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Defining Richmond Scholars

By Tom Nicholas

November 13, 2014

If you’ve interacted with any of our admission staff in recent months – whether you visited campus or met with us while we were in your area this fall – you’ve probably heard us highlight our December 1 Richmond Scholars deadline. In order to be considered for Richmond Scholars, our flagship merit scholarship, you simply need to submit your admission application by December 1, and you’ll be considered automatically for one of the 45 full-tuition scholarships we award to each incoming class. It’s not a separate application plan (you’re still applying Regular Decision or Early Decision), and you don’t have to submit a separate scholarship application – just the Common App and required admission materials, by December 1.

The Richmond Scholars program is an amazing opportunity, with some excellent benefits – most notably the full-tuition, four-year scholarship (some Richmond Scholars also receive room and board), but also including priority class and housing registration and a $3000 grant to support a student-selected academic experience. The fact that 45 students in a class of only 800 arrive here on such a scholarship is also impressive, and reflects our commitment to affordability through both need-based and merit aid. The scholarships are certainly competitive, going to the most outstanding applicants in a highly accomplished applicant pool – for more on that, see one of last year’s blog posts – and yet it’s incredibly easy to apply, so if you’re applying to Richmond, you might as well submit your application by December 1 and put yourself in the running.

But it’s important not to confuse Richmond Scholars with an honors program. At Richmond, every student – Richmond Scholar or not – receives the perks typically associated with an honors college. Every student experiences our average class size of 15 students, and introductory courses typically smaller than 30 students. Every student receives one-on-one advising from expert faculty beginning their first year. Every student can participate in our Sophomore Scholars in Residence program, with intensive living-learning communities that include University-funded research and service trips. Every student has access to research opportunities (in some fields, 90-100% of our undergraduate majors are doing grad-level research). And every student has access to funding for research, creative projects, internships, and civic engagement projects, at home and abroad; through programs like UR Summer Fellowships, most Richmond students have at least one paid summer experience during their time in college.

I’ve actually heard students describe Richmond as a standalone honors college, with the breadth of opportunities a research university provides but without the large numbers of students competing for those opportunities. I like that analogy a lot, and I think it does justice to both our core identity as a liberal arts college and our disproportionate national presence and scope. Just look at the feature stories on our website – more than one quarter of our current students have been profiled there. When you peruse those stories, you’re not just reading about our Richmond Scholars; you’re reading about fairly typical Richmond students with fairly typical Richmond experiences.

So apply to Richmond by December 1. Put yourself in the running for this most prestigious of our merit scholarships. But don’t think for a second that it’s your only chance to get a highly personalized, opportunity-rich university experience. Because at the University of Richmond, that experience is available to every student.

Tags: Application Process Financial Aid/Scholarships

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Senior Assistant Director of Admission 


A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom


Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission


Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.

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