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UVA Political Science Major Chances

SirStencilSirStencil 31 replies16 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Poli Sci w/ minor in US History

GPA: 97.74 we're a really weird school with a 100 point scale
SAT: 1440: 700 R&W 740 Math
SAT II: Biology E freshman year (770) US (790) World History (800)
APs: World History (4) (5) {I retook it, I know it's sort of stubborn) Self-studied Comparative Government (?) Psychology (?) US History (?) Biology (?) Scores come out July, but I'm feeling optimistic.
Senior Year Course Load: AP European History, SUPA (Syracuse University Project advance; college course with more limited credit opportunities) Sociology, SUPA Economics, AP Calculus BC, SUPA Public Affairs, AP Latin, our Chorale (Tenor 2's baby!), Advanced Journalism, Facing Genocide (fun class which I'm only taking since it's the last social studies class offered by my school I haven't taken and none of the other AP classes would fit my schedule)
Just for a look at the rigor. That schedule is about as rigorous of a course load for anyone interested in social studies at my school. I declined to take AP Physics since AP Euro is offered only as an elective and I'd prefer to take all my AP Histories.
Awards: Maureen O'Donnell Award (4 Summa Cum Laude's in a row on the National Latin Exam) Only among 200 people in the world. Honorable Mentions at MUNUC (UChicago), BUSUN (Brown), CNYMUN (Syracuse University) High likelihood of at least AP Scholar with Distinction


Extracurriculars (place leadership in parenthesis): Multiplex Politics. A political debate club which tries to detox the toxic nature of politics and just focus on the issues We've organized voter registration drives and held a mock debate during 2016 (co-founder and current President) International Education Club Junior Classical League (Consul aka President) SHS International Thespian Society Model United Nations (Club VP and Director of Crises {a crazier form of MUN} for our conference we run, CNYMUN, two years running) Mock Trial (Witness on our trial team, 3rd in the state this year and State Champions 2 years ago) Student Council (Site-base team representative: pretty much I run town halls for the school every month) School Newspaper (Opinions Editor and Columnist) YMCA Leaders program member High School Ambassadors 'Link Leader' Some promotional work for a few campaigns Local town Republicans member Fall Play (Our Town:Howie Newsome, Hamlet: Guildenstern) Women's History Month Assembly (Main planner)

Job/Work Experience: Tutoring Latin to middle schoolers. Camp Counselor at a YMCA camp. On-and-off volunteer at our local public library since 6th grade. Brief stint as a mascot for a Credit Union school outreach program. Pretty thin in this department overall

Volunteer/Community service: Helped organize a couple of voter registration drives in my area (BOE said I got the most they've ever seen in one drive) Volunteer through YMCA Leaders program about 10 hours a month. Tutor struggling Latin students in the middle school. Volunteer at Public Library

Summer Activities: Worked as a summer camp counselor the past summer at a camp I've gone to since I was 8 years old. This summer, I'm going on a road trip across the continental US. Hopefully increasing my awareness of the various issues faced by those in our country. And may have a job lined up shadowing my neighbor, a Public Affairs and Law Professor at Syracuse University. Intern on Congressman John Katko's re-election campaign

Essays: Still spitballing ideas. Probably something having to do with my deeply unsettling obsessions with either RFK or Emmanuel Macron lol. But all of my english teachers have said I have one of the most distinctive writing voices they've ever read.
Teacher Recommendation: My MUN coach, Psychology and Econ teacher, and politics club advisor. I spend almost everyday after school with him debating policy. He's gotten progressively liberal since 2016, and I've grown more classically liberal (read: libertarian) 10/10 (I forecast)
My student council advisor and APUSH teacher. Had a rough start to the year but have earned each other's respects and wants to help me convey my opinions in the most constructive outlet. 8/10
Counselor Rec: We've been fast friends since she started this school year; so I'm expecting great things.
Additional Rec: I have a lot of people I could ask. Haven't thought that hard about it. Is it necessary/advised?
Interview: I either come off as a charming intellectual or an arrogant a**hole. Truly a toss-up so fingers crossed.

