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FAQ from Dean Leonard on the Difficult College Acceptance Decision

Email from a Parent to Dean Leonard

Hello,

I saw your email and blog post and am taking the liberty of emailing you. We live in Virginia, and our son has been admitted to both UVA and a private university. He has not gotten into McIntire but would like to do so if he attends UVA. We are struggling with this decision and would appreciate any perspective you may have.   

The economic choice for us, as in-state residents, is obvious: $30K for UVA vs. $72K for the private university. 

Since he is not guaranteed admission into McIntire, if our son chooses to go to UVA and does NOT get into McIntire, he will have to continue at UVA as a non-business major. On the other hand, with the private school, he is guaranteed to receive a business degree.   

How hard is it to really get into McIntire? And what are his options, short of transferring, if he does not get in?   

Thank you in advance for any perspective you can share.  

Anxious Dad

From Dean Leonard

Dear Anxious Dad,

Congratulations on your son’s acceptance to two great programs. I hope that he is attending one of the Days on the Lawn sessions being held this month for admitted students and that he will attend the McIntire session held at 10:30 a.m. each of the six days. At that session, he will learn about McIntire’s unique integrated approach to the delivery of business education combined with liberal arts preparation that only McIntire can provide. This integrated core curriculum is a key reason McIntire consistently ranks as one of the top business programs in the world. First and foremost, if you have this financial flexibility, I encourage you to let your son make the ultimate decision and to really think about where (geographic, demographic, etc.) he most wants to spend the next four years. Students can find their place and thrive at any institution if they go with an open mind and willingness to get involved and work hard.

The risk of not getting into McIntire is one that students who come to UVA with a desire to pursue business must accept, and understandably, that makes the decision more difficult.  However, “most” (60-70%) students who apply to McIntire are admitted, and those who are not remain at UVA, pursuing a major that leads them toward their desired career goals with a degree from one of the best public institutions on the country! Most business-related activities and organizations are open to all UVA students, and we have an exceptional University Career Center that works with all students.

I think if you ask anyone in public accounting, banking, finance, consulting, and even data analytics, they will say our program has a very solid national brand and that our graduates are aggressively sought out by top companies and firms. But again, determining where your son wants to be in terms of community should be an important factor. I am confident that if you calculate the return on investment over the long term, UVA and McIntire will come out ahead.

Thank you for your email and interest in the McIntire School of Commerce. Should you or your son (we always prefer to speak directly to the “customer”) have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the McIntire Office of Undergraduate Admission at 434-924-3865.

Best,
Rebecca Leonard
Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Admission

Undergraduate Admission Process, March 2017 Update

From the Desk of Rebecca Leonard, Associate Dean, McIntire School of Commerce

Re: Undergraduate Admission Process, March 2017 Update

The McIntire School of Commerce Undergraduate Admission Committee has completed the initial reading of fall 2017 applications from UVA students.

Summary of Application Information

Of the 508 UVA students who applied, the School will ultimately be able to offer admission to 320-330 students. The applicants once again presented remarkably strong credentials, with an average UVA cumulative GPA of 3.58. On March 9, emails will be sent to University students regarding the Admission Committee’s decision. Of the 508 students who applied, 260 were offered admission, 129 were deferred, and 119 were declined admission.

At the end of the spring semester, the Committee will review additional application information from the 129 deferred students and anticipates making offers to approximately 65 of those applicants. In addition to spring grades, deferred applicants will have the opportunity to submit another written essay and to participate in an interview to demonstrate oral communication skills.

A Holistic Evaluation

Throughout the selection process, the Committee considers multiple factors, including communication skills, leadership and teamwork skills, co-curricular engagement, academic performance, and strength of semester schedule/course load, as evidenced through the application. Those students admitted achieved an average UVA cumulative GPA of 3.75, with a range of cumulative GPAs from 2.95 to 4.0, demonstrating the Committee’s holistic evaluation of each applicant. Those students deferred achieved an average UVA cumulative GPA of 3.50. In addition to outstanding academic performance, students offered admission and deferral demonstrated exceptionally strong leadership skills and co-curricular activities. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

2017 Admissions by the Numbers

For Additional Information

Students with questions regarding the undergraduate admission process should contact the McIntire Office of Undergraduate Admission at 434-924-3865 or commerceadmissions@virginia.edu or are welcome to come by during walk-in advising beginning Monday, March 13, 2017.

What Now?

Now that you have submitted your application, you probably feel a great sense of relief as well as some apprehension regarding the upcoming admissions decision. So what do you do during those awkward weeks as you wait? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Do not second-guess yourself. Don’t start thinking about what you should have, could have, or would have written now that you’ve had more time to ponder your essays. It’s done – do not dwell on this.
  • Be aware that we will update all SIS data prior to reviewing, so if your schedule changes, this will be reflected in your application. This includes withdrawing from courses, so be very careful when adjusting your schedule.
  • Keep up with your coursework and continue to work hard academically.
  • Don’t worry about the decision deadline. You will know your decision the middle of March – there is no set date for your decision e-mail to be sent.
  • Relax. The hard part is over. Enjoy whatever weather Mother Nature sends our way as much as you can, exercise, and start looking forward to spring.

