Roanoke College, located in Salem, Virginia, offers an innovative core curriculum and comprehensive majors that allow for in-depth study and research. Students are encouraged to believe in themselves and their potential, participating in internships, creative projects, community service, and study away—endeavors that altogether help them find their purpose in life. The Roanoke College experience is a full one, enhanced by its setting just minutes away from a vibrant city and the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
Get to know Roanoke College
The Roanoke approach to learning is a little different than most other schools. Rather than memorizing and regurgitating information, students are encouraged to pick from a portfolio of topics that interest them. They then explore these fundamental concepts and apply them to current issues. The Core Curriculum features classes that are unexpected yet challenging and exciting. Students learn to think critically and analytically about a wide variety of subjects, such as Global Health Disparities, How Women Got the Vote, and Science vs. Religion.
“My core classes helped me to make a connection between all of my classes and filled in the gaps in my education.” – Ashley Gilroy ’13
Research is an integral part of the Roanoke experience. Each student, regardless of their discipline, is encouraged to think more deeply about their field of study. Just as opportunities to conduct groundbreaking research are abundant, so too are the chances for students to publish their research and present their findings at regional and national conferences. Faculty and staff are dedicated to helping students find the right program for their goals. Students can choose from a varied list of opportunities:
- Applied Methods: This junior/senior-level course allows students to conduct research in small groups.
- Research Experience: A ¼-credit course where students assist faculty with their research projects.
- Research Practicum: A 1-credit course in which students assist faculty with their research.
- Independent Study (empirical): In this 1-credit course, students conduct their own empirical study under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
- Independent Study (literature review): In this 10credit course, students conduct their own literature review under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
- Honors in the Major: A 1-credit course in which students conduct their own empirical study under the direction of a faculty mentor. The results of this research are presented to a committee during an honors defense.
- Summer Scholar: Qualified students receive tuition, housing, and $2,500 to conduct research with a faculty mentor over the summer.
- Work-Study: Eligible students receive an hourly wage while assisting a faculty member with their research.
Global awareness and cross-cultural understanding are just a couple of the principles that guide the Office of International Education at Roanoke. The dedicated team supports students as they find the program that best suits their personal and professional aspirations. Approximately 225 Roanoke College students participate in College-sponsored international study programs annually. Students can go abroad with Roanoke College faculty during May Term or study for a semester or year in over fifty countries across six continents.
Roanoke in Yucatan, Mexico:
Each spring semester, a group of Roanoke students travels with a Roanoke faculty member to the Yucatan. Students engage in coursework, cultural excursions, language immersion, and community engagement. The Yucatan program offers a unique opportunity for study abroad and community engagement in three sites with residential and teaching facilities across the region: Merida, Kaxil Kiuic, and Oxkutzcab.
Roanoke in Leipzig, Germany:
The Leipzig study abroad trip is open to all Roanoke students regardless of major or German fluency. Classes meet Monday through Thursday, so students have the freedom to enjoy the neighboring towns and even countries over the weekends. Many students take advantage of the proximity to other destinations like Barcelona, Prague, and London. During their time in Germany, students will visit Dresden, Edinburgh, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Naumburg Cathedral, Wartburg Castle, or the treetop walkways at Hainich National Park (for the Heritage and Sustainability class).
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Non-U.S. Citizen: 2%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 5%
White, non-Hispanic: 82%
Native/Indigenous American or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 0%
The First-Year Experience (FYE) begins in the summer with orientation, during which students stay overnight and connect with their new peers and the campus community. Students are also introduced to their advisor who helps them schedule their classes for the fall. Orientation provides students an opportunity to learn more about the college, campus, student resources, activities, and more.
Welcome Week takes place right before classes begin. This is another opportunity for new students to connect with their advisors and meet their peer mentors.
All students start with Intellectual Inquiry, which is part of the general education curriculum. This first-year seminar course includes reading, writing, critical thinking, and discussions. Peer mentors continue along with students (15 students per mentor) throughout the course and first semester.
Writing-intensive courses are embedded across the curriculum, strengthening students’ writing ability through a number of general education courses beyond their first-year semester. All majors include their own writing-intensive courses as well, allowing students to apply their skills to the fields that they aim to pursue in their professional lives.
