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Hey All! This blog serves to provide a student perspective to the University as you go through the application process.Meravnoreply@blogger.comBlogger301125
Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

How to be a Big Fish in a Big Sea

November 20, 2014

In a University filled with intelligent and hard working students, it is a constant struggle for individuals to pave their own unique path and distinguish themselves from their peers. However, there are many little known ways in which students who search hard enough discover as means to differentiate themselves academically and carve their own educational niche at the University of Virginia.
The first not-so-obvious trick is to utilize the variety of options students have regarding majors. I remember my orientation leader telling my group during the summer before first year, “you will see - during your first two years at the University of Virginia, 49% of students will identify themselves as ‘pre-med’, 49% as ‘pre-comm’, and the last 2% as ‘other’.” Even when, inevitably, a good portion of the student body gives up, either on their own accord or by the application process, on their ‘pre-med’ and ‘pre-law’ aspirations, they gravitate towards the same few majors. Both ‘pre-med’ and previously ‘pre-med’ students tend to lean towards a Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Environmental Science or Physics major, while previous ‘pre-comm’ students choose a Economics, Psychology, Mathematics, Statistics, History, or one of the two Politics majors, remaining one of the masses.
On the other hand, it is rare to find students who major in American Studies, African-American and African Studies, Archaeology, Art History, Classics, East Asian Studies, Human Biology, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, and Women Gender and Sexuality, and many more! A fact that many students forget to consider is that the majority of graduate and professional schools do not have specific majors that they prefer over others. For example, while getting into a Medical School requires the taking of certain ‘pre-med’ classes, there are no particular majors they prefer. You can elect to major in any field you wish and as long as you take those prerequisites, you can still, with the right GPA of course, get in to your medical school of choice. The same follows for Law Schools (which have no undergraduate requirements), Business Schools, and other professional programs. In fact, majoring in something different could increase your chances of acceptance by giving you an edge regarding the diversity of the entering class.
Secondly, many students either ignore or are uninformed about the various interdisciplinary programs available at UVA. An interdisciplinary major allows students to take classes for a variety of fields in order to get their degree with a greater range of exposure. A couple of the interdisciplinary majors offered at the University of Virginia are Global Development Studies, Political and Social Thought, Cognitive Science, Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law, and Neuroscience. These majors all operate based on a selective application process with the number of students admitted ranging from 20-70 per year, depending on the program. By choosing one of these majors, and getting in, students are not only able to distinguish themselves from the rest of their class, but narrow their focus while still getting exposure from various departments. With my Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law Major, I have been able to take classes in the History department, Politics department, Commerce department, Psychology department, Sociology department, Philosophy department, and Economics department that all count towards my major while my roommate who is majoring in Government is limited to taking her 10 required courses from the Politics department. You can even choose to create your own interdisciplinary major and submit an academic plan for approval. You would think that with such great programs available, many apply to them every year, however only a shockingly small amount of students do, and those who do, tend to apply to multiple ones at the same time.
As a final note, minors are also often ignored and wasted at the University of Virginia. At UVA, you are allowed to double major but not double minor. Therefore, a more careful consideration is needed before making such a decision. Many students opt to minor, or even double major and minor, seeing as a minor can constitute as low as 5 classes to complete. As the case with majors, it is also easy to predict which minors people will choose. The most common minors include Economics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Spanish, Government, Foreign Affairs, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology. Students need to keep in mind that there are a large variety of exceptional minors to choose from and use to academically distinguish themselves from their peers. Some examples include Bioethics, Classics, Global Culture and Commerce, Global Public Health, and Studio Art. With such a variety of both majors and minors to select from, students at the University of Virginia are fortunate to have the opportunity to have their own distinctive academic route, so keep these possibilities in mind!

Is UVa the New Hogwarts?