Above all, keep in mind that you are at UVA, one of the best (okay, THE best) public universities in the country and the education you receive will provide a firm foundation for a successful future, no matter what happens in March. There are so many opportunities for you, whether or not you are in the Commerce School, and the McIntire Student Services Office will be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.

10 Suggestions for Winter Break

If you are a current UVA student planning to apply to the McIntire School of Commerce for fall 2017, you should be aware that the application is available online and you need to register by Jan. 9. You can register any time by Jan. 9 and start working on your application as soon as you receive confirmation of your registration; the application is due by noon, Jan. 25.

Be sure to register, and consider these tips to will help with the application process (even if you are not planning to apply to McIntire until next year, pay attention to suggestions 2, 4, 7, 9 and 10! These are good for us all!):

  1. Reread and review previous posts on this blog. There is a vast amount of information available and you can get many of your questions/concerns answered without even having to send an e-mail.
  2. Relax and get some much-needed sleep. This semester has been a trying and difficult one and it is important that you take care of yourself.
  3. Work on the application essays slowly. Format your responses in Word, leave them for a day or so, revisit, and make any needed changes. Eliminate all unnecessary words. Have more than one person review your essays. Cut and paste your essays into your application.
  4. Visit and spend time with friends and family. You deserve this much-needed break; you have been missed, so reconnect.
  5. By Jan. 12, your prerequisites will be viewable on your application, so pull up your application and review the coursework appearing in the Prerequisite Section. There is an area on the application under this section, and if you are missing a requirement, a paragraph titled “Unmet Prerequisites” will show the missing requirement and ask you how you have (or plan) to complete this requirement. Sometimes you might see that a course you took for humanities credit is not being picked up or that the placement exam you took for foreign language is not exempting you from this requirement. This is OK – don’t panic! Simply fill in the information in text box provided; these requests will be reviewed periodically through the remainder of winter break (and after) and waivers for these will be either granted or not. Typically, if you have already satisfied a requirement that is showing up as missing, this will be waived. If you are planning to take the requirement in the summer, this will still show up as missing, but we will have your explanation of how you plan to complete this requirement. Please remember that we are updating our system through SIS continuously, and as you add courses for spring 2016, this will be reflected on your application. If you have any questions regarding a requirement that you fulfilled with AP or transfer credit, please e-mail CommerceAdmissions@virginia.edu. You should first check SIS and make sure this requirement is showing up on your transcript.
  6. Pace yourself. Don’t wait until Jan. 24 to start the application.
  7. Eat lots of good home-cooked meals – spring recess is a long way away.
  8. SAVE THE DATE! Friday, Jan. 20, there will be an application review session from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 123. This is a drop-in session, so you can come at any time between the times listed above. Bring a printed copy of your application or your laptop to pull up your application to be reviewed by a current Commerce student. This event is sponsored by the Women’s Forum at McIntire, the Black Commerce Student Network, Smart Woman Securities, and the Latino Student Network at McIntire. Do not be in a hurry to final submit your application – there are no early decisions. All applications will be reviewed after the Jan. 25 deadline, with decision notifications by mid-March.
  9. Do something nice for someone else. Help your mom around the house, shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway or wash their car (for free), read to your nephew…you get the idea. Get your focus on something other than the stress of the application process.
  10. Last, but definitely not least – have a wonderful and safe holiday. Enjoy yourself and regroup. We are looking forward to seeing you in the new year!

Course Registration: Course Selection Tips

Registration will soon be under way, 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 is 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 you 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.

8. 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

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

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

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

4. Get involved outside of the classroom.

The McIntire Undergraduate Admission Office has Moved and Other News

Greetings from the McIntire School of Commerce Office of Undergraduate Admission! Please read on to find opportunities to engage with McIntire and learn important updates from our office.

OUR OFFICE HAS MOVED

Our office is still located in Rouss & Robertson Halls on the East Lawn, but we are on the first floor, in Room 163. Please stop by and see our new digs during walk-in advising.

INFORMATION SESSIONS FOR PROSPECTIVE COMMERCE STUDENTS

Whether you’re new to Grounds or a second-year preparing to apply to McIntire, we invite you to an information session, where we’ll brief you on McIntire admissions and you’ll hear advice from our amazing McIntire Ambassadors!

Information session for prospective Commerce students
Wednesday, September 14
6 – 7 p.m.
Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 123

ENGAGE WITH US

  • Take advantage of one-on-one conversations with our office staff during walk-in advising
  • Visit a McIntire class of interest with our Take-a-Seat program
  • Check out blog posts for perspectives of students who have been in your shoes

We look forward to working with you this year so that you can reach your academic and personal goals.

2016 Application Process: In the Books!

Although most students are gone for the summer, here at McIntire we just finished the process of selecting our class of incoming undergraduate students for fall 2016.

