Salem College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Salem College
Where education for women began: As the nation’s oldest continuously operating women’s educational institution,...

Salem College

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Endless Possibilities for Learning and Life


As the oldest educational institution for women in the United States, Salem boasts a proud history of fostering independence in women. Salem students have the freedom to explore who they are and who they want to be. Salem is a college where women from all over the world are encouraged to shine in every aspect of their lives. From the first moment students step on campus to the day they graduate, Salem gives undergraduates the freedom to explore their skills and talents; be actively involved with the community; make lifelong friendships with fellow students; and learn from outstanding faculty members. Salem is confident students will experience a vision of education that will shape their present and impact their future.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
938 undergraduate students
82% of undergrad students are full time
4% male — 96% female

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
67 full-time faculty
79 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Highly residential: 80% of students live on campus.

School Location

Winston-Salem, North Carolina—20 minutes from Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro.


83% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

60% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 12%
Black or African American 22%
White 54%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 4%


NCAA Division III; Salem is a new member of the USA South Athletic conference. NCAA Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball; Club Sports: Equestrian. Mascot: Salem Spirits. Colors: Blue and Yellow.

Other Information

Salem College is a four-year liberal arts college for women founded in 1772.

Academic Programs

Business: Accounting; Actuarial Science*; Business Administration: Entrepreneurship*, Finance+, Health Care Management+, International Trade+, Marketing*, Sport Management*; Economics; International Business; Not-for-Profit Management

Fine Arts: Art: Art History, Studio Art, Visual Arts Entrepreneurship*, Visual Literature*; Art Education Licensure; Arts Management: Performing Arts*, Visual Arts*; Dance: Dance and Movement Studies, Dance Management*; Design: Architectural Studies+, Graphic Design+, Interior Design+; Music: Performance, Music Entrepreneurship*; Musical Theater*

Humanities: Creative Writing; English; French; German++; Greek++; History; Historic Preservation**; Latin++; Philosophy; Religion; Spanish

Interdisciplinary Studies: Integrative Studies (self-designed major); Race and Ethnicity Studies; Women’s Studies: Advocacy+, Feminist Studies++

Science, Mathematics, & Exercise Science: Biochemistry; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Applications/Computer Programming++; Environmental Studies; Exercise Science; Mathematics; Physics++; Pre-Dental; Pre-Medical; Pre-Pharmacy; Pre-Physical Therapy; Pre-Physician Assistant; Pre-Veterinary; Psychology; Statistics*

Social Sciences and Communications: Communication; Criminal Studies; Political Science: International Relations+, Public Policy+; Pre-Law; Sociology: Applied Sociology+

Teaching: Licensure areas: Elementary, Middle grades, Secondary, Art, Second Language, Special Education; Coaching*; Teaching, Schools, and Society

*Minor only; + Concentration; ** Certificate program; ++ Grouping of courses

More Distinctions

  • Salem is one of the top "Character-building Colleges" in the nation by the John Templeton Foundation, in large part because of the unique Salem Signature program

At Salem, students can travel the globe and expand their horizons. Salem offers year-long, semester, summer, and month programs. There is also the option to participate in January Term, a short-term study away option to locations like: China, Mexico, India, and Europe.


In their first year, students take an on-campus course or faculty-sponsored travel program. In following years, options expand to include internships across the country and the world. Jan Term is the perfect opportunity to work full-time in a professional field of interest, conduct an independent research project, or focus on one course in a specialty area. On-campus course examples: Gone to the Dogs; Young Women’s Activism: The Third Wave; Landscape Drawing; Green Design: A Brighter Future?; Politics in Film


Students are encouraged toparticipate in Salem’s extensive study abroad programs in Oxford, England, or in one of the following countries though Salem’s partnership with BCA Study Abroad: Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Wales, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, China, India, Japan, and New Zealand.