November 17, 2014


While UVa and Hogwarts are from two completely separate worlds, they aren't as different as they seem. Don't believe me? Well, here are some similarities between the two institutions.
Lingo:Like UVa, students at Hogwarts are referred to by their year. Also, the area surrounding each school is called grounds, not campus.Head Honchos: Both schools honor key leaders: Albus Dumbledore and Thomas Jefferson.Quidditch: Yes, UVa has a quidditch team. No they don't fly.Ghosts: Although ghosts at UVa don't fly around grounds and converse with students, they're here--according to legends.Courses: You don't have to travel to Hogwarts to enroll in Defense Against the Dark Arts. You can take the same course at UVa by enrolling in CS 4630.Rooms: Hogwarts isn't the only school with libraries that contain dark, wood paneled walls, rolling ladders, and squeaky leather chairs. The McGregor Room (aka the Harry Potter Room) in Alderman Library is equally quiet and cozy.Housing: Jefferson's academical village houses both students and faculty for the purpose of enriching interactions between learners and educators. Even today fourth year students continue to live in lawn rooms while some professors live in pavilions. Similarly, most students and professors at Hogwarts live at school during the academic year.Butterbeer: Like Hogsmeade, a few restaurants at The Corner are known to serve butterbeer.
Now do you believe me, Muggles?

UVA at 2am

November 11, 2014
            There comes a point in the life of every college student when you are writing a paper/studying for an exam/goofing off (or all three) and you look at the clock and it's 2 in the morning. You're tired and wide awake at the same time and don't have the extra brain power to figure out how that can be. Whether you're chilling in club clem (i.e. Clemons library) or camped out in a study room in your dorm, working alone or commiserating with friends, you wonder why you did this to yourself.
            Why didn't you start studying earlier, why didn't you write that paper when you had more time earlier in the semester, and more importantly, does Campus Cookies deliver this late? No, you don't need cookies, you obviously need more coffee, or tea, or a straight shot of caffeine if that's a thing (it totally should be). Or you just need to finish. Yeah, that's definitely the most important thing. Somehow, through the spirit of Thomas Jefferson or the caffeine that you did consumer or your awesome friends who are right there with you, you pull through. You're done! You finally get to take a moment to breathe and appreciate that yes, you can do this whole college thing and though many really smart people go to and have gone to UVA chances are they have been in your same shoes at one point. They were all awake at 2am, studying or at least trying to study and made it through to do great things, like being Tina Fey. And, you know, co-founding reddit.com among other things. You are more aware than ever that you are part of this awesome legacy of excellence and, though the journey can be hard at times, you are truly lucky.
           And then you almost immediately fall asleep because you have class the next morning because apparently your professor didn't get your telepathic message to maybe, possibly, cancel class for once. It's cool though, a hug from Miss Kathy (AKA one of the most awesome people to work for UVA dining/the whole university) will make waking up in a couple hours bearable.

Concrete Connections

November 10, 2014


     Since April of this year, the University of Virginia has had the privilege of displaying a section of the Berlin Wall on grounds in order to commemorate its fall in 1989. The four panels of the wall are being loaned to UVa by the Robert and MeiLi Hefner Foundation who acquired the panels in 1990. This piece of history can be seen across from the Special Collections Library and is adjacent to Alderman Library.     On the West German side of the wall, Dennis Kaun's mural "Kings of Freedom" is pictured. In the mural, two kings are strikingly juxtaposed. One king is painted in bold colors and glares at its spectators while the other king is blindfolded. The East German side, however, is eerily void of color and artistic expression.     From November 3rd to the 9th, UVa held a Berlin Wall Symposium to celebrate the historical artifact. The symposium included performances, lectures, and films which focused not only on the wall itself, but also on art during the Cold War era. The symposium concluded last night and coincided with the 25th anniversary of the wall's historical fall.     But what do the Berlin Wall and UVa have in common? Like Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, the Berlin Wall's demise illustrates freedom and liberty. Through Kaun's mural, we see the power of individual and artistic expression. We see the need for political freedom. We see that history is always with us. Ultimately, the Berlin Wall's presence at UVa continues Jefferson's desire for his university to foster education, expression, and community.