Below is a summary of the status of the applications at the end of March.

 2016 Internal Applicants Offered Deferred Denied  Total
Number 227 149 127 503
Percentage 45% 30% 25% 100%
Mean Cumulative GPA 3.79 3.57 3.3 3.6
Minimum Cumulative GPA 3.1 2.91 2.42 2.42
Maximum Cumulative GPA 4.0 3.96 3.8 4.0

In late May, the Admissions Committee reviewed all applications, with a focus on new information–spring grades, the additional essay, and feedback from alumni interviews. All of the applicants presented very strong credentials, making the decisions tough for the committee! Of the 149 students deferred, the Committee offered admission to 104 students. Although GPA is an important consideration, the wide range of accepted grade point averages emphasizes the holistic nature of the admissions process and the importance of other factors such as co-curricular engagement, leadership experiences, and personal and professional skills, as demonstrated through the interview.

Below is the summary status of applications at the end of May.

 2016 Internal Deferred Applicants Offered Denied  Total
Count 104 45 149
70% 30% 100%
Average Cumulative GPA 3.59 3.45 3.52
Minimum Cumulative GPA 2.94 2.65 2.65
Maximum Cumulative GPA 3.96 3.74 3.96

Ultimately, of the 503 applications from students enrolled at UVA, 331 (66%) were offered admission, and 323 (64%) will enter the School in the fall. The mean cumulative GPA for these incoming students is 3.71, with a prerequisite GPA of 3.61. We look forward to welcoming the new Class of 2018 this August.

We are still here all summer, so please feel free to contact McIntire Undergraduate Admissions if you have any questions regarding McIntire’s programs. We can be reached at the Student Services Office at 434-924-3865 or commerce-admissions@virginia.edu.

Advice for First-Year Students Interested in Applying to the Comm School

If you are a first-year interested in applying to McIntire, I am going to give you a piece of advice I wish I had been given two years ago: While working hard in prerequisites and joining a variety of organizations on Grounds are important, I believe it is equally important to determine what other academic subjects interest you. Take classes in those subjects (and even join organizations focused on those subjects if you can).

This is helpful for you in two ways. First, you will be more well-rounded and knowledgeable about a variety of topics. Every student who applies has most likely excelled in classes and is extremely involved on Grounds. You will be able to differentiate yourself by showing that you have other focused interests as well as a strong interest in business. Second, applying to the Comm School can be a stressful experience (if you let it). By having options that you would actually want to pursue if the Comm school does not work, you will feel less stressed and worried during the application process. Less stress and worry will allow you to relax and fully enjoy your first two years at UVA.

If you work hard, get involved, determine your interests, and take advantage of every opportunity (especially those from the Comm School), you will be in great shape next year when you apply. Good luck!

–Third-year McIntire ambassador

What Now?

Now that you have submitted your application, you probably feel a sense of great relief as well as some apprehension regarding the upcoming decision. So what do you do during those awkward weeks of waiting? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t start thinking about what you should have, could have, would have written now that you’ve had more time to ponder your essays. It’s done – don’t dwell on this.
  • Be aware that we will update all SIS data prior to reviewing, so if your schedule changes, this will be reflected in your application. This includes withdrawing from courses, so be very careful when adjusting your schedule.
  • Keep up with your coursework and continue to work hard academically.
  • Don’t worry about the decision deadline. You will know the decision in mid-March – there is no set date for your decision e-mail to be sent.
  • Relax. The hard part is over. Enjoy the cold weather as much as you can, exercise, and know that spring really isn’t that far away.

Above all, keep in mind that you are at UVA, one of the best (okay, THE best) public universities in the country, and the education you receive will provide a firm foundation for a successful future, no matter what happens in March. There are so many opportunities for you, whether or not you are in the Commerce School, and the McIntire Student Services Office will be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.

How Do I Pick My Elective Courses?

Registration for spring course selection will begin soon, and many students have questions about what elective courses they should take. Electives are just that…electives. You should take courses that interest you and that you will enjoy attending. Below is some good advice from a current McIntire third-year student:

“We don’t start business courses at UVA until our third year so that we can develop a liberal arts background first. Take advantage of this while you can! There are so many great classes to take in the College and ways to broaden your perspective. A good place to start (and something that is recommended by the Admissions Committee) is to fulfill the area requirements for the College. Take history, social science, and a second writing requirement class. I found out that I love learning about history and social issues much more than I did in high school. They are very engaging and help you to learn about what is going on in the world.

“It is also helpful to take classes that further extend the Commerce prerequisites. For example, if you liked economics or statistics, consider taking more of those classes.

“There are many options out there and it can be overwhelming, but websites like Lou’s List and the Course Forum are great websites that list classes by department, give descriptions, and show class and professor reviews. There is no formula for what you should take before applying to McIntire. Just remember that a well-rounded student is highly valued! And everything from your electives can be applied to business classes and situations, whether it be specific skills or a way of thought.”