Popularly known as Virginia Tech, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a land-grant university located in Blacksburg, Virginia. Although the institution was founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college, Virginia Tech is currently known as a research university. The school now boasts the largest full-time student population in the state of Virginia.
The main Virginia Tech campus is located in New River Valley in the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia. It is just a few miles from the Jefferson National Forest.
Virginia Tech offers roughly 65 bachelor’s degree programs through its seven undergraduate academic colleges. Roughly 145 master’s and doctoral degrees are available through the graduate school, and Virginia Tech students can also earn a professional degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Virginia Tech was ranked 69th among national universities and 30th among national public universities by the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges 2011 edition. Various Virginia Tech programs and colleges have also received several other distinct honors. The College of Engineering undergraduate program was recently ranked 13th in the nation and the Pamplin College of Business was ranked 42nd among the nation’s undergraduate business programs.
Virginia Tech operates on the traditional semester academic calendar. A few of the most popular majors offered at are engineering; business, management, marketing, and related support services; family and consumer sciences/human sciences; social sciences; and biological and biomedical sciences. Popular fields of study include agriculture, architecture, business, journalism, and computer and information sciences.
Virginia Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctorate, masters, baccalaureate, and associate degrees.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Virginia Tech is designated a senior military college by federal law because it is one of few public universities in the U.S. that maintains a corps of cadets. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, or VTCC, is the military component of the Virginia Tech student body.
The Corps of Cadets receives an intensive military and leadership educational experience much like the one that students receive at the U.S. military academics. The Virginia Tech cadets live together in dorms and wear a distinctive uniform while on campus.
The Highty-Tighties is the award-winning Regimental Band of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Since its inception in 1893, the group has won over 120 first-place trophies and one second-place trophy in 130 marching competitions. The Highty-Tighties have marched in 11 inaugural parades, most recently that of President Barack Obama.
Prospective students can apply for admissions to Virginia Tech and on the school’s official website. A nominal application fee is required. Applicants are encouraged to have earned at least four credits in English; three credits in math; two credits in science, and three credits in a foreign language.
- Students applying for regular decision admissions should apply by January 15. Regular decision applicants will be notified of their status by April 1.
- Students applying for early decision should apply by November 1. Early decision applicants will be notified of their status by December 15.
Graduate students, transfer students, international students, and all other students that are not traditional incoming undergraduates are encouraged to learn about specific requirements from the Virginia Tech admissions office.
Campus visits are recommended and admissions interviews are not required, although they are available. Admissions information sessions are available every day that the university is open, and student-led walking tours are available whenever classes are in session. Students and parents are encouraged to check with the admissions office prior to visiting campus to obtain up-to-date schedule information. It’s important to note that the summer months are the most popular time of year for campus visitors, which often leads to very large tour groups.
Virginia Tech offers some type of financial assistance to over 60% of students, and all undergraduates are encouraged to apply for financial aid. Financial aid opportunities are available to USC students in the form of scholarships, loans, grants, and the Federal Work Study (FWS) program.
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of student qualifications. They usually require an application process. Scholarships are helpful because they do not have to be repaid.
Several types of loans from the federal government are available to Virginia Tech students, based on their unique financial situation. Loans must be repaid after a student graduates or leaves school.
Grants, like scholarships, do not have to be repaid. Grants are awarded on the basis of a student’s financial need.
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a program that offers part-time employment to eligible students.
Tuition waivers and graduate assistantships are two other unique financial aid opportunities for Virginia Tech students. Detailed information is available from the Financial Aid office.
In order to be eligible for financial aid at Virginia Tech, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after it becomes available online after January 1 each year. This application is required for both federal and state financial aid programs.
Student Financial Aid Details
The majority of Virginia Tech students are enrolled full-time, and the study body is comprised of unique students that come from all walks of life. Virginia Tech prides itself on allowing students to meet and mingle with “Students Like You, Only Different.” A vast majority of traditional students reside on-campus in co-ed or single sex residence halls or Greek housing.
As of summer 2011, Virginia Tech boasts over 600 student clubs and organizations ranging from Abundant Life Student Ministries to the Animal Nutrition Club and the Boxing Club and the Economics Club. Students are encouraged to participate in groups and events on campus.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Virginia Tech Hokies participate in the NCAA’s Division I in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The school joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004 after leaving the Big East conference. The school’s mascot, the Hokie Bird, is a turkey-like creature and the school’s official colors are Chicago maroon and burnt orange. Popular sports include baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and softball.
Tech Triumph is the Virginia Tech fight song. It was first performed in 1919 and is popular to this day.
Notable Virginia Tech alumni include:
- Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys, which was later renamed October Sky with a movie of the same name
- Jayma Mays, actress, best-known for her role as Emma Pillsbury on Glee
- Ed Clark, NASCAR President of Atlanta Motor Speedway
- Kylene Barker, Miss America 1979
- Doug Fritz, NASCAR President of Richmond International Raceway
- Mike Aubrey, Class of 1996, real estate expert and co-host of HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention
- Tyrod Taylor, quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens
- Rashad Carmichael, cornerback for the Houston Texans
Additional School Information
Virginia Tech made worldwide headlines during the spring of 2007, when senior English major Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 25 others before committing suicide during two separate attacks.
The Virginia Tech massacre is considered the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history, and the event drew criticism of privacy laws which had prohibited the school from being made aware of the fact that Cho had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety order. As such, the state of Virginia was prompted to modify laws and close legal loopholes which allowed mentally unsound individuals to purchase handguns without a background check as well as the passage of the first major federal gun control measure in over a decade.
On the first anniversary of the attack and in years since, the Queens’ Guard of The College of William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, has memorialized the victims with an honor guard at the head of the college’s Sunken Garden.
- McGrath, Anne, ed. U.S. News & World Report: Ultimate College Guide. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010. Print.
- Spotlight on Impact. Virginia Tech. Web. 2 July 2011.
- Virginia Tech. Web. 2 July 2011.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.