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University of Virginia Undergraduate College Application Essays

These University of Virginia college application essays were written by students accepted at University of Virginia. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.

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College Application Essays accepted by University of Virginia

Ready for the Future Because of My Background Anonymous

University of Virginia

I never knew when I was speaking Farsi, Chinese, or English. After all, I would flit back and forth from my Taiwanese mother to my Persian father, rapidly translating words between them. Then, I’d settle into bed for my regular Dr. Seuss bedtime.

Of Life and Basketball Blake Masters

University of Virginia

Things are not looking good for the Griffins. They have just lost the slight lead they had over their opponent and they seem extremely fatigued. To make matters worse, there are only a few minutes left in the game. My legs feel weak and tell me.

I'm No Buffy the Vampire Slayer Arielle Ring

University of Virginia

A few years ago, USA Today named the star of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the epitome of the modern feminist. Declaring “with her take-no-prisoners attitude. vampire-slaying Buffy Summers has become. a feminist hero who’s.

Into the Heart of Darkness Arielle Ring

University of Virginia

As a sixth-grader obsessed with the Seattle Mariners, I read the newspaper only for the sports page. One morning, however, I came upon a special pullout section as I thumbed for my section. It was entitled “Into the Heart of Darkness,” and I.

I wish I didn't have to. Travis Hodges

University of Virginia

I wish I didn’t have to turn on the news every morning to be enlightened by a perpetually worsening inventory of the events of our civilized world’s current catastrophic plight. In fact, I wish I could watch the news and witness, just once, a.

A Message to a Terrorist Vetan Kapoor

University of Virginia

Confusion and panic were clearly visible. People were running around frantically, shouting and screaming. Everyone was in a hurry. Nobody knew what was going to happen. We were all scared. Fall Fiesta was almost upon us.

The thirty or so students.

Driven Vetan Kapoor

University of Virginia

It was an exhilarating moment that set my heart aflutter. I had in my head an image of James Bond, speeding down a foreign highway in pursuit of justice, a dazzling femme-fatale steering the car ahead of him. As soon as the car stuttered to a.

Kairotic Leadership Anonymous

University of Virginia

“Live the Fourth!” The Fourth of July you might ask? Not quite. I mean the Fourth day of the Kairos Retreat, when we made resolutions and the Kairos spirit was at its peak. Kairos means a spiritual time-a time that can’t be measured in minutes or.

Progress Jorgen Nelson

University of Virginia

I wrestled open the door, juggling the unwieldy fruits of my labor. Here I was again at Sequencing, that cavernous machine-laden room on the 15th floor of the Alkek Building in the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center.

Not Strangers Anymore Anonymous

University of Virginia

My eyes slowly closed to the last chords of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” fading from Mr. Connell’s guitar. It was the first night, and the day had been hectic, but things were going as planned. I looked around the cozy room and saw my classmates.

The Impact of The West Wing On Me Anonymous

University of Virginia

During a trip to the US, my father brought back a boxed set of The West Wing DVDs. While I planned to watch them during my school holiday as amusement, the show instead became an obsession and an education in itself.

My greatest passion has always.

The General Brian Ingram

University of Virginia

I have experienced the scene so many times that all recollections of the event blend together into a single, unforgettable memory. The seasoned, old general, with an eye for perfection, conducted his troops, me included, through daily, often.

A Pencil Anonymous

University of Virginia

Two years ago when I was stuck in the bustling streets of India with my mother in the scalding heat, I sought refuge in an air-conditioned sari shop. I sat down to read the short story which would forever be reverberating in my head: “The Story of.

Personal Statement Joseph Austin Martinez

University of Virginia

My brain never turns off. Problem solving and efficiency have always been a part of me. I am always asking myself, “Can this be done better?” I’m not sure if it’s related to my effort to eliminate distractions, my ADHD, or the nature of being a.

