Aug 6, 2012

Virginia’s Private Colleges roll out the Red Carpet

Sweet Briar College
Despite unrelenting heat and daily threats of thundershowers, Virginia’s private colleges and universities rolled out the red carpet for hundreds of high school students and their families touring during Private College Week.

“We’ve been very happy with the turnout,” said Jonathan Fries, associate director of admissions at Lynchburg College. “Our numbers are ahead of last year.”
And colleges find that Virginia Private College Week (VPCS) really pays off in terms of student interest and return visits.  “Students who visit campus during VPCW are more likely to apply, accept and matriculate,” said Kerri Bond assistant director of admissions at Sweet Briar College.

Starting early Monday morning, college-bound students and their families began their travels from one corner of the Commonwealth to the other. They were treated to special presentations as well as a few t-shirts, water bottles, and souvenirs.

Following my own advice, I visited four of Virginia’s private colleges. The weather was definitely challenging for walking tours, but the enthusiastic welcome from staff and tour guides made the trips worthwhile.
In addition to basic facts and figures, here is a little of what I learned:
  • Spectacularly located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg College continues to add new programs and make changes to the campus.  This year, Lynchburg launched a three-year doctor of physical therapy program (DPT), which is designed to complement programs in athletic training, exercise physiology, health and physical education, health promotion, nursing and sport management.  While plans are underway for a 60,000 square-foot Health Sciences Building, the campus is currently undergoing a less ambitious $1.3 million “summer facelift,” including a complete renovation of Hopwood Hall auditorium.

  • Founded in 1891 as a learning institution for women, Randolph College has been admitting men since 2007.  Randolph’s students come from approximately 40 states and more than 30 countries on a campus offering an interesting mix of historical properties and modern new buildings.  This summer, Randolph began construction on a $6 million renovation of its Student Center, entirely funded by five alumnae donors.   And this fall, Randolph is introducing a sport and exercise studies major for students interested in becoming personal trainers, coaches, sports managers, and other professionals in the sports field.

  • Just in time for Virginia Private College Week, Liberty University officially opened the stunning new Hancock Welcome Center.  Next door to the newly-renovated Williams Stadium, the three-story, 32,000 square-foot center is a dominant feature on campus and includes meeting rooms, a theater, and a gift shop.  After graduating its largest class ever—10,930 students—Liberty turned its attention to the launch of a new Center for the Cinematic Arts, which will house an undergraduate major in Cinematic Arts.

  •  Located on more than 3,250 rural acres, Sweet Briar College is one of the largest landholders among private colleges in the U.S. and boasts of having more than 18 miles of riding trails through wooded countryside, foothills, and open fields.  One of only two women’s colleges offering an engineering program accredited by ABET, Sweet Briar actively works to bring young women into the field of engineering by offering a strong engineering curriculum firmly embedded in the liberal arts tradition of the college. By the way, Sweet Briar is so confident in its ability to attract new students that the Office of Admissions will reimburse student visitors up to $100 for mileage ($0.35/mile) or up to $200 for ticket expenses.  Contact Admissions for more information.
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 support for public institutions continues to fall, these colleges will become increasingly attractive options for local high school students.

No comments:

Post a Comment