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UVA or UNC

Collegegirl10134Collegegirl10134 6 replies2 threads New Member
edited February 16 in College Search & Selection
Hi guys! I have been admitted to both UNC Chapel Hill and UVA (OOS from Illinois for both) and am wondering which one to choose. I am looking for a prestigious school that is welcoming of minorities. Also somewhere that has lots of activities going on around campus and somewhere that I can have a good time. Cost is not a factor. I am honestly torn. Can current students or anyone who knows about these two schools give me any insight that may be beneficial?
edited February 16
39 replies
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Replies to: UVA or UNC

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7724 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Have you spent the night at both places? Way better for you to go & see than to ask random people their opinions. I like one better than the other- but you might not like the things that I do.
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  • Collegegirl10134Collegegirl10134 6 replies2 threads New Member
    edited February 16
    Okay thanks
    edited February 16
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  • PublisherPublisher 11043 replies145 threads Senior Member
    What do you plan to study ?
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7677 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    What kind of activities are you looking for? Both schools will keep you as busy as you would like to be.
    edited February 16
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  • rickle1rickle1 2524 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Congratulations on two very tough OOS admits to two of the finest state universities in the nation!!! Quite an accomplishment.

    There’s probably more similar than different at these two. Location may matter to you as UVA is just 90 minutes from DC and is located very close to the mountains, Blue Ridge Hwy , etc. UNC is essentially one leg of the Research Trianngle area and all the opportunity that brings. Both are amazing college towns with tremendous pride, school spirit, big time sports (ACC), traditions galore, etc.

    What do you plan on studying? As others have mentioned, I would visit both if possible to get a feel.

    Best of luck, and again, congrats!
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  • PublisherPublisher 11043 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Although they are overlap schools with respect to applications, I disagree that the two schools are similiar. My impression is that the campus cultures are quite different and a visit to each should reveal that one is clearly a better fit.
    edited February 16
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7677 replies7 threads Senior Member
    I agree that it is best to visit if possible. Although the two schools are more alike than different, each one has a distinct vibe.
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  • merc81merc81 11627 replies198 threads Senior Member
    UNC registers 82% in-state enrollment; UVA registers 64% in-state enrollment. An out-of-state student, in particular, may prefer UVA for its (relative) geographical diversity.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11043 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Although both universities share several schools as overlaps, outside of the common geographic region, the overlaps become more revealing.

    UNC non-regional overlaps are UCal-Berkeley, UCLA, & Michigan.

    University of Virginia non-regional overlaps are all Ivy League schools (Penn, Harvard, Cornell, & Princeton).
    edited February 16
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  • merc81merc81 11627 replies198 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Though this analysis dates from several years ago, it probably continues to represent the general academic preparedness of students at these two schools: https://www.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9. As an opinion, colleges separated by less than about two dozen places — as is the case with UVA and UNC — tend to offer similar academic atmospheres, however.
    edited February 16
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  • merc81merc81 11627 replies198 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Well, wait, these schools are separated by 32 places in the analysis above (but do fall within the same 50 – 100 zone). Use your own judgment.
    edited February 16
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7677 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    We spent a considerable amount of time at both schools (OOS for both) and my D attended one. The vibe is different... as noted above in the overlap schools.
    edited February 16
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  • SweetgumSweetgum 49 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I live in Chapel Hill (UNC alum here) and my niece went to UVA. I think they are very similar schools. There is not another school more similar to UNC, imho, than UVA. (I think UGA would be second most similar.) I'm sure you would be happy at either UNC or UVA. You can't go wrong, really.

    UNC is a little closer to other major universities with Duke just 15 minutes down the road. We are big rivals with Duke, but some departments do actually collaborate. And the Robertson Scholar bus travels between the campuses every day.

    What are you hoping to study? That might be the deciding factor. I agree, though, that visiting the campuses should be on your list. They are just about 3.5 hrs apart so you could combine trips.

    UVA has a beautiful historic campus nestled in the edge of the Shenandoah Valley. UNC has a beautiful historic campus in the piedmont of NC.

    Really, both are wonderful schools. Congratulations on your acceptances!
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7724 replies82 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Don't put too much weight on being 'near' the mountains or DC from Charlottesville. 1) it's more like 2+ hours to DC from Cville, and the Blue Ridge mountains are about 2.5 hours from either Cville or CH. And, CH has beaches w/in 2 hours instead of DC. More importantly 2) students at both UVa and UNC tend to make that kind of road trip very rarely unless they have a particular interest.

    But really, OP, as you can see by the above comments, you have two great choices, which are more similar than different in the things that can be measured objectively (unless you are looking at Engineering, but you would already know that).

    You mentioned diversity, which is a good example. You can look up the stats, but as I am sure you know how a place *feels* is more than just #s. Really, just go and see. Revisit weekends are coming up. Visit both- it will be worth it.
    edited February 16
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  • Collegegirl10134Collegegirl10134 6 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you all for the responses!

    @twogirls which did she end up choosing and why?

    @Publisher and @rickle1 I am interested in potentially studying both journalism (which I know UNC has an amazing program for), but also political science (UVA is great for since it is so close to DC)

    Also, many of you mentioned that the campus cultures are very different. Could someone who has experience with this please go into detail about this?