At Roanoke, knowledge is most useful when applied to real-world situations. That is why every student is encouraged to take advantage of the many experiential learning opportunities available. 94% of Roanoke students participate in real-world learning experiences before they graduate. Whether it’s research, internships, creative projects, service work, study abroad, or all of the above, a real-world learning experience helps students develop leadership skills, cultivate a vast network, and connect to career-boosting opportunities.
“I’ve been passionate about marine life for as long as I can remember, but Roanoke has pushed me in the right direction to find a job doing what I love.” – Heather Duvall ’13
INTENSIVE LEARNING (MAY TERM)
The Intensive Learning Program, commonly called May Term, provides students with a unique learning experience in which they and faculty share academic immersion and full-time engagement with a single course. Intensive Learning courses focus on a topic in ways that are not possible during the regular academic year. These courses encourage active student participation by moving beyond lectures to involve students in activities like debates, lab and studio work, field trips, surveys, simulations and reenactments, films, videos, and interactive media. The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel as well as on-campus courses. Most of these are offered during a three-week term in May and must be completed in order to graduate.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Liberal arts/career combination
Teacher certification program
THE CENTER FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Students can work with the Center for Civic Engagement to find a way to serve the community through partners, alternative breaks, and service-learning. Many of Roanoke’s student organizations also participate in community service projects throughout the year. Students make a difference through a variety of agencies and projects throughout the Roanoke Valley and beyond. For example, some sociology classes incorporate optional community service projects in lieu of traditional research papers, like tutoring at an after-school program and providing childcare for women who are living in a residential substance abuse program. Other service-based class projects are connected to college-sponsored fall and spring break Habitat for Humanity building blitzes and such extended weekend experiences as Urban Plunge, where students work in homeless shelters in Washington, D.C. or do home repairs for rural residents as part of Appalachian Plunge.
INTENTIONAL LIVING COMMUNITIES
Intentional Living Communities: Academic Residential Communities, Honors, Scholars, Greek Housing, Affinity House, Eco House, Global Village, Leadership, Sports & Recreation, Wellness
Located in southwest Virginia, the Roanoke Valley offers an idyllic backdrop to a stunning campus. Salem offers plenty of shopping, dining, live music, and outdoor recreation to keep students happy and healthy.
Salem is the valley’s sports center, hosting collegiate championships for the NCAA Division III in football, basketball, and softball. Salem also is home to the Salem Red Sox, a class-A professional baseball team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. The baseball games feature theme nights and student discounts.
Roanoke is a great place for outdoor recreational activities, including mountain biking on the trails at Carvins Cove, swimming and boating at Smith Mountain Lake, and downhill skiing at several nearby locations.
Men’s Sports: Baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, track & field, tennis, wrestling
Women’s Sports: Basketball, field hockey, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, track & field, tennis, volleyball
Percent of students living on campus.
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
Special housing for international students
Students are first formally introduced to career services as part of their 110 course. The Office of Career Services staff focuses mostly on encouraging freshmen and sophomores to engage with them to set themselves up for post-graduate success. The staff works closely with the faculty to make classroom appearances and offer younger students assessments. After class, students meet one-on-one with career staff to create a plan for their four years at Roanoke.
The Office of Career Services has a four-year plan that outlines students’ journeys from Exploration to Decision Making:
- Freshman – An introduction to career development, including a career/interest assessment.
- Sophomore – Students work with an alumni mentor for job-shadowing and information about interviewing. They can even work with alumni all over the globe!
- Junior – Students begin looking for experiential learning and/or internships that best suit their desired path.
- Senior – Students start applying for jobs and choosing the direction they wish to go.
Rigor of secondary school record | Academic GPA | Character/personal qualities
Class rank | Interview | Extracurricular activities | Level of applicant’s interest
Standardized test scores | Application Essay | Recommendation(s) | Talent/ability
Alumni/ae relation | Racial/ethnic status | Volunteer work | Work experience
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 530 | 75th Percentile: 630
25th Percentile: 510 | 75th Percentile: 610
25th Percentile: 21 | 75th Percentile: 28
25th Percentile: 20 | 75th Percentile: 27
25th Percentile: 21 | 75th Percentile: 27
Tuition & Cost
What Others are Saying
Contact Roanoke College
221 College Lane
Salem, VA 24153