Other Unique Study Options

  • Washington, DC Semester: Students can study at the heart of US politics, pursuing their interests in government, foreign policy, and international environmental affairs during a semester in D.C. offered in cooperation with American University.
  • Students can travel to New York City to represent Salem at the Model UN and work with college students from across the country.
  • Cross registration is offered to allow students to take courses at Wake Forest University.
  • Students may choose to spend a semester abroad at Harlaxton College in the English countryside. As part of Salem’s partner program with the University of Evansville, students live and study in a British castle on a 100 acre estate and take weekend trips throughout the British Isles and Europe.

Students deserve a more-than-ordinary education. Salem offers a unique four-year leadership–building sequence, and that’s only the beginning…

An Intersection of Thinking and Exploring

The faculty to student ratio at Salem College is eleven to one, and the average class size is eleven. Understanding that the best teachers are also committed to their own intellectual development, members of the faculty engage in continued professional development as educators and scholars. Salem College faculty pursue research in their fields of study and in the pedagogy of their disciplines. They lead creative and productive lives as they model for students the value of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership within and beyond the Salem community.

Four Areas of Distinction

The college offers in-depth programming in four areas of distinction.

  • The Center for Women Writers at Salem College provides an opportunity for writers to express their creativity in conversation; in workshops; in community and college courses; and through readings, lectures, and other special programs.

  • The School of Music enjoys a distinguished national reputation. Salem was one of the first colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

  • Women in Science and Mathematics facilitates mentoring for students with local and alumnae scientists and physicians. The program provides opportunities for undergraduate research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the Piedmont Triad Research Park, a center for regenerative medicine and biotech research located adjacent to Salem’s campus.

  • Women in Business and Economics connects Salem students with women in Fortune 1000 Companies and sends them around the globe to explore emerging markets and international monetary policies.

LEAD Program

All Salem students have a chance to lead on campus and in the community. Through Salem’s four-year LEAD program, students identify their unique potential and develop their own signature leadership styles. Participating in workshops and local and national leadership conferences, students hone their skills that twenty-first century employers value most.

  • The Salem Signature curriculum helps sharpen skills in critical thinking and quantitative reasoning. On top of that, students graduate with 30 hours of community service and at least one professional internship.

  • Integrative studies gives students the chance to design their own interdisciplinary major.

  • The Honor Code creates a community of honor which values honesty, integrity, and trust. By pledging to uphold the Honor Code, students gain the freedom to schedule their own exams.

There is always something going on at Salem–from downtown street concerts and food truck festivals to on-campus coffeehouse performances.

Campus and Winston-Salem

Salem’s 75 acres of beautiful gardens and courtyards, classic architecture, and state-of-the-art facilities are just four blocks from Winston-Salem, a Top Ten most “fun, affordable” city. Salem’s location within the restored eighteenth-century village of Old Salem adds a special spirit to the college experience. The eighteenth-century Moravian village of Salem is now an internationally recognized living history museum complex. The campus includes five buildings that date from the original town of Salem.

The city of Winston-Salem is one of the most culturally active in the nation, and Salem students enjoy—and often participate in—many of the special offerings in town. The city’s performing-arts groups include the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Piedmont Opera, Twin City Stage, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, and the Piedmont Chamber Singers.

Winston-Salem is home to the Roger L. Stevens Center, a nationally recognized facility for the performing arts; Reynolds House, a museum of American paintings; the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art; Sawtooth School for Visual Art; and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts borders the Salem campus in Old Salem.

Known as the “City of the Arts and Innovation,” Winston-Salem is an exciting hub of culture, business, and biotechnology. Students have access to more than 60 clubs and restaurants and a variety of 70 shops and galleries.

Clubs and Organizations

There are more than fifty clubs on campus, including many multicultural, political, and religious groups. Salem also boasts seven varsity sports (basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball) in NCAA Division III athletics and one club sports (equestrian).

Campus Traditions

Salem has many special traditions, some of them dating back to the original Moravian community. Among them are Fall Lawn, an annual dance held on campus; Fall Fest, when classes compete against one another in various activities; Christmas Candlelight Service; Founder’s Day celebration; Opening and Closing Convocation; Leadership Banquet; and Susan E. Pauly Celebration of Academic Excellence.

