Saturday, October 3, 2009


So I know most of you are at that point where you're looking at a ton of schools, trying to figure out what college is the best fit for you. You have no idea what to write you're essays on, or even how to find the applications on some of the web sites (I remember it took me a while on some sites..). Well, have no fear because I'm here to give you a little insight on the whole process!

I looked at a million schools. In the spring of my junior year every long weekend or school vacation I had my mother would be dragging me off to look at colleges. At the time I was annoyed by it, but looking back it was probably the best decision. Visiting all of the different colleges I was interested in really helped me to get a feel for them. I was able to talk to students and find out why they came there, and walk around the campus and just see what people were interested in and how they spent their time. I did two things at every school that really helped me figure out what it was all about, and if you're stuck on a school I recommend it. When I met a student, I would always ask them one question: What is your favorite thing about (college name) and what is your least favorite thing about (college name)? Sometimes people told me awesome things about their college that I would never have known otherwise, and sometimes people told me something they didn't like about their school that made me realize that maybe it wasn't the place for me. For the record, I couldn't find anyone at UVa that could tell me something they didn't like about the school. The other thing I always did was I looked at the bulletin boards and flyers to see what sorts of things the school did and what kinds of groups they had. The thing that interested me in UVa was the fact that there were so many different groups and activities going on throughout the campus.

UVa wasn't really on my radar when I first started looking at schools. I was looking more for a city school with tons of activity, but someplace that also had access to the outdoors where I could hike. I was hesitant about visiting UVa since coming from Boston it was the "South" but when I saw it I couldn't resist the beauty of Grounds. I wandered around and started talking to students, and every single person I talked to was so excited that I was looking at UVa. I had never had that sort of reception before, and it made me realize that everyone at UVa actually was so excited about their school that they wanted other people to be as excited too. Now, two years later, if a high school junior/senior came up to me and asked me about UVa I'm pretty sure I would be super excited too. The more I learned the more I liked, and I soon figured out that it was pretty close to what I was looking for. Charlottesville is a beautiful city with so many resources available to get involved in the community, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are only a short drive away. Everyone loves the school, and people who go here work hard but know when it's time to just kick back and relax.

When the time came I applied to 12 schools, UVa included. I know it may seem like a lot, but I was genuinely interested in each school, and they were each a little different. I had big schools, small schools, rural schools, city schools, schools close to home and schools far far away. I did have to write a lot of essays, but to be honest they seem worse than they actually are. My best piece of advice is to just write about something you love. If you write about something you love, your personality will come across on the paper, and after all thats what colleges are looking for. I wrote my essays on running, rock climbing, and traveling. Not complicated subjects, but each things that I loved and could really show my personality through.
In the end, I was accepted to UVa and after much deliberation chose to come here. It wasn't an easy decision, but its one I'm really glad I made. I've loved every second of it! If you have any questions about the application process, both at UVa and elsewhere, don't hesitate to shoot me an email!


  1. Hi Kate,
    May I ask why you chose UVA in the end?

    Karla Aguayo

  2. Hey Karla!

    I'd have to say one of the major reasons I chose UVa was the people I met while I was visiting. As I said in the post, I took a tour and wandered around campus before I applied. Everyone I met was really excited about UVa and went out of their way to tell me about the school, one guy even showed me around the lawn and the grounds a little bit. After I had gotten in, I visited again and stayed overnight through the Monroe Society program (where prospective students can stay over with UVa students for a night) and met a lot more students that way and found out more about UVa. I was looking for a place where everyone worked hard and really cared about what they were studying, but also could switch gears and get totally involved in the water polo club or something. UVa has that sort of work hard, play hard atmosphere. All of my friends are really interested and passionate about what they are studying/want to study, but they have so many other awesome interests and hobbies and things theyre involved in. Also, Charlottesville is a great community to get involved in and UVa has an awesome community servce program through Madison House, with tons of ways to get involved. I did a lot of community sevice in high school, so that was important to me. Another reason I'd have to say is that UVa, Charlottesville, and the surrounding areas/mountains are beautiful. There are so many things to do, but it's not ovewhelming like a city might be and you have a ton of access to the outdoors which is something I love. Plus, on a more personal note, I wanted a totally different experience than any of my friends. Most of them were staying up in the New England area, and I wanted to really go out of my comfort zone and try something really different for college. It has totally paid off, I really love it here. I hope I answered your question, and if you want to talk more just shoot me an email and I'd be happy to answer!


  3. Hello,
    my name is lizeth i just wanted to ask you, how diverse is UV and the town, Charlottesville, i beieve? how would you classify the enviornment conservative or other .Im from Arizona and this will be the only time i get out of state and I'm a senior looking for the right school so the info. you give me would really help me. Thank you for your time.

  4. Hey Lizeth!

    It's awesome that you're looking for something different for college. UVa is a really diverse campus, and although 2/3 of the students are in state (from virginia) everyone comes from really different backgrounds. 1/3 of the students are out of state, so thats 4,000 students that are going to be from all different regional areas and backgrounds. Some quick stats: 11% asian american, 9% african american, 5% international, and 4% hispanic american. Undergraduates come from 48 different states and 103 different countries. There are over 500 independent student organizations, which are basically like student clubs, and they all promote different interests or affiliations with different cultures/races/nationalities. I have met people from so many different places and who have such different backgrounds and such different beliefs, and it's really been awesome. There are the athletes, the people that love theatre, the people that love camping every weekend, the frat and sorority groups, and tons of other groups of people that have a lot of varied interests. Charlottesville itself is pretty diverse, I can't give you stats or anything but in terms of people there is a lot of diversity. I would say that Charlottesville could be considered liberal, but there isn't an overwhelming liberal or conservative feel here. In fact back to the subjecty of diversity, I actually learned through my buddhism course last semester that there is a huge buddhist population in Charlottesville. All in all there is a lot of diversity both at UVa and in Charlottesville, I can assure you'll meet a bunch of new and different people if you choose to come here. If you have any more questions just shoot me an email!