Friday afternoon, the University of Virginia offered admission to just over 2,000 students in the third of its three admission cycles, called “regular decision.”
At a time when matriculating high school students have spent much of their time studying remotely because of the coronavirus, the Office of Admission spent the bulk of its time discussing non-academic factors like student drive, motivation, creativity and resilience.
“Much of our focus was on hearing the students’ stories and learning about them as human beings,” said Dean of Admission Greg Roberts. “We were very conscious of the impact COVID-19 has had on them academically and socially and personally.”
This round of 2,123 offers represents 29% of those offered admittance across all cycles. In all, UVA has offered admission to 9,522 applicants.
One of those people is Elizabeth Lee. Lee is from Wasilla, Alaska, and is a QuestBridge Scholar. QuestBridge is a national nonprofit that connects high-achieving, low-income students to universities around the country.
“I was shocked, honestly, and very, very happy,” Lee said in a phone call between classes at Wasilla High School on Thursday afternoon. “When I found out that I had been matched to UVA I was super, super excited and the first thing I did was I went and talked to my school counselor. She was the one that pushed me to do QuestBridge in the first place.”
Lee has never been to Virginia, much less UVA. She will make her first visit in April, when she will fly solo from Wasilla to Charlottesville for Days on the Lawn, a program that helps undecided students get to know the University better. Of course, Lee is fully decided and interested in studying biology or microbiology.
“I’m looking forward to a change in scenery and new opportunities arising, because in Alaska, there’s not a whole lot of opportunities for a lot of things,” she said. “So, by going out-of-state to Virginia, there will be much more opportunity to go and experience new things and become a part of different clubs and meet a whole variety of people.”
UVA has three admission cycles. The first is called “early decision” and is typically for students with particularly strong academic credentials. It is binding. The second cycle, “early action,” is the one in which Lee was admitted. It benefits applicants by notifying them early of their application standing but does not require them to accept their offers or cancel their applications to other schools. Results of the final cycle, regular decision, are the ones that were announced Friday afternoon.
Students admitted through the early action and regular decision cycles have until May 1 to reserve a spot in the Class of 2026 that enters in the fall.
UVA had another record-breaking year, receiving 50,962 applications as compared to 48,011 last year. The Office of Admission is aware that the volume makes it harder than ever to get into the University.
“We are not able to offer admission to every accomplished and talented and deserving student given the large applicant pool and smaller number of spaces in the class,” Roberts said. “We are mindful that this can be a very difficult time for students to whom we were not able to offer admission, and we are thinking of them as well.”
Roberts stressed, however, that students who are not admitted still have the opportunity to enroll and graduate from UVA if they attend another college and transfer to UVA after one or two years.
Virginians placed on the wait list for the College of Arts & Sciences at UVA can attend UVA Wise for one year. If they complete 30 hours of transferrable credit and maintain a 3.0 GPA, they can transfer to UVA’s Grounds in Charlottesville to complete their degrees.
When Lee learned she’d been admitted to UVA she excitedly posted her happy news on Instagram. So did lots of other ecstatic students, using the hashtag #UVA26.