UVA Darden Launches Application for Admission to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2024
By Dave Hendrick
Applicants to the Class of 2024 will find a range of flexible standardized test options, scholarship programs, and access to early career resources.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business announced today that the application for admission to the full-time MBA Class of 2024 is now live. The MBA program targets talented students from across the United States and the world, is delivered in beautiful and vibrant Charlottesville, Virginia, and benefits from programming in Darden’s nearby location at UVA Darden DC Metro in the Washington, D.C., area.
The School announced key application deadline dates and confirmed its commitment to test flexibility — offering applicants the opportunity to submit a range of test scores or apply for a test waiver.
The School admissions process is designed to provide a holistic view of candidates and seeks outstanding and ambitious individuals interested in a transformational educational experience, a commitment to ethical leadership and Darden community values.
Test flexibility and a range of essay questions intend to give every student the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths, shape their narrative and craft the most complete and compelling application. The School is releasing the application earlier than in years past to give applicants additional time to prepare. Additionally, expansive scholarship offerings aim to both attract top students and make the School as accessible as possible to meritorious students.
Darden, which kept buildings open and offered a host of continuous in-person experiences and classes throughout the past academic year while maintaining a safe environment, is planning to begin the 2021-22 academic year with normal operations and in-person instruction. Darden will soon release a set of Career Elective Guides, helping students navigate key paths through the Darden experience to desired careers. Darden continues to set high marks in a variety of career metrics, including the highest starting salaries among all public schools and No. 5 overall. Additionally, new data from Poets & Quants and Payscale ranks Darden No. 5 among all MBA programs for highest lifetime compensation.
“With the world’s best faculty, record career outcomes and strong momentum across a variety of metrics, there has never been a better time to be an MBA student at the Darden School,” said Dean Scott Beardsley. “I look forward to connecting with applicants in the coming months and discussing how Darden can help them reach their goals.”
Full-Time MBA Admissions Deadlines and Application Process
The Darden admissions deadlines for the Class of 2024 are:
Early Action: 9 September 2021
Round 1: 6 October 2021
Round 2: 5 January 2022
Round 3: 6 April 2022
Darden will continue to offer a suite of ways to connect with the School and to learn more about the Darden experience throughout 2021 and 2022, including:
- Webinars and showcases
- Application workshops
- Informal chats with current students
Applicants can review a list of current virtual events and also take a new virtual tour of Darden’s Charlottesville Grounds, which is in the midst of a significant transformation through an upcoming refresh of the Darden classrooms and academic spaces, new innovation space, redesigned student dining facilities, and the addition of a new inn and conference center and an arboretum and botanical gardens. The inn and gardens are scheduled to be completed in 2023.
Darden’s application features a series of short essays related to the School’s core values, including questions related to diversity and inclusion, leadership and collaboration. Applicants can choose their preferred essays and are also offered space to share more about their personal history. Applicants who apply directly to Darden may signal their interest in being referred to The Consortium directly on the application. Applicants who wish to apply to Darden via The Consortium during Round 1 or Round 2 should use their deadlines of 15 October 2021 and 5 January 2022, respectively. In 2020, Darden welcomed a record number of Consortium students.
Darden maintains a consistent review process throughout the application rounds. Darden is also need-blind in its admissions process, meaning students are admitted based on merit. Darden then provides need-based scholarships for those who qualify for the AccessDarden program, along with opportunities for all students to apply for loans to cover the total cost of attendance.
Darden Formalizes Test Flexibility, Offers Waivers for Select Candidates
In 2020, as the coronavirus disrupted the traditional standardized testing schedule, the Darden School offered increased options for applicants to demonstrate evidence of academic aptitude and accomplishment, announcing plans to accept standardized tests including the GMAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT and the Executive Assessment. The move, which Poets & Quants called one of the “10 Biggest B-School Innovations of the Decade” proved beneficial for both applicants and the Darden School, adding flexibility and removing barriers. The school expanded this for the most recent admissions cycle included adding a test waiver process.
