Thursday, July 26, 2018

Transfer Myths Busted

Questions I get all the time: What is it like being a transfer student? Was it hard leaving your first
school to come to UVA? Why did you transfer to UVA?

Never fear, curious world- I am here to answer any and all questions about the UVA transfer experience!
I want to begin by saying that everyone’s transfer story is incredibly different; people transfer schools
for a plethora of different reasons and they have varying experiences with adjustment and integration.
I will touch on these experiences while also sharing my own transfer journey with you all and I will be
doing so through the method of myth-busting. Let’s bust some transfer students myths!

Myth #1: Transferring colleges is an uncommon occurrence, making it difficult to transition from
one school to another.

Though transferring may not sound like a familiar phenomenon when you’re in high school,
according to the Princeton Review website, about one-third of all college students transfer
schools every year. UVA is a prime example of the commonality of transferring; we have a very
large transfer community here. In fact, transfer students take up about 4% of the undergraduate
student population and has a vibrant presence in our clubs and organizations. This made my
transfer process much easier, since I had a lot of people who could relate to my experience and
could join organizations that worked to further enhance the transfer experience.

Myth #2: Transfer students are at a disadvantage socially because they didn’t get to live in
first-year dorms and forge meaningful friendships in their first year.

It is true that the first community you find in college is typically through a dorm or aspect of residence
life during your first year. This is especially true at UVA, where the first-years live in a concentrated
area of grounds and create great cammarderies in their living spaces. Choosing to live off-grounds as
a transfer student definitely made me nervous, since I knew I would not have this community to fall
back on. However, I quickly realized that getting involved in the numerous close-knit organizations
available on grounds will help you to find your “people” just as much as a dorm would. Though I felt
like I missed out on something in the first few months here, as soon as I joined CIOs that I was
passionate about, I caught up socially with everyone else pretty quickly. Now I feel like I have as
great a college family as anyone who lived in dorms. Depend on those CIOs, they won’t let you down!

Myth #3: Transferring makes graduating in four years difficult/impossible.

Perhaps at other schools, but not here! UVA’s four-year graduation rate is 87%, much higher than the
national average and this includes transfer students. Credits easily transfer to UVA from other schools
 and the administration is well-versed in the transfer credit process. I know I will be able to graduate
in four years and every other transfer I know will as well. This is not to say that there won’t be
occasional case-by-case situations but overall, graduating in four years is still the norm for UVA
transfer students.

Myth #4: Transfer students can’t study abroad.

Wrong! They absolutely can. Our International Studies Office does a great job at making study
abroad opportunities accessible to all students, especially transfer students. Our UVA direct credit
programs let students go abroad with UVA faculty and take UVA classes, so transfer students don’t
have to worry about the headache that is more transfer credit. Those classes taken abroad will go
directly onto your transcript and into your GPA. However, if you are ever worried about not fitting
in your credits and study abroad in four years, you can go during the summer or during a January term.

Myth #5: It is more difficult to join CIOs (clubs) at UVA when you are a transfer student.

Overall, I had a very easy time joining CIOs as a second-year. But that is not to say there aren’t a
select few organizations that try to recruit mainly first-years. These, however, will be a small majority.
I even joined a student-run theatre organization called First Year Players even though (if you can’t tell
by the name) they cater mostly to first-year students. Most organizations with this type of mentality
usually have an exception for transfer students. This turned out to be very beneficial for me because
I made lots of first year friends who were going through similar adjustment periods like myself.
Don’t worry too much about this though; a majority of CIOs will see transfer students as a valuable
voice in their organization.

Myth #6: Integrating into the UVA social life will be difficult because there is a negative stigma
about transfer students on grounds.

This one was probably the biggest misconception I had about the transfer experience. Terrified I would
be judged for being a transfer, I was very careful about who I told in my first few months. But I quickly
realized that this trepidation was completely unnecessary. Instead of being stigmatized, I found that many
people were impressed with my decision to transfer, noting that is takes a lot of drive and initiative to
do so. I felt that I was warmly welcomed into the Wahoo community and I promise that you will too!

Well future Hoos, I hope these mythbusters were informative and helpful. If you have any questions
about the transfer experience, feel free to reach out to me at ! Good luck and
go Hoos!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What to do at UVA During the Summer

When the majority of students leave Charlottesville for the summer, Grounds can seem pretty inactive. So why do some students choose to stick around for the summer?  Here is a list of the top five activities students become involved in when staying on Grounds for the summer.

