Students walking and talking on patio

2 Big Things Virginians Should Know About UR

November 6, 2023
A post by Beth Anne Spacht, Associate Director of Admission

If you're from Virginia, you know that we have dozens of attractive colleges and universities. With so many to choose from, distinguishing between different schools' admission processes, financial aid, and overall benefits is tricky. The array of high-profile public universities can make it especially difficult to understand how private universities like UR fit into the mix. 

To help you navigate the process of applying to Richmond, here are two things to know about us

We evaluate grades and curricula separately.

If you go to a public high school in Virginia, your school likely offers AP, IB, or dual enrollment courses and has a weighted GPA scale. This means top students can graduate with GPAs that far exceed the typical 4.0 scale (my high school’s valedictorian had a 4.5). Private high schools can offer these courses, too, and some even have their own college-level courses that aren’t AP or IB. With so many unique ways of calculating grades, we have a system in place to standardize transcripts and evaluate candidates within the context of their schools.

At Richmond, we consider the rigor of your classes as a separate but complimentary factor to your GPA. That’s why you’ll see an unweighted core GPA in our student profile that doesn’t exceed 4.0; we recalculate GPA on a 4.0 scale based on the grades earned in core classes. To factor in rigor, we look at how many college-level (AP, IB, accelerated) classes you took and how many are available at your school. So, if a student can’t take AP classes because their school doesn’t offer APs, that’s different from a student who doesn’t take AP classes but could have.

Every high school is different, but rest assured we give applicants the credit they deserve for their academic accomplishments. Plus, we have a holistic review process, which means we are looking at all the ways you contribute to your school and community.

We look out for Virginians in the financial aid process. 

With the cost of college on the rise, we want to remain affordable, especially for our Virginians. We’re committed to assisting low-income Virginia families through Richmond's Promise to Virginia. If you live in Virginia and your family’s total parental income is $60,000 or less, you qualify for a financial aid package equal to full-time tuition, room, and board – without loans. More information about who qualifies for Richmond’s Promise to Virginia can be found here.

Richmond is also one of fewer than 40 institutions in the nation (out of over 4,000 college options) that are both need-blind in the admission process and promise to meet 100% of every student’s demonstrated need.

On top of the financial aid that Richmond offers, all Virginia residents enrolling full-time in Virginia private colleges and universities are eligible for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG). VTAG is essentially free money, not based on financial need or merit. This year, the estimated grant is around $5,000. 

The perks at Richmond don’t end there. Through the Richmond Guarantee, financial support for study abroad, and thoughtful assistance when it comes to affordability, Richmond focuses on investing in its students to make them globally aware, professionally prepared, and ready for the next step.