Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar, Virginia
Established in 1901, Sweet Briar is a private liberal arts and sciences college for women of consequence. The College’s unique community and campus life foster strength and resilience in every student by surrounding her with excellent faculty, coaches, and staff who challenge her to bring her best self forward—and to own it with confidence, courage, and grit. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report named Sweet Briar among the nation’s Most Innovative Schools.
Sweet Briar is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Sweet Briar’s academics are defined by its small classes, rigorous standards, and exceptional student-faculty interaction through scholarship and research. The intensive residential liberal arts environment produces graduates who are agile, creative, and unafraid of life’s twists and turns. Students have a rallying cry: “There’s nothing that you cannot do.” Sweet Briar women prove it every day.
“I love that the professors here know my name. I’m not just a number to them. If I miss a class, they have no problem emailing me and asking why I wasn’t there. I love that. I know that even after I graduate, Sweet Briar will always be my home away from home.” – Taylor Watson ’20, musical theatre and history double major
“Community involvement is a huge part of my Sweet Briar experience and has definitely helped me find my niche. One thing that’s really awesome about Sweet Briar is that there is something for everyone to enjoy and be a part of, no matter what their interests are.” – Ashton Mays ’18, psychology major, sociology minor; Presidential Medalist
Get to know Sweet Briar College
“Our campus is full of resources, in and outside the classroom. In my summer honors research, I learned about behavioral economics, and I was figuring out how to make the farm-to-table movement possible at small liberal arts colleges like Sweet Briar.” – April Boyd ’18
COMMON INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCES
A core curriculum focused on women’s leadership in the 21st century replaces traditional “gen ed” classes. In addition to critical thinking and effective communication, Sweet Briar students learn design thinking, marketing, and financial literacy skills. Sweet Briar sponsors regular public presentations by scholars and artists. The Writers Series features poets and writers of both fiction and nonfiction. The Babcock Season brings artists and professional dance and theater companies to campus for performances. Noted scientists and entrepreneurs speak annually at the Waxter Environmental Forum and the region’s National Engineers Week Banquet. Artists in residence at the adjacent Virginia Center for the Creative Arts guest-teach classes. These events provide opportunities for students to interact with professionals in master classes, social situations, and as collaborators.
The Honors Program offers research opportunities and grants to all eligible undergraduate students. Special programs include the yearlong Pannell Scholarship for sophomores and the annual Honors Summer Research Program (all class years). Undergraduate students from Sweet Briar and other colleges participate in MARCUS, the annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship.
Historically, 35% of Sweet Briar students study abroad through the College’s established JYF program in Paris, the Virginia Program at Oxford, or another program of the student’s choosing. Some students also opt for international internships, often facilitated through Sweet Briar’s highly engaged, worldwide alumnae network and its nationally recognized career services office.
Kasey Bethancourt ’16 spent the summer before her junior year volunteering in Sri Lanka. She worked in the only mental health hospital in the country and on various projects supporting individuals with special needs.
“This opportunity opened so many doors for me, and the experience was invaluable. I encourage everyone to go abroad at some point in their college career. No matter where it is, you will be fascinated by the cultural difference and it will broaden your perspective!” – Kasey Bethancourt ’16
Cassidy Bodkin ’20 went abroad during the spring 2019 3-week term with her art history class.
“Overall, this was a trip of a lifetime and an experience I encourage all Sweet Briar students to take advantage of! It was amazing to get an opportunity to go abroad for a very low cost and have one of our amazing professors be our tour guide and show us all the amazing sights in Rome. It was an invaluable experience to be able to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn about a topic in a hands-on manner. This would not have been possible in a traditional classroom.” – Cassidy Bodkin ’20
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 3%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 9%
White, non-Hispanic: 70%
American Indian 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: 1%
“I love having the luxury of working closely with individual students. It’s a rush to help each of them put their unique stamp on coursework, or shape a collaborative research project in a direction that wouldn’t have been possible without their input.” – Jessica Salvatore, assistant professor of psychology
FIRST-YEAR SEMINARS AND EXPERIENCES
Orientation includes activities that are aimed at helping new students get to know the campus and rich history of Sweet Briar. The Common Read provides a shared experience for first-years and the entire campus community. Book club-style dinners at faculty and staff homes invite first-years to share their reactions to the material in a welcoming atmosphere. All first-years are required to start their academic career at Sweet Briar by taking CORE 110 — Design Thinking, an interactive course that is team-taught by four professors from various disciplines. Students have the opportunity to pursue one-on-one research with faculty starting their freshman year, even participating in the Honors Summer Research Program. They also have access to every piece of equipment in the chemistry and biology labs from their first semester. First-year students pursuing an Honors Degree may take the honors variant of CORE 110.