Take Summer Classes

The majority of students who decide to stay in Charlottesville for the summer enroll in summer classes. Summer classes are great opportunity for students to get ahead if they are considering double majoring, graduating early, or are on a pre-professional track (pre-med, pre-law, etc).  Summer classes intense and fast paced as four months of material are condensed into one month. There are three five week summer sessions, each offering a different set of classes. Students typically take two classes per session and Financial aid, housing and a meal plan are available!

Volunteer through Madison House

Madson House manages all UVA sponsored volunteer activities. Most volunteer programs occur in the fall and spring, but a few continue on  into the summer, including the one that I am currently involved in which is an afterschool program designed to help immigrant children improve their English and math skills. Other summer Madison House activities include volunteering at the Charlottesville senior center, assisting physical therapy patience with watersports, maintaining the grounds of an animal shelter, and tons of other cool volunteer activities!

Do Research or Work

Some students combine class summer classes with research or jobs opportunities. Many professors tend to stay in Charlottesville in order to focus more time towards their research, and more than happy recieve student help! If a student is interested in getting involved in summer research, he or she can email a professor personally or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research. In addition to research opportunities jobs are also available at most UVA facilities including the Rotunda, the libraries and gyms.

Play an Intramural Sport

The Department of Intramural Recreation Sports has plenty of recreational activities for students during the summer. Three out of four gyms (including two pools) remain open and they are free to use to all students who are enrolled in summer classes (there is $85 fee for students not taking summer classes). There are also summer kickball, softball, and beach volleyball intramural leagues. Interested in learning a new sport? IM Sports also has swimming, tennis, weightlifting and self defense courses.

Attend a Fridays after Five Concert

From April to September, the Charlottesville Downtown Mall has free music concerts at the Sprint Pavilion every Friday starting at five. This is a great opportunity to spend time with friends, interact  with residence from the Charlottesville community, and try out new restaurants. When taking the free trolley, the commute from the Rotunda to the Downtown Mall is about 15 minutes, making it easy for students to attend Fridays After Five.

Although Charlottesville can seem pretty quiet during the summer, you can still find plenty of activities to occupy your free time, making a summer in Charlottesville worthwhile!


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work: The Career Center

The Career Center is an amazing resource, whether you’re coming into UVA undecided
or know exactly what you want to do ~ they have convenient locations around grounds,
host events (including career fairs) throughout the year, and have dedicated advisors ready
with industry-specific advice.

The Career Center includes so much- from major exploration and finding a part-time job at
UVA to alumni mentoring and on-grounds interviews- that it’s hard to fit everything into a
single blog post. I’ll give an overview of different resources available, but be sure to check out
the website too:

1515- the student center on the Corner, in the 2nd floor study
  • Great for 1st & 2nd-years: meet with a career counselor in a one-on-one session to clarify
career goals, develop an action plan, or enhance search strategies for internships or jobs.
  • Walk-in hours, no appointment needed!
Bryant Hall- the backside of Scott Stadium, located next to the athletic ticketing office
  • Appointments available to meet with a career counselor, or sign up for a Major Exploration
  • Also hosts on-grounds interviews, where employers come to UVA to hire hoos.
Clemons Library
  • The 2nd floor hosts office hours for different career clusters, where career counselors offer
tailored advice to your specific academic/career interest.

Career Clusters ~
  • Business
  • Creative Arts, Media, & Design
  • Education, Counseling, & Youth Development
  • Healthcare
  • Engineering, Science, & Technology
  • Public Service & Government

You can subscribe to any clusters’ email list, where you’ll receive personalized newsletters with
relevant positions at UVA, internships, and jobs!! There’s also specific resources for pre-health and

This is Carrie (left), one of the career counselors. Carrie is great, go talk to Carrie.

Major exploration: Career Exploration Workshops are of the best programs for first-years
(in addition to walk-in advising at 1515), where you can meet with a career counselors and other
students in a workshop setting. They meet for an hour, once a week for four weeks, and it’s a perfect
introduction to the Career Center.

Handshake: Handshake is a lot like LinkedIn, but has UVA-specific opportunities, including jobs
on-grounds and internships. Setting up an account is easy, and you can also register for different
events or schedule Career Center appointments.

