If you’ve ever looked in a Commerce classroom, you’ll notice that the room is amphitheater-style and that everyone uses name tents. The classrooms are designed this way to be more conducive to classroom discussion—students can see each other’s faces and learn their names. Professors lecture just like in any other University class, but there is a lot more student participation. Discussion helps students understand the topics from different perspectives and also challenges them to tackle problems differently than they normally would. This is a great way to learn content as well as to learn about your peers. Everyone is open, excited, and respectful, which makes for a great learning environment.
You might be wondering if the Comm School is only a good fit for extroverts. The answer is NO, absolutely not! Many students want the opportunity to speak, but no one is speaking over others. Because the discussions are mediated by professors, everyone will have the chance to speak if they choose. I’ve noticed that most students usually feel strongly about or are highly interested in at least some topics throughout each course, and it’s a great opportunity to bring in outside examples or other related knowledge you might have. I was afraid at first of raising my hand to offer my opinions and responses in front of my class of 40 students; however, each time I spoke, it was less nerve-wracking than the last and I got a lot of public-speaking practice throughout as well.
–Third-Year McIntire Student
An internship is not at all necessary between your first and second years. Do what you love to do. I worked as a lifeguard between my first year and second years. This past summer, between my second and third years, I worked as an Orientation Leader instead of pursuing an internship. It is important to remember that you are not expected to complete an internship during these summers and that everyone has a different story. I viewed my Orientation Leader experience as an opportunity to improve myself in a holistic sense. I looked to enhance my public speaking ability, among other skills. Don’t forget, however, that everyone has taken a different path to get where they are today. Some of my friends traveled, some took classes, and some even took the summer off to relax. There isn’t a set path to success; do what you love and everything else will fall into place.
-Third-Year McIntire Student
The Commerce School has a reputation for being intense, especially during the first semester. Balancing lengthy readings, a variety of assignments, and endless group work can be challenging. I am going to share with you a few tips that helped me juggle all the demands of the Commerce School:
- Purchase a planner and use it. Without a doubt, this is the best piece of advice I can give you. By placing all of your assignments, project deadlines, and other commitments in a planner, you can easily carve out times to work on individual assignments or meet with your group. It also allows you to look into the future easily. You can quickly tell which weeks will be lighter and which will be much tougher, and then prepare accordingly.
- Be flexible. Especially within a group, everyone is going to have very different schedules. You are going to have to meet when you do not want to sometimes. Even if the meeting is not at an optimal time, it is better to go with that time than to push the meeting off until later. Due dates always come up more quickly than you ever expect.
- Use your free Fridays to your advantage. No, you do not need to work all day. Putting in two or so hours to read, however, will go a long way in making the following week easier. And if you are behind, this free time is a great way to catch up without falling further behind.
- Make time for the things you love. Balance is key in life. Although there will be a lot of work to do, it is important to make time for you. It can feel like you have no time to spare. You always do though. Giving just 20 minutes a day to do something you love is not that hard to do. You will feel better after you do it!
Everyone quickly finds their own ways to juggle all the demands. If you are unable to make it work, your professors are there to support you. Reach out to any of them. I can guarantee that they would be willing to help you.
Submitted by a Third-Year Commerce Student
People often ask, “How many extracurriculars should I be involved in to get into McIntire?” There is no answer to this, as there is no secret formula to getting in. McIntire is looking for quality rather than quantity. Just show who you are! There is so much to explore at UVA, and no two McIntire students have the same roster of activities. Students play sports, get involved in philanthropic organizations, volunteer, join culture clubs, learn through academic clubs, and find jobs. Many continue activities they’ve loved since high school, as well as find new activities at UVA. There is something to be said about a student who can learn and contribute in any activity they do. As long as you show this, there is no reason to feel pressured to join the same clubs that you hear your other pre-Commerce friends are joining.
Co-curriculars, along with the rest of the application, are important in evaluating how well-rounded a student is and whether they will be able to bring new perspectives to McIntire. McIntire wants to see people who love what they do and will bring that to their classes. So if you are doing things that you enjoy at UVA, then you are on the right track.
What’s it like to reach your goal after two years of hard work? Turns out, it’s a whirlwind of excitement, meeting new people, learning more information than you thought was possible in just three days, and (already) staying up a little later than expected.
My first week in ICE was unforgettable. I loved being in a room with 40+ other people who share the same broad interests as I have but who could provide perspectives I had never even considered. This became apparent as we discussed our first case in class, and I knew that I would not only learn from the great professors but from my block members as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find how well my team got along from the beginning. The fourth-year mentors had mentioned that teams truly become family, and I can definitely see it happening. Less pleasant was the immediate workload. Imagine a fire hose on full blast, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. The readings/case studies, however, provide real-world examples (think Netflix and Trader Joe’s) to study and learn from. Basically, it’s a TON of reading, but most of it is really cool.
My first week in McIntire has concluded, and I’m excited to see what the rest bring. I’m looking forward to the kickball tournament, the pizza socials, and, as crazy as it sounds, the late nights with my team spent working on our project. I know it’ll be a tough year, but it’ll be spent surrounded by incredible students and supportive faculty, and in one of the most beautiful buildings on Grounds.
-Third Year Commerce Student
Welcome to the University of Virginia, Class of 2020!
As a fourth-year, I am a little jealous that you have four great years ahead of you here in Charlottesville. I still remember my first day of classes like it was yesterday. The highlight of my day was not getting lost on Grounds. As I begin my last year and reflect on my past three years, I cannot believe how the University has shaped me. I have made the best friends, taken some cool classes, and learned a lot about myself. These next few years are a great chance to explore your interests both inside and outside the classroom.
