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For Those on the Fence

By Tom Nicholas

January 5, 2015

January 15 is rapidly approaching. Most of you high school seniors have already finalized your college application list. (Many of you have already applied to Richmond, and we look forward to reviewing your applications!) But some of you are still making final decisions about where to apply, how to round out your college list, whether to add one more reach school… and whether to finish your application to Richmond. It's to you – those on the fence – that I direct this blog post.

Why should you apply to Richmond?

There are a myriad of answers to this question, but the one I'm going to give you right now is that, here at Richmond, we put our money where our mouth is.

If you’ve been on our mailing list for any amount of time, you know what we think is unique about Richmond. It’s even right there in the application, in one of the Richmond Question essay prompts: “From small, faculty-led classes to funded undergraduate research, the University of Richmond offers the benefits of both a liberal arts college and the opportunities and resources only found in large research universities.” At Richmond, we’ve got the breadth of programs and opportunities (majors, internships, research, study abroad, etc.) that you’ll find at our much larger peers – but at Richmond, every student has access to every opportunity. You don’t have to compete for research spaces in top-of-the-line labs; you don’t have to decide between a school of business or leadership and a liberal arts college; you’re not up against hundreds of other students for that limited pot of summer program funding.

And we stand by that. Specifically, we’ve recently made a huge commitment to standing by that last item – the one about summer funding. Perhaps you’ve already heard about the Richmond Guarantee. If you haven’t, it’s pretty simple: beginning this year, the University of Richmond guarantees every undergraduate student the university funding for a paid summer experience, up to $4000, before you graduate. It can be an otherwise-unpaid internship, research with a faculty member, a research project you develop on your own, creative work in the arts, or a civic engagement project. It can be here in Richmond or on the other side of the globe. You secure an opportunity; we guarantee it’ll be funded. It’s a $19 million investment, largely through the generosity of alumni, on top of the $1 million we’re already awarding annually through various existing programs.

It’s not just saying that every student has access to every opportunity – it’s guaranteeing it.

And it’s just the most recent of many ways we’re putting our money where our mouth is:

  • We talk about access and affordability – and we invest $60 million from our own resources in financial aid each year.
  • We talk about a personalized, integrated academic experience unlike any other – and we continue to hire and create new faculty positions, lowering our average class size during the Great Recession and giving faculty the financial backing to come up with new, innovative curricular offerings (see PPEL, for example).
  • We talk about engaging student life, in and out of the classroom – and we fund 20 living-learning communities every year (most of which include subsidized group travel), Spider Road Trips for career exploration in destinations across the U.S., and two brand-new plus three totally-renovated residence halls, along with new campus apartments, in the past few years.
  • We talk about the importance of international education – and we invest tens of millions of dollars in subsidizing study abroad expenses, recruiting a student body that is 10% international from more than 70 countries, and, most recently, building a state-of-the-art international center.

We talk about being a university that is dedicated to the education of undergraduate students – and, in everything we do, we keep undergraduate students at the center. We hire research faculty who are passionate about teaching undergraduates; we provide unparalleled student services and programming; and we use our extensive financial resources first and foremost to benefit the undergraduate student experience.

That’s not something that can be said of many universities.

That’s putting our money where our mouth is.

And that’s why you should apply to Richmond.

Tags: Application Process Around Campus Why Richmond?

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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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