Applying for Financial Aid?: Hell yeah
State (if domestic applicant): New York
School Type: public
Ethnicity: White
Gender: Male
Income Bracket: Just got into the $100,000 bracket! 2 new jobs
Hooks (URM, first generation college, etc.): Idk

Out of State btw
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Replies to: UVA Political Science Major Chances

  • CharlieschCharliesch 2046 replies70 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't think UVa cares about your intended major in the admissions process. The number of seats are based upon the College of Arts and Sciences as a whole, the Engineering School as a whole, etc.
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  • WahooAS2021WahooAS2021 32 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    OOS is generally much harder to get in, and less predictable than in state. I don't see a class rank, but considering your gpa is 97.74 I assume it is at least top 5%. The gpa actually doesn't matter--UVA uses your class rank instead. Overall, you definitely are competitive, considering the OOS students here I know. Thus, I'll confine my comments to some things I just want to mention about the Politics Department.

    Our poli sci department is referred to as the Politics Department. The department has two majors, Government and Foreign Affairs, but most people I know just refer to themselves as politics majors. It is extremely popular, and for good reason. For someone who has a deep, genuine interest in politics (like it seems you do) the UVA politics department offers some of the best opportunities to embark on the deep study of politics of any university. Not only is there the distinguished majors program, I recommend you look into the Politics Honors program. There are more opportunities to study and research with world famous profs than other places, and other UVA departments.

    It is so popular that many students end up not being able to complete it because they cannot get into enough politics classes to declare the major on time. You have to declare your major by the end of the fifth semester. If you declare in semester five, you need to be currently enrolled in two politics courses and have already taken two. I know a sizable number of people who simply were not able to enroll in enough Politics courses to do this and had to choose another major--although it is certainly possible. However, it is easy to prepare this situation. You can declare a different major, then switch into politics. Most people I know who couldn't major in politics decided they liked their new major, didn't plan enough and stopped taking politics courses, or didn't want to take so many politics courses in such a short space of time. For someone with a genuine desire to major in politics, you can certainly do it.

    Also, classes in the department are very hit or miss. There are lots of weed out courses that are unnecessarily difficult. Not in a STEM kind of way--a lot of times it's just extra work for the sake of doing work, especially in the 1000 level courses and the three politic thought courses (PLPT3010, 3020, and 3030). I don't say this in a bad way; the spread is just more pronounced. Most small 3000 level seminars are more rewarding than in other majors; the intro courses are just ****. The previous paragraphs explain this: the department is popular, so large courses are mainly taught and graded by TAs, while small seminars are just really f***ing cool, with several that are instructor consent to improve the quality of students. You don't really need to even take intro courses, except to meet the credit reqs for declaring a major, so once you get into the major you will really enjoy it.

    Also, UVA doesn't have admissions interviews.
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  • Dean JDean J 4463 replies64 threadsCollege Rep Senior Member
    @WahooAS2021 is mistaken about rank. We don't use class rank instead of GPA. Rank and GPA are subjective and the high school explains their methodology for calculating them on the profile.

    There are several majors that could be of interest to someone interested in politics.

    FWIW, I don't play the "chances" game. I just wanted to address to incorrect information. You can read more about how our process works on the UVA admission blog, Notes from Peabody.

