Virginia Tech, or VT, is a public land-grant research university with an excellent academic and research portfolio. Its core programs rank nationally as among the best and its students are exceptional scholars who are dedicated to becoming the next crop of trailblazing scientists, engineers, and agriculturalists.
VT has facilities in six regions throughout Virginia and a facility in Switzerland. It is home to esteemed research institutes, including the Hume Center for National Security and Technology and the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology.
According to the Princeton Review, VT is mostly known for its top-notch engineering program. It is also known for its atmosphere of school pride; students are proud to be members of the Hokie Nation and love every aspect of being a student at VT. It is known that they are devotees of football and enjoy every game, when they are not hitting the books.
Without further ado, find out what makes VT a great school.
Because of its excellent report card and high rank on Niche.com, US News & World Report rankings, and accolades from the Princeton Review, you would think that VT is a highly selective school. However, the acceptance rate hovers around 70%, making it a moderately selective school. Do not be fooled into thinking that the acceptance rate is a primary determinant of a school’s quality; as you will see, VT is a high-quality school with excellent research programs and high-quality faculty.
VT is a niche school that places a premium in cutting-edge research in the STEM fields. Furthermore, it is located in a modest-sized college-town in Virginia. It attracts certain types of applicants, particularly those who want to pursue a great STEM education and do not mind being “in the middle of nowhere.” In sum, VT has a self-selective applicant pool.
Requirements & Admission Tips
According to ThoughtCo, VT’s admitted students typically fall within the top 35 % nationally regarding average SAT scores. A high percentage of admitted applicants boast GPAs between 3.8 and 4.26, with only 25% coming with a GPA below 3.8. That is an extremely impressive academic profile! Contrary to what a high admission rate might suggest, you will not find underachievers among prospective students. VT students are academic superstars and work hard throughout their four years.
What is the admissions committee looking for, exactly? High SAT scores, though optional, and a high GPA will undoubtedly help you make the cut. But, as we are fond of stating, an individual applicant is not just a list of scores and numbers. An engaging admissions essay showcasing your unique voice, interests, life experience, and aspirations will boost your chances for admission. Extracurricular activities and community service records that align with your interests and goals are crucial for making you stand out from the crowd.
Last, but not least, you want to show that you are a good fit for VT and will thrive there. As we mentioned in the previous section, VT is an excellent school that appeals to a subset of college applicants. So do your research and consult your high school guidance counselor to determine if VT is a good choice for you.
Despite its emphasis on tech and the sciences, VT alumni are accomplished in a variety of fields, including music and literature. Two famous musicians include Charlie Byrd, a jazz musician who played in the school’s orchestra, and Keith Buckley, a famous vocalist and lyricist. Newbery Medal award winner, poet, and author of children’s fiction, Kwame Alexander, is a VT alumnus as well. He is a bestselling author with 21 books under his belt and has recently been named as a top 100 author by the African American Literature Book Club.
Of course, VT alumni are accomplished in academia, business, government, and the military, given the schools’ research vectors in the sciences and technology. Craigslist.org’s CEO and founder, Jim Buckmaster, and famed roboticist and Pirelli award-winner, Robert Michelson, are on the impressive roster of notable VT alumni.
As is the case with any excellent school, the alumni are as noteworthy as the faculty.
VT boasts world-class faculty who contribute to its exceptional research profile. Many faculty members belong to prestigious National Academies for science, medicine, and engineering. The faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering are particularly outstanding. Dr. Mehdi Ahmadian is the Director of the Center for Vehicle Systems & Safety and has received numerous prestigious awards, such as the SAE International/Magnus Hendrickson Innovation Award.
Nominees for this award must have earned at least one US patent for a unique and original design that represents a significant engineering achievement in vehicle dynamics. Dr. Ahmadian is also an internationally renowned scholar.
Another faculty member worthy of mention is Dr. Laura Freeman, Research Associate Professor of Statistics and Director of the Information Sciences & Analytics Division of the VT Applied Research Corporation. She has published extensively on the performance and evaluation of A.I. systems. Her research has been featured in some of the top journals in the field.
Dr. Ahmadian and Dr. Freeman are just two examples that substantiate VT’s status as a research powerhouse and its well-earned place among the most premier research universities in the country.
Similar Schools & Ranking
Schools with similar profiles to VT include James Madison University, George Mason University, and University of Virginia. These schools are noted for their academic programs and research profiles. While these schools are comparable in their overall quality, Virginia Tech certainly stands out in what it has to offer.
The US News & World Report is one of the most trusted, thorough guides for colleges out there. With that said, the VT’s excellence is confirmed by its high rank on USNWR’s list of top “National Universities.” In the most recent publication, the school ranks among the top 45 schools for veterans wishing to continue their education.
According to Niche.com, VT has a stellar report card, with straight A’s or higher in all categories: academics, diversity, campus, party scene, athletics, and value. It is an impressive feat for a school to earn such high marks in all categories.
VT is proof that a selective admissions process is not a necessary mark for excellence. While selectivity often correlates with exceptional academic standards, this does not have to be true in every case. It is a dream school for anyone looking for an exceptional and well-rounded college education and experience.
Tuition & Scholarships
With tuition and other costs associated with college skyrocketing, many prospective students and their families find themselves in a dire scramble to pay for quality education. The cost of attendance at public institutions can induce as much sticker shock as the price of a private institution.
As a public land grant research institution, VT has a two-tier tuition and mandatory fees table. As of 2021, tuition and fees for in-state students are $14,175 a year, a $400 increase from the previous year. For out-of-state students, tuition and fees are a total of $33,857, which is also an increase from the previous year. Room and board are another $9,800 tacked onto the price tag. We should not forget the cost of textbooks, classroom materials, and tech.
Thankfully, the VT board has decided to set aside a substantial amount of funds toward undergraduate financial aid, to help low and middle-income families cover the cost of attendance. There are also ample scholarship opportunities available. The school offers a competitive scholarship program, the Virginia Tech Presidential Scholarship Initiative, which is awarded to a maximum of 85 in-state students who show academic promise and demonstrate financial need.
Is Virginia Tech Right For You?
According to student testimony, VT students are motivated, hard-working, and open to engaging with other students from diverse backgrounds.
The school attracts applicants who are serious about pursuing careers in math, science, and technology. While VT is home to a liberal arts program with majors in English, philosophy, and foreign language, the school’s strongest suit is in the STEM fields. A prospective applicant with a strong interest in the humanities may not necessarily feel out of place here, but it is worth looking into a school’s prestigious programs and academic strengths. VT’s strengths are in engineering, agriculture, statistics, and architecture.
Another, often overlooked, factor you should consider is location. Blacksburg is a university town with a smattering of cultural and recreational opportunities for college students and young professionals alike. Virginia is also known for its humid, sub-tropical climate, which is often an attractive option for students hailing from the colder and snowy regions of the US.
In sum, if you’re a STEM geek who loves to work hard, enjoys football, and are drawn to the atmosphere of smaller college towns, VT is a great choice for you!