Big Sister/Little Sister

Salem also features a Big Sister/Little Sister program in which juniors adopt a first-year student, offering an honorary introduction to the college and helping to facilitate the transition into college life. The program features a number of organized social activities, including Sophomore/Senior, a spring banquet for big and little sisters.

Community Service

Community service plays an important role on campus. Most students are active, and sophomores are required to complete thirty hours of community service. Many students volunteer at local organizations and fairs, tutor at local schools, work for Habitat for Humanity, and participate in other similar activities.

Salem women can do anything. Becoming one of them means that, at graduation, students have not only the knowledge, but also the confidence and the vision to put that knowledge to work…


Everyone completes at least one internship through the Salem Signature program, and most choose to participate in three or four. Students can complete their internships during the regular term, the summer, or the January Term. Samples include: NASA, Houston; Cureamericas Global Health, Inc., Guatemala; Smith Barney, Atlanta; Bill Silva Management, Inc., West Hollywood; Sony Music, London; Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center; CBS News, New York; ESPN, Los Angeles

Surpassing the Status Quo

  • Salem College’s law school admission rate is 98 percent.
  • Salem College’s medical school admission rate is 85 percent. (The national average for medical school admission is 50 percent.)
  • Recent Salem graduates were accepted into professional, graduate, and PhD programs at Case Western Reserve, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, the Mayo Clinic Northwestern, UCLA, UNC, Yale, Stanford University, and Vanderbilt, to name a few.
  • Salem’s alumnae network is over 12,000 and reaches across 49 states, two US territories and 33 foreign countries. No matter what arena—business, media, international affairs, politics, education, medicine, science, the arts—Salem alumnae have long been recognized for service to and leadership in their communities. They are always ready to help new generations of Salem students and graduates with internships, career advice, mentoring, and a welcome into their cities and towns.



903 Total Applicants 
562 Total Admissions 
187 Total Freshman Enrollment

62.24% of applicants admitted


  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 470 640
SAT Math 470 600
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 21 29
ACT Math 20 29
ACT English 20 30
ACT Writing    


Salem College seeks young women with strong academic talent, motivation and character who will benefit from, and add to, the quality of life on campus. Salem accepts applications from students of all religious, geographic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Your completed application will be considered individually. Acceptance to Salem is based on your school record, scores from the SAT I or ACT, extracurricular activities and information about your academic and personal qualification.

Salem encourages you to consider meeting with a member of our admissions staff for a personal interview, although it is not required. It’s a great way to get to learn more about Salem. As part of the interview, you’ll meet with a staff member in the Admissions Office, talk with professors and students, sample a class and tour the beautiful campus.

Admissions Requirements:

  • 4 English Credits
  • 3 Math Credits (must include Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II)
  • 3 Science Credits
  • 2 Social Studies (includes history, psychology, economics, government)
  • 2 Foreign Language Credits (must be the same foreign language)


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $25,870
Fees $366
Total $26,236
Room and Board (on campus) $11,824
Room Only $5,840
Board Only $5,984
Estimated Total On Campus $38,060


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

98% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
77% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$24,177 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$6,028 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates


  • Merit Scholarships, ranging from $5,000 to full tuition, are awarded based on academic excellence and leadership.
  • One “full-ride” Elberson Scholarship is awarded annually and includes a semester of study abroad at Harlaxton College in England.
  • Apply by January 4 for all merit-based scholarships.
  • Fine arts scholarships are available for music and art majors.
  • You may qualify for an Early Notification scholarship of $14,000 annually if you apply by December 1 and have a minimum 3.75 GPA and 1100 SAT (CR and M only) or 24 ACT. You are not required to commit to Salem until May 1
  • Salem offers an equivalent of the HOPE scholarship for qualified students in GA and TN
  • Salem offers an equivalent of the BRIGHT FUTURES for qualified students in FL
  • Salem offers an equivalent of the LIFE scholarship for qualified students in SC
  • Salem offers an equivalent of the VTAG for eligible students in VA

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