Is the University of Virginia a Good School?

So, you heard that the University of Virginia (UVA) is a selective school, which is why a degree from it could make your resume a complete winner. It’s definitely a prestigious school — but who is it good for?

The University of Virginia is a good school for students who want to earn a diploma from a flagship school renowned for its roots, academics, campus setting, social life and athletics. Being one of the best value schools in the nation, UVA is also ideal for students from low-income backgrounds.

But before anything else, here’s a fact as to why UVA is a historical treasure:

Thomas Jefferson founded not only the US but also the University of Virginia. When the institution was established, it was some sort of an experiment at that time, too, as it was created as a public school meant to advance human knowledge, educate leaders and cultivate an informed citizenry.


And now, here are some UVA quick stats to check out:

  • Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Founding date: 1819
  • Campus size: 1,682 acres
  • Campus type: Suburban
  • School type: Liberal public research university
  • Reputation: Party school
  • Selectivity level: Most selective
  • Number of majors: 49
  • Popular majors: Architecture, Business, Engineering, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Social Sciences
  • Student body: 25,629 (as per Common Data Set 2020 to 2021)
  • Students per class: 10 to 19 in most classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Retention rate: 97%
  • Graduation rate: 94%
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division I
  • Color: Orange and blue
  • Mascot: The Cav Man
  • Number of varsity teams: 27
  • Sports: Baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, squash, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, wrestling

What is the Ranking of the University of Virginia?

The University of Virginia is a highly ranked flagship school. For instance, it’s #4 in Top Public Schools and #25 in National Universities by US News. On the other hand, UVA is #1 in Top Public Universities in Virginia by Niche. The public institution is #217 in the QS World University Rankings.

Checking out rankings by reliable college rankers can help simplify the task of choosing which between two very similar schools should make it to your college list.

Looking for one that ranks highly across various college ranking sites? Look no further than UVA.

In the US, the University of Virginia is one of the most high-ranking institutions. As a matter of fact, Niche ranks it #3 in Top Public Universities in America. Meanwhile, it’s #5 in Best Public Colleges in the US by College Simply. Forbes ranks UVA #10 in Public Colleges and #26 in Top Research Universities.

The school also makes waves in local or statewide college rankings, not just national ones. Just take a look at the following rankings of UVA by various college rankers:

  • #1 in Best Value Colleges in Virginia (College Simply)
  • #2 in Best Public Colleges in Virginia (College Simply)
  • #2 in Best Colleges in Virginia (Niche)
  • #3 in Best Value Colleges in Virginia (Niche)
  • #6 in the South (Forbes)
  • #7 in Best College Campuses in Virginia (Niche)

UVA is a great place for those who want to pursue a rigorous academic challenge, as well as have fun. There is something for everyone. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find what you’re looking for immediately. The only downsides is the dining options on campus isn’t superb. Go Hoos!

What is the University of Virginia Known For?

The University of Virginia is known for its academics. It’s also famous for having a student body that’s diverse and knows how to party and lead a Greek life. UVA takes pride in its historic founding and the fact that it’s one of the few US institutions that are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Various things make UVA the top-choice school of many college-bound high school students.

One of them is that it’s a flagship school — earning a degree from the crown jewel institution of a state or academic system is definitely a huge plus when it’s time to hunt for a job.

As established earlier, the University of Virginia tends to rank highly in various college rankings, national and statewide alike. It’s also no secret that the public institution is a top party school. But many also know it as a school that was founded by none other than one of the Founding Fathers, the 3rd president of the US, Thomas Jefferson.

Some of the most highly ranked majors at UVA include:

  • Architecture
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Humanities
  • Nursing
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences

When it comes to sports, the University of Virginia is a force to be reckoned with. For instance, its men’s varsity teams have won nine championships. Meanwhile, its women’s varsity teams have won three national championships.

Is the University of Virginia a Party School?

Many different college ranking sites agree that the University of Virginia is one of the best party schools in the land. As a matter of fact, it was #1 in 2012 Top Party Schools by Playboy. For 2022, UVA is #28 in Top Party Schools in America and #1 in Top Party Schools in Virginia by Niche.

As a party school, it goes without saying that UVA is great for those who like earning a degree and having a blast.

Some of the school’s current and former students confirm that there are various parties happening on and off campus almost every night of the week. So, whether you are a party animal or an occasional party goer, not having enough fun and excitement should be the least of your worries if you get accepted into UVA.

