McIntire Admission for UVA Students – “Nobody Gets in So Don’t Even Bother Applying”

How many of you have heard that “nobody gets accepted to McIntire”? Well don’t believe it; in fact, MOST UVA students who apply ARE admitted, so you should definitely apply! I want to use this post to share with you data regarding the UVA internal pool and decision process. This is really for you first- and second-year students already at UVA. My next post will focus on the data and process for external applicants or those applying to transfer to UVA/McIntire from other colleges and universities.

Yes, admission is competitive, but don’t most outstanding accomplishments take a little extra work? As you can see from the data below, approximately, 400-500 students enrolled at UVA (almost always in the second year and mostly from the College) apply each year. McIntire is approved to enroll around 300 students from within the University each fall, so we generally make a few offers over 300. In fact, about 65–75% of the UVA students who apply are admitted. You can also see that the average UVA cumulative GPA of these admitted students is pretty competitive, at 3.6. Remember, this is only the average and NOT a cut-off. Last year’s admitted cumulative GPAs ranged from 3.01 to 4.0. Thus, you really need to try and maintain at least a B to B+ average to be competitive.

Internal Applications Summary

2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Applications 468 521 499 439 462
Offers 319 311 310 312 309
Offer Rate 68% 60% 62% 71% 67%
Mean UVA GPA 3.62 3.62 3.58 3.53 3.51

Why does one applicant with a 3.0 get in and another with a 3.3 not get in? GPA is only one factor and the Admission Committee looks at multiple factors in the admission process. Many elements make up the cumulative GPA, including how many hours you carry and course difficulty, so we are not comparing “apples to apples” and looking only at the final number. We look at your entire transcript. In addition, the committee looks closely at seven prerequisite courses–COMM 1800, COMM 2010, COMM 2021, MATH, STATS, ECON 2010 and ECON 2020–and actually calculates something we call a “mini GPA.” Last year, the average mini GPA of the admitted students was 3.56, with a range of 2.72–4.0. Because of the importance of the prerequisite classes, I always encourage students to spread these classes out over the first two years and to not take more than two mini-courses in one semester if possible. Too often, I see students overly anxious, taking lots of the prerequisite courses too soon and not doing as well as they could if they spread them out. You have four semesters to take these courses; there’s no need to rush. At the same time, make sure you are taking full and challenging loads with a broad variety of classes. The committee gets concerned about your oral and written skills if you are taking only math and econ courses. Conversely, make sure that you have enough quantitative courses (the mini GPA courses are all pretty quantitative) to show us you have the ability to crunch the numbers. Once admitted to the Commerce School (think positive on this!), you will have to take 15 challenging credits each semester your third year, so the committee wants to make sure you can handle this workload.

The other reality of this process is that a 4.0 GPA does not guarantee admission. Yes, we have actually denied a student with a perfect GPA! McIntire is training future business and industry leaders, so we want to see strong communication and teamwork skills and involvement outside of your academic pursuits. You will be asked to list no more than five co-curricular activities on the application. These include work, clubs, and organizations. We don’t prefer one activity over another; we just want to see that you are involved and contributing to your community. Some applicants think they have to have real work experience or an internship – absolutely NOT! You are only a second-year! Just find something you enjoy and care about and get involved. It is not about how many activities you are involved in, but that you are doing something. Working out at AFC or playing World of Warcraft really doesn’t look impressive to the committee as an activity on your application. Doing nothing at UVA isn’t going to look impressive either.

Every applicant is different, just like every student is different. You are going to have strengths and weaknesses, and there is no magic formula or perfect path to become a competitive McIntire applicant. Here are a few of my tips, presented at our recent advising sessions, to help you stay on the right track to become a competitive applicant, but most of all I encourage you to be yourself and spend your time pursuing classes and activities that hold great interest to you! If you enjoy what you are doing, you will naturally excel.

Hope this helps and feel free to send us an email if you have any questions! Enjoy the cool fall weather.

