Warning for those considering UVA and the McIntire School of Commerce

I want everyone who is considering attending the University of Virginia with the intention of joining the comm school, especially out-of-state students (a lot more money on the line), to seriously reconsider. Trust me, it is not worth taking the risk since they seem to pick students completely at random. There is no rhyme or reason and if you have the chance to go to an undergraduate business school as a direct admit, do that instead. I was naive, thinking that I could easily meet and surpass the average statistics that the school provides on the website. I’m sure many of you considering UVa may think similarly. However, these statistics barely touch on the full story. The process is just like applying to colleges in the first place, putting an emphasis on non-useful characteristics that are out of your control by having established diversity quotas. When people say it is a crapshoot, heed their warning. I had basically a 4.0 and was in two of the top three McIntire organizations and was not offered admission because I was “too interested in finance and business.” This isn’t a one-time occurrence either. I’ve spoken to a lot of students who were more than qualified to go to comm who were rejected and students who obviously were not qualified (3.4 GPA which basically means they went to class at least once a month) get admitted. If you do come here, just mess around, get wasted, and don’t worry about school (or at least make it seem like you don’t want to be in comm). These are unfortunately the types of kids the comm school looks for. Luckily, I came in with a lot of credits and will be able to graduate as a second-year but this is not a typical case and most out-of-state students are left spending money for four years on an econ degree. If you are seriously interested in business, go somewhere else. To be completely transparent, I am of course somewhat pissed at the school for not being admitted, but don’t let that discount the serious problems that come with attending UVa for business.

Thanks for posting.

I would like to repeat one of your points: If intending to major in business, direct admit is quite valuable.

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Entrance into McIntire (and Batten) is definitely very competitive. They are transparent about that, providing [five years of admission data on their website](https://www.commerce.virginia.edu/undergrad/application-process-uva). These processes are not random, though. Admission staff spend hours upon hours evaluating applications and assembling a class. McIntire’s job is especially hard because their applicant pool is so strong (I don’t think the characterization of your classmates is fair, but that’s another conversation).

All that doesn’t make dealing with the decisions any easier, of course. I’m sorry you are hurting right now.

Keep in mind that McIntire also offers a minor, two certificate that don’t require work experience, and five Masters programs. If you want McIntire as part of your experience, there is a way to weave the work in, even if you aren’t admitted to the Bachelors degree program.

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This type of post is so unhelpful. You’ve got plenty of sour grapes but no concrete evidence of anything. I have no connection to this college, btw.

“Trust me, it is not worth taking the risk since they seem to pick students completely at random.” Given that it’s clearly completely random, you had no risk involved whatsoever. Wondering why you applied.

As a college counselor, it is difficult to recommend non-direct admit business schools for these very reasons.

Schools aren’t typically transparent about the internal admission process, so a potential student often can’t make an educated, or accurate, estimation of their future chance of admission (and they will generally overestimate as OP did)…an overall admission rate gives information of limited utility to a specific individual, beyond the communication of some measure of selectivity.

In the absence of information regarding a given school’s selection process, applicants are left to guess the full complement of attributes they will be evaluated upon (some of which aren’t even in the applicant’s control), or how said attributes are weighted when building the class.

Direct admit business schools allow a student to bypass a typically non-transparent admission process…there are many fantastic direct admit schools with outstanding job placement to choose from for those who want to manage this risk. A bird in the hand is often preferable for students who are certain they want to major in business.


I thought it was a useful warning that McIntire’s admissions are holistic (apparently) and use unknown criteria, so that excellent academics are not a guarantee of admission. That can be useful for students to know before attending, and I would not say the current McIntire website makes that abundantly clear to potential students.


The McIntire admission page goes into a lot of detail about what they consider beyond those 59-60% admission rates. Their admission staff will sit down with any student interested in getting advice, no appointment needed.