Last Two Summers Joseph Austin Martinez

University of Virginia

During the summer of 2011, I switched to a new club swim team with my best friend and we were motivated to push each other to faster times. That was also my second summer working at my dad’s office, so I was happy to have been given more.

Andrew Joseph Austin Martinez

University of Virginia

I find it incredibly difficult to go through life alone. As humans, we look to others for guidance because sometimes we do not know what is best. Four years ago I joined a new swim team and met my best friend, Andrew. Even though he is two years.

My Confusing Cultural Identity Hannah Khan

University of Virginia

“Aap meri choti shezadi ho, Hannah,” my Pakistani grandfather told me before I moved to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia. I was later able to translate his loving Urdu words into English: “You are my little princess, Hannah.” I am a.

Why I Want a College Education Hannah Khan

University of Virginia

Looking down at the college preparation pamphlet laying on my dresser never seemed so dramatic, but with every word I read, and every page I turned, I could practically feel my future rushing towards me. As I approach the end of my high school I.

Family, my Favorite Word Anonymous

University of Virginia

My favorite word is “family”.

I grew up seeing my family slowly falling apart. My parents too often argued intensely, my dad imposed violence on my mom, and they got divorced eventually.

My dad was not there to protect me from getting hurt. My mom.

Entering Musicianship Anonymous

University of Virginia

When asked how to get to Carnegie Hall, a wise musician replied simply, “Practice.” Although I did plenty of practicing leading up to playing at Carnegie Hall, it was performing in New York that launched me towards true musicianship. The first.

Les Grandes Personnes Aiment Les Chiffres Anonymous

University of Virginia

I grew up in a nonreligious household, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to worship my academics as the key to my success in the future. Instead of praying 5 times daily or memorizing biblical verses, nearly every day my mother.

The Green River Preserve Anonymous

University of Virginia

A home should serve as a transitional space between shelter and the outdoors. In all of the structures that I design, I try to include walls full of windows that will allow in natural light. These windows help to integrate elements of a cozy.

The Time I Quit- A Runner's Perspective Anonymous

University of Virginia

I heard the final call for my race. By now I should have been done with my warm up jog and run-outs and heading over to the check-in tent, spikes in hand, ready to run the 3200 meter race at the State Championship meet. Instead of pinning on my.

All for Freedom Melanie Delgado

University of Virginia

It was Valentine’s Day six years ago. There were no roses, chocolate, or any romanticism in the air; there was instead, the scent of puke, fear, sea spray, yet a trace of freedom. It is mind-boggling what a human being is capable of enduring for.

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Recent Questions about University of Virginia

The Question and Answer section for University of Virginia is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Office of Undergraduate Admission

  • #3 Public University in the Nation
  • 97% Retention Rate
  • 94% Graduation Rate (Highest Among Public Universities)

Statement from Dean Greg Roberts on Student Walkouts

The University of Virginia Office of Undergraduate Admission, like UVA itself, is committed to helping students develop as scholars and citizens. We seek students who fight for what they believe in and strive for justice, equity, and peace.

Voices from a Diverse Community

Take a Virtual Tour of the UVA Grounds!

“I came to UVA because of its incredible professors and fantastic English department.”

-Rawan Abdelrahman, ’17

#UVA Admission information sessions and tours are cancelled today!

Regular Decision Notification Update

Days on the Lawn vs Orientation for #UVA22

There seems to be a little confusion out there about the difference between Days on the Lawn and Orientation. They are very different programs with different purposes, so I thought I’d use the blog to explain.

School of Architecture Chat TONIGHT!

A Statement from Dean Roberts

This afternoon, Dean Roberts asked me to share a statement on social media for him. He wrote this for anyone worried that colleges will penalize students for peacefully taking part in protests organized in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Missing Mid-Year Reports Cause Delays!

For the last few weeks, our staff has been reaching out to students and schools to track down missing application credentials. We’ve sent a couple reminder emails to students with items on their SIS to-do lists and have been processing documents that arrive electronically and by mail as quickly as possible. Most of the missing items are mid-year reports.

