Sweet Briar College and Central Virginia Community College have announced a dual-enrollment agreement between the liberal arts women’s college in Amherst and its Lynchburg neighbor, set to take effect in spring 2018.
The program is open to female students currently enrolled at CVCC and to those pursuing college credits at CVCC while still in high school. Applicants must be accepted by both institutions. Accepted students will enroll in CVCC’s Associate of Arts and Sciences or Associate of Science degree programs, and CVCC will administer the financial aid process for these students.
“CVCC is very excited about exploring a new opportunity to collaborate with Sweet Briar through our dual-admission initiative,” said Muriel Mickles, vice president of academic and student affairs at CVCC.
Perhaps most beneficial to students, courses taken at Sweet Briar under the dual-enrollment program will cost the same per credit hour as those offered by CVCC. Another perk is that dual-enrollment students have the option to participate in orientation and other student life experiences at Sweet Briar, such as clubs, activities and events. They also will be able to take advantage of the College’s 3,250-acre campus.
“This dual-enrollment agreement provides an opportunity for our ‘collective students’ to work toward their goals with a clearly defined pathway at an affordable cost,” Mickles said. “Dually enrolled students will enjoy the benefits of both CVCC and Sweet Briar, culminating in a smooth transfer between colleges that this agreement provides. This is a wonderful opportunity for female students pursuing a bachelor’s degree!”
Melissa Richards, vice president for communications and enrollment management at Sweet Briar College, echoed Mickles’ enthusiasm, adding that the agreement is in line with the College’s recent move to reduce its tuition by 32 percent for the 2018-2019 academic year — making its price tag competitive with public universities in Virginia.
“It’s all about access to quality education,” Richards said. “There are so many opportunities at Sweet Briar, and at the very top is our excellent, deeply devoted faculty. Spanning every discipline in the liberal arts and sciences, our courses are academically rigorous, but they’re always engaging. Bringing talented young women from CVCC into the fold is a win-win for both institutions.”
Some CVCC students may not consider a four-year degree at first, Richards added, but “taking classes at Sweet Briar — a leading women’s college where they will be surrounded by other strong women — could change that.”
Sweet Briar is one of just two women’s colleges in the country with an ABET-accredited engineering program, and more than 90 percent of students are employed or pursuing advanced degrees within six months of graduation. A strong focus on experiential learning through internships and other hands-on experiences on and off campus may be responsible for that success rate, as is a nationally recognized career services center that provides guidance to both students and alumnae.
Dual-enrollment students will be able to take advantage of these Sweet Briar perks — all while keeping their CVCC advisor. And if they are enrolled while in high school, they may even be able to complete their bachelor’s degree in just three years, Richards said.
To apply, students should submit separate applications to both institutions, indicating their wish to participate in the dual-enrollment program. Current CVCC students interested in the dual-enrollment program should speak with their CVCC advisor and submit an application to Sweet Briar. Admissions counselors from Sweet Briar regularly visit the CVCC campus to answer questions.
After completing their associate’s degree through the dual-enrollment program, students may apply to transfer to Sweet Briar. At that time, students will qualify for Sweet Briar scholarships. Currently, the College has more than 200 such awards available.
Bill Allen, Sweet Briar’s dean of admissions and financial aid, will oversee the dual-enrollment program for Sweet Briar. Once enrolled, program participants will be assigned an advisor at Sweet Briar who will help ensure they complete the necessary course requirements to transfer credits to Sweet Briar and finish their bachelor’s degree within four years or less.