Darden takes a holistic view of every applicant for admission, considering criteria including:
- Strength of undergraduate curriculum
- Work experience
- Extracurricular accomplishments
- Standardized tests
- Demonstrations of leadership
- Personal experiences
- Interview with Admissions team
Candidates may submit a waiver request any time prior to submitting an application. Applicants are encouraged to review a list of frequently asked questions and read more about the School’s approach to test flexibility.
In addition to providing maximum flexibility for all applicants, Darden believes the expanded list of testing options and test waivers may encourage applicants from a variety of backgrounds, as well as those who want to participate in one of over 10 dual-degree offerings.
“We know from experience that not all excellent students are excellent test takers, and standardized tests are just one indication of a student’s ability to succeed at Darden,” said Dawna Clarke, executive director of admissions. “As always, our message is to find the approach that’s right for you. If you have any questions, reach out to the Admissions Committee and let us help you put together your best possible application.”
Four Rounds of Admission, Binding Early Action Commitment, Future Year Scholars
Darden will continue to offer four application rounds, including an Early Action round with a 9 September deadline, which is intended for students who know Darden is one of their top choices. Darden is also continuing to offer the Future Year Scholars program for talented graduating undergraduates and fifth-year master’s students, with an upcoming deadline of 7 June. Future Year Scholars receive deferred admission and accelerated access to key career, networking, preparatory courses and mentoring support.
All Early Action applicants gain the ability to schedule their own admissions interview and receive early consideration for the full suite of Darden scholarship opportunities, among other benefits. Following the success of a pilot program for applicants to the Class of 2023, Darden will again offer the binding early action option for the Class of 2024 admissions cycle.
All Early Action applicants are invited to compete for Darden distinguished scholarships, regardless of which option they select. Applicants will be able to review any financial aid and merit scholarship offers before opting for the binding decision and placing the deposit
Darden Offers Suite of Distinguished Scholarship Offerings
Darden aims to be both affordable and accessible for students and offers robust financial aid programs to meritorious students. Additionally, scholarships seek to both honor accomplishments and potential and make a Darden MBA attainable for students from all backgrounds.
The Darden Distinguished Scholarship Program features a growing roster of merit scholarships and competitive scholarships that may appeal to students with a range of backgrounds and interests. The scholarships awards are offered at various levels, up to and including full tuition and fees.
One new scholarship program, The Oculus Fellowship, is intended to award outstanding academic ability, achievement, and potential and promise as a visionary leader in business. In addition to covering full tuition and fees, the award includes a variety of personal and professional enrichment opportunities. Exceptional students applying in Early Action, Round 1, or Round 2 may be invited to interview for The Oculus Fellowship.
In 2020, Darden announced a new need-based aid program, AccessDarden, offering grants for qualifying students. In addition, students from around the world may apply for loans to cover the full cost of the MBA.
Programs Position Admitted Student for B-School, Career Success
In addition to gaining access to the Darden community and a network of future classmates, admitted students will gain access to B-Ready and the Career Development WhyFinding (CDWhy) tool, programs intended to position students for success at Darden and in their careers.
B-Ready is a learning platform intended to introduce students to basic constructs common in business analysis and organizing information in Excel, among other skills. The program is divided into three series focused on common business challenges and will help ensure Darden students are ready to succeed as soon as they set foot on Grounds.Darden will also offer students access to the online career program CDWhy, which aims to help students find their “why” and set them on a course to secure the internship and job that makes best use of their strengths. The self-directed, online program helps ensure Darden students begin the recruiting season with confidence, complemented by world-class advising and live support from Darden’s highly experienced team of cross-industry career coaches.
Additionally, through a partnership between the Darden faculty and Career Center, the School recently unveiled a new set of online Career Elective Guides. These innovative guides introduce students to skills necessary to work in top global industries and roles, and identify corresponding Darden elective coursework designed to help students develop and hone those career-specific skills.
Through the Career Elective Guides, students will learn how to navigate the most effective pathways through the curriculum in order to recruit for a variety of MBA sectors, including technology, marketing, consulting, investment banking, general management and corporate finance, among others. The guides are designed to serve as a resource and approach to the Darden elective curriculum through a career-focused lens. The School will release additional information on Career Elective Guides in the coming weeks.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 17,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia