Recommendations for Undergrad Schools in Virginia?

Could anyone familiar with Virginia’s colleges suggest undergraduate institutions that I should be sure to check out?

I’m currently attending community college and I’m planning on applying to 4 yr schools in January. I’ve been scouting out various schools myself but would like to hear other people’s opinions too. Whether your suggestion is based on personal experience or that of someone you know or even if you’ve consistently heard good things about a particular school through word of mouth I’m interested in hearing it.

I’m leaning towards liberal arts colleges because they tend to have smaller class sizes, more dialogue and interaction during class vs. passively listening to lectures, and at the end of it all the professors will (more than likely) know you by name. Even so I’m not totally ruling out the universities, if they offer a similar educational experience I’ll be glad to put them on my short list.



consider William and Mary - an excellent 4 year Liberal arts program - good pre-med program -

It is competitive - so keep a back-up - but unknown to many it is a State school with associated lower tuition.

You know, Virginia has so many excellent state schools that it would be hard to go wrong with any of them… I would suggest that you consider what sort of environment you want to be in, rather than the distinction you’re proposing of liberal arts vs. university. Don’t assume that class sizes are always bigger at the U. or that it’ll be impersonal as there are ways for you to influence that environment. (note that the College of William and Mary is actually a University, but has kept its name out of respect for tradition… it is OLD! It’s an excellent school.)

I did my post-bacc pre-med preparation at George Mason University and it was excellent. I can’t say enough good things about it! When I was there ten years ago, I was able to take lab sections from the professors doing the lectures (yes! not teaching assistants!) so they got to know me even though the lectures were 75-150 people. They’ve got a good pre-med advising program that’s working hard to help people, too. And the Northern Virginia area, though expensive, offers a lot of opportunities for volunteering, shadowing, etc.

Another great school is Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg. They were a ‘college’ but changed their name recently to reflect that they do have graduate programs. They’re not big, they have a fair number of commuter students, they’ve got a great reputation.

If you like the mountains, Virginia Tech and Radford in southwest Virginia are both good. Virginia Tech is an exceptional school although admittedly VERY big. However, what I’ve always liked about it is that it feels small despite its size. Radford is a lot smaller, and admittedly second-tier, but you’d have a good chance of those real small classes you’ve described as desirable. My daughter currently attends Radford and her profs have been impressively accessible.

Other Virginia schools:

Virginia Commonwealth University - downtown Richmond, has a med school attached which is always helpful

University of Virginia - even more difficult to get into than William & Mary, also has a medical school, Charlottesville is beautiful

Christopher Newport University - in Newport News, this is one I don’t know much about, sorry!

Old Dominion University - downtown Norfolk, both it and CNU aren’t far from the beach if that interests you

James Madison University - Harrisonburg, in the Shenandoah Valley, a very solid school

If there are colleges in the Virginia state school system, I am not able to think of them. There are certainly private colleges but I gotta say that, with all these excellent low-cost state schools, and when you’re contemplating the debt load that accompanies medical school, you definitely want to go with the good low-cost choice.

Any of these places can do it for you - because YOU are the key to success, not the school! Good luck.