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400 Emmet Street South, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

(434) 924-0311 

Harvard College

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is distinctive among public institutions of higher education. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University continues in its mission to develop tomorrow’s leaders who are well prepared to help shape the future of the nation and the world. The University is highly selective, accepting only the best students and those who show the exceptional promise Jefferson envisioned.

An Undergraduate Experience Like No Other

We stand by our founder Thomas Jefferson’s vision of UVA as a place dedicated to educating leaders in practical affairs and public service, even as the University grows and evolves. After all, a big part of the Jeffersonian spirit lies in a commitment to innovation. We are very much a 21st-century institution, but like the pavilions on the Lawn itself, our students come to the University with their own styles. We seek extroverts and introverts, scientists and artists, the playful and the studious, overt leaders and those who lead by example, and endless combinations of the above. We don’t want defining the typical UVA student to be easy.

Our “work hard, play hard” mentality is present everywhere, from a packed Scott Stadium to the quiet stacks in Alderman library, from the bustling Corner district to the nearby Madison House, a student volunteer center that has been singled out nationally for its commitment to student-led service. On a given day, you might hike into the Blue Ridge Mountains, or spend a day with friends on Charlottesville’s downtown pedestrian mall. You might visit Monticello, Jefferson’s home, or you might sit down with some reading in one of the University’s famed gardens. You might attend a meeting for one of UVA’s 600 student clubs, or you might go to practice for one of its 25 varsity sports.

With its rich traditions, beautiful atmosphere, student empowerment, and academic prowess, UVA is a singular institution. Now the question remains: What are you looking for?


The University of Virginia is a public institution of higher learning guided by a founding vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of talented students from all walks of life. It serves the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world by developing responsible citizen leaders and professionals; advancing, preserving, and disseminating knowledge; and providing world-class patient care.

We are defined by: 

Our enduring commitment to a vibrant and unique residential learning environment marked by the free and collegial exchange of ideas; 

Our unwavering support of a collaborative, diverse community bound together by distinctive foundational values of honor, integrity, trust, and respect;

Our universal dedication to excellence and affordable access.


Some traditions, like the Jefferson Society, founded in 1825, and the Honor System, created in 1842, still exist today. Other traditions like quoits and cotillions enjoyed by students of an older time have been replaced by similar but more modern pastimes like bean-bag tossing and dance parties. Even though some things at U.Va. may change, one thing remains the same for everyone who considers himself or herself a "Wahoo": a love of the University and the people and things that make U.Va. unique.

The Good Old Song: “The Good Old Song” is the school anthem of the University of Virginia. The lyrics were written by Edward A. Craighill in 1895. At football games it has become tradition for students, faculty and alumni to link arms and sway while singing "The Good Old Song" after each UVA score and at the conclusion of the game.

The Lighting of the Lawn: A tradition of more recent vintage, the Lighting of the Lawn brings together both UVA students and faculty and our Charlottesville neighbors for a festive December evening of acappella music and good cheer-culminating in the brilliant display of light.

The UVA Ring and Ring Ceremony: Held in conjunction with Family Weekend and the awarding of Intermediate Honors, the Ring Ceremony brings together Third Year students and their families for a program celebrating their time at the University. At the conclusion of the event, participating Third Year students put on their UVA class rings. Another UVA tradition involves placement of the ring. While a student, one wears the ring with Minerva facing inward; upon conclusion of Final Exercises, the ring is worn with Minerva facing outward to the world.

Rotunda Sing: The University of Virginia is home to more than a dozen singing groups. Some are all-male, some all-female, and some co-ed, and they include names like the Virginia Gentlemen, Virginia Belles, CHoosE, and Remix. Some groups perform a variety of music, while others specialize in a particular kind, such as religious songs, jazz, hip-hop, or R&B. Their harmonies kick off the start to each academic year at the Rotunda Sing on the Lawn.

Service: Students carry on the proud tradition of donating their time by tutoring or coaching young children, building homes, delivering food to those in need, or using their skills and talents to make their community better for everyone.

Final Exercises: Instead of graduation ceremonies, students at U.Va. attend Final Exercises. Students join a cap-and-gown procession down the full length of the Lawn for thousands of parents and guests to see to celebrate their graduation from the University.

Student Life:

A short walk from the University, "the Corner" on University Avenue is the center of social life for students and is home to bookstores, cafés, boutiques, ice cream shops, and more. Most afternoons, you'll find students eating, drinking coffee, shopping, or just taking a break from classes.

From arts and athletic events to over 600 student clubs and organizations, students have plenty to choose from—and are often involved in multiple clubs and activities in addition to their academic coursework.

80% of students engage in service during their years at UVA. Each year, through Madison House (an independent University-affiliated nonprofit organization) students volunteer over 100,000 service hours.

The entire UVA community—students, staff, athletes, faculty and families—participates in a wide variety fitness programs, outdoor adventure and club and intramural sports activities, and the University maintains a combined 14 courts, fields and recreation centers. Walk anywhere across Grounds at virtually any time of day, and you’ll find people engaged in athletic activity—from pick-up volleyball to spinning to club basketball to weekend hiking expeditions on the Appalachian Trail, which passes only a few miles from the University.

Students at UVA participate in creative pursuits at every level—from collaborating in writing groups to performing in musical and dance ensembles to participating in exhibitions and performances. Students at UVA receive discounted tickets to many arts events and student performances, including those of our many a capella singing groups, which are part of the fabric of life on Grounds.

Part of our larger culture of service and community, members of Greek organizations have a strong history of service and partnership within the UVA community and the larger community in which we live.



The University's mascot is a Cavalier. Although the Cavalier is the official mascot of the University, the Cavaliers are also often referred to as the Wahoos. Legend has it that Washington and Lee baseball fans dubbed the Virginia players "Wahoos" during the fiercely contested rivalry that existed between the two in-state schools in the 1890s. By 1940, "Wahoos" was in general use around the Grounds to denote University students or events relating to them. The abbreviated "Hoos" sprang up later in student newspapers and has gained growing popularity in recent years.

University of Virginia today:

The University of Virginia is made up of eleven schools in Charlottesville plus the College at Wise in Southwest Virginia. Designed to foster innovative thinking, the University’s eleven distinguished schools bring together a variety of disciplines, resulting in powerful solutions to complex challenges.


The University of Virginia has an enrollment of more than 15,600 undergraduate students and 6,300 graduate and professional students, with a total enrollment of more than 21,900 students.

Famous graduates:

Katie Couric (born January 7, 1957) began her journalism career as an assistant at the ABC network. She went on to report for NBC, eventually becoming coanchor of Today and one of the top personalities in the TV news business. Couric was named the first solo female anchor of CBS Evening News in 2006, and in 2012 she became host of the ABC talk show Katie. Since early 2014, Couric has served as global news anchor for Yahoo.

Tina Fey (born May 18, 1970) is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer. She broke through in 1995 on Saturday Night Live as a writer and actress. Since leaving the show, Fey has written hit movies, written and starred in the Emmy Award-winning television series 30 Rock, and is the creator of the Netflix hit, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Interesting facts about UVA:

We don't call our professors "doctors." At other universities, it's respectful to call professors who have earned Ph.D. degrees "doctors." But because our founder, Thomas Jefferson, did not have a Ph.D. degree, we call our professors "Mr." or "Mrs." out of respect for Mr. Jefferson. But we do make exceptions for our medical doctors.

There are no freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors at U.Va. Why? To be a "senior" means you've reached the end of your education, but Thomas Jefferson believed that was impossible. He believed that you continue to learn for your whole life. So we call students "first years," "second years," "third years," and "fourth years."