Apply to UVA

All applications are submitted through the Common Application.

Early Action Deadline: November 1

Regular Decision Deadline: January 1

Start Your Common Application

Charlottesville, VA 22904

190 McCormick Road

Charlottesville, VA 22903

© 2018 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Testing and Score Choice

Standardized Test Requirements

Applicants are required to have scores from the new SAT or the ACT sent directly from the testing agencies. The SAT Essay and ACT Writing sections are not required. SAT Subject Tests are optional.Our ETS code is 5820. Our ACT code is 4412.

The last recommended test dates for Early Action applicants are the October dates. The last recommended test dates for Regular Decision applicants are the December dates.

Students whose first language is not English or who have attended an English-speaking school for fewer than two years are required to provide evidence of their English proficiency by submitting the results of the TOEFL or the IELTS.

Super Scoring and Score Choice

It has been the Office of Admission’s long-standing policy to consider the best test scores submitted by applicants. When reviewing SAT scores, we use the top score from each section across all administrations of the same exam. Scores from the previous version of the SAT and the current SAT will not be combined. For the ACT, we look at the best composite score and the best subscores, regardless of whether those subscores are from the administration where the best composite was earned.

We hope you will submit all of your scores knowing that we will recombine the sections to get the best possible set of scores.

Charlottesville, VA 22904

190 McCormick Road

Charlottesville, VA 22903

© 2018 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

University of virginia essay

Monday, June 08, 2015

2015-2016 First Year UVa Application Essays

You’ll write one essay for the general Common Application and then you’ll write two short responses to these prompts along with other questions that are specific to UVa. The Common App folks posted the main essay questions a while ago. Here are ours:

  • College of Arts and Sciences – What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences – U.Va. engineers are working to solve problems that affect people around the world, from our long-term water purification project in South Africa to continuing to research more efficient applications of solar power. However, most students start small, by using engineering to make a difference in daily life. If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make your everyday life better, what would you do?
  • School of Architecture – Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
  • School of Nursing – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  • Kinesiology Program – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
  • 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 U.Va. culture. In her fourth year at U.Va., 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?
  • U.Va. 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?

A note about word limits:

We aren’t counting words on these. The word limits are there so you know that we are expecting short statements, not term papers. The boxes where you paste in your essay will cut you off at some point, but there is a little bit of leeway. Be concise and thoughtful in your statement statement and try to convey your voice and style in your words. This is the one spot on your application where your personality gets to shine, so don’t treat this like a formal school assignment.

Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

“Way to tell it like it is, Ivy Coach” – The Dartmouth

University of Virginia Admissions Essays

UVA has released their supplemental college admissions essays for 2013-2014.

The University of Virginia admissions essays have been released for the 2013-2014 admissions cycle and we’ve got the supplemental questions for our readers! So what are their college admissions essay questions? According to the UVA Admissions website, the first question reads as follows:

  • College of Arts & Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • Engineering: If you were given funding for a small engineering project, what would you do?
  • Architecture: Students in the school of architecture study the physical design of the environment in which we live, including cities, landscapes, and buildings. That environment has a profound effect on the way that people and societies interact and develop. Describe how a particular physical place has influenced your growth as a person.
  • Nursing: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  • Kinesiology: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.

That one shouldn’t be too tough for UVA applicants in our opinion. What do you think? And for the second question, the prompt reads, “ Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.” The prompt goes on to include:

  • What is your favorite word and why?
  • The Honor Code at U.Va. states that students will not lie, cheat, or steal. This strengthens our Community of Trust. What would you add to the Honor Code and why?
  • In 2006, graduate student Robert Stilling discovered an unpublished poem by Robert Frost while doing research in U.Va.’s Small Collections Library. Where will your Stilling moment be in college?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language (we’ll welcome you to Grounds, not campus) and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • To tweet or not to tweet?

