Student Login


First year files: an iconic research university

March 14th, 2023

College decisions are arriving for Regular Decision candidates, and our students at Shrop Ed have some exciting choices to make. May 1st is typically the deadline for students to confirm enrollment and send in a deposit to confirm their spot for the upcoming year. There is sometimes no clear or easy choice, so it is essential to break down the process and make sure no stone is left unturned. There are so many important factors to consider before making that final commitment, including campus culture, affordability and academics, to name a few.

The Rotunda is a UNESCO World Heritage site designed by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).

Firsthand accounts from those already in college encourage students to think about aspects of college life that they might not have considered before. While every college experience is different for each individual, I’m hopeful that the first-year files our previous advisees offer are beneficial in helping you find your own best fit.

We’re grateful to today’s contributor, Aidan, for sharing his account and wish him continued happiness and success!

My name is Aidan, and I am a first year in the architecture program at the University of Virginia. My first semester at UVA was much more than I could have imagined. The school has a fantastic atmosphere for learning and leisure, and there is something for everyone here.

There is a strong sense of trust between the students and faculty under the Honor Code, which helps develop a strong community at the school. The school is a perfect size, not too big but not too small. It reaches an ideal in-between that allows people to see familiar faces around but always be able to meet new people. People are always willing to help others, and there is an openness on the campus that doesn’t close people off from the things they need. The community is my favorite part of the school. Following the unfortunate events that unfolded in November, the entire school gathered to honor our classmates and support each other through the terrible time. I had never felt such a strong sense of family from people I had never met before, and it really comes to show you how amazing the people that attend this school are.

In terms of classes, they were never a walk in the park, and they constantly challenged you to really think and apply yourself. The architecture classes always pushed for uniqueness and creativity while teaching the foundations one would need to progress throughout the school. My Lessons in Making course taught me the skills I need to advance in the program, which is already paying off in my second semester. The other first-year architecture courses are History of Architecture, Intro to Urban Planning, and an architecture seminar, all of which introduce you to the possible majors that fall under the School of Architecture. All the staff for these classes are great, and they ensure that the material you need to know is taught and understood.

Outside of the classroom, however, there are numerous extracurriculars for students to find a place where they belong. You can join a club or just spend time with the friends you make at UVA. We all have rigorous weeks, so we work hard during the week and then find time on the weekends to blow off some steam and relax. The atmosphere at the school really pushes you to fully apply yourself to your classes and then enjoy the free time you come across. The community at UVA is partly what drove me here, but it became why I fell in love with this place, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other school.