DAVIDSON COLLEGE is located just 19 miles north of Charlotte on a gorgeous 665-acre campus bordering the sweet college town of the same name. The campus gives the impression of housing a much larger student body than the 1800 undergraduates that attend.
Grounded in the liberal arts, this is a writing intensive school where the most popular areas of study are Political Science, Economics, the physical sciences, English and psychology. Davidson also offers pre-professional advising in engineering, law and medicine. Eighty percent of students study or perform community service abroad during their four years, and a global outlook is key here. Greek life is big, with a full 50-percent of students participating.
Davidson’s Honor Code, Division I sports, and need-blind admissions make it a standout college, on-par with it’s northern competitors Amherst and Williams, but with a lot warmer weather.
ELON UNIVERSITY is home to almost six thousand undergraduates on its sprawling, park-like campus in suburban Elon, not far outside of Greensboro. It likes to boast that it “has the resources of a university in a close-knit community atmosphere,” and I certainly got that feeling on the decidedly friendly campus. Elon is home to five schools and colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the School of Communications, which is highly rated, and the Schools of Education and Law. There are over 50 majors offered, and study abroad is very popular with over 78% of the student body participating.
The most popular major here is clearly business, but is it closely followed by communication and media studies, psychology, international relations, political sciences and theater. The performing arts curriculum was surprisingly professional, as is the dance department. All areas of the performing arts are pre-professionally oriented and require an in-person audition in order to be considered for admission. It has earned a strong national reputation for conservatory-style training grounded in the liberal arts and sciences. They offer a BFA in Acting, Dance and Musical Theater. Sports are played in the NCAA Division I Southern Conference.
GUILFORD COLLEGE is located in Greensboro. It is a small liberal arts college that looks, at first glance like any northeast school. But you soon realize that the style here is distinctly southern and laid back. It is a Quaker school, though not religious in nature, and it core values of community, equality, integrity, peace and simplicity are honored here. In addition, a big difference from other schools and another tip to its Quaker heritage, is that everyone, regardless of age or position, is on a first name basis.
The themes of equality and diversity are strong here and carry through all aspects of the academics. Classes are small and discussion based, and students have an active voice in the running of the college. Popular majors include business, psychology, the social sciences and biology and biomedical science.
Student-athletes compete in Division III and there is no Greek life on campus. Guilford is unique in that, in addition to the 1200 undergraduates on campus, there are also 800 non-traditional students, who are older than 23, and non-residential. This includes many returning service men and women. It makes for an interesting and exciting mix of students on campus, as well as some lively classroom discussions, I’m sure. Students are well supported here academically through the “Student Success” program, where each student is assigned a personal mentor in an effort to help with students transition into college and to increase freshman retention.
HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY is equidistant to both Greensboro and Winston-Salem, and is home to over 4000 undergraduates. The campus sits on 320 of the most beautifully manicured acres I’ve ever seen. High Point has gotten a reputation as a “Country Club” school, and though it certainly looks that way from the outside, with gleaming new buildings, piped-in music (outside!) and finely manicured lawns, the administration is doing their best to bring the academics up to meet the exterior polish.
The business major is king here, with a full 30-percent of students taking it on, followed by communications, whose school boasts state-of-the-art equipment and studios. Elementary education and teaching, organizational behavioral studies and psychology round out the other top majors. All majors feel pre-professional in nature and there is great emphasis placed on careers after college and the idea of success in the workplace. These students are being groomed for it. From the look of it t there’s nary a slouch in the bunch.
There is an active Greek community with it’s own “Greek Village,” and sports are played in the NCAA Division I Big South Conference. You are required to live on campus through junior year, but who wouldn’t want to? The dorm rooms have full-sized beds, Jack and Jill bathrooms, kitchenettes and a cleaning service!