University of Virginia (UVA) is located in Charlottesville, in a suburban setting on around 1,600 acres of land. Founded in 1819, Thomas Jefferson’s influence is still seen today in many traditions on campus. Each grade of students are referred to by first, second, third, fourth years because Jefferson wanted to demonstrate the idea that learning is a lifelong process – not something that can be completed in just four years. Other lingo includes the campus as ‘grounds’ and the quad as ‘the lawn.’ UVA caters to roughly 17,000 undergraduate and 8,000 graduate students. Graduate students can enroll in well-known programs through the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, the Curry School of Education, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Law.
UVA offers 73 majors and minors. The most popular are economics; psychology; business/commerce; biology/biological studies; and international relations and affairs. The student to faculty ratio is about 14 to 1, and 53% of the classes have fewer than 20 students.
A significant aspect to life at University of Virginia is the presence of societies on campus. The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society was established in 1825, and is the second oldest Greek organization in the country. They continue to meet once a week. Another group is the Washington Literary Society and Debating Union which engages in a rivalry with the previously mentioned society. There are also several secret societies, including the Seven Society, Z Society, and IMP Society. These group’s activities are normally kept fairly hidden from outsiders.
There are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in social settings. Greek life is pretty active at UVA, with about 31% of men associated with a fraternity and 31% of women with a sorority. Many student activities take place in Newcomb Hall, which is where the Student Activities Center (SAC) and Media Activities Center (MAC) are located. The student-run organizations on campus are governed by Student Council (or StudCo).
Many UVA students participate in community service. Groups offer services like tutoring and housing improvement, and organizations like ‘Hoos Against Hunger donates food to homeless individuals. The school also sends many students into the Peace Corps after graduation. Students can also take part in the publication of The Declaration, The Cavalier Daily, and the Consortium of University Publications. Students on campus are dedicated to fitness, as more than 94% of students utilize one of the four indoor athletic facilities.
University of Virginia students compete as the Cavaliers (unofficially known as the Wahoos or ‘Hoos) in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference (Football Bowl Subdivision). Other successful teams include men’s lacrosse, soccer, boxing, and tennis and women’s lacrosse, rowing, and cross country. There are plenty of opportunities for students to excel in and outside the classroom at UVA. Students interested in a campus filled with traditions and challenging academics will enjoy what the school has to offer.