Jul 30, 2011

Virginia's Private Colleges Welcome Scores of Prospective Students

Despite record-breaking temperatures throughout the state, Virginia’s private colleges and universities welcomed scores of prospective applicants and their families during Private College Week.

“We’ve been very happy with the turnout,” said Faye Logan, Assistant Admissions Director at Virginia Union University. “An entire busload of students came down from Northern Virginia for private college week.”

Starting early Monday morning, high school students and their families traveled from one corner of the Commonwealth to the other. They were treated to special presentations as well as a few t-shirts and souvenirs.

Following my own advice, I visited three private colleges. The weather was definitely challenging for walking tours, but the enthusiastic welcome from staff and students made the trips worthwhile. In addition to basic facts and figures, here is a little of what I learned:

  • An historically black university, Virginia Union University (VUU) was founded in 1865 and features a cluster of buildings resembling “little castles,” as one younger visitor enthusiastically remarked. This fall students interested in visual arts, theatre, and music will have the opportunity to pursue a newly reinstated Bachelor of Fine Arts major, which may lead to further opportunities for students to teach these disciplines in secondary schools. And for those curious about the strength of athletics, the VUU Division II football program is pleased to announce that one of their alums, David Mims, just signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

  • Richmond University is thrilled to show-off the brand new Carole Weinstein International Center, which opened last fall and is located directly across the street from the Admissions Office. The University’s nearly 3000 undergrads choose among 3 schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and the Robins School of Business—the only fully accredited, “top-ranked” business school with a “liberal arts” tag. The campus is stunningly beautiful and worth a visit just to tour the grounds.

  • Marymount University is a hidden gem located in Arlington, Virginia—just over the Potomac and five subway stops or 6 miles from DC. During the last school year, Marymount opened an amazing new $50 million mixed-use facility housing an apartment-style residence hall, an academic building with state-of-the-art science and health science (nursing) laboratories, four levels of underground parking, and beautiful outdoor gathering spaces. To sweeten the deal, substantial scholarships are available for strong “B” students applying with high school averages starting at 2.8 or better.

Of course, there’s much more to tell about each these schools, as they truly represent 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 merit and need-based financial aid, independent colleges offer quality education at an affordable cost.

And if public tuitions continue to rise by nearly 10 percent per year, they will become increasingly attractive options for local high school students.

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