Domestic Violence Awareness Month: A Recap

November 2, 2014
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month! This month is dedicated to raising awareness about domestic violence, honoring and recognizing survivors, and educating the public about what domestic violence is. At UVa, different student groups have hosted many events throughout the month. As the month is coming to an end, it’s time to reflect!
1. The Clothesline Project:
Last week, members of the Gender Violence and Social Change Program at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center hosted the Clothesline Project. It is a display of shirts made by survivors of sexual or domestic violence as a way to express their emotions and stories. There were many inspiring shirts on display, and it was a beautiful visual representation of the strength and resilience of survivors.
2. The Red Flag Campaign
Also during the past week, the Women’s Center hosted a variety of events pertaining to the Red Flag Campaign. There was a panel called discussion called “A Survivor’s Guide to Relationship Violence,” which featured stories from survivors and education from experts. In addition, students are encouraged to plant a red flag to raise awareness of the “red flags” of relationship violence, while also viewing the Clothesline Project display.
3. Domestic Violence Awareness Week
During the week of October 26, the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority hosted Domestic Violence Awareness Week. Throughout the campaign, there was a food drive, a day to wear purple in honor of the mission, a restaurant night, and a few other events around Grounds aimed at educating students. The week concludes with a run/walk on November 1st sponsored by SHE, the Shelter for Help in Emergency, which is a Charlottesville Organization that helps women who are victims of domestic violence.

These are just a few of the incredible things that have been going on during Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the University. Through the many events and organizations that got involved, much more awareness was brought to domestic violence. As we round up the month with Halloween and November rolls in, it is important to remember that raising awareness doesn’t stop here; there will still be plenty of groups working to keep the conversation going, which is what needs to happen to create change. Thanks to everyone who was a part of these events in any way!

Drop-In on UVa's Legendary Drop-Out

October 27, 2014

     With Halloween right around the corner, it's hard not to stroll around grounds without thinking of UVa's most famous dropout--Edgar Allan Poe. Yes, THE Edgar Allan Poe! In February of 1826, Poe began his academic journey at the University of Virginia. During his time here, he studied ancient and modern languages. While Poe excelled academically, he wasn't exactly UVa's definition of an ideal pupil. Essentially, Poe broke all of UVa's strict rules against things such as gambling and tobacco. In doing so, Poe ultimately jeopardized his chances of graduating. Poe's love of gambling caused him to go into debt which prevented him from registering for classes and buying textbooks. Frustrated, discouraged, and poor, Poe dropped out of UVa on December 15, 1826.

     Although Poe left UVa, he maintains a powerful presence here. For example, just by visiting UVa's Bookstore, you'll find Poe-inspired cups, bobble heads, and shirts. If you want to get a little closer to UVa's famous literary drop-out, you can always visit his old dorm room on the West Range. It's highly appropriate that the Gothic writer once inhabited room No. 13 which is now preserved by The Raven Society. You can get a glimpse of Poe's life at UVa by peering into No. 13's glass door. Inside you will see early 19th century furniture as well as a black raven. By pressing a button outside of the room, you can hear a recording that explains Poe's time at UVa.
     Perhaps if you're brave enough to visit No.13 in the dark hours of the night, you might see Poe pacing around the room. Don't be frightened if a black cat crosses your path or if a raven perches on your shoulder. Although Poe's life at UVa is nevermore, we can forever feel his presence by tapping at this chamber door.


