Admissions Blog: Why I transferred to Sweet Briar from a large school

Quad Rocks
Ashton Mays (center) found several clubs to join — and lead — at Sweet Briar.

For many of our students, Sweet Briar was love at first sight — and not just because of our stunning campus. They immediately knew that our tight-knit community, small classes and dedicated professors would be just the right fit. Others fell in love later — after experiencing what college is like at a large state school. Hear from two transfers on why they would choose Sweet Briar again and again.

Emma Thom ’18, English and creative writing major

Transferred to Sweet Briar from a large public university in Virginia in 2016

Emma Thom
Emma Thom at the children’s museum in Richmond during her Virginia Business Magazine Journalism Internship last summer

Why I transferred:

“I had spent my first year at the University of Paris in France and decided that I wanted to be closer to home, but [my university] was not what I’d expected. Academically, it was challenging and engaging, but I had difficulty adjusting to the lecture-style classes with close to 200 students in each lecture hall. I was unable to get the attention I needed to be successful, and I did not have the happiness I felt I deserved.”

What I’ve found at Sweet Briar:

“My mom, a long-time professor at Sweet Briar, encouraged me to apply and to transfer. As I walked onto campus for transfer orientation, I was greeted by an array of smiles and welcomed by a group of people I would come to know and love. The small classroom environment allowed me to grow and thrive and, most importantly, allowed me to find my voice. The faculty and staff could not be more considerate and compassionate. They expect excellence and give the same in return.”

Ashton Mays ’18, psychology major/sociology minor

Transferred to Sweet Briar from a large public university in Virginia in January 2016

Why I transferred:

“This had been my dream school from a very young age, but it was very different from my expectations. I was in classes of 300 to 500 students and had no real interaction with any of my professors, as there were TAs to answer all of the questions we had. Between the large class sizes, lack of interaction with professors and cold interactions with others in the community, I was ready to leave.”

Ashton Mays
Mays at orientation

How I found Sweet Briar:

“I told my mom in October of 2015 that I wanted to transfer. She offered a list of colleges in the area for me to choose from, specifically not listing Sweet Briar as a possibility because I had been so resistant to the idea of attending Sweet Briar during my senior year of high school. [My mom works at Sweet Briar.] I completely ignored her list and immediately responded that Sweet Briar was the only place I wanted to be!”

Why Sweet Briar is home:

“I transferred to Sweet Briar because it’s truly home. Having grown up on campus and after seeing the events following the attempted closure, the sense of community was evident to me. Because of the small class sizes, I am able to have personal interactions with all of my professors, which allows for better communication and understanding on both ends. My professors know me as a person, rather than just a student, and that is such a special part of attending a small school.”

Why I’m not a number at Sweet Briar:

“My decision to transfer was the best decision I have ever made. Attending Sweet Briar has allowed me opportunities that a large state university would not. Over the past two years, I have become a member of five tap clubs (holding officer positions in all but one), a Sweet PEA, a Sweet Spirit, the SGA vice president, an orientation leader and a resident advisor. In addition, I have been honored as a member of five honor societies (helping to reactivate one just this semester) and recognized in Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities. In a large state school, I would have been just another number in a sea of students, but here I am known by name for my contributions to and accomplishments in the college community.”