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I am applying to business schools this year. I originally left UVA off my list for this reason( Over 50% of people who want to study business can’t!!! ) But I heard about its incredible placement and was scared about my decisions so decided to put in an application. I am essentially not considering UVA anymore because the possibility of not getting into McIntire is such a big risk. I also left Berkeley and UNC off my list for this reason, and only kept Emory because 85% of applicants to the business school are accepted. It helps that was already accepted into one of my top programs though.

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This is a very helpful post because it is a clear warning to those students who are considering undergraduate business at UVA. The percentage admission data don’t tell the whole story. They’re averaging nearly a 60% acceptance rate but that DOES NOT include those students who have decided not to apply because of their bad grades. The reality might be closer to 45-50% depending on how many never entered the application stage. That’s like a coin toss.

Many students see those stats and immediately think, “Oh yeah, I don’t have to worry about all that. I am smart and hardworking and of course I will be better than 50% of the kids applying.” What they don’t understand is that everyone else is thinking the same thing because most of them will have been at the top of their class in high schools. If you’re business or bust then this is not really a good school to go to because at the end of the day it is a gamble. The kids who make it to the application stage have good grades at least because the ones who have bad grades have already ruled themselves out. It depends on other things that you may or may not have control over. Depending on how much you’re paying you are spending a lot of money in order to possibly get accepted or rejected to the program you went to college for. If you get accepted, that’s great. But what if you don’t? You’ve just spent time and money on a school where you’re not allowed to enter the major that you wanted. But that’s the rule of the game and everyone knew going in that it is no guarantee.

The best way to go about this would probably be to go to CC and then apply for transfer. That means you KNOW whether you are accepted or rejected before making a choice. But then you have to spend 2 years at CC and that’s not acceptable to a lot of people.

OP - it is what is it. You lost a gamble. The data is transparent on their website but the numbers are not contextualized for high school kids to understand what they’re looking at. You might have thought you had a better chance but what’s done is done. Transfer or graduate ASAP.

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Sorry to hear your experience not getting in to McIntire when you clearly met the requirements. Almost sounds like a penalty that you had so many finance/biz credentials which is puzzling??? Agree on the grades point too. UVa, not unlike other colleges, has very disparate grade policies based on birth factors - factors outside everyone’s control. So if you were born say a ‘green’ person, your competitive pool is so high but if you are an ‘orange’ person, you can work so much less hard, make less sacrifices and still coast in. It’s the same approach for getting in. It’s not an equitable or consistent system and the schools think they can tell us it makes sense when we know the students – the ones we go to school with everyday – way better they what they say on the application. Anyhow, it’s good advice not to go to UVA for this reason and for you in particular, since you are able to graduate so much quicker, you may be better off without it. Good luck in life!

I agree whole heartedly that if a program is truly one you want, direct admit or easy change of Major are the way to go. One of my kids was denied transfer to the school of business even with a challenging course load his freshman year and good grades. There simply are not enough seats to accommodate all requests. It is not donein a straight out Gpa and rigorous course load criteria, so there just aren’t any guarantees. This is true for any number of programs at universities that require applications to change majors or schools within.

I can totally understand your situation and pain. I have a child who is a freshman at UVA with an aspiration to get into McIntire too. Our child chose to attend UVA over Emory, and couple other top 15 business schools. My child’s first year grades (Almost done with spring semester too) and clubs memberships are as good as they can be, and still that doesnt assure an admission into McIntire. At times , the ‘what if’ thought does cross our minds too. I have researched the job placements for McIntire graduates vs UVA Econ/Stats graduates, and found out almost all the same employers hire Econ/Stats graduates too, with slightly less % starting salaries. Over all, you can’t go wrong in the long run. Yes, again I can understand the feeling of not getting admitted when you think that you met all credentials, and that is a hard pill to swallow.

Sometimes I wonder if McIntire is asked to repeat the admission process, can they give admission to the same exact students (applicants) who were admitted into McIntire from the pool of students who applied?
That is a million dollar question.

If the answer is Yes then may be not random, If not, it could be some what random.

Best wishes to all.

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@VirginiaNovaResident: I do not understand your “million dollar question”. Could you please elaborate ? (On my part, I will drink another cup of strong coffee.)


