Essay Scoop: How to Write University of Virginia Essays

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Julia de Raadt
Julia de Raadt

Julia has dedicated much of her career to education. Since commencing with Empowerly, Julia has looked after the research team which handles student questions on different topics about college admission.

It’s time to take a closer look at the question of the University of Virginia essays. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia is highly selective and  accepts only the best students –  88 per cent of it students in 2016-17 were admitted from the top 10 per cent of their high school graduating class.

As part of its application requirements UVA asks its applicant to write a short answer response to one of the following questions. Here we provide some advice on ways to respond.

Required of ALL applicants, regardless of school or program. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words (Please select the prompt you are responding to):

What is your favorite word and why?

Maybe it’s the way it sounds, but there’s a word that appeals to you through it’s pleasant acoustics or meaning (literal or symbolic). Unpack your opinion with the help of specific scenarios that serve as support for your stance.

We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

Normality is relative. You have a sense of who you are but like in Dartmouth’s name origin prompt, reaching out to friends and family can spur your reflection. What is your quirk and why is it so meaningful? Tie in a specific example or two to situate the reader.

Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the U.Va. culture. In her fourth year at U.Va., Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?

There’s something you know, something you understand a little differently from other people. Take pride in your specialized knowledge and explain its importance. Why should one of your students care? If there’s a problem you’ll solve it.

U.Va. students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?

As a highly visible medium, Beta Bridge serves as a fixture for student expression. Does a certain issue resonate with you? What would it be and why is it of such importance?

We hope this guide has increased your confidence when approaching the University of Virginia essays question on your own. If you’d like to work with our team directly throughout your process, reach out and we’ll see what we can do to help you succeed.

Questions? Let us know!