Bridgewater College is an independent, private liberal arts college founded in 1880. It was the first private, coeducational college in Virginia, having admitted both men and women from its founding. The College offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in nearly 60 majors and minors, along with master’s degree programs in athletic training, digital media strategy, psychology, and human resource management; pre-professional programs such as medicine and law; and teacher licensure.
The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the baccalaureate and master’s level. The master of science in athletic training is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), and the teacher education program is accredited by the Council of Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Get to know Bridgewater College
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE @ BRIDGEWATER
Undergraduate research with faculty can begin as early as a student’s first year. The Research Experience @ Bridgewater, a donor-funded initiative, supports teams of faculty and students who spend the summer in collaborative research in any discipline. Additionally, funding for summer research in the natural sciences is available through the Martin Science Research Institute and the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges. Students often collaborate with their faculty partners on conference presentations in their field.
During his junior and senior years, biology major Daniel Jones ‘21 worked on an independent microbiology research project in Dr. Baron’s lab, studying gene codes related to specific proteins and their function. His first two years at Bridgewater, Daniel worked with Dr. Moshe Khurgel to assess factors that affect the motility of axolotls, a neotenic salamander.
Both research experiences enhanced Daniel’s problem-solving skills and self-reliance and helped solidify his plans to attend graduate school.
Bridgewater students enjoy a variety of opportunities for global experiences through semester programs abroad and May Term travel courses. May Term travel courses offer a study abroad experience in a few short weeks. Students gain first-hand knowledge of another culture while traveling with a BC professor and their fellow students. May Term is an intensive three-week class session in May, after the spring semester, focused on experiential learning courses.
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 49 | 10-19: 137 | 20-29: 159
30-39: 26 | 40-49: 1 | 50-99: 0 | 100+: 0
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Non-U.S. Citizen: 2%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 14%
White, non-Hispanic: 65%
Native/Indigenous American or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 7%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 3%
Every Bridgewater student completes a first-year seminar course, FILA-150, for immersion in core critical thinking and writing skills. All BC students also complete COMM-100: Oral Communication in their first year, preparing them for success in their college courses as well as their future careers. Taking Oral Communication can be a transformative experience, preparing previously quiet students to take leadership roles on campus and lead discussions.
Success at Bridgewater means students feel courageous and purposeful about their next steps. This class empowers students to feel confident in their communication and connection with others along your journey, both on campus and beyond.
INTERACTIVE AND INNOVATIVE
At Bridgewater, learning means more than just mastering the material in a classroom setting. It’s about using knowledge and skills to connect and engage with the world. Students participate in conversations about a wide variety of issues in order to learn to interact with respect, examine various perspectives, practice critical reasoning, and articulate their unique perspective.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
Liberal arts/career combination
Teacher certification program
* The Smithsonian-Mason Semester for Conservation Studies at George Mason University
The annual Showker Prize competition awards $5,000 each year to an interdisciplinary team of students who come up with an innovative solution to a complex problem. Past winning teams have tackled the challenges of food waste and the stigma around mental health issues.
Bridgewater’s Endowed Lectures program brings renowned speakers to campus to share their perspectives and stories. Past speakers have included author Jon Meacham, poet and educator Nikki Giovanni, social activist Monica Lewinsky, anti-hate crimes activist Judy Shepard, writer and educator Jelani Cobb, and many more.
Bridgewater’s opportunities for student engagement include 60+ clubs and organizations that help students develop leadership skills, get practical experience, and connect to their peers. SpringFest is the annual end-of-year/get-ready-for-finals celebration, when everyone (faculty and staff are invited too!) heads outside to play games and eat carnival food. Traditions such as the Intercultural Festival and the Journey of Lights celebrate the diversity of Bridgewater students and the variety of backgrounds and faiths they bring to campus.
Located in the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Bridgewater College’s campus is in the town of Bridgewater, just a few minutes away from the nearby city of Harrisonburg. The cities of Charlottesville and Richmond—as well as the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area—are within a two-hour drive of campus. The Shenandoah Valley offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, tubing, biking, skiing, and more, along with such historical sites of interest as Civil War battlefields and museums.
The Bridgewater College Eagles compete in NCAA Division III and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in 23 men’s and women’s sports. The College also offers an NCEA equestrian program for women. Spirit programs include cheerleading and the Screamin’ Eagles Marching Band. School colors are crimson and gold, and the mascot is Ernie the Eagle.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 74%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
Special housing for students with disabilities
HANDS-ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Bridgewater College students have many opportunities for hands-on experience in their field of choice, including internships, field experiences, and other practical applications of what they’re learning in the classroom.
At her internship with Big Brothers Big Sisters, psychology major Deja Gentry helped match mentors with children who needed positive role models. She learned valuable career skills, such as teamwork and how to bring out the best in others. After graduating, she was able to translate that experience into a full-time position as a children’s mental health case manager at the Valley Community Services Board.
FAST TRACK TO GREATNESS
Bridgewater’s graduate programs are designed to allow any entering student to graduate with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only 5 years. All involve hands-on, practical learning experiences in which students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in an immersive clinical experience or capstone project for a business in the local community.
CENTER FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT
The Center for Career Development strengthens student connections to Bridgewater alumni, providing them a variety of opportunities from which they can hear from and work alongside each other, including panel discussions, mock interviews, mentoring, and internships.
Rigor of secondary school record | Academic GPA
Interview | Extracurricular activities
Talent/ability | Character/personal qualities
Standardized test scores | Recommendation(s) | Volunteer work
Work experience | Level of applicant’s interest
25th Percentile: 1070 | 75th Percentile: 1250
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 545 | 75th Percentile: 620
25th Percentile: 520 | 75th Percentile: 630
Interested students can apply via Bridgewater’s online application or through the Common App. The College’s “rolling admissions” policy means an applicant will receive a decision within two weeks of applying. Bridgewater also offers a test-optional admissions policy, meaning interested students may choose to apply without submitting SAT or ACT test scores.
Tuition & Cost
Room & Board: $13,830
99% of Bridgewater students receive some form of financial assistance. 75% of students receive more than $30,000 in scholarship and grant aid, making the cost of Bridgewater comparable to a public college for most students. $41 million in scholarships and grants was awarded to Bridgewater College students in 2020-21.