COLLABORATIVE ASSIGNMENTS AND PROJECTS
Sweet Briar’s academic calendar features three intensive weeks at the beginning and end of each year for interdisciplinary classes, internships, or study abroad. Students have the chance to delve deeply into projects that transcend traditional fields of study—working, for example, with visiting artists from the neighboring Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Engineering students team up with local companies and other colleges to design and create solutions that make a real impact on people’s lives—from Virginia to Brazil.
“The hardest thing my professors expect from me is to not look for the ‘right answer,’ but to find my own—and to not only be able to explain it, but to believe in it.” – Chanel Friedrich ’19, business and economics major
Most literature classes, as well as many courses in other disciplines, are writing intensive, giving students plenty of opportunities to hone their written communication skills from day one. Most writing-intensive classes are paired with a focus on research, so students learn early on how to compile, comprehend, and condense a variety of secondary sources. The Academic Resource Center offers free help with academic papers, study skills, and time management from peer tutors. The library also provides personalized research assistance to each student.
“Creative writing classes are always taught in seminar style, with lots of discussion, and with students’ voices the most important ones at the table. I increasingly value that approach to teaching and learning: a group of young women together discovering the power of literature, the stories they want to tell, and the tools and skills to help them bring their creative work to the page.” – Carrie Brown, professor of English and creative writing; director, Center for Creativity, Design and the Arts
“When the world keeps trying to drag me down, the Sweet Briar community keeps reminding me of my dreams and ambitions—and to never give up.” – Shifti Kamal ’20, international affairs and psychology double major
Sweet Briar is a vibrant community focused on interactive learning both in and outside the classroom. More than 20 student-run clubs and organizations host readings, movie nights, and political watching parties. Students take on leadership roles in the Student Government Association, giving them an opportunity to practice what they have learned in the classroom. At Sweet Briar, nearly 80% of students hold formal leadership roles in a student organization—twice as many as students at other schools. Through student government elections, a self-imposed Honor Code and a judiciary committee that oversees violations of the Student Handbook, students learn early how to lead with integrity and solve problems as part of a team.
Student-run charitable events benefit nonprofits in the area, all while offering students the opportunity to get hands-on experience in marketing, event-planning, and business management. Additionally, the Outdoor Program partners with the environmental science and creative writing programs to offer immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences in Sweet Briar’s natural environment both on and off campus.
“We have a ton of traditions that help integrate new students into the culture of Sweet Briar—which is that we care about each other and that we get things done.” – DaZané Cole ’20, biology and psychology double major
Sweet Briar’s historic, 3,250-acre campus is on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, 13 miles north of Lynchburg, one hour from Charlottesville, two hours from Richmond, and three hours from Washington, D.C. Take a virtual tour to see more!
Sweet Briar College is a Division III school competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, with varsity sports ranging from swimming to soccer. The College also boasts an internationally known equestrian program for recreational and competitive riders of all skill levels, with teams competing in the NCEA, IHSA, and ODAC.
“Sweet Briar Athletics has empowered me on and off the field. I have two very supportive teams in an environment that is intense and positive. This allows us to thrive and push ourselves to be the best that we can be.” – Caroline Thomas ’19, business major
“Being a student at Sweet Briar has taught me to never take no for an answer. Whether it’s on the soccer field, in the classroom, or in a student government meeting, I truly feel that I’m able to accomplish my goals with the help and support of my classmates and professors.” – Alexa Dahlin ’18, business major, Arts Management Certificate
SERVICE-LEARNING, COMMUNITY-BASED LEARNING
Business seminar students—and some clubs—get hands-on experience in marketing, event-planning, and business management by organizing charitable events that benefit nonprofits in the area. They’ve started small businesses, designed the Book Shop website, and frequently come up with marketing ideas for Sweet Briar merchandise. Many clubs also volunteer on and off campus to help families and nonprofits in need.
