Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar, VA 24595
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||Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar, Virginia
Deeply committed to the education of women since its founding in 1901, Sweet Briar College is consistently ranked as one of the top national liberal arts and sciences colleges in the country. Recently, Sweet Briar was chosen by the National Survey of Student Engagement as one of the four liberal arts colleges who best engage students both in and out of the classroom. Its excellent academic reputation, beautiful campus, and attention to the individual attract ambitious, intellectually self-confident women who want to excel. Students can expect that their Sweet Briar experienceconnecting academic work to the wider worldwill allow them to fulfill their promise as scholars and leaders, while enjoying the close-knit friendships and camaraderie that come with a small, residential community.
A Sweet Briar education sets in motion the conviction that any goal is achievable. Classes average 12 students, and a student to faculty ratio of 7:1 ensures academic interaction and personal attention. Students work one-on-one with faculty members who are committed to each student's academic success. A four-year career planning program develops worldwide career opportunities, capitalizing on an international network of successful Sweet Briar alumnae. The College has a wide geographic, ethnic, and socioeconomic representation. About 600 women from more than forty states and nineteen countries are enrolled at Sweet Briar's Virginia campus; another 150 students are enrolled in Sweet Briar's coed Junior Year in France and Junior Year in Spain.
Students who derive the most from the Sweet Briar experience are those who contribute the most, striking a good balance between academic work and the rest of life. A majority of students enter Sweet Briar having already been involved extensively in extracurricular activities; they recognize that one of the advantages of the College is the unlimited opportunities for women to participate and assume leadership roles in many types of organizations and activities.
In May 2004, Sweet Briar enrolled its first graduate students. The College has started the only graduate education program in the country that focuses on differentiated curriculum and instruction and will be offering the Master of Arts in Teaching and the Master of Education degree.
Location and Community
Sweet Briar's natural 3,250-acre campus in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is crisscrossed with hiking, biking, and riding trails through woodlands and dells and around small lakes that provide spectacular outdoor recreational activities. The magnificent campus, the Georgian masterpiece of renowned American architect Ralph Adams Cram, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Recent additions to the campus include a state-of-the-art conference center and a beautiful student center that opened in 2002. Sweet Briar is also the only college in the United States with a residential artists' colony on its campus, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The on-campus equestrian center, one of the largest and best-designed college facilities in the country, attracts both competitive and recreational riders. The College is centrally located on the outskirts of Lynchburg, Virginia, southwest of Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville. Students also enjoy activities in nearby Roanoke and Richmond.
Sweet Briar's nationally celebrated academic program supports its mission to prepare women to be active, responsible members of a world community by integrating the liberal arts and sciences with opportunities for internships, research, study abroad, campus and community leadership, and career planning. Underscoring every one of the forty major fields of study is the idea that the best way to learn about the world is to experience it. The curriculum emphasizes comprehensive understanding, analysis, reflection, creation, and communication across disciplines. The general education requirements include composition, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, Western and non-Western culture, literature, modern language, value assessment, creative artistic expression, world systems, scientific theory and experimentation, research, self-assessment, and physical activity. Independent studies and seminars are included in most majors, with a culminating senior course or exercise required in most majors. Sweet Briar has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and was the first women's college to establish a chapter of the prelaw honorary society Phi Alpha Delta. The four-year Honors Program is nationally recognized for its innovative partnering of interdisciplinary academic and cocurricular programs. Honors students may take special tutorials and seminars as well as complete a yearlong research project culminating in an honors thesis on an original topic.
Sweet Briar participates in the Tri College Consortium, which also includes Randolph-Macon Woman's College and Lynchburg College. In addition to taking courses at the other colleges, students can participate in combined social and cultural activities. More than a third of Sweet Briar's junior class studies abroad. The Sweet Briar Junior Year in France, the first program in Paris for American students, is considered the most academically rigorous program available today. Students from 258 colleges and universities have participated in the coed program. The successful Junior Year in Spain is recognized as the premier program in Seville. The College has special relationships with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Heidelberg University in Germany, Doshisha Women's College in Japan, and the University of Urbino in Italy. Sweet Briar students have chosen the following destinations for study abroad: Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Cuba, Denmark, England, Germany, Greece, Guam, Holland, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, and Thailand. Students have also gained valuable experience by participating in internships abroad. Off-campus study may also include an Environmental Junior Year, the Washington Term at American University, and summer programs at St. Anne's College, Oxford; in Münster, Germany; in Rome or Urbino, Italy; Central America; Nepal; Spain; Australia; and Costa Rica.
Sweet Briar's faculty members have been commended by numerous regional and national educational groups for their excellence in teaching. Faculty members are actively engaged in teaching, research, publication, and other forms of creative activity. More than 95 percent of full-time faculty members have a doctorate or the highest professional degree in their fields. About one half are women.
Sweet Briar's two-semester calendar allows students to participate in intensive courses, independent research projects, or internships on campus or throughout the world.