We like the question about the favorite word and “to tweet or not to tweet?” There’s a whole lot of room for creativity with these kinds of questions. The Robert Frost question is also pretty cool as is the question about your quirks. How are you quirky? Everyone is but are you able to articulate this well in a college admissions essay? That’s what matters.

And while you’re here, check out this post on the UVA president.

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University of virginia essay

Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016-2017 UVA First-Year Application Essays

You’ll write one general essay for the Common App and then you’ll write two short responses on the UVA screen. The Common App announced their general essay prompts back in January. Here’s what you’ll see on the UVA part of the application.

  • College of Arts and Sciences – What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences – If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you do?
  • School of Architecture – Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
  • School of Nursing – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  • Kinesiology Program – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
  • 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?

A note about word limits:

The word limits are there so you know that we are expecting short statements, not term papers. Be concise and thoughtful in your statement statement and try to convey your voice and style in your words. This is the one spot on your application where your personality gets to shine, so don’t treat this like a formal school assignment.

University of Virginia (UVA) 2017-18 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

First thing’s first…

Students hoping to apply to the University of Virginia (UVA) in this coming application cycle – you’re in luck! UVA is one of the first schools to officially confirm their supplemental essay questions for the 2017-18 admissions season. Are you excited? You should be. This means you can start brainstorming for and drafting these school-specific essays now! And trust us, it helps to start early, especially with all the supplemental essay requirements that are about to weasel their way into your world. (Don’t worry – you can handle it!)

Now that the UVA prompts are available, don’t you want to know what are these questions really asking? Of course you do. Which is why we made you a guide. Check out the essay prompts below, along with our explanations for what the questions mean and how to approach them.

The Requirements: Answer two essay prompts of roughly 250 words each.

UVA 2017-2018 First-Year Application Essay Question Explanations

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.

CEA Explains: The first of UVA’s two required essays is specific to the school within UVA to which you will be applying. In most cases, the prompt bears some relation to the classic “Why” essay, which probes for the reasons you are a good fit for a school and vice versa. When you search for answers to this prompt, think about why you want to study what you want to study. What past experiences and commitments will show admissions that you are truly committed to the field you’re interested in. And how might you act on your passions and interests?

The small curve ball in these UVA “Why” prompts is that many of them ask you to demonstrate your interest by discussing a topic or providing a specific example of something that inspires you within your chosen field. In these cases, you won’t be talking about why you want to pursue your chosen field in the abstract, but rather you will prove your interest on the spot with your examination of the subject you choose.

College of Arts and Sciences

What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?

This is one of those curve balls we were just referring to. In asking you about an academic or artistic work that has captured your attention, UVA is asking you to put your love of the arts and sciences on display (which in turn will prove your interest in the school you’re applying to). These kinds of questions can be tricky if specific examples don’t immediately come to mind. Try to avoid the obvious (no Great Gatsby, please) unless you have a hyper-personal connection to the material at hand. Instead, search for concepts, ideas, art and stories that ignited your curiosity, made you fall in love with a subject, or pushed you to new academic heights. We recommend going through your bookshelf and old school notebooks to start to collect ideas worth expanding upon.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you design?

Again, with this prompt UVA wants to see your interest in a subject in action. If you are an aspiring engineering and applied sciences student and those fields are a good fit for your passions and skills, you will very likely be excited by this prompt. After all, it takes a creative and innovative mind to invent something that improves the lives of others – and as an engineer or applied scientist that is exactly what you will be signing up to do. We recommend starting this prompt by interviewing some of the people that are close to you and asking them about the simple annoyances and inconveniences of their daily lives. This should give you some initial ideas for problems that need solving so you can put on your thinking cap and invent some thoughtful solutions. Again, try to stay away from the obvious here. And do your research to make sure the thing you’re trying to create hasn’t already been invented!

School of Architecture

Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.

