Charlottesville, VA: On my college tour this summer, one school that particularly interested me was the University of Virginia. Deemed a “public ivy,” this University has a very reputable academic program, and is way above the national average in undergraduate acceptance into graduate school. The tuition, even for out-of-staters, is relatively less expensive than most private schools.
The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, who designed the buildings, supervised construction and planned its curriculum. The campus is located in Charlottesville, an wealthy urban area of about 50,000 people with rural areas surrounding it. The “grounds,” as Jefferson called them, are highlighted by the “lawn,” a rectangular terraced green, with continuous rows of identical dorms on either side. These dorms, which are an honor to live in, are reserved for fourth year students who have contributed the most to the school. Most students move off campus after the first year, and with the help of the University are almost always accommodated in the surrounding apartments.
The University is comprised of about 11,000 undergraduates with about 35% from out-of-state. One thing my tour guide mentioned was school spirit, which I also noticed from the students all wearing UVA apparel. The students also say the best thing about their school is the honor system. This system is controlled entirely by the students for their benefit. It prohibits stealing, lying, and cheating and any breach of these rules can result in dismissal from the school. My tour guide gave me one example of this system when, on a hot spring day, she was allowed to leave the classroom, go outside and take a test (with the professor trusting she had not cheated).
The University is made up of five departments: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Architecture, the School of Commerce, and the Curry School of Education with a total of about 75 majors.
The varsity sports are Division I and are part of the Atlantic Coast Conference. For non-varsity athletes, there is a wide range of intramurals in which more than 85% of the student body participates. The only bad aspect I found was that only about ten percent of the out-of-staters who apply are accepted. n
Reviewed in 1991