Or Virginia Tech as most people know it, is located in Blacksburg, VA in the middle of farm country in the foothills of the Appalachians. The campus is very nice and quite a good size. It nestles right up to the town of Blacksburg and, during the school year, constitutes half the town’s
population. The school colors are orange and maroon and the school mascot is the HokieBird.
The school was founded in 1872 as a military academy with 132 students. Today it has 23,300 undergrads and 6000 graduate students. It is ranked in the top 3% of engineering schools. All freshmen engineering students are enrolled in a general engineering curriculum and choose one of 13 engineering specialties at the end of the freshman year.
The school has a 16:1 Student/Teacher ration with class sizes averaging 25 per class. Nine percent of classes have over 100 students. To manage that number of students these classes will typically have lectures twice a week taught by a professor. The remaining three days will be smaller groups of 25 or fewer students lead by Teachers Assistants. All professors hold office hours at least once a week though normally much more often. This is typical at all of the schools we visited. Also typical are free tutoring, internship and coop assistance, resume and job interviewing assistance, and study abroad. Also becoming common is themed housing or housing communities or similar terminology for housing students with common traits together, for instance honors housing, engineering student housing, or housing for those interested in community service There are many variations. It was also pointed out those who took advantage of themed housing had a higher retention rate within the engineering school, probably because of the increased opportunities for peer mentoring inherent in this arrangement.
Early decision submission is required by Nov 1st and you learn if you are accepted by Dec 15th and this is a binding decision. You can be accepted, deferred to regular enrollment, or denied. They accept about 25% of their students via early decision. Regular decision submission date is Jan 15th with decisions announced by Apr 1st and acceptance decision due from the student by the first of May.
What are they looking for? They have 21,000 applicants. They evaluate the applicants total package and place value as follows:
1) High school curriculum choice: did you take the most challenging classes offered?
2) What was your performance in those classes? Average GPA of accepted students is a 3.96 on a 5 point scale.
3) SAT/ACT results. They don¹t look at the written portion (and from what I can see neither do any other colleges.) only at the comprehensive reading and mathematics sections. They take the best result from either source. Average SAT score is 1250 with avg 50 percentile between 1150 – 1340. Average ACT score is 26 with avg 50 percentile between 24 – 28.
The application package offers seven essays, they are not required, but you should do at least one. Letters of Recommendation are not required If you are submitting them they should come with the transcript and no more than 2 or 3 should be submitted.
Include information on any other noteworthy activities like sports, clubs, volunteering, etc. you were involved in.
Engineering is a restricted major, meaning it has different entrance requirements from most other majors. Specifically, you must have at least a 620 math score on the SAT or a 27 math score on the ACT. You must also have taken chemistry and physics in high school. Also, in addition to applying to the university you must specifically apply to the school of engineering. Seth was interested in chemical engineering. The chemical engineering students go abroad between their sophomore and junior years for a required lab project, which currently takes place in Copenhagen.
Out of stated tuition, room and board runs about $30,000. There is a general scholarship application online, which is separate from the admission application. However, the one application will put the student in for every applicable scholarship offered at the school. This application is available in Mid-Dec and is due NLT March 1st with the FAFSA. Like the FAFSA, it must be submitted every year. Also, you should check with each department and each major for other scholarship opportunities.
Our tour guide at VA Tech was Michael from Danville, VA, who is a sophomore math and statistics major. The school has 9 libraries, campus and city buses. Housing is guaranteed for freshman and freshman are required to stay on campus. There are 4 types of housing: traditional, suite, hotel, and greek. As mentioned themed housing is an option. VA Tech boasts the No. 2 rated dining experience in the country (or so they say). Every dorm has an LED panel for campus wide notices and is hooked into the VT alert system. Also students can sign up for cell phone text message alerts and pop up alerts on their computer desktops. The drill field separates the campus in two with work on one side and play on the other. The campus has one of the largest ROTC programs in the country with ROTC for Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines; and they were visible every place we went.