Sweet Briar College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Map
Sweet Briar College
A liberal arts college for women, Sweet Briar offers intensive academic programs in the...
MORE INFO
Contact

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.

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.

Student Profile

Fall 2017 Enrollment
335 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
0% male — 100% female
54% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2017-2018 Academic Year
59 full-time faculty
12 part-time faculty
5 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2017
97% of first year students live on campus
93% of all students live on campus

School Location

Sweet Briar’s historic, 3,250-acre campus is on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, 12 miles north of Lynchburg, one hour from Charlottesville, and three hours from Washington, D.C.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

RETENTION FALL 2017

72% of students began in Fall 2016 and returned in Fall 2017 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 YEAR GRADUATION RATE 2018

54% of students graduated in 6 years

ENROLLMENT BY RACIAL/ETHNIC CATEGORY - FALL 2017

Nonresident aliens .5%
Hispanic/Latino 10%
Black or African American 9%
White 73%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander .5%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%

Athletics

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.

Other Information

Sweet Briar was founded in 1901 as a private, residential liberal arts college for women. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Sweet Briar is one of two women’s colleges in the country with an ABET-accredited engineering program.

Academic Programs

Archaeology & Ancient Studies, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering Science, English & Creative Writing , Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, French, Gender Studies, Government, History, Interdisciplinary Studies (Self-designed Major), Liberal Studies, Mathematics, Musical Theatre (minor), Performing Arts [Dance, Music, or Theatre], Philosophy, Physics (minor), Political Science, Psychology, Teacher Licensure [Biology, Chemistry, Dance Arts, Elementary Education, English, History & Social Science, Mathematics, Special Education General Curriculum, Theatre Arts, Visual Arts],  Visual Arts [History & Image, Studio Art], Certificate Programs: Arts Management, Equine Studies, and Modern Languages; Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), Master of Education (M.Ed.)

More Distinctions

  • Home to 12 national academic honor society chapters including the Theta of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1950. Today, fewer than 10 percent of college and university campuses in the U.S. have a PBK chapter.

  • Consistently recognized as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country and the fourth-largest campus (3,250 acres) among liberal arts colleges in the U.S.—complete with eight nature sanctuaries, two lakes, and 18 miles of trails. Twenty-one buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • One of 11 Virginia colleges and universities—as well as the only women’s college in Virginia—to be named to Forbes’ 2016 list of 300 Best Value Colleges.

  • Ranked a Best Bang for the Buck among liberal arts colleges by Washington Monthly and one of the 20 Best College Campuses in the U.S. by Business Insider.

  • Ranks favorably in numerous categories on Niche.com, including best professors, best academics, best value, and best small colleges.

Common Intellectual Experiences

A 10-course 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.

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.

Undergraduate Research

“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

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.

 

Diversity & Global Learning

More than 35 percent 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.

Savanna Klein ’16 spent the spring semester of her junior year in a small village in northern Tanzania, where she studied wildlife management through the School for Field Studies.

“I chose to come to Sweet Briar because of the small class sizes, wonderful professors and amazing campus. Many liberal arts colleges can say they have small classes and good professors, but none of them have the incredible outdoor classroom that is our campus.” — Savanna Klein ’16

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

 

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band  
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Opera  
Pep band  
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper  
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  
Yearbook  

“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; Director, Honors Summer Research Program

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.

“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

Writing-Intensive Courses

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

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.

COMMON INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCES

A core curriculum focused on women’s leadership in the 21st century replaces traditional “gen ed” classes, reimagining the liberal arts for today’s students. In addition to critical thinking and effective communication, Sweet Briar students learn design thinking, marketing and financial literacy skills. 

Special Study Options

Accelerated program X
Cooperative education program  
Cross-registration X
Distance learning  
Double major X
Dual enrollment X
English as a Second Language (ESL)  
Exchange student program (domestic) X
External degree program  
Honors Program X
Independent study X
Internships X
Liberal arts/career combination X
Student-designed major X
Study abroad X
Teacher certification program X

 

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 123 58 3 0 0 0 0 184

Learning Communities

“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 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 percent 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.

CAMPUS HOUSING OPTIONS FOR UNDERGRADUATES

Coed dorms  
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students X
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

School Location

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!

Athletics

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

 

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.

Internships, Co-ops, & Practicums

Nearly 80 percent 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 postgraduate jobs, sometimes secured before a student even graduates! All engineering students graduate in four years and 100 percent have jobs or are in graduate school within three months of graduation. Overall, more than 90 percent 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 percent 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).

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.

ADMISSIONS

ADMISSIONS FALL 2017

361 Total Applicants
335 Total Admissions
79 Total Freshmen Enrollment

Selectivity
93 % of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA

Important
Standardized test scores
Application Essay
Recommendation(s)

Considered
Class rank
Interview
Extracurricular activities
Talent/ability
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2017

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 530 630
SAT Math 463 550
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 28
ACT Math 18 26
ACT English 20 30
ACT Writing    

TUITION AND COSTS

Net Price Calculator

https://npc.collegeboard.org/student/app/sbc 

TUITION AND COSTS BEFORE FINANCIAL AID 2017-2018

Expenses  
Tuition $21,000
Fees  
Total $21,000
   
Room and Board (on campus) $13,000
Estimated Total On Campus $34,000

Financial Aid

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 | financialaid@sbc.edu