University of Virginia

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a public research university. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of the most famous U.S. Presidents. Jefferson conceived the idea for the school and eventually established it in 1819. The University of Virginia is the only United States’ university campus to be designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is also considered to be “Public Ivy”.



Thomas Jefferson came up with the idea for a new college in 1800, and revealed these plans in a letter written to Joseph Priestley, a British scientist. Two years later, Jefferson, who was now the President of the United States, began planning for this university. He had lost faith in the College of William & Mary and wanted to establish an institution in the state of Virginia which was more aligned with his educational ideas. The school was to be built on land just outside Charlottesville, which was purchased by James Monroe in 1788. On January 25th, 1819, the University of Virginia was officially chartered. Jefferson remained involved with the school throughout his life, even hosting Sunday diners at his home for students and faculty. Virginia was one of the few universities to remain open during the Civil War, a remarkable feat considering the fact that more battles were fought in Virginia than other state.

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The Curry School of Education is ranked by U.S. News as the 22nd best education school in the United States. U.S. News ranks the Special Education program 5th. Students can earn Bachelor of Science in Education degrees in two specific areas: Kinesiology and Speech-Pathology and Audiology. The Curry school also offers Bachelor and Master in Teaching programs with the College of Arts & Sciences. Students at Curry are given many opportunities to participate in ground-breaking research, and work with renowned faculty to contribute to solving real problems in the multiple facets of education. The University of Virginia also has a terrific School of Medicine. It is ranked 26th in research and 18th in primary care by U.S. News. Ph.D. students can pursue degrees in fields such as biomedical, biology and genetics, immunology, and molecular medicine. Students who want to earn a graduate M.D. have over 70 specialties to choose from. The University of Virginia also has highly ranked graduate programs through the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, School of Law, and School of Engineering and Applied Science. The most popular majors at Virginia are Economics, Business, Psychology, History, and International Relations.

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Pros & Cons

The University of Virginia is ranked by U.S. News as the 24th best university in the United States, and the 2nd best public university. It is located in Charlottesville, which is small, but has many attractions and venues to provide entertainment, including a sizable indie music scene, and historical sites such as the home of James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson’s plantation manor. Virginia has a prominent Greek life, with many upperclassmen living in fraternity and sorority houses. Virginia only has a 33% acceptance rate, making it difficult to get into, and only half of its classes have fewer than 20 students. In-state tuition costs $12 000 while out-of-state tuition costs $38 000. Only 33.4% of undergraduate students receive financial aid, however, which is lower than most universities with a similar academic ranking. Virginia has a 4-year graduation rate of 87% which is excellent, and a freshman retention rate of 96.8%.