University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Shelley Hillberry, Assistant Dean of Admissions of the University of Mary Washington who is the admissions rep for New Jersey. Shelley described Mary Washington students as intellectually, civically and socially engaged.

Physical campus / history – The University of Mary Washington is in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia on 172 acres. Before the school became co-ed in 1972, it was the woman’s college for the University of Virginia. The buildings are of Jeffersonian and Georgian architecture. There are no public roads through campus. The college is about 50 miles away from Washington DC and Richmond. The school’s location means there are plenty of internship opportunities.

The basics – University of Mary Washington is a public state college in Virginia. It is a mid-sized school with 4000 undergraduates and 1000 graduate students. The school has undergraduate colleges for Education, Business, and Arts & Sciences. There is an 83% retention from the freshman to sophomore year and 77% of students graduate in four years with a Bachelor’s degree. Students abide by an honor code.

Courses – Students have 40 credits of general education requirements, 40 credits in their major, and 40 credits of electives. The 40 credits of electives allow students to pursue a second major or a minor. The general education requirements include experiential learning (i.e., students must do at least one internship, study abroad, research, or community service learning).

Class size – Most classes have 22 to 24 students per class. The first year seminar is capped at 15 students. There are twelve larger general education classes with about 60 students.

Majors – Students don’t declare their major until after the sophomore year. Mary Washington is only one of six schools in the nation with an undergraduate historic preservation major. Popular majors are business, English, psychology, biology, history, international affairs, political science, historic preservation, computer science, foreign languages, and geography (with a GIS certificate).

Admissions – Admissions are holistic. The mid-50% of SAT scores for Critical Reading and Math are between 1050 and 1250 with the mid-50% of GPAs between 3.2 and 3.9. The school admits about 70% of the applicants. Interviews are recommended and are informational.

Students from outside of Virginia – The University of Mary Washington does not have an out-of-state quota. About 25% of the students are from outside of Virginia. There is merit aid available for out-of-state students. This year there were 114 applications from New Jersey with 24 depositing.

Honors Program – There is an Honors program, which takes about 50 students a year, typically students with SAT scores of 1300 or higher (Critical Reading and Math) and GPAs of 3.9 or higher. Students in the Honors program receive a $1-$2K grant.

Pre-med/Pre-vet – Pre-med students take advantage of internships at the hospital across the street from the campus. 80% of them go on to medical school. The pre-vet students often do an internship with whales.