The Hoos Guide is updated each year with plenty of helpful information; there are copies available
at each Career Center location, or check it out here:

I came into UVA undecided, and the Career Center’s been hugely helpful in choosing a major,
finding summer opportunities, polishing my resume, and finding mentors. Please check it out,
they’re amazing and are one of the best ways to connect with different aspects of the university.

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions!!

Maddie Sugg

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Staying Grounded: On-Grounds Housing After First Year

It may be hard to believe now, but your first year will fly by. Cling to it while you can. Wake up each day at dawn, meet every single person in the quarter-mile radius of your dorm complex, wile away every night in deep discussions in the lounge. At the end of the year, you’ll be exhausted, bleary-eyed, and in love. And also in need of housing for the following year.

Never fear. Upperclassmen housing is more accessible than it seems. While many second years (about 50%) choose to live off-Grounds by signing leases for apartments or houses, on-Grounds housing is always an option. I mean that quite literally: on-Grounds housing is guaranteed for anyone who lived on Grounds in the year prior, which means that every first-year student has guaranteed on-Grounds housing *should they choose to apply for it.

But what housing is available on-Grounds? Is it any good? Will I be isolated, lonely and far away from all my friends as they party and my new tyrannical RA lords over me?

Hear me and hear me well, Prospective Student. On-Grounds housing is a move. Trust me– I’ve never lived anywhere else.

What it means to live on-Grounds as an upperclassmen
  • Apartment- or house-style living quarters
  • Furnished & including all utilities
  • Charged through student account
  • Located closer to popular student areas than dorms
  • Rooms either single or double (roommate)
  • Overseen by a Resident Advisor

With those basic characteristics in mind, here’s a rundown of on-Grounds options with special highlights about the places I’ve lived.

  1. On-Grounds Apartments: Lambeth Field ResidencesImage result for lambeth field
Damn! What a beaut. The gem of Lambeth Field Residences is certainly Lambeth Field. On nice days, you can catch all sorts of athletes out here, ranging from the Ultimate Frisbee club team to local Charlottesville soccer leagues to UVA’s football team. The field is also open to anyone and everyone who wants to throw or kick a ball with friends, sunbathe, study, or hammock. Students and community members love this field– recently, there was a huge uproar when a rich private donor tried to turn it into a softball stadium and students organized to petition, protest, and preserve the field for public use.
Image result for lambeth field residences
As for the apartments themselves, they come in either six- or four-person units, with each room being a double. The apartment has a (small) kitchen, living room, and either 1.5 or 2 bathrooms. Pro-tip: you’re able to choose which apartment you live in, and it’s absolutely worth it to visit Lambeth and figure out which apartments have vaulted ceilings. The vaulted ceiling makes all the difference– your living room will feel so much more spacious.

I lived in Lambeth my second year. My friends and I had decided to all live together, but we only had 5 out of 6 spots filled. We were randomly assigned a sixth person, a transfer student who had applied to live in Lambeth, and he turned out to be a wonderful addition to the group. The entire year was characterized by tomfoolery and shenanigans.
We decked out our apartment with all the best Goodwill decor. At the end of the year, we had so much weird art and odd objects that we decided to host an art show. We wrote little placards for each object, invited our closest hundred friends, and even had a film screening of moments from the year. It’s one of my top college memories. Don’t let anyone tell you on-Grounds housing can’t be fun.

Lambeth is one of several on-Grounds apartment complexes– check them all out on the Housing & Residence Life website.

2. Language Houses: Casa Bolívar (Spanish House)
Image result for casa bolivar

Five minutes from the Lawn sit three unique on-Grounds options: the language houses. These are communities dedicated to an immersive language experience. One houses French speakers, another Spanish speakers, and the last (Shea House) is home to enthusiasts of all other languages.

Third year, I lived in Casa Bolívar. It was certainly a new experience to get to know a group of 20 new people in another language. The house dynamic was fun: there were often people lounging in the living room or making breakfast together. I got into many a good discussion, all of us working to navigate the limitations of our not-quite-fluent Spanish. That was probably the best part: that it was a learning experience for everyone without any pressure to be perfect.