Answering this prompt requires an interesting combo of creative interest in action and traditional why essay elements. In asking you to describe an inspiration, admissions is not simply asking you to identify something that has motivated your interest – they also want to know WHY the landmark, building, or other element of design struck your fancy. Feel free to expand upon how being exposed to creativity pushed you to explore your own talents. Another helpful hint: using terminology that showcases a command of design and architecture concepts can be really helpful in showing admissions your commitment to the field.

School of Nursing

School of Nursing applicants may have experience shadowing, volunteering, or working in a health care environment. Tell us about a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.

This is yet another prompt from UVA that asks students to detail a specific experience to prove interest in a field of study. It is a bit closer to a traditional why essay in that students should make sure, not just to discuss the experience that led them to pursue nursing, but also to connect that experience to their larger goals for the future. If there are elements of the UVA program that support your particular interest or connect to the experience you choose to highlight, definitely build those bridges to show admissions you are familiar with the programs UVA has to offer and have already connected how your experiences will help you achieve future academic success.

Kinesiology Program

Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.

This is a straight up “why” essay. As such, it asks you to detail your background and exposure to the field of kinesiology and the inspiration and experiences that led you to want to pursue this passion academically and professionally. Be sure to highlight specific activities and experiences from your past to showcase a history of commitment to the field. It also can’t hurt to highlight some of the elements of the UVA kinesiology program that are of interest to you. There is no better way to prove your interest in a school and your determination to master a subject than to show you understand a school’s offerings and have thought through how you will best use the resources at your disposal to accomplish your goals.

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

What’s your favorite word and why?

This prompt has been posed by UVA for a few years in a row now, and it’s one that students usually love or hate. If this question immediately tickles your fancy and you have an idea for the word you’d like to highlight, go for it! If you look at this prompt and feel totally stuck, but still want to try answering it, try this trick: What might you tell admissions about yourself that they haven’t already heard from you in your Common App essay? Is there something in your history and experience worth expanding upon? Once you’ve identified what you want to discuss, think about what words might be helpful launch points for describing that experience and back into your “favorite word.” This is also a great strategy for choosing a word that is slightly less expected than those submitted by the average applicant.

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.

This is another prompt that has appeared on past UVA applications. Most students we’ve worked with seem to have difficulty defining the word “quirk” as it applied to themselves. We like to think of a quirk as something you do regularly that is a bit bizarre or charming. For example, our founder often bursts into spontaneous song when she’s happy. (Don’t tell her we told you.) What might that say about her? That she’s an optimist and an extrovert? That she knows all the words to The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World”? (She does.) Whatever you choose to highlight, it should reveal something to admissions about your character and personality. If you don’t think you have quirks, you’re probably just not attuned to them – they’re hard to identify from the inside. So maybe ask a parent or a friend if you do anything out of habit that makes them laugh or even shake their heads in mock disapproval. You’d be surprised what you do routinely and never notice!

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?

Responding to this prompt is a fantastic way to showcase an area of interest or passion you have not had the opportunity to expand on already. Maybe you want to teach an entire course of the history of rock poster art. Or pizza-making. Can you combine two of the things you love and discuss the unusual ways in which these things intersect with and influence each other? Make sure you are answering the question and that you frame your subject of interest as something that would make for an interesting course. And try not to limit yourself to the academic – many subjects can be explored through an intellectual lens if you approach them in an unexpected and creative way.

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?

This final prompt choice is glorious in its infinite potential. You can choose to elaborate on anything about which you feel passionately here. Do you want to send a message to your fellow students about the environment? Maybe you want to rally students to join you at a demonstration of some kind. What is important to you, and what might be important to communicate to other people in your community? Essays responding to this prompt tend to lean in the direction of activism and community engagement, but don’t feel limited to these angles – anything you want to share with other UVA students is fair game, as long as it is reflective of something about which you feel strongly. After all, you’re trying to communicate what it important to you, both to the community and to admissions.

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