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The University of Virginia

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Expectations of UVA: When I started college IBrightPolitical Science
Expectations of UVA: When I started college I thought it would be a positive environment, where I would have the opportunity to meet new people with different backgrounds and acquire a new perspective. I knew academically UVA would be challenging. I was excited to be around such bright people who were ambitious as me. Reality: I feel it is my duty to relay my experience at this place in order to warn others what exactly they are subjecting themselves to by attending UVA. While I was at UVA, I encountered an environment that was full of tension, hate, and down right ugliness. At UVA you are on your own. Other students will not help you because your success will hurt their grade. TAs and professors will not help you if you go to office hours because it has to be "challenging." It has been two years since I graduated from UVA and my animosity towards this place has only increased. The comment below, that states the school robs people of the essential college experience, is 100% right. I did not have a good experience here. I came out of this place more cynical and self-doubting than when I entered the University. The only good thing that came from attending UVA was it forced me to question what I wanted in life and the superficial existence that perpetuates this place is absolutely not for me. I attempted to enjoy the school by joining various organizations but failed to become more than an acquaintance to most people. I have never encountered a more socially hostile and cut throat environment. It has only been within the past year or so I have regained some since of clarity on the whole situation and been able to move on. Last year I asked a teacher for a letter of recommendation and he recommended that I ask another professor because I did not perform well in his class and he would be obligated to state that in the letter of recommendation. (I received a B in his class) I really want to look back on my experience and be reminiscent...or think that it wasn't so bad, but I cannot. I tried to make UVA work for me. If you value independent thought, happiness, and your own self worth do not attend this school. UVA may look good on your transcript or job application but the high gpa (and other opportunities) you could potentially have at another school could more than make up for it.
4th Year Female -- Class 2015
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Individual Value: F
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I attended UVA for a total of 6 years.PreMed and Medical
I attended UVA for a total of 6 years....the first 4 were incredibly difficult for me as a person. i survived but it was bitter. Admittedly i was woefully unprepared for the social and academic competition. My major study was worthwhile however. After a couple years of working various average jobs, I got readmitted to do premed work and rotc. finally i got admitted to a decent medical school, which was difficult also , but I never again experienced the social isolation that i knew at UVA the first 4 years.UVa might look something like a southern university, but it is one of the most cutthroat and elitist universities anywhere. you will find very little of southern culture with its friendliness and humor among these intensely striving people. really talented people can be outcast there, its astonishing. the whole school truly revolves around a cadre of wealthy , well-connected kids who are inducted into secret societies ....hence the elitism. this inner university steals the essential experience of college from everybody else....its no wonder that the percentage of alumni participating after graduation is quite low. By that point, you have figured out, you are not part of the chosen.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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I've had some really positive but also someBrightEnglish
I've had some really positive but also some really negative experiences here. I am sad since I wanted to love the college, it is beautiful and gave me a lot of financial aid. But I never felt more alone, isolated, and unwanted than when I came here.

The cons -
Almost no diversity. The vast, vast majority of students are white, wealthy, fit, preppy, and probably from northern Virginia. Literally 60% of the student's parents make over 100,000 a year. If you are low income, or a minority, or lgbt, or different in any way, then you will probably not fit in.

Literally 99.3 % of students dress the same way. I maybe only saw 2 goth / alternative students, and they were first years at orientation. There is also a very strong hook up and drinking culture. Which sounds fun, but that is what 2/3 of students do on a weekly basis as defined in our campus newspaper, and almost no one is a couple, which can be depressing if you are looking for more.

I tried, but everyone is "busy" and only wants to use you for 10 minutes and does not want to get to know you personally. I have tried over 20 clubs and stuck with 5, but I finally realized no one truly cares about me in any of them. That was a very sad realization for me, since I tried really hard to make friends and fit in. Being a broke transfer student will get you nowhere fast here. The academic quality is strange here.

Professors want vague things, barely explain what you need to do, then give you bad grades when you don't magically include everything they wanted you too, which they never explained in the first place.

Greek life is big here, but it's very expensive. $2,000 a semester average. Who has that kind of money anyway if you were not born rich?

Pros -
There are a ton of events every week. Concerts, plays, free food, movies, dance, etc. The campus is drop dread gorgeous, and I never got bored looking at it. There are a lot of parties in general. Which is good if you want to go to a party.

Though with the new fraternity agreement it's very hard to throw a party / get into a party now. But the college clubs still have them often, and they are usually more fun since you know people.

They have some good resources like free career services, free counseling, and good financial aid if you can get it. The college itself will look good on your resume.

Overall,
I do not regret coming here that much. But if I was not already a transfer student, I would have transferred to somewhere with more diversity, where I felt more wanted and welcomed, and where people were friendlier. If you are white, rich, fit,and preppy, you will fit right in. If you are a minority, not preppy, not fit, not rich, you will really stick you and not feel welcomed.

2nd Year Female -- Class 2015
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Friendliness: C
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The University of Virginia
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