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  • LvMyKids2LvMyKids2 595 replies26 threadsRegistered User Member
    Most rigorous schedule you can take at your school, Mostly As in those classes and take the 5 core (English, Math, Social Studies/Science, Foreign Language and Science) all 4 years of high school.....and then hope for the best :)
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  • CharlieschCharliesch 2046 replies70 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Take a good look at UVa's Batten School. It is competitive for admission during your 2nd year. However, once admitted, it is much easier to get the classes you want and the class sizes are much smaller than in the Politics Dept. My son really liked the program, which has more practical applications for government policy and administration than many politics classes.
    edited June 2018
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  • SirStencilSirStencil 31 replies16 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Charliesch does the Batten School prepare you more for Political administration like as a bureaucrat or is it more geared for public service than the politics department?
    Additionally, for those who know about the honors program: is it something I can apply for/be selected for through my admission or do I have to wait to apply after being accepted?
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  • Dean JDean J 4463 replies64 threadsCollege Rep Senior Member
    @SirStencil Take a look at the Batten website. It's a great resource.

    The scholars program in the College of Arts and Sciences is called Echols. Just google it. The selection process is explained on the website.
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  • CharlieschCharliesch 2046 replies70 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    My impression is that the Batten program is primarily designed to train students to be analytical about policy matters, including statistical analysis. I believe there is also an emphasis on working with group projects. It probably would not be the best program if you want to run political campaigns.

    My son was recruited in his 7th semester to work for a prominent federal agency, where he has been given a great amount of responsibility and advancement.

    His one disappointment with Batten was when he realized it would be much more difficult to complete the joint bachelors/masters program than the 5 years that was advertised. One of the main reasons why it was difficult (at the time) to finish it within 5 years was because you needed a non-Batten major for your undergrad. The Politics dept. refused to accept Batten classes as meeting their requirements for classes that were "related" to Politics, even though they accepted classes that were much less relevant in other departments. It sounded like spite to me at the time by the Politics Dept., because the Batten program is much better funded because of a $100 million private gift. As a result, he completed the Batten bachelors program in 4 years and didn't apply for the joint bachelors/masters. Things may have changed since 2015.

    As of that time, it was hard for first years and second years to get into some Politics classes that were needed for a Politics major. At that time, I also heard from a 4th year Politics major who said he was having trouble getting into one of the classes he needed.
    edited June 2018
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  • WahooAS2021WahooAS2021 32 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @SirStencil Did you mean politics honors? You have to apply to that in your fourth semester. They only take 6 or 7 applicants, but not very many apply so it isn't as competitive as one would assume. Some years they barely get enough applicants, and some years they get a lot. Even if you don't get in, you can still complete a politics DMP.

    Also, you ask whether Batten is more for bureaucrats or public service. What do you mean by public service? Batten is more for public service in the bureaucracy or some NPO, while Politics is more for public service in the legislature, as a lawyer, or the executive branch (the political part, like the White House).

    @Dean J Your admissions page advertises that "89.4% ADMITTED FROM THE TOP 10% OF THEIR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATING CLASS." I understand your insistence that "it's all subjective," but the reality is that you compare a student's academic performance to other applicants, both in their school and outside it. That's the nature of competitive admissions. But saying "it's all subjective" is like answering "how long is a string?" with "it depends." Ya, it depends, but strings also typically range from a couple inches to several yards in length. Your push to avoid to avoid potentially inaccurate information just obscures helpful guidelines--one of which is that applicants don't generally have a good chance unless they are in the top 10%, as evidenced by your own admissions page.
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  • Dean JDean J 4463 replies64 threadsCollege Rep Senior Member
    The first issue was that you told the other student that we use rank instead of GPA, @WahooAS2021. That was incorrect.

    It's important to remember that the statistics about the incoming class aren't "guidelines." The stats are summarizing the class, not describing the way we review applications.

    Before you lean on any statistic, you should understand how it is generated. I link to the Office of Institutional Assessment on the stats page of the admission website so people can dive deeper into the published numbers. I also address the methodology on my blog anytime I share the ranking data.

    If you look at the ranking data chart, you can see that 56% of the incoming class didn't have a reported rank last year. While high schools provide contextual info about the student's class on the high school profile (I actually did a live chat on insta about this last week!), if we don't have any official data, an applicant isn't included in the statistic.

    Thanks for being willing to help others via this forum. I hope my explanation helps you understand the data better.
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