opportunities, advantages or expectations. They may show an unusual determination in their studies, extending beyond the classroom space with their pursuit of knowledge. We encourage students to share with us any information that they feel would help us better get to know them, academically or personally.