The next stop on my North Carolina college tour was Davidson College, which is located just 19 miles north of Charlotte. Davidson’s 665-acre campus is gorgeous; its facilities and amenities are akin to those usually found at mid-sized, private universities, rather than at a small liberal arts college with 1,800 students.
A senior led the information session and told us that a Davidson education is grounded in its core liberal arts curriculum, which emphasizes critical thinking, strong writing skills, and presentation skills. There are eight course distribution requirements. The most popular areas of study are the physical sciences, social sciences and foreign languages. Davidson offers pre-professional advising in engineering, law, medicine and ministry.
Davidson encourages students to embrace global experiences. Eighty-percent of students study, travel, work and/or perform service outside the United States. Students may choose to study with one of the 10 Davidson faculty led programs or one of the nearly 200 Davidson approved programs.
I met with an admissions representative and asked her what distinguishes Davidson from other highly competitive, small liberal arts colleges. She told me that Davidson’s close proximity to the city of Charlotte, the honor code and division I athletics make Davidson stand out. The college and its students take the honor code very seriously. Students take exams without proctors and have the ability to create an individualized final exam schedule.
Our tour guide was a freshman from Westchester, NY. She told us that she chose Davidson because of its diverse, small community of students who are intellectually curious. Twenty-percent of students identify as being students of color, five-percent are international and two-percent are ex-pats. The girls I saw wore preppy clothing, athletic wear, fashionable boots, scarves, and dresses. The guys wore athletic wear, button-down shirts, jeans and khakis.
Davidson is one of the few small liberal arts colleges with division I sports. Attendance at athletic events is popular and easy with an on-campus athletic stadium. The campus was buzzing with excitement during my visit, since the basketball team was competing in the NCAA Championship playoffs that night.
Greek life and eating clubs are extremely popular here. Fifty-percent of men join fraternities, and fifty-percent of women join eating-houses. These houses are social spaces and not residential homes. Female students do not rush sororities, but rather preference their choice of eating-houses second semester of freshman year.
The small town of Davidson is charming and is just steps away from campus. Cute shops, eateries and a chain pharmacy line the streets. My colleague Kiki and I had a quick lunch and sweet tea (we couldn’t resist) at a gourmet deli.
Davidson accepts both the Common Application and the Davidson Application. Four recommendation letters are required: one counselor, two teachers and one peer. Students are required to submit a list of books they recently read. ACT/SAT scores are required along with two SAT Subject tests. Unlike many highly selective, privately liberal arts colleges, merit aid is available. Some merit aid is talent based. Davidson is need-blind and meets all demonstrated need.
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