Sweet Briar awards the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in forty majors: anthropology, art history, biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, business management, chemistry, classics, computer science, dance, economics, engineering science, English, English and creative writing, environmental science, environmental studies, fine arts, French, German, German studies, government, history, integrated engineering and management, international affairs, Italian studies, liberal studies, mathematical physics, mathematics, modern languages and literatures, music, philosophy, physics, psychology, religion, sociology, Spanish, Spanish/business, studio art, and theater arts.
Additional area studies, minors, and certificate programs include: archaeology, arts management, equine management, engineering (32 dual degree), film studies, Italian, law and society, musical theater, prelaw, premed, and preveterinary. Students may design an interdisciplinary major focused on a topic of special interest or may construct individualized majors.
More than fifty campus organizations are available, including honor societies, a literary journal, community service groups, a multicultural club, political groups, a student newspaper, drama and dance clubs, a radio station, and singing groups. Students plan and participate in an extensive array of concerts, films, and dance and theater productions as well as workshops and master classes by visiting scholars and performers. Recent visitors include the author Salman Rushdie, writer and missionary Elisabeth Elliot, Olympic swimmer Maddy Crippen, and civil rights pioneer Elaine Jones.
The Student Government Association is founded upon a highly developed concept of honor, which through the Honor System applies to all phases of academic and social life. Each entering student becomes a full member of the Student Government Association upon taking the Honor Pledge, which states that Sweet Briar women do not lie, cheat, steal, or violate the rights of others. Students participate in the governance of the College through the many offices and committee positions of the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA and its committees are largely responsible for the self-governance of the student body.
Facilities and Resources
Sweet Briar has the largest private undergraduate library collection in the state of Virginia with resources of more than 240,000 volumes, 1,000 journal subscriptions, 430,000 microforms, 6,800 audiovisual materials, and special libraries in art, music, and the sciences. Some of the notable special holdings include Virginia Woolf, T. E. Lawrence, George Meredith, W. H. Auden, and a rare collection of twentieth-century Chinese works. A fiber-optic backbone allows high-speed Ethernet communication among all academic and administrative buildings, as well as in residence hall rooms, with more than 1,000 terminal and network connections campuswide. Three computer labs with Macintosh and Windows/Intel Pentium computers are open free of charge 24 hours a day. The student-to-computer ratio is 6:1. Students studying science use state-of-the-art equipment that enhances faculty-student collaborative research. Biology equipment includes a scanning electron microscope with digital imaging system, equipment for plant and animal tissue culture, DNA sequencing equipment, and advanced video production facilities; chemistry students have access to two nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers (NMR; 400 MHz and 60 MHz), an atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS), a diode array UV/Vis spectrometer, a Fourier transform-infrared spectrometer (FT-IR), a modular LASER laboratory, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrograph (GC/MS), a high-pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC), and a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC); mathematics facilities include a calculus computer lab. Physics equipment includes a scanning tunneling microscope, an X-ray crystallography system, a 10-inch diameter reflecting telescope, and holographic instrumentation. The Academic Resource Center provides assistance to students in writing, reading, study skills, time management, stress management, and peer tutoring. The Babcock Fine Arts Center includes individual practice rooms, an electronic piano lab, art studios, a photography lab, and computer graphics facilities.
Sports / Varsity Athletics
Varsity athletes compete in NCAA Division III field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. Club sports include fencing and riding. Sweet Briar's equestrian program, both competitive and instructional, has consistently garnered national recognition.
Financial Aid / Scholarships
A family's financial circumstance does not limit a student's choices at Sweet Briar because of the College's generous financial aid program. More than 90 percent of enrolling students receive financial assistance from the College, including merit scholarships, need-based grants, loans, and work-study awards. Scholarships for international students are also available on a competitive basis.
Admission Requirements / Application
Sweet Briar seeks talented women who are adventurous, enthusiastic about learning, and want to take an active part in their education. The Admissions Committee looks for qualities such as independent thinking, ethical principles, assertiveness, and an appreciation of diversity. Sweet Briar welcomes students of all economic, ethnic, geographic, religious, and social backgrounds.
Requirements normally include a minimum of 4 units in English, 3 in mathematics, 3 in social studies, 2 sequential years in a foreign language, and 3 units in science, as well as additional units in these subjects to total 16. Most candidates have 20 such academic units. Special attention is given to the difficulty of the applicant's curriculum and her academic achievement in the classroom; scores on the SAT or on the ACT are required. An interview at the College is strongly encouraged but not required. Candidates who are unable to visit the campus are urged to meet with staff members or to talk with alumnae in their home towns.
Candidates should apply by February 1 of the senior year. Early decision applications are due by December 1 of the senior year, and notifications are sent December 15; the enrollment deposit is due January 15. Transfer applications are due by July 1. A completed application includes a transcript of the candidate's academic work, scores on the required tests, recommendations from the guidance counselor and a teacher, and an essay written by the candidate. There is a $25 application fee, but it may be waived at the request of the student's guidance counselor if it is deemed to be a financial burden. Sweet Briar also accepts the Common Application and online applications. All materials should be sent to the address given above; information may be requested from the same office.
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