Here is an exmaple: first time McIntire selected students A, B, C , D etc from a pool of applications. If ( Hypothetical ) McIntire asked to go through the process of the same pool of applications again ( Argument sake ) will they select the same students A, B, C, D or could they end up selecting A, B, D, F in the 2nd attempt.

Agree! My son did the CC route, fully paid by scholarship and got in McIntire as 1 of 30 transfers I believe. He also got into W&M and Tech. These were backups just in case.

I did the same thing! No scholarship :frowning: but I had applied to six schools with WM and Tech as my backups. I’m glad that he got in! Best of luck to you all.

@Lindagaf I disagree. This post is very helpful. When a near 4.0 student with business-related ECs doesn’t get into the business school, that’s a good warning to future students about the substantial risk in attending UVA hoping to get into McIntire. Some might want to take the risk (especially those who would be happy majoring in economics), but some (especially those who are set on a business major) won’t. And this kind of information is helpful. Average stats published by the school makes students overconfident about their chances. You see that all the time with elite admissions.


I don’t think McIntire is doing anything malicious, even though this gentleman’s feelings were hurt. I don’t blame OP for it. He probably worked extremely hard and rightfully believes in his ability to fit in there, maybe even excel.

Regardless, McIntire wouldn’t purposefully make decisions to hurt their reputation by admitting low quality applicants. We can probably expect their graduates to continue do just fine in the business world.

I should note, I was rejected for transfer this fall with what I perceived to be a very strong application. You could say it stung. I don’t think OP’s thread title is wrong, I just think his feelings are steering the tone of the body of evidence he presented.

@ VirginiaNovaResident
I don’t know if this answers your question, but I think you are getting at- Did the McIntire school make the right choice of candidates when they look back at how the (say lower GPA) students fared in the program once they got there? First of all, McIntire would never own up to that they choose incorrectly. This is not scientific but a McIntire student I know has said there is a lot of group work and that they have to carry the load for some of the team members. There are some team members who did not take the same classes, for example, but got in anyway and so are less prepared in the program. This is just one example, but the point is → the students that got in say they have to carry some of their classmates in group situations. Ideally, everyone would be qualified to carry their own weight (student didn’t say it was a motivation issue, but rather a competency issue). Like I said, this is no formal study but the value is directly from McIntire student —some of the students were not just pulling their weight.


The reality is the average GPA for acceptance at McIntire (approx 3.75) is not a threshold that if crossed guarantees admission. If that’s ones thinking it’s an assumption they made on their own and if you are accepting a spot at UVA with that thought process be prepared for the possibility of being disappointed.
Just like getting accepted as an undergrad there are variables at play…ORM or URM, male or female, athlete vs non athlete. So they don’t just look at the top 306 applicants by GPA alone and cut the rest.
As the parent of a first year ( just finishing up ) who turned down direct admits to Carroll, Kelley and more, she was aware of this possibility. But would rather be at UVA than the other schools even if she majors in Econ and minors in Comm. If she has a 3.75 or above with that degree, I feel pretty confident she’ll secure a very similar job than if she graduated from McIntire.

Here’s the profile from class of 2021:

The average cumulative grade point average of those who applied was 3.60, which is a minor increase from last year’s 3.59. Accepted applicants had an average GPA of 3.75 — a slight decrease from 3.77 last year — with a range from 3.0 to 4.0. Deferred applicants had an average 3.43 GPA — a decrease from 3.50 last year — and denied applicants also had an average 3.43 GPA, which is an increase from 3.34 last year.

Because the application process has not been completed, the official demographics report for the Class of 2021 is not yet available. Of the total applicant pool this year — 58.2 percent were white, 15.71 percent Asian-American, 7.1 percent non-resident aliens, 3.73 percent black or African-American, 3.73 percent Hispanic, 3.55 percent multiracial, 0.18 percent Native American or Alaskan Native and 0.18 percent Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. An additional 7.4 percent did not specify race and ethnicity. 10.3 percent of the applicant pool were first-generation students.