16 Reasons to Join Richmond’s Class of ’16

In each of the past few years, I’ve come up with a list of reasons admitted students should choose Richmond, with the length of the list equivalent to the last two digits of the class year. Three years ago, people raised their eyebrows at my notion of carrying on the practice annually; “Won’t that get repetitive?” they asked. “And won’t it just get longer and longer?”

Well, it has gotten longer – this year I’ve had to come up with 16 reasons – but one of the great things about working for the University of Richmond is that you’re never at a loss for things to brag about. Richmond offers so much amazing stuff that I don’t have to scrounge for material; it’s really an absurdly easy task to create the list (I had a little trouble with #9 under this year’s format, but I think I managed to pull through okay). When it comes to marketing Richmond, the school really sells itself, and, in the words of one of our tour guides, “Everything the website and admission office told me was true – except it’s even better than that!”

So, even though a blog entry can’t do them justice, here they are: 16 reasons to choose Richmond’s Class of ’16.

1 integrated experience. In all likelihood, your four years at Richmond will include a double major, an active residential life on campus, involvement in multiple clubs and organizations, probably one or two student leadership positions, a semester abroad, at least one internship experience, lots of civic engagement, and quite possibly original research mentored by a faculty member, all on top of a broad liberal arts education. (At least that’s what the statistics from our student body suggest.) That’s a lot going on – but what’s so amazing about Richmond is how seamless the entire experience is. You’ll be amazed how your classroom, residential, and real-world experiences meld together as you grow and learn through each of them; academics are not just theoretical but highly practical, while experiential opportunities offer some of the greatest intellectual insight you come across.

2 coordinate colleges, Richmond and Westhampton, bringing together deep history and tradition with the most current and personal in student development. The unique coordinate system gives all the benefits of a small women’s or men’s college to those who seek it out, and provides a more holistic and personalized experience for all students, helping integrate academic and residential aspects of college life.

3 undergraduate schools, covering the Liberal Arts & Sciences, Business, and Leadership Studies – a unique combination of schools found nowhere else. Combine studies across schools and academic disciplines to graduate with not just a major but an array of courses ideally suited and tailored to your career goals and to life in a complex world. Additionally, undergrads are guaranteed access to courses in our Law School and School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

4 classes your first semester, including a First-Year Seminar (have you taken a look at this coming fall’s topics?) Seminars are taught by faculty from all five schools (including the Law School) and, though topical, focus on building the analytic and expressive skills critical to a liberal arts education — and to life. Your other first-semester courses are selected from hundreds of options that introduce fields of study and fulfill gen ed requirements; introductory courses in business and leadership studies are also an option for those interested.

5 thousand dollars in the average summer research grant. More than 200 students conduct research on campus each summer, and over half of Richmond students will complete mentored research by the time they graduate. The School of Arts & Sciences alone awards more than $500,000 in undergraduate research funding each year; the annual Arts & Sciences Student Symposium is taking place today, with hundreds of students presenting their research.

6 out of 10 students study abroad, most of them for a full semester as an exchange student at one of more than 75 partner institutions in over 40 different countries. Richmond has been recognized as a leader in international education and ranks fifth among baccalaureate colleges nationwide for the number of students studying abroad.

7 out of 10 students complete an internship prior to graduating. Our top cities for internships are Richmond, Washington, D.C., and New York City, though plenty of other domestic and international partnerships are available.

8 legs on our mascot, and the only Spiders in the country. An appropriate mascot, considering we’re the 8th-smallest Division 1 school in the U.S. but, since 2001, our athletes have captured more than 40 Atlantic-10 conference titles, a national championship in football, and a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

9th-ranked synchronized swimming team in the U.S. – and 29 other sport clubs, with more than 800 students participating each year. Club sports too big a commitment? Intramural sports are available in more than 15 areas, and the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness has a plethora of fitness classes in addition to their top-notch workout facilities.

#10 college for best career services (Princeton Review). Our Career Development Center works individually with students throughout all four years on everything from career exploration to mock interviews, resume development, and job placement. Each year, they also sponsor 5 Industry Expos + 5 Spider Road Trips (=10 huge exploration/recruitment opportunities).

11 Sophomore Scholars in Residence communities this year, providing an integrated academic and residential experience for second-year students. Immerse yourself in a particular topic for an entire year, live and breathe it on hall with your classmates, and study it in and out of the classroom through a variety of activities (typically including a university-funded trip). Want to get started sooner? There are eight living-learning communities for first-year students available this fall…

12 courses, on average, to complete a major – and most Richmond students will complete two majors, or a combined major, or a major with two minors. You can study a major in the most traditional way, you can create your own major, or you can select an interdisciplinary major; our newest include Healthcare and Society, Film Studies, and PPEL (Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law).

13 academic buildings – 3 of which (the Carole Weinstein International Center, the business school’s Queally Hall, and the Gottwald Center for the Sciences) have opened their doors in the past six years. Our facilities are all top-of-the-line, and they’re a physical reflection of the University’s well-resourced commitment to providing a surpassing student experience.

14 residence halls, with 90% of students living on campus all four years for a strong community experience. Our #14 most beautiful campus and #14 best campus food rankings (Princeton Review) certainly don’t detract from residential life on campus, either.

15 minutes to downtown Richmond — home to Virginia’s State Capitol, 6 Fortune 500 companies, the Geico Caveman, America’s largest folk festival, and the only intra-city Class IV rapids in the U.S. Whether it’s through community engagement and service, internship opportunities, cultural and arts events, or outdoors adventure, Richmond students thrive on the balance between a beautiful, idyllic college campus and an exciting mid-sized city right next door.

16 students in the average classroom – along with one Ph.D. No classes are taught by grad students or teaching assistants, and courses start out small, with 98% under 30 students. The liberal arts experience – interactive, dynamic, and highly personalized – doesn’t get much better than that.

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