Aug 2, 2009

Thank You CICV!

From everything I could see, this year’s Virginia Private College Week was a raging success. Scores of prospective high school students and their families traveled from one corner of the Commonwealth to the other and were treated to special presentations as well as a few t-shirts or souvenirs from participating colleges and universities. Following my own advice, I visited four private colleges located in central Virginia and came back with sore feet and lots of good information to share. In addition to basic facts and figures, this is what I learned:

  • The ghost of Robert E. Lee’s horse named Traveler still roams the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. Students have been known to leave good luck offerings of carrots and apples in front of the large green barn doors that are forever left open to facilitate Traveler’s travels. Thanks to the incredible generosity of one alum, Washington and Lee annually offers 44 Johnson Scholarships or totally free rides to almost 10% of all incoming freshmen.

  • Roanoke College is not actually located in Roanoke, but rather sits on a picturesque hill in the center of Salem, VA. Voted “The Best Campus of 2009” by Campus Activities Magazine, Roanoke was recognized for the large number of social and academic programs available to students (other finalists included Ohio State University, Central Michigan State University, Boston University, and Marshall University). It didn't hurt that Roanoke recently brought both Kellie Pickler and John Mayer to campus for a couple of concerts.

  • One of the Colleges That Change Lives, Lynchburg College is situated on a stunning 214-acre campus and provides students with additional learning opportunities at the 470-acre Claytor Nature Study Center featuring classrooms, laboratories, lakes, and wetlands along a mile-long stretch of the Otter River. Lynchburg's 10-foot bronze “Fighting Hornet” statue is recognized as the world’s largest hornet and protects newly renovated Shellenberg field. To encourage visits, Lynchburg gives one free t-shirt to any prospective applicant who completes a tour of campus.

  • Spanning both sides of US Rt. 460 on the other side of Lynchburg is Liberty University, one of the nation’s newest and most rapidly growing major private universities with a strong religious foundation. In addition to 18 NCAA Division 1 teams, Liberty boasts of some incredible athletic facilities including 60 miles of biking and hiking trails and Snowflex—a snow-free ski slope that looms high above campus and looks to be totally amazing. Liberty’s tuition falls within the bottom 10% of all private colleges and universities in the nation, and 99% of incoming students receive scholarships.

Of course, there’s much more to tell about each of these schools, but I wanted to provide a taste of the variety and depth of Virginia’s private college system. Supported by such programs as the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) and the availability of both merit and need-based financial aid, these schools offer quality education at an affordable cost. Check them out!

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