If you are considering business, there are many opportunities to learn about the McIntire School of Commerce before you would apply during your second year. You can tour Rouss & Robertson Halls, visit a class, or take advantage of advising for prospective students. You can learn more at https://www.commerce.virginia.edu/undergrad/engage-us. Another great resource is this blog. It is filled with information catered specifically to pre-Comm students. Check back often, as it is updated frequently.
Another great way to learn more about McIntire is by talking to current students. As you get more involved at UVA, I am sure you will meet a student who will share their experiences with you and answer any questions. You can always reach out to one of the McIntire Ambassadors at any time as well.
Best of luck to each and every one of you as you begin your journey as a Cavalier. Your four years will fly by, so enjoy every moment and take advantage of every opportunity you get. Wahoowa!
Being deferred from McIntire is in no way a bad thing. In fact, almost half of each McIntire class is composed of students who were originally deferred. It means that you are a strong applicant who could succeed in McIntire but may be currently lacking in one of the areas stressed by the Admissions Committee. In my experience, it was usually obvious to those who were deferred what they needed to work on. Some students recognize that their GPA had been affected by a bad semester. Being deferred gives them the opportunity to excel in the current semester and show the committee that they can work hard and recover from slips. In addition, students who feel they weren’t actively involved in the community have a whole semester to find something they’re passionate about and tell the committee about their involvement. Deferred students are given the opportunity to write an essay after the spring semester, allowing them to convince the Admissions Committee why they are fit for McIntire. In addition, deferred students are encouraged (and absolutely should) interview with McIntire alumni so they can voice their qualifications and show that they are passionate about joining the McIntire community. Overall, being deferred is a chance to improve, and an extremely motivating one. Personally, my spring semester of my second year was one of my best yet because I was determined to be a McIntire student and knew I needed to prove myself.
Current Third-Year Commerce Student
Enrolling in the Commerce School does not mean giving up what you have been doing and enjoy doing. In other words, if you are looking to finish another major or minor outside of the Commerce School or simply just want to try out different classes, you can do that! To prove this point, I will share a little bit of my personal experience.
Before joining the McIntire community, I always knew that I wanted to master a third language someday. Having arrived at UVA with a decent amount of credits for Spanish already, I decided to declare either a major or minor to complement my Commerce studies. However, I soon realized that my schedule could not fit the 12 required courses for the Spanish major. I did not give up and continued my search in the Spanish department, hoping to find another program that would fulfill my needs, and found the Business Spanish minor. This program is perfect for me because it has a study-abroad requirement that can help me better achieve fluency while requiring only six courses to fulfill.
I am very content with my choice to continue my Spanish studies even after joining McIntire. The Business Spanish minor has opened doors to many more opportunities for me, both in the context of job search and co-curricular activities. Most important of all, it allows me to continue to study what I enjoy.
My only regret is not being able to plan more ahead of time to allow a semester of study abroad in Valencia. My Spanish proficiency improved a lot from my trip to Valencia this past summer. I realized that I would have liked to stay longer to take further advantage of the cultural immersion. Therefore, my advice is to figure out which major or minor outside of the Commerce School you would like to pursue, gather information from both the department faculty and peer students to make informed decisions, and just go for it! Start planning your semester coursework and know that McIntire does not have to be a choice you make at the expense of another.
Posted by a Third-Year McIntire Ambassador
There is a common misconception among pre-Comm students (including myself), when they first arrive on Grounds, that the majority of classes taken before applying McIntire have to be commerce, math, economics, or something business-related. I promise you this is not true! Though you do have to complete all the required courses, it is highly recommended that you take no more than two prerequisites per semester, leaving lots of room in your schedule for the class you heard about that UVA students just have to take. Looking back at my favorite classes so far, although I enjoyed many of the prerequisites, all the cool and “random” classes I took before entering McIntire definitely top the list, as they exposed me to interesting subjects I had no knowledge of before. Though these courses I took have little to do with the commerce-related subjects I’m studying, what I learned from these various electives made me a more well-rounded person, enabling me to contribute to conversations on a variety of topics.
College, especially a school like UVA, is the one place where you’ll be able to explore and learn about that random topic that has always interested you, so don’t let this opportunity go to waste by limiting yourself solely to business-related classes. With entrance into the Comm School not starting until your third year, this gives you ample time to take classes on a variety of subjects that catch your interest. If you’re worried that admissions will think you’re doing this to get an easy A, don’t be (as long as this really isn’t your intention). McIntire is all about learning from each other’s diversities, and possessing knowledge about a variety of subjects is one easy way to contribute to this. So when you’re on SIS and that cool class taught by that one-of-a-kind professor catches you’re attention, click enroll—trust me you’ll be happy you did!
The first year in college is a new and exciting experience for most students, who are able to explore and enjoy many different activities now that they are on their own. Although there are plenty of things to do during your first year, I suggest keeping at least two things in mind, especially if you’re interested in applying to McIntire: (1) Explore many options and (2) work hard.
I encourage you to try as many different activities as you can your first year, especially those you feel uncomfortable with. College is a time to get out of your comfort zone and discover new clubs and extracurriculars you hadn’t considered before. These clubs do not necessarily have to be Commerce clubs either; McIntire appreciates diversity in its applications. Find clubs where you can make new friends, work on something you’re passionate about, and develop relationships outside of Comm. These will keep you going once you’re in McIntire and spending most of your time on Comm-related coursework and activities.
As tempting as it is to just have fun, put in a good amount of effort toward working hard and smart for your classes as well. It is much easier to maintain a good GPA than to improve a lousy one. The ramifications of a bad GPA go beyond applying to McIntire; your GPA can affect your internship and job prospects as well.
First year is a great time to have fun and try many different things. Keep the importance of working hard in mind, though, and you should be off to a good start.
Submitted by a McIntire Student