The Classroom Environment: A Fourth-Year Student’s Perspective

_C016279The classroom experience at McIntire is certainly different from other classes I’ve experienced. In other classes, you may well be one of the several hundred students with the usual plan of “come in, sit down, take notes, and leave.” At McIntire, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. The Comm School is a small community, and it quickly becomes a familiar and friendly one. Believe it or not, if you’re in the building during the day, chances are, so are your professors! And although you might be accustomed to knowing only a handful of people in your College classes, at McIntire, your classmates become some of your closest friends.

The class sizes usually range from 20 to 58 students. In other words, from your very first day in third year, the professors will try to get to know you; in fact, they want to get to know you. The classroom is a place for sharing ideas and opinions, and the bottom line is that professors want to know what you think and to hear from you–so much so, that in some classes as much as 50% of your grade for the semester is based upon class participation. You’ll have a different perspective than your classmate sitting next to you, and it’s this exchange of dialogue, mediated by your professor, that makes being in a small classroom one of the best aspects of McIntire. It’s always an engaging, interactive experience.

At the same time, this makes it even more essential that you come prepared. The assigned readings are meant to help support the discussions, and although it may seem overwhelming at times, it’s expected that you complete all the readings (they wouldn’t be assigned if there weren’t a key takeaway somewhere in there). With this emphasis on learning from every individual, the Comm School classroom is at times a fast-paced environment, and always an incredibly rewarding experience.

I hope this gives you an inside perspective. To experience this yourself, sit in on one of our classes by contacting the Student Services Office to arrange a visit.

Submitted by a fourth-year Comm student

How Difficult Is It to Get into McIntire from Another College or University?

So you are interested in transferring to the McIntire School. Don’t be intimated by the 16% acceptance rate – getting in is very possible. Although we only admit 35 “external” transfer students each year, there are very specific things you can do to improve your chances of admission. First and foremost, make sure you have or will have completed all the requirements. At least half of the applications submitted from external transfers don’t indicate enough hours (at least 54 needed, but 60 is better) or the correct prerequisite courses. Once we get down through these applicants, it is a much smaller pool. Just as with internal applicants, we look at multiple criteria when evaluating the application. You will actually be applying to transfer to UVA; then you should indicate McIntire as the school on the application. As a transfer, you must select a school to which you are applying.

Another question that comes up a great deal is whether transfer students should apply to the College and then transfer to McIntire through the internal process. Although this might seem to give a better chance of being accepted, looking at the acceptance rates, this really isn’t the case. If you will have completed two years prior to enrollment, you definitely should apply directly to McIntire. If you have completed one year, you could transfer to the College and then apply to McIntire; however, be cautioned that the internal pool is much more competitive, and typically being admitted right after just transferring is challenging. If coming to UVA is the ultimate goal and you will be happy with either the College or McIntire, then come on. But if McIntire is more important than UVA, you probably are safest to complete your two years and requirements before applying directly to McIntire. Obviously, Virginians have a slight advantage, and we also admit students with associate’s degrees from the Virginia Community College System at a much higher rate. So if you really want to get into McIntire, but didn’t come to UVA as a first-year student, I encourage you to enroll and complete your associate’s degree at a Virginia community college. Unlike the College and Engineering School, however, McIntire does not have a guaranteed admission for VCC students, and the average GPA of our transfers is quite high, at around 3.8. So, you really need to do very well wherever you are enrolled and also be involved outside the classroom. We will look at “load” and take into consideration students who have to work, etc. Finally, if you are planning to apply as a transfer student, I strongly encourage you to contact Ms. Fields to go over your classes and make sure that you will have all the requirements completed. See her blog post on Information about Transferring. If you can, it would be great to come for a visit, meet with Ms. Fields, and sit in on a class. We look forward to seeing you around the halls and Rouss and Robertson. Dean L

Engineering Business – What Is This at UVA?


