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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2010 Essay Questions

The future applicants out there might be interested in knowing the essay questions that will appear on next year's UVa Supplement to the Common Application. The Common App will have one general question which you must answer. In addition, we ask for two short responses that are specific to UVa. Please pay attention to the limits! We aren't expecting you to write term papers. We're looking for thoughtful, concise statements.

For advice about essays, click on the "essays" tag at the bottom of the post and you'll see all related posts from past years.


UVa Supplement Essays for First-Years

1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists. Answer the question that corresponds to your intended school. Limit your answer to a half page or roughly 250 words.
  • College of Arts and Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • Engineering: Discuss experiences that led you to choose an engineering education at U.Va. and the role that scientific curiosity plays in your life.
  • Architecture: What led you to apply to the School of Architecture?
  • Nursing: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.


2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words
  • What is your favorite word and why?
  • Describe the world you come from and how that world shaped who you are.
  • Discuss something you secretly like but pretend not to, or vice versa.
  • "We might say that we were looking for global schemas, symmetries, universal and unchanging laws - and what we have discovered is the mutable, the ephemeral, the complex." Support or challenge Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine's assertion.

UVa Supplement Essays for Transfers
1. How do the possible career or professional plans you indicated on the Common Application relate to your planned course of study?
  • If you are applying to the College of Arts and Sciences and are undecided about your major, indicate your general area of interest.
  • If you are applying to the Architecture, Commerce, Education, Engineering, or Nursing Schools, tell us why you have chosen this field and what experiences (work, internships, etc.) have prepared you for it.
  • If you are applying to the Five-Year Teacher Education Program, indicate your academic major within the College of Arts and Sciences and your intended teaching area (e.g., elementary education, secondary education).

2. Since you graduated from high school, have there been periods of time (other than summer vacations) when you were not enrolled in college? Do you plan to spend the Spring term away from your current college or university? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, please describe, in chronological order, your activities or employment during these periods.

3. Answer one of the following essay questions. Limit your response to one page.
  • Stephen Hawking asked the question, "What is the probability of life existing elsewhere in the universe?" in his public lecture, "Life in the Universe." If life does, in fact, exist elsewhere in the universe and you could send one thing to represent the human race, what would it be and why would you choose it?
  • If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead or fictional, who would they be and why would you select them?
  • What issue of local, national, or international significance concerns you? Why?