Longwood has received more than 6,000 undergraduate applications for the third year in a row. Over the past decade in fact applications to Longwood have grown 59 percent, outpacing the increase for U.Va. and Virginia Tech, at 49 percent and 52 percent respectively, while most other institutions have seen modest growth or decline. Longwood’s typical freshman class is under 1,000 students.
“We like to say we’re in the Goldilocks-zone with regards to our enrollment and campus size,” said W. Taylor Reveley IV, Longwood’s president. “We’re not too big, not too small. Part of what makes Longwood special is that we’re in the sweet spot between the resources of a major university and the personal connections, and opportunities to lead, associated with a smaller college.”
With a strong emphasis on the in-person, residential college experience, it’s no surprise Longwood is one of the few public universities in Virginia that has seen enrollment growth despite the Covid pandemic. William & Mary has grown over 8 percent in total enrollment since the fall of 2019, the semester before the pandemic began, and U.Va has grown 4 percent, while Longwood has grown over 3 percent. Virginia Tech, George Mason, and JMU have also seen smaller increases. Buoyed with strong increases in graduate programs, Longwood’s enrollment stood at 4,611 at the opening of this academic year, making it the 12th largest of the 44 4-year colleges in Virginia – notably smaller than institutions like VCU and Old Dominion, but roughly the same scale as William & Mary and larger than the University of Richmond.
This is a great town for college life, and definitely buzzing this year with the excitement around basketball. But I think our academic focus has been at the heart of the momentum for Longwood.W. Taylor Reveley IV, Longwood’s president
“We feel very fortunate with these trends, and we’ve certainly had to navigate crosscurrents in the past. With so much disruption in the world, it may be that Farmville seems especially like a haven,” said Reveley. “This is a great town for college life, and definitely buzzing this year with the excitement around basketball. But I think our academic focus has been at the heart of the momentum for Longwood.”
The university began its distinctive Civitae Core Curriculum in 2018, and this year’s graduating seniors are the first to move through the full progression of that course work, which emphasizes preparation for both the workforce and citizen leadership in 21st century democracy, through different areas of study alongside students’ choice of major. The New York-based Teagle Foundation typically supports elite private institutions, but awarded a lead grant to Longwood to fund this unique approach, which helps ensure Longwood students experience top professors and innovative courses right from freshman year.
A study commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly has also underscored the benefits of that focus. This fall, the General Assembly received the results of the first-ever survey of undergraduate alumni across each of Virginia’s public universities, asking about the impact of their college experience on their lives and careers. The survey was of recent graduates, largely from within the past decade.
What that survey found is that six institutions have an alumni satisfaction rate higher than 90 percent – Longwood, William & Mary, JMU, U.Va., VMI, and Virginia Tech. The survey also found that those same six are the institutions with more than 90 percent of alumni reporting they have kept in close touch with college friends since graduation. Longwood likewise has the second-highest percentage of alumni who reported finding a true mentor in college, at 65 percent – ahead of William & Mary, U.Va., JMU, and Tech, and behind only VMI.
Longwood graduates were also second only to VMI in percentage satisfied with their class sizes, at 73 percent, as compared to JMU, U.Va., and Tech, at 42 percent, 32 percent, and 27 percent respectively.
Out of all institutions, Longwood has the highest percentage of alumni who held an internship in college, at 82 percent. Longwood’s alumni employment rate of 94 percent likewise is among the very highest in the Commonwealth, exceeding U.Va and William & Mary. Longwood is also routinely one of the highest ranked Virginia institutions in the U.S. News Best Value listings.
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