We are often asked about programs that combine business and engineering. The McIntire School and the Engineering School do not have a joint or dual degree. In fact, no joint or dual degrees exist at UVA except in the case of a few Education programs. The Engineering School offers an engineering business minor, available only to Engineering students, in which students take several McIntire courses on a space-available basis. At UVA, you must be enrolled in a specific school, and the school you are enrolled in during your final semester is the school from which you receive your degree. It is possible to complete a second major from another school at UVA, but it is not a second degree. A student may apply to the McIntire School (typically during the second year), enter the McIntire School for the third and fourth years, and complete the B.S. in Commerce as well as a second major in one of the Engineering departments. However, this combination is very rare and difficult. Any student who enters the McIntire School must complete 39 credits in Commerce courses during the third and fourth years, leaving 21 credits to be completed outside of the School. So, if the course scheduling works out, a student can complete a second major in Engineering with 21 credits during the third and fourth years. Many students who have attempted this approach discover that it is too challenging, and it makes more sense to complete the B.S. in Engineering and then later pursue a graduate business degree. One student completed the B.S. in Commerce with a second major in Engineering, but he had to petition and get special permission to stay a ninth semester.

Given these challenges, many students may find that it makes more sense to complete a B.S. in Engineering and then stay an extra year for the McIntire School’s M.S. in Commerce Program, as mentioned above. Students often ask about the relative advantages and disadvantages of the business minor or a double major versus the B.S. in Engineering and M.S. in Commerce. With the Engineering minor, students receive a sample of the Commerce prerequisites (which is good preparation for the undergraduate or graduate Commerce program) and develop a general understanding of introductory business topics. With a B.S. in Engineering, most graduates will enter an organization through the technical rather than business side of the firm. The B.S. or M.S. in Commerce allows graduates to enter the firm through the business side of the organization, and although these degrees may not bring a larger starting salary, they provide a stronger set of business skills for the long term.

If you are currently enrolled in the Engineering School, I encourage you to meet with someone in the Engineering School’s Undergraduate Programs Office and to visit McIntire for our walk-in hours for pre-Commerce students.

No single path is best; you need to decide what works for you. Good luck! Dean L

The Application Is Available – Are You Ready?

By now, most of you who plan to apply for fall 2012 know that the application is now available online. As you begin to prepare your application (after exams, please!), please be aware that some questions and concerns may come up when you start to review. Please check the following as you prepare your application:

  • Make sure that your name and all contact information are correct in SIS, including both local and permanent addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and the spelling of your name.
  • Check to make sure that any AP credit and/or testing credit you received are listed on your transcript, especially if these are being used to satisfy any of the prerequisites.
  • Review any waivers you have been given. The more common of these are foreign language through placement exams and English writing through SATs or portfolio reviews. If you believe that you have received a waiver(s) for a requirement and the requirement is showing up as missing, contact the Comm Admissioner for further information.
  • Remember that all prerequisites MUST completed by the time you would enter the School should admission be offered. If you are missing a requirement, please make note of this on the application where provided. You will need to complete the course in the summer; if you do not and are offered admission, the offer can be rescinded.
  • Spring courses should be on your transcript so that the committee will know what courses you are planning to take. Some of you may still be adding or changing courses; if your schedule changes after you have submitted the application, please be aware that we receive updated copies of your transcript and will be able to review these changes.
  • Do not make the mistake of getting hung up on courses that you think will look good to the committee. You should challenge yourself in your course selection, but also make sure these are courses that you will enjoy and learn from.
  • Check your essays, and do not rely on spell-check. This feature, wonderful as it is, can suggest a wrong word. Proofread more than once and have someone review all of your essays.
  • Do not hit submit too soon. The review of applications will not begin until after the due date of Jan. 23, 2012, so submitting early does not benefit you. Make sure you have everything taken care of, reviewed, listed, and completed before you click on that icon. Most importantly, make sure your grades from fall are listed and correct.

More information about the admissions process and awaiting the decision is coming soon.

Differential Tuition

Dear Pre-Commerce Students,

As you may have heard, the UVA Board of Visitors approved a differential tuition plan Friday for third-year students entering the Comm School next year. In addition to base tuition, 2011-2012 third-year students will be charged an additional $3,000 for the academic year, most of which will flow directly to the School’s operating budget. Given your interest in attending the McIntire School, I want to explain this initiative to you.