I’ll be real though, the Spanish House pales in comparison with the French house (or more accurately the French mansion). If you speak French, you should absolutely try to live here. I tried to fake it but they caught on to me (apparently just repeating “parly view” isn’t “real French”).
Image result for french house uva

3. Residential Colleges

UVA has three residential colleges, which are living-learning communities comprised of students of all four years. Each has its own purpose or collective interest: Hereford is centered on sustainability; the International Residential College focuses on cultural exchange; Brown College is for “the interested and the interesting.”
Image result for brown college uva

I haven’t had the chance to live in a residential college, so I’ll leave it at that and allow one of our future blog posts to teach you all about these options.

That wraps up this brief rundown of on-Grounds options. And if none of those strike your fancy, you can always throw your name into the hat for a historic Lawn room in your fourth year. Doesn’t get much more on-Grounds than that.Image result for uva lawn rooms

Zach Schauffler

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Student Health

    Hey guys, it’s Brynna here to give you the run-down on the student health center at UVA.
Something you’ll learn quickly about college is that, no matter how many vegetables you eat or
how many miles you run, you’re most likely going to get sick at some point. It’s an unfortunate truth
about living so close to so many people and using so many of the public facilities and amenities that
UVA offers students.
    Luckily Elson Student Health Center, located on the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and
Brandon Avenue, has your back. Student Health appointments are free for students, but services
like vaccinations, lab testing, prescriptions, and the like are sent to your health insurance company
and any remaining charges are charged to your student account. Peruse the different services that
Student Health offers below.
Photo courtesy of the Cavalier Daily
Primary Care
   You can go get an immunization here, or go get checked out if you think you might have any
type of acute illness or infection. Primary Care is staffed by doctors, physician’s assistants,
nurse practitioners, and nurses who are all there to help you. They can write you a prescription,
order a lab test, give you crutches or a brace/sling, or refer you to a specialist at the UVA Medical
Center down the street.
    A staff of friendly and helpful gynecologists, nurse practitioners, triage nurses, and medical
students make up the Gynecology Department at Student Health. This department offers services
for well woman issues, such as contraception and STI screenings, as well as common gynecologic
concerns like UTIs and menstrual issues. These services are free and confidential, and the staff works
hard to make sure that this department is welcoming, inclusive, and comfortable for every student
who might need them.
    I’ve only heard positive stories about friends’ experiences at Gynecology at Student Health, and
I’ve only had positive experiences myself. It’s important that students think of gynecological care
as a normal part of taking care of themselves, and this department is full of awesome medical
professionals who are here to help you with that.
    Have a prescription you need refilled regularly? Just prescribed an antibiotic by a medical
professional at Primary Care? Good thing the pharmacy is right there! The same way you would
fill a prescription at any other pharmacy, the Student Health Pharmacy will make sure you have the
medications you need without having to go very far.
    Right down the hall from Primary Care is a lab, where you can complete any tests that your
doctor might order for you. I found it convenient to have these services in the same building as
the place where they are ordered and read. If you think you might have strep throat or need some
bloodwork done, this is where you’ll go.
Allergy Clinic
    This department works through students’ Allergists at home, ensuring that students can continue
the immunotherapy they had before coming to UVA. The Allergy Clinic is here to help students
who might mismanage their allergy, display different symptoms than before, or just find themselves
struggling with the pollen count in Charlottesville (the beautiful flowers come at a price, let me tell you).
    The Nutrition Department’s services are completely free for students and completed by registered
dietitians and peer health educators (PHEs). Students can seek out these services to learn about healthy
eating habits in general, but also can seek out help for eating disorders or weight management. This
department typically stops services after 12 visits, but will refer students to specialists in
Charlottesville if they feel a student needs long-term consultation. The Nutrition Department is
awesome, and all students could benefit from their services in some capacity.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
    CAPS offers free clinical services for students experiencing stress, anxiety, depression,
family problems, relationship difficulties, substance abuse issues, trauma, academic concerns, and
much more. A team of clinical psychologists and counselors are happy to help you temporarily, or
long-term. Visit their website ( for more details on how they
serve students, and which student concerns should be addressed by CAPS and which should be
addressed by another long-term care provider. Your mental health is important, and CAPS is here to
make sure that you’re taking care of yourself not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

That’s all I have for you today folks. Keep checking in on this blog for more posts on UVA student life
from yours truly and my fellow summer interns and remember, a healthy hoo is a happy hoo!