Let’s take a look at Niche’s 2022 Top Party Schools in Virginia ranking to give you a much better idea of how the public school fares against others in the state party-wise:

#1University of VirginiaCharlottesville
#2James Madison UniversityHarrisonburg
#3Virginia TechBlacksburg
#4Norfolk State UniversityNorfolk
#5Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk
#6Washington and Lee UniversityLexington
#7Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond
#8Radford UniversityRadford
#9University of RichmondRichmond
#10Virginia State UniversityPetersburg
#11Hampden-Sydney CollegeHampden-Sydney
#12Hampton UniversityHampton
#13Virginia Union UniversityRichmond
#14Longwood UniversityFarmville
#15University of LynchburgLynchburg
#16Roanoke CollegeSalem
#17Shenandoah UniversityWinchester
#18George Mason UniversityFairfax
#19Strayer University – VirginiaArlington
#20Randolph-Macon CollegeAshland

But just because you hate parties doesn’t mean that the University of Virginia is not a good fit for you.

Even though it’s known for having lots of parties, there are also enjoyable activities at UVA available for people who like to socialize without the involvement of alcohol and loud music.

What is the Size and Type of the University of Virginia Campus?

The University of Virginia campus is 1,682 acres. Home to several buildings, 25,629 students and over 800 clubs and organizations, its campus is one of the best in Virginia and the US. UVA is ideal for students who want to earn a degree in a suburban setting without being too far away from the city.

Scenic — if one would have to describe UVA’s campus in one word, it would probably be the perfect one.

After all, the school is located in an independent city that sits peacefully in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are popular for the distinctive haze that covers them.

Besides attending on and off campus parties, which UVA has plenty of, you could also unwind by having some peace and quiet outside the campus. There are many places to visit, ranging from historical sites, museums, art galleries, theaters, taverns, orchards to national parks.

And then there is also the Historic Downtown Mall on Main Street, where you can do all sorts of things, including especially shop and eat — there are more than 120 shops and over 30 restaurants, all housed in historic structures.

UVA college football

Some of the major cities closest to the University of Virginia include:

  • Washington, DC
  • Baltimore
  • Durham
  • Norfolk
  • Chesapeake
  • Greensboro
  • Raleigh
  • Virginia Beach

Schools Similar to the University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is often compared with many academic institutions in and outside the state of Virginia. Those who apply to it also apply to similar public and private schools. UVA is often compared with many elite schools, too, such as the Ivy Leagues, as it’s considered a Public Ivy.

Certain you are what the University of Virginia is looking for exactly? Then it’s a great idea to include similar institutions to it on your college list. Chances are that they will serve as match schools.

There is practically never a shortage of schools that are just like UVA in so many different ways.

Below are some of them — check which of the following schools you would gladly attend just in case you failed to get an acceptance letter from UVA:

  • Boston College. A private research university, Boston College is the very first institution for higher education to operate in Boston. It was established in 1863 as a Jesuit school.
  • Cornell University. The Ivy League school awarded many firsts in the US: the first degree in veterinary medicine and first doctorates in electrical and industrial engineering.
  • Emory University. According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Emory University has the highest percentage of black students among high-ranking national universities.
  • Georgetown University. Considered a Hidden Ivy, Georgetown University, which is located in Washington DC, is the country’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university.
  • Northwestern University. Besides being one of the highest-ranking institutions in Illinois, Northwestern University is also the oldest chartered university in the state.
  • University of Michigan. A public research university, the University of Michigan is known not only for its academics and research opportunities but also for being a party school.
  • Vanderbilt University. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a highly ranked school renowned for its transformative education and research.
  • William and Mary. A Public Ivy, William and Mary is the first US institution with a Royal Charter and the second-oldest US institution for higher education.

Acceptance Rate at the University of Virginia

The acceptance rate at the University of Virginia is 24%. With a little less than a quarter of applicants admitted, UVA is a most selective institution. Early application acceptance rate at the public school is 32%. Generally, more students who apply to colleges and universities early get admitted.

Being a highly ranked flagship school of the state of Virginia, it isn’t surprising why UVA has a low acceptance rate.

As a matter of fact, the University of Virginia is one of the most selective institutions for higher education in the Old Dominion. Just take a look at the following Virginia schools acceptance rate-wise:

Washington and Lee UniversityLexington19%
University of VirginiaCharlottesville24%
Jefferson College of Health SciencesRoanoke28%
University of RichmondRichmond28%
Hampton UniversityHampton36%
College of William and MaryWilliamsburg38%
Advanced Technology InstituteVirginia Beach48%
Liberty UniversityLynchburg51%
Hampden Sydney CollegeHampden Sydney57%
Virginia Military InstituteLexington60%
Virginia Union UniversityRichmond63%
Averett UniversityDanville65%
Eastern Mennonite UniversityHarrisonburg65%
Bridgewater CollegeBridgewater67%
Virginia TechBlacksburg70%
Hollins UniversityRoanoke71%
Randolph Macon CollegeAshland71%
Christopher Newport UniversityNewport News72%
Emory and Henry CollegeEmory73%

Earlier, we mentioned that the acceptance rate is higher for early applicants at UVA — from 24% to 32%.