Pre-Professional Advising at UVA

October 27, 2014

Pre-med? Pre-comm? Pre-Law? Post-Confused? For those of you that are interested in a pre-professional track here at Mr. Jefferson’s University, the process can seem daunting. But fear not! There are plenty of resources here for your help.
  • Check out the University Career Services (UCS) website at http://www.career.virginia.edu/preprof/. They have tons of information regarding courses, prospects, and can even help you understand if being a judge/neurosurgeon/dentist is really your cup of tea. If possible, try to schedule a one-on-one appointment with an advisor, or even try dropping in during office hours. It will definitely make the process easier to understand. Pre-commerce students have similar resources available at http://www.commerce.virginia.edu/undergrad/advising/Pages/Advising-for-Pre-Commerce-Students-.aspx through the McIntire School itself. Remember, the advisors are here to help you, so take advantage of the resources!
  • Talk to upperclassmen/alumni/professors that have gone through the process before. I know it seems a little awkward at first, but reaching out to other people is the best way to better understand what can be a very confusing and stressful experience. Make new friends in CIOs, go to your professor’s office hours, or even directly contact professors (in the law/medical/commerce school) that could give you insight into the application process or the professional field itself.
  • Stay up to date with application/selection process for your track. For example, in 2015, the MCAT is significantly changing the content of the exam. It would be terrible if you had practiced mainly from old workbooks, and gotten quite a shock when you went to your exam date… Remember to check out reliable online student blogs and websites (such as this one!) periodically to look out for opportunities and key information.
  • Plan ahead! The more you plan ahead, the more prepared you will be—I guarantee it. 

Good luck wahoos! I am sure you will do us proud in whatever your field of choice is.

Awareness and Advocacy Events at UVa

October 19, 2014
Next week (October 20-26), there are multiple awareness and advocacy events occurring on Grounds that you should know about! Two of the most prominent ones are Fat Talk Free Week and the #HoosGotYourBack Pledge Day/Find Your Voice event. The UVa community has been shaken this semester, but these events are good, necessary reminders that we may be shaken, but we can always heal again with the support of our peers.Fat Talk Free Week is an international awareness campaign aiming to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the “thin ideal” on women in society. The sorority Delta Delta Delta, which hosts this campaign nationwide, sponsors the event here at UVa, along with the CIO called HOPE (Hoos Open to Preventing Eating Disorders), which hosts their own events on Grounds throughout the week. The main objective of the campaign is to encourage college students to “End Fat Talk.” You may have never heard of fat talk, but I am confident you have heard it being used—it refers to any comment that reinforces the thin-ideal standard of beauty and contributes to body dissatisfaction. Fat talk can be a friend saying, “I need to lose ten pounds before I wear that,” or asking, “Do I look fat in this?” It is common to hear these things and not give them a second thought, so the campaign works to raise awareness of how students use fat talk and aims to get students to pledge to end it and reframe their self-talk positively. One of the many events happening during the week is called “Operation Beautiful,” and consists of students leaving anonymous, positive notes around Grounds to make others feel loved and appreciated (and beautiful, as the name of the event suggests)!Another incredible event that is happening next week is an extension of the Office of the Dean of Students’ Not On Our Grounds initiative to end sexual violence at UVa. A few powerful things are happening through this initiative; first, Thursday is #HoosGotYourBack Pledge Day. If you are unfamiliar with the #HoosGotYourBack campaign, it was designed during the summer of 2014 and made its debut this semester. The focus is on bystander intervention, awareness, and educating students to become informed and effective bystanders in the face of sexual violence. On Thursday, October 23, students will gather on the lawn to share bystander stories and to sign the “Not On Our Grounds” pledge to be an ally in putting an end to sexual violence at UVa.Although signing the pledge is important, students recognize the need to continue the dialogue on sexual assault and the new campaign here at UVa. As a result, on Sunday, October 26, a new student-run performance organization called “Find Your Voice UVa” will be putting on a show with the #HoosGotYourBack campaign as the theme.  It will feature real stories and experiences of students regarding sexual assault and misconduct, and will be presented in a beautiful, healing, emotional performance. The goal of “Find Your Voice UVa,” as is sure to be exemplified in their first performance on Sunday, is to shed light on prevalent issues in the UVa community and to give students a place to share their experiences in a meaningful, empowering and healthy way.
In the face of extreme adversity, such as the terrifying and unsolved disappearance of one of our own in September, the UVa community continues to push on and do incredible things to help each other heal and become more educated about important issues. The events of Fat Talk Free Week and the #HoosGotYourBack campaign are crucial examples of the resilience and determination that defines the community at the University of Virginia.