The decision to assess differential tuition for McIntire students was not an easy one. After lengthy consideration and analysis, we determined that this step was essential to maintain McIntire’s status as a global leader in business education and to continue critical investments in the future of the School and its students. As you know, the University and the School have experienced several years of significant budget reductions, and our ability to maintain and enhance the value of the McIntire degree was clearly threatened. Revenue generated by differential tuition will assist us in our efforts to recruit and retain world-class faculty members who—through their commitment to innovation, emphasis on a strong and caring community, and remarkable dedication to our students’ success—will help to ensure the School’s continued excellence. Differential tuition will also be used to support, enhance, and expand the value-added programs and services—including the Commerce Career Services Office, the McIntire Student Services Office, the Technology Support function, and our global initiatives—that enable McIntire to provide its students with an unparalleled educational experience.

Although differential tuition is new to undergraduates at the University of Virginia, it is a common funding mechanism at many of McIntire’s peer undergraduate business programs. In comparison with these programs, and even with the addition of the differential tuition, McIntire still stands as a fantastic value in undergraduate business education. We are also setting aside a significant portion of the new revenues for financial aid, so students who qualify will be able to access these funds. Furthermore, differential tuition will act to enhance the value of a McIntire education: A student’s day-to-day educational and career-preparation experience will directly benefit from the additional revenue generated, and the assessment of differential tuition will ensure that a McIntire degree remains a valuable asset throughout the lives and careers of our graduates.

I hope that your commitment to attend Comm School and to join the extraordinary McIntire community remains strong. Our commitment to recruiting and enrolling the best and the brightest is unwavering, and I am convinced that the return on your investment will be more than worth it. Once again, your Commerce degree will be a tremendous value.

I appreciate that you understand the need to make this change in the School’s tuition structure, and the approval of this plan is an essential step in a new financial model for the McIntire School and, potentially, the University. As always, if you have any questions or comments, I am happy to respond to them, or you may discuss them directly with our great staff in the McIntire Student Services Office. You may also review the announcement and frequently asked questions posted on the McIntire News Blog. Thank you very much for your continuing interest in the McIntire School, and I hope that you have a terrific semester and spring break.


Carl Zeithaml


Course Registration Tips for First- and Second-Year UVA Students

Registration for spring courses is coming up very shortly, and many of you may be wondering about what courses you should be taking. You might be torn between two classes and worrying if one course will look better to the Admissions Committee than the other; but what if you are REALLY interested in the ‘other? Below are just a few suggestions we hope will help:

1. Stay on track with your area requirements. Completing courses in all these areas will benefit you no matter what your major and provides an excellent broad based educational foundation.

2. Take courses you are interested in or curious about; it’s okay to explore.

3. Challenge yourself but don’t go overboard; don’t enroll in a 4000-level course unless you have a solid base for the material that will be covered.

4. Plan ahead. As move forward in your academic career, so should your difficulty of courses. Once you are a second-year, your coursework should consist mainly of 2000-level courses.

5. Don’t overanalyze courses to look for “business-related” courses. Business is everywhere, whether you look for it or not. A politics course can be very valuable because politics influences business and vice versa. Sociology courses can help you develop critical thinking skills as well a deeper understanding of social environment – which has an impact on business. Just because “business” isn’t in the title doesn’t mean the course is not applicable to a business career.

6. Don’t worry too much about what will look better to the Admissions Committee. Take courses that interest you.

7. Choose courses that go along well with your area of interest: Marketing? Take some psychology or sociology courses or media studies courses. International? Take courses in foreign affairs, or continue in a foreign language or courses that emphasize global issues. Finance? Consider additional math or economics courses.

Finally, remember that College is your time to explore and broaden your perspective; take full advantage of this time and the opportunities before you. Below are some tips from Dean Leonard’s recent advising presentation that might help you further with course selection for spring.

Admissions Information – Academic Advice

Take full loads with challenging courses from various areas (e.g., quantitative, oral and written communication, ethics and moral reasoning, global perspective).

Stay on track to complete your area requirements in the College of Arts & Sciences, and explore possible majors in the College.

Spread the prerequisites out; don’t take more than two mini GPA courses in the same semester.

Get involved outside of the classroom.