Nearly 80%of students complete at least one internship while at Sweet Briar, often for academic credit. That’s twice as many as students at other colleges. All engineering students are required to intern. Many times, these internships turn into post-graduate jobs, sometimes secured before a student even graduates! All engineering students graduate in four years, and 100% have jobs or are in graduate school within three months of graduation. Overall, about 90% of Sweet Briar students are employed or in graduate school six months after graduation. For pre-vet students, the veterinary school acceptance rate averages 88% over the last decade. Sweet Briar graduates are ground-breaking entrepreneurs (Leah Busque ’01, founder of TaskRabbit), successful mayors (Teresa Tomlinson ’87, Columbus, Ga.), acclaimed authors (Sally Mott Freeman ’76) and Olympians (Lendon Gray ’71).
“At GLAD Manufacturing, I work on real machines, learn software and take courses such as pneumatics and programmable logic controllers. Because Sweet Briar’s program is so broad, I’ve been able to work with any type of engineer and solve problems, whether electrical, mechanical, or software-related.” – Victoria Lawson ’20, engineering major
CAPSTONE COURSES AND PROJECTS/SENIOR EXPERIENCE
All Sweet Briar students may complete a capstone experience in their major(s). This might be a yearlong engineering project, an academic essay, a portfolio of poetry or fiction, a music album, or the staging of an original play. In some cases, students continue to pursue the subject of their capstone project in graduate school.
“In college, there were a lot of subjects I wanted to explore besides computer science. As a software engineer, my classes in dance, art history, and literature gave me a creative edge in the industry.” – Leah Busque ’01, founder of TaskRabbit, general partner at FUEL Capital
SAT Critical Reading
25th Percentile: 460 | 75th Percentile: 620
25th Percentile: 420 | 75th Percentile: 560
25th Percentile: 18 | 75th Percentile: 27
25th Percentile: 17 | 75th Percentile: 26
25th Percentile: 16 | 75th Percentile: 28
HOW TO APPLY
Sweet Briar is a Rolling Admission institution with a deadline of Feb. 1 for financial aid. Early Action deadline is Oct. 1. The following steps are recommended for first-year students:
- Visit Sweet Briar anytime, but start campus visits early. Sign up to visit Sweet Briar at sbc.edu/admissions.
- Take the SAT and/or ACT. Send us your results if you would like us to consider them in your application. Sweet Briar is test-optional if you have a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
- Sign up for an open house: Meet our faculty and students, attend a class, and check out dining services.
- Beginning in August, apply to Sweet Briar at sbc.edu, through the Common Application, or through the Coalition Application. Early Action deadline is Oct. 1. After that Sweet Briar has Rolling Admission with a deadline of Feb. 1 for financial aid.
- Request that your high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores be sent to the admissions office.
- Complete the FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov beginning Oct. 1.
- Apply for every scholarship and grant you can—as early as you can.
- Tell us you’re coming by May 1.
Contact an admissions counselor with questions: P | 800-381-6142 E | firstname.lastname@example.org
Transfer students should apply as early as possible. Visit sbc.edu/admissions for details.
Tuition & Cost
Tuition, Fees, Room, and Board: $35,220
Sweet Briar offers comprehensive financial aid, merit scholarships, institutional, state and federal grants, and a range of student loan options. The bottom line: a quality education, with a price tag that rivals state colleges. Sweet Briar is consistently ranked by Forbes as a “top-value” college.
Everyone’s situation is different, so Sweet Briar’s financial aid staff will work with each family to provide thoughtful, caring assistance throughout the financial aid process. Investing in student success means each student graduates with as little debt as possible.
Students may contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions: P | 800-381-6156 E | email@example.com
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