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Surprise at an “Unknown” College

We stopped at Lynchburg College, in Lynchburg VA.

If I asked 10 students if they heard of Lynchburg, I’d get blank stares from nine, I think you should check out this school if you are interested in a classic liberal arts education at a good price.

Lynchburg is a small to medium school, roughly 2,200 odd undergrads, offering majors in all of the typical liberal arts and many of the relatively newer, more career oriented fields such as Nursing, Sports Management, and Economic Crime Prevention and Investigation.  It offers dual-degree programs with the University of Virginia and Old Dominion University. It’s featured on the Colleges That Change Lives website and book (which I urge everyone to study, but only if they are willing to challenge preconceived notions of name brand colleges vs. “hidden gem” colleges).

The “Fighting Hornet” fields DIII men’s and women’s lacrosse, basketball, soccer and other sports, and compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.  (No football team, which my son and I suspected when we noticed no goal posts on the main athletic field.)

Price-wise they are OK, charging a “bargain” (hah) cost to attend of $44,500, before discounts.  Lynchburg meets 82% of financial need, which is good, not great, and the average financial aid package is $25,000.  However, Lynchburg is somewhat aggressive with merit-based scholarships, offering generous amounts for moderately high achieving students.  I suspect that they’d be generous to students from the Northeast, who they have a difficult time recruiting.

The most pleasant surprise – the emphasis on internships.  Parents and students wonder if classic liberal arts colleges prepare you for life post-college, I got the impression that Lynchburg takes this issue very seriously – in the student center (currently under construction), they feature prominently a large map with pins placed to show the location of the internships (like a crime map in a police station in an old movie).  I asked the student in Alumni Hall, where you’d go to register for a tour, get your free t-shirt and glossy marketing materials, what the deal with internships was, she told me that most of her friends did them and the school actively promoted them.

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Other considerations?  If you like an urban setting, Lynchburg isn’t for you.  It’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains, there are several colleges nearby, including University of Virginia ( It’s within an hour of Charlottesville), but it’s 180 miles from Washington DC., not exactly around the corner.

Like many colleges, Lynchburg has religious ties (founded as part of the Christian Church), but in my limited time there, I did not notice anything particularly “Churchy” or overtly religious. (By way of comparison, my alma mater, Wesleyan University, which Lynchburg reminded me of, has a Lutheran history but was ⅓ Jewish when I attended.)

College Board lists it as a “medium” sized school, but with 2,500 or so undergrads, I think of it as “small.” So if you want a big, “rah-rah” type college, take a pass.

But if you’re interested in a smallish, gorgeous liberal arts setting and a decent price, put Lynchburg College on your list!

Your Correspondent

– Andy Lockwood

Lockwood College Consulting
497 South Oyster Bay Road
Plainview New York 11803
 

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