I made a recent visit to the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. I had heard it was a picturesque campus and what I saw was worthy of comparisons made to Hogwarts. From the high ceilings in the room used for information sessions, to the student center built over Westhampton Lake in the center of campus, the collegiate brick buildings on rolling hills lived up to the hype.
The University of Richmond Student
Kelly, a senior working in the admissions office shared some insights into the type of students who enjoy the University of Richmond. A key factor is that Richmond students have passion—whether it is a particular class, subject, or issue, Richmond students care. This isn’t a school for the student who wants to remain anonymous in class (or on campus) or who doesn’t have at least one area of academic interest.
Statistics of Interest
Here are some interesting statistics I noted in my visit:
- Average class size is 16.
- 55% of students study abroad.
- 96% of class of 2011 were employed or in grad school one year after they graduated from University of Richmond.
- In 2012-2013 Richmond’s 3000 undergraduate students received $72 million in scholarships and grants ($65.5 million came from Richmond’s own resources.)
- Zero classes are taught by teaching assistants or graduate students.
- Ranked #1 in 2011 for international business in Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings.
- In the top 25 of national liberal arts colleges according to the U. S. News rankings.
- 87% of students live on campus.
- The school mascot is the spiders.
Admission to University of Richmond is competitive.
- 9825 students applied; 31% were accepted.
- The top five admissions competitors are University of Virginia, William & Mary, Wake Forrest, Boston College, and Georgetown. (Gives you an idea of schools with shared characteristics and the quality of the competition.)
- Of the 805 first year students
- 57% attended public high schools
- 14% first generation college students (neither parent attended college)
- 24% students of color
- 87% ranked in the top 20% of their high schools
- The middle half of accepted student (25%-75%) had the following numbers
- Un-weighted core GPA 3.54 – 3.94
- SAT Reading 630-720
- SAT Math 650-740
- SAT Writing 630 – 730
- ACT 30-33
University of Richmond Highlights
I’ve said before that I am a big fan of liberal arts colleges and the quality of education and opportunities available to students. University of Richmond lives up to my expectations for a quality liberal arts college. Here are some highlights I noted:
First Year Seminars
All students participate in a first year seminar— a small class that helps students develop the critical thinking, analytical, and communications skills necessary to succeed in college while exploring a wide range of topics. Students can select their seminar topics. Seminar topics for fall 2014 include: Baseball in Film and Literature; Civic Journalism & Social Justice; Ethics and the Banality of Evil; Green Schools; The Philosophy of Freedom; Darwin’s Theory Then & Now; and Crime, Justice, and the Law. I love the idea of freshman getting the opportunity to read, discuss, research, and present on topics. This is an opportunity most students at large state universities will not have.
Internships, Summer Fellowships & Hands on Opportunities
Yes, these may seem like buzz words on most college tours, but the UR students I spoke to say that these concepts are a reality on campus. Starting freshman year students have an opportunity to put what they learn in the classroom to work. The culture of the campus is such that most students are getting internships during the school year, applying for summer fellowships (funded by the university), or participating in activities outside of class. These are the types of experiences that enrich a student’s college experience, but, perhaps more importantly, these are the types of things that get students jobs after graduation.
Great Campus Life
A small liberal arts college doesn’t mean students have to miss out on social side of he college experience. University of Richmond has 17 Division I athletic teams, 185 clubs and organizations, and active sororities and fraternities. Students I talked to have time to balance academic demands with the social opportunities on campus.
University of Richmond isn’t for everyone, but the smart, passionate students who are looking for a place to learn and experience the academic and social opportunities of college life, should consider UR. Yes, the price tag is expensive, like most private institutions, but Richmond also offers considerable financial support to students. I think it is a great campus, located in a suburban area with plenty of opportunity. It is another great school to consider.