    I really want to get involved with intramural sports, and I heard UVA is not so inclusive with their extracurriculars. Also interested in a campus ministry and involved with volunteering within the greater charlottesville or chapel hill/NC community.

    Something that is also very important to me is residential housing. By this, I mean it is important that not all students live off campus after their freshman year. I am really big on a sense of community and unity within the school I end up choosing.

    With UNC, I fear that it is almost too impersonal that it will be hard to establish connections with my peers (especially since most from NC), and my professors.

    If anyone could give their thoughts on any of this that would be great.
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  • ap1412ap1412 4 replies7 threads New Member
    Depends on major but for most majors I’d go with UVA. However, for journalism I think UNC would be the better choice academically
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  • Tigerwife92Tigerwife92 154 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @Collegegirl10134 You really can't go wrong with either school, so I would definitely visit both. Although UNC is largely in-state admits, what most outside of NC don't realize is that Raleigh and Charlotte are huge relo areas. To give you an example, our high school is 75% relo. The kids are graduating from NC high schools, but most in our area grew up in the northeast, MI, OH, CA, etc. There is built-in geographic diversity; it just doesn't show up on paper.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11043 replies145 threads Senior Member
    According to the Fiske guide To Colleges 2020:

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill "is need-blind in admissions and commits to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students--one of only two public universities in the US to do so (see also University of Virginia)."
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7677 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited February 17
    @Collegegirl10134

    1. The students at UNC are very involved. You will be hard pressed to find somebody who only attends classes. Most students volunteer, do research, clubs etc. The clubs are very active and the research opportunities are plentiful. There is a campus ministry that students are involved with, so that won’t be a problem. It is not difficult at all to volunteer in CH or neighboring Carrboro.

    2. There is an enormous amount of school spirit...even in the town. The town merges with the campus, so it is not uncommon to see families with children walking the campus, attending the games, etc.

    3. The academics were “just right.” She did very, very well ...but it was not a cake walk. She studied, went to office hours to get her writing reviewed, etc. The academics were perfect for her. I was often asked if she felt as though the academics were “too easy” for her, given her OOS status (ugh). After giving people an awkward silence...my response was always “no.” Not too hard, not too easy.

    4. Professors are very welcoming. You simply email or knock on the door ...and you are invited to chat and get involved. My D remains friendly with many and was never at a loss for research opportunities. My D was often invited to their homes for dinner...bbqs etc. When we visited the school and went for lunch, there were several times when D left us and spent an hour talking to a prof who she ran into.

    5. Sports. Do not expect to do any type of intramural sport at UNC...any sport that is organized by the school will be very competitive. If you make it...great!!! Kids who were strong varsity athletes in HS often don’t make a “basic” intramural (inter?) team...that’s how competitive it is. That being said, it is very common to join teams that are created just for fun.

    6. There is a lot of economic diversity, which was very important for my D. There is also much geographic diversity within the state of NC. Depending on your personality it may be hard to adjust at first, but once you get involved you will likely make lots of friends from all over the state...country...and world. My D has good friends from all over the country, and she has a few abroad as well. As noted above...there are lots of relocations.

    7. Many students move off campus after their sophomore year. My D debated on staying on campus all 4 years ...and after speaking with housing she learned that it would be fine...no problem.

    8. The J school is big..with many internship opportunities. I also know political sci majors with DC internships and jobs.

    9. Many of the shops have signs in their windows welcoming breastfeeding women, rainbow flags, etc.

    10. We are not from a religious community. My D was initially taken back by the number of students who went to church on Sunday...because she really had not seen this before when she was in HS (everybody lives in their own unique bubble I suppose). A few of her close friends went to church every Sunday.

    11. She was interviewed by the school paper and was asked to give her impression as an OOS student. She stated that she came from a homogenous community and one of the things she loved about UNC...was getting out of that homogeneous bubble. And that...she did. She really had/has a diverse group of friends from all different types of backgrounds, locations, life experiences etc.

    11. Why not UVA? UVA is an AMAZING school, but she really liked the vibe at UNC. UVA felt a little bit more conservative...to her.

    My advice is to spend time at both schools if you can. Congrats on two amazing acceptances...you won’t go wrong at either school.


    edited February 17
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  • CaviteeCavitee 180 replies12 threads Junior Member
    As someone who graduated from both (UVa undergrad and UNC dental school) and who lives in Chapel Hill with a daughter currently attending UVA...they are very similar schools but there are differences.
    My feeling is UVa is a fantastic liberal arts university, it’s strengths are not in the sciences or math but political science, English, pre-law, business (McIntire) are super strong.
    UNC seemingly has stronger sciences with a really good undergrad business (Kenan-Flagler) I know nothing about journalism I was a biochem major.
    Both place well in med school and grad schools but UVa’s MBA and Law are stronger whereas I’d go to UNC for a PhD in the sciences.
    All that being said, I had was elated when my daughter choose UVa over UNC (even though it was $160,000 more.) She wanted to be away from friends and out of Chapel Hill.
    The mental hurdle was students in the top 50% from her school who weren’t on the same rigorous academic high school track as she was with below 1350 SAT got in. It made her feel her efforts were in vain. (She attended the most rigorous academic private school in North Carolina the top 10-15% attend Ivies.)
    All things be equal, if she grew up in Richmond or NOVA, she probably would have wanted to go to UNC...
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