There are a couple of reasons why the acceptance rates for early applicants at most colleges and universities are higher. First, applying early is a form of demonstrated interest, which is a common non-academic admissions factor. Second, early applicants tend to have stronger applications, so many of them get accepted.

The generalizations about all the snobs and rich kids is very real at UVA. Lots of annoying traditions and niches based on socioeconomic upbringing. The good part about the university is if you can find like minded anti-tradition poor kids like yourself to relate to and make close bonds with. In terms of the actual education, it is very fast paced but equally manageable!

But because UVA’s admissions officers do not care about demonstrated interest, it’s apparent that the higher acceptance rate for early applicants is due to the fact that they have solid applications.

So, is the University of Virginia hard to get into? If you feel that your college list isn’t complete without UVA on it but fear that you might end up not getting an acceptance letter, check out this article. It will shed light as to which applicants usually receive an offer to enroll at the school.

Does the University of Virginia Offer Early Decision?

There are a couple of early admission plans available at the University of Virginia: Early Decision and Early Action. The deadline for both is November 1. The difference between the two is that Early Action is non-binding. However, Early Decision results are released earlier than Early Action results.

Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision — the application steps and admissions process remain the same across these various admission plans UVA offers.

However, as the name suggests, two of them have earlier deadlines and decision notifications.

One of the main things that set Early Decision and Early Action apart is that the former is binding. So, in other words, you would be expected to enroll at the University of Virginia if its admissions officers sent you an acceptance letter. On the other hand, Early Action is non-binding — you could attend another school if you got accepted.

But the good thing about Early Decision is that results come out a couple of months earlier than Early Action. This is true despite the fact that both of them share the same deadline.

It’s a good idea to apply Regular Decision if you feel your senior grades could help improve your application.

Got UVA on your college list? Here are the most important dates to remember:

Early Decision1-NovMid-December
Early Action1-NovMid-February
Regular Decision3-Jan1-Apr

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the University of Virginia?

The total estimated cost of attending the University of Virginia is almost two times more expensive for out-of-state first-year students than in-state ones. The tuition alone for non-Virginia residents amounts to $49,154. On the other hand, the tuition for Virginia residents costs $16,044 only.

Before putting a school on the college list, most students check out its cost of attendance. This is especially true for those who are from low-income backgrounds.

Since the University of Virginia is a public institution, attending it is cheaper for in-state students than those who are from outside the Old Dominion. As a matter of fact, the tuition for out-of-state students is a little more than three times more expensive than the tuition for those who reside in Virginia.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated cost of attending UVA for a year, using the academic year 2021 to 2022 rate:

Room and board$12,660$12,660
Books and supplies$1,396$1,396
Personal expenses$2,584$2,584
Direct loan fees$72$72

It’s a good thing that the school meets 100% of its first-year students’ financial need. But for UVA to be able to meet it via scholarships, grants, work-study and need-based loans, students should apply by the deadline: March 1.

Because of this, it’s no wonder why the University of Virginia has the following rankings value-wise:

  • #1 in Best Value Colleges in Virginia (College Simply)
  • #2 in Top 50 Best Value Colleges – Public Schools (The Princeton Review)
  • #3 in Best Value Colleges in Virginia (Niche)
  • #31 in America’s Best Value Colleges (Forbes)

Related Article: 425 Colleges Charging In-State Tuition for Out-of-State Applicants

How Much Do the University of Virginia Graduates Make?

The average initial annual salary of University of Virginia graduates is $52,800. After 10 years from the time they enrolled at UVA for the first time, employed alumni members earn about $77,200 annually, which is more than 120% higher than what’s considered the national median ($34,300).

Because the degree you will earn as a UVA student is from a flagship school, you could boost your job market value after graduating from the Charlottesville, Virginia-based public institution.

How much money you could be making every year after graduation will be based on several factors.

Some of them include work experience and the length of time you have been a part of the workforce. Another is where in the US you are working and which employer you are working for. Also a contributing factor when it comes to annual earnings is the major.

Speaking of which, the following are the estimated initial annual earnings of UVA graduates by major:

Computer and Information Sciences$85,800
Computer Engineering$83,200
Systems Engineering$78,900
Chemical Engineering$68,000
Civil Engineering$66,500
Registered Nursing$61,300
Nursing Administration$61,300
Biomedical Engineering$58,900
Communication and Media Studies$44,700
Political Science$42,400
Fine Arts$35,000

So, How Good is the University of Virginia?

Because of the school’s historic status, many graduating high school students, whether from Virginia or elsewhere in the country, consider adding the University of Virginia to their college lists.

However, it’s a good idea to apply to UVA not because it’s a well-known institution but because you know it’s the perfect fit for you. And to know whether it’s the right place to earn the right degree, feel free to use all the information you came across above when the college application season comes.

Read Next: Is the University of Virginia Hard to Get Into?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts