Hollins University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Hollins University
"Hollins’ interactive, student-centered academic program, along with its numerous experiential learning opportunities, challenges women...

Hollins University

Roanoke, Virginia

A place of powerful possibilities

At Hollins University, women find a supportive yet rigorous academic environment at which they are challenged to expand their intellectual horizons. The faculty is nationally recognized both for its quality and its accessibility to students, and the study abroad and internship opportunities are truly outstanding. With a national reputation for excellence, the creative writing program is one of the jewels of the academic program.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
596 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
0% male — 100% female
45% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
84 full-time faculty
46 part-time faculty
8 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

79% of students live on campus.

School Location

475-acre campus located in Roanoke, Virginia (population 230,000). Regional airport 10 minutes from campus; Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail 20 minutes away. 35,000 undergraduates at 10 institutions within one-hour’s drive.

Retention Fall 2014

80% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

62% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 6%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 11%
White 71%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


NCAA Division III athletic programs with intercollegiate competition in basketball, golf, lacrosse, riding, soccer, swimming, and tennis.

Other Information

Hollins University is a small, private women’s residential liberal arts university.

More Distinctions

  • The Princeton Review’s "Best 357 Colleges" (2005) gave Hollins four out of a possible four stars for academics.

  • The 2005 Newsweek/Kaplan guide named Hollins the country's "Hottest Riding School."

  • The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College lists Hollins among the top 10 women’s colleges in the country.

  • Barron’s Best says Hollins has “produced more published writers than any other college its size in the United States.”

The January Short Term and great study abroad opportunities, including programs in London and Paris that are run by the university, empower students to make the world their classroom…

open the door to a world of possibilities

HU’s 4-1-4 calendar offers students a January term to spend participating in an internships, special courses, or study abroad programs. During the January Short Term, students have travel and study opportunities in such countries as Italy, Spain, Germany, and Great Britain. Students can also opt to stay on campus, participating in intensive seminars, or they may complete internships at places such as ABC World News, the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Naples, or Betsey Johnson Designs in New York City.

HU runs its own study abroad programs in Paris and London, but students can also participate in one of HU’s affiliate programs in Argentina, Ghana, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Spain. Science majors are able to study abroad during their junior or senior years through Hollins’ affiliation with the School for Field Studies. In this program, students benefit from hands-on education while completing research in ecology, environmental issues, and sustainable development. They study with experienced scientist mentors in environmentally sensitive areas such as Costa Rica and Kenya.

community service

Hollins students realize the importance of community, both on campus and off. Not only do HU women participate in local community service projects, but some also travel to Lucea, Jamaica, as part of a service learning project.

student activities

There are over thirty-five clubs and organizations at HU. Students can express themselves creatively through participation in the student publications, politically through the traditional college Democrats and college Republicans, or through a progressive organization such as OUTLoud, which promotes equal rights for everyone.

HU students receive an education based on critical thinking, problem solving, verbal and written communication, investigation, management, and assessment. The university’s unique Education through Skills and Perspectives (ESP) program enables students to customize their general education requirements to their interests and abilities…

great teaching by great scholars

HU’s sixty-seven full-time faculty and thirty-four part-time faculty are active members of both the campus community and the professional world. Teaching at Hollins is not just a job; professors are committed to being part of the community and encouraging students both academically and personally.

encouraged to explore

HU’s distinguished programs in creative writing, art, and dance benefit not just those in the majors, but also the university’s cultural health with art shows, readings, and dance performances.

the Batten Leadership Institute

Through the Batten Leadership Institute, students can earn certificates in leadership studies. The certificate curriculum offers students executive-level training, helping them develop a range of skills that are essential for good leadership. Graduates of this program rave that the experience gave them the confidence to handle even the most unfamiliar situations with success.

HU’s many traditions and events on campus make students feel right at home. Between faculty Christmas caroling, the Founder’s Day celebration, and Tinker Day, students are entertained and experience the history of a strong Hollins community…

fresh, new facilities

The latest addition to the Hollins campus is the new Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center. This industrial-style building features many modern technological conveniences, including film editing suites, darkrooms, and a museum that offers world-class exhibits and a senior art show each spring.


With 90 percent of students living on campus, HU has options to meet a variety of needs. There are apartments, single- and double-occupancy residence hall rooms, and special housing for students interested in French, Spanish, the arts, community service, intercultural community, and the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP).

something for everyone

Hollins’ athletic teams are a source of pride within the university community. The campus riding team, for example, regularly places at or near the top in national meets. Additionally, Roanoke promotes an active arts culture, an emphasis on social equality, and a variety of community events. Students can enjoy shopping at the local farmer’s market or take a day hike into the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains. Students can even get involved in HOP, which is a great way to take advantage of the array of activities made possible by the university’s location. Combining “adventure, education, self-awareness, and leadership,” students go caving, white-water rafting, or hiking through the fully equipped outing center.

Students finish their four years at Hollins University with the sort of resumes that employers and graduate schools are looking for…

A great foundation for an outstanding future

In addition to the career center, which provides students with on-campus interviews, a full career-planning library, one-on-one counseling, and an extensive alumni network, Hollins also sends students to CHALLENGE, a nationally recognized career fair for graduating seniors from liberal arts colleges.


More than 80 percent of HU women participate in internships. After graduation, 98 percent of HU alumni report that they are prepared for “the real world.”

active alumni

A student does not walk away from the Hollins culture upon graduation. There are numerous alumni activities that allow women to continue to participate in the Hollins community. One of the most popular activities is participating in volunteer projects with other alumni.

Hollins alumni also boast numerous firsts. Ann Compton was the first woman to be named a White House correspondent, Charlotte Fox was the first American woman to climb three of the world’s eight-thousand-meter peaks, Elizabeth Valk Long was the first woman publisher at Time Inc., and Kiran Desai was the youngest woman to win Britain’s prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction.


Admissions Fall 2014

1,785 Total Applicants
1,008 Total Admissions
166 Total Freshmen Enrollment

56.47% of applicants admitted

Freshmen Profile Fall 2014

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 500 630
SAT Math 460 570
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 20 27
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    





Tuition $33,660
Fees $635
Total $34,295
Room and Board (on campus) $11,940
Room Only $7,240
Board Only $4,700
Estimated Total On Campus $46,235


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

99% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
70% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$26,430 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$7,640 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

Challenging the Spirit: My Academic Experience

“Hollins, not Holland,” I corrected countless acquaintances my senior year of high school.  “Hollins University, in Roanoke, Virginia?  I’m going to study creative writing.”  I didn’t mind that few people in Western Pennsylvania seemed familiar...

Get a free sample of the Colleges of Distinction 2017 guidebook!

Subscribe to receive a free sample of the Colleges of Distinction 2017 guidebook with:

– Must-Read Advice

– College Checklist

– 330+ School Profiles

Plus, we'll send you 3 critical checklists for college-bound students!

You have Successfully Subscribed!