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.

Is it OK if I Take That Cool-Sounding Class?

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!

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.”

What to Do in Your First Year

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

Welcome Back!

Welcome to New and Returning Students!

It’s hard to believe that summer is drawing to a close and that this weekend you will be arriving on Grounds. Whether you are new to UVA or a returning Wahoo, if you are interested in the McIntire School of Commerce, please be aware that open office hours for the semester begin Aug. 25. These drop-in hours are a great way to get your questions answered and your concerns addressed. There are a lot of myths swirling around regarding the Commerce School, the admission process, and the curriculum. Find out the truth! Come by and ask!

There are ways for you to get involved in the Commerce School prior to the application date. As first- and second-years the time to take advantage of these is now. Sign up on our Pre-Comm LISTSERV, sit in on a class, tour our building if you haven’t already done so, and check out our McIntire-affiliated student organizations Information about all of this and more can be found on our Getting Involved website.

Check our Events Calendar often for events and School-wide opportunities for all UVA students. Upcoming events that you should mark on your calendar now include:

  • Commerce Career Day from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Sept. 16, at John Paul Jones Arena
  • Family Weekend sessions Oct. 24

More information on these and other events will be posted soon.

Have a wonderful semester and visit McIntire’s Student Services Office in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 311, soon! We would love to see you!

I Want to Study Business

This is a statement that we hear often and, especially now that admitted UVA students have started to arrive on Grounds for Summer Orientation, which began July 6. There are many ways to pursue a career in business at UVA, and although the most well-known is McIntire’s two-year undergraduate program, it is certainly not the only path.

Students do not have to give up a passion for music, biology, psychology, or any other discipline in order to gain practical business skills. The philosophy of the McIntire School is that a solid base of liberal arts study is important in developing successful business people and leaders. When students spend their first two years taking a variety of courses, they begin to discover more about their strengths and motivations.

Options for students interested in business include:

  • Commerce electives, which can be combined with a degree from the College of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, or other schools at the University.
  • Business-related student organizations, competitions, and networking opportunities.
  • M.S. in Commerce, a one-year program designed to help recent liberal arts, sciences, and engineering graduates transform their intellectual and academic skill sets into focused business expertise.
  • McIntire Business Institute, a certificate program offered in a summer, academic year, or online format.
  • Leadership Minor, a three-year, 15-credit interdisciplinary minor.
  • Entrepreneurship Minor, an 18-credit interdisciplinary minor with concentrations in Technology Entrepreneurship (from the Engineering School) or Social Entrepreneurship (from the Batten School)
  • B.S. in Commerce, a two-year undergraduate degree program providing students with a broad understanding of business and the opportunity to gain special expertise in one or more of the McIntire School’s five areas of concentration. Students interested in business typically spend two years in the College of Arts & Sciences and apply to McIntire for the third and fourth years.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about the opportunities that the McIntire School offers and hope that you will attend one of our information sessions while you are here for Summer Orientation. Our sessions are on Day Two; a more complete schedule of each orientation session can be found at the Office of Orientation and New Student Programs.

Not currently at UVA? Then, please visit the McIntire School of Commerce website and learn more about our programs and curriculum.

Opportunities at McIntire Other Than the B.S. in Commerce

“I know business is important, but I don’t know if I want to major in it as an undergraduate.” If you read that and thought to yourself, “Yeah, I feel the same way,” then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Fortunately, McIntire has several options for you.

McIntire Business Institute (MBI)

This certificate program is targeted toward non-business majors who wish to add business skills to their educational experience. Students can choose from a summer program, Fridays during the school year, or online. An application is required, and students must have finished two years of undergraduate work before the start of the program. Students interested in MBI should check out the website:

M.S. in Commerce

McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce is a one-year master’s program designed to prepare recent graduates with non-business majors for careers in business. Students undergo an extensive survey of various business practices and earn valuable skills while expanding their network and obtaining a graduate degree. More information about the M.S. in Commerce Program can be found here:

Leadership Minor

The Leadership Minor is offered to both Commerce and non-Commerce students. Students interested in the minor should enroll in Leadership across the Disciplines (COMM 2600/SOC 2600) in their second year during the spring. These students will then have the opportunity to apply to the minor. Detailed information about the leadership minor can be found here:

Classes Open to Non-Commerce Students

Several classes at McIntire are open to non-Commerce students, including:

  • COMM 1800, COMM 2010, and COMM 2020: Introductory business and accounting classes (These are the prerequisites for students applying to the Commerce school and are therefore open to non-Commerce students.)
  • COMM 2730: Personal Finance
  • COMM 3410/3420: Commercial Law I and II
  • COMM 4371: Promotions (This class requires an application but is open to undergraduates throughout the University community interested in advertising and promotions.)

This list is by no means exhaustive, so check out the requirements on SIS for classes you might be interested in taking.

Fourth Year in the Commerce School

As a pre-Commerce student, you probably hear a lot about the Integrated Core Experience (ICE) curriculum at McIntire. If you haven’t, or are interested in learning more about ICE, check out this page. All McIntire undergraduates complete ICE during their third year to give them an integrated view of business, regardless of which concentration they may pursue. The purpose of this post is to shed some light on what goes on during your fourth year at McIntire.

During the second semester of your third year, you will declare one or two concentrations and as many as two tracks in the Commerce School. You should base your decision on your career goals, your experience in ICE, and your course interests, because many of the classes you will take during fourth year focus on your declared concentration(s)/track(s). This link is helpful if you are interested in learning more about concentrations and tracks.

Each concentration and track has specific requirements to fulfill, and students take the bulk of these requirements during their fourth year. For example, a student concentrating in Marketing and IT and completing a track in Business Analytics would take classes such as Project Management or Business Analytics. While each of these courses provides deeper insight into a specific field of business, the lessons learned from ICE flow though all of them.

Fourth year is the perfect time to build upon your experience in ICE and dive deeper into topics that interest you, to complete a second major or minor you may have started before getting into the Commerce School, and to ensure you have completed all requirements for graduation.

New Year Resolutions that You can Actually Keep!!

Welcome back, UVA students! Although we’re still in throes of winter, the spring 2015 semester is here, and I hope you are off to a great and enthusiastic start. January is the time for renewal and resolutions for the year to come, so in keeping with the spirit of things, below are several suggested resolutions that are both painless and beneficial!

  • If you have not joined the pre-Comm listserv, please do so. This is a major means of communication between the Commerce School and students who are interested in pursuing a business career. You will be alerted to events that are open to first- and second-year students, as well as news and important dates and deadlines.
  • Stop listening to rumors, and get the facts about the Commerce School and its admissions process and curriculum. Rumors are constantly swirling around about the Commerce School, and even well-intended advice from your friends and peers can be misleading. So this year, plan on talking one on one with an advising counselor in McIntire Student Services and get the real scoop! Drop-in open office hours are held weekly during the academic year, and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you.
  • Check out one of the many student organizations that are open to all students at the University. There are several opportunities for first- and second-year students to work alongside current McIntire students, no matter what area of business might be of interest to you.
  • Make reading the McIntire homepage and checking our upcoming Events part of your weekly routine. There, you can read news articles quoting McIntire faculty, see results of case competitions involving McIntire students, and view School calendar events, many of which are open to pre-Comm students.

If you just keep two of these resolutions, you will be better informed about the Commerce School and be more prepared for the admissions process.

Happy New Year, and have a wonderful semester!