Preparing Students to Shape the Future
Thomas Jefferson envisioned his university as dedicated to educating and preparing future generations for active, informed citizenship. Accordingly, at the very heart of the Grounds are U.Va.'s students. Following Mr. Jefferson's vision for the University, the current model brings the most talented students to the Grounds, places them together with inspired teachers, and, through the knowledge they transmit and the examples they provide, sets students on their course in life prepared to fulfill their aspirations.
Each class of students seems even more talented and better qualified than the last. The University received a record number of admissions applications—23,942—for the Class of 2015, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. Of the students offered admission, 94.5 percent rank in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. Their median SAT score was 2,070 on a 2,400-point scale, with the middle 50 percent scoring between 1,950 and 2,210.
Students Who Challenge Themselves
U.Va. gives students an expansive intellectual and ethical framework that they can use to create opportunities for professional and personal growth. The experiences of the graduating Class of 2011 illustrate this process. For instance, Katerina Bruner, the president of her sophomore, junior, and senior classes at Brooke Pointe High School in Stafford, Virginia, learned to combine her commitment to nursing with her dedication to the African-American community. Among other activities, she helped revive a floundering organization, Minorities in Nursing Today, and wrote a Distinguished Major thesis on the causes of obesity in African-American women.
Music major Elliott Burris, another member of the Class of 2011, chose U.Va., rather than the music academies and conservatories he also applied to, because other family members had attended the University. But Mr. Burris soon found that U.Va. was the ideal arena for exploring other interests while deepening his interest in music. He took courses in math, physics, Tibetan Buddhism, sociology, finance, accounting, and economics. A percussionist, he studied African drumming and joined the African Music and Dance Ensemble. He was also a member of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, which presented a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. He has embarked on a career as a commodities trader.
Kenneth Warren, who graduated with a doctorate in educational technology, used the opportunity of a Curry School of Education course in digital storytelling to pay tribute to his great-aunt Alice Jackson Stuart. The University denied Ms. Stuart admission to graduate school in the 1930s because she was African American, and Mr. Warren created a video documenting her case. He now serves as an academic technology consultant to the humanities faculty at the University of Richmond.
Other students arrive at U.Va. with considerable experience. Rebecca Gantt came to the School of Law after five years in the U.S. Navy, where she was navigator of the Norfolk-based destroyer USS McFaul. A native of rural Nelson County, Virginia, she pursued her interest in environmental protection through the school’s Environmental and Land Use Law Program and its Environmental Law Clinic. In the process, she earned the Jackson Walker L.L.P. Award, given to the student with the highest grade point average after four semesters. After graduation, Ms. Gantt will clerk for Judge Michael Boudin of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.