Think you know every college out there? Think again. Here are some diamonds in the rough from The Old Dominion State.

List produced by the Experts

  • Christopher Newport University (Newport News, VA): This is a rising star among Virginia state universities. Once a community college for William and Mary, CNU is now a "hot" school in Virginia for those who likely won't get into the state flagship schools. However, admissions standards rise with every year as growing attention has zeroed in on the small class sizes and small student body for a state university (about 5,000 undergrads). There has been a huge building campaign in the last few years, resulting in some fantastic facilities, including a new performing arts center designed by I.M. Pei. (Virginia Hidden Gems continued)
  • Ferrum College (Ferrum, VA): Located on a 700-acre campus in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ferrum is a small (1,000 students) four-year college that provides free in-room computers and is disability friendly.
  • Longwood University (Farmville, VA): Longwood has always been one of Virginia's most sought-after public institutions by those interested in working with students with learning disabilities.
  • Lynchburg College (Lynchburg, VA): A wonderful school that loves B students, Lynchburg was featured in Loren Pope's book, Colleges that Change Lives. This beautiful Georgian red brick school has loads of spirit, small classes, great teaching, and independent research opportunities. Lynchburg takes students and makes them educated young adults. The school is also generous with merit money and has an active career planning and internship office that places students all over the state.
  • Marymount University (Arlington, VA): Marymount is just now gaining the recognition it has long deserved for its top-notch academic programs in the liberal arts, with particular strength in interior design and fashion merchandising, technology, and business administration and management. Yes, connect me!
  • Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar, VA): Often overlooked because it's a small, all-women's college, Sweet Briar is wonderful for the young woman who wants a single-sex education without the pressures of a New England school. It's well-known among old Virginia and would fit the socially acceptable definition for a more traditional southern family.
  • Virginia State University (Petersburg, VA): A historically black college, Virginia State does not receive the recognition it deserves for continually helping average students achieve their academic potential.
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