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
|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.