By Kim Walter
Next week, Shenandoah University will host prospective college students and their families in order to show them the benefits of attending a private institution.
The Winchester university will be among among 24 schools in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia giving tours and presentations to rising high school juniors and seniors during Virginia Private College Week, July 29-Aug. 3.
Tours at SU will begin at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day during the week, except on Saturday when just one tour will take place at 9 a.m.. Each campus tour includes a presentation by the Office of Admissions.
Any student who registers and checks in at three or more of the participating schools will receive three application fee waivers. The waivers can be used at any private school in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia.
Jean Swartz, director of admissions at the university, said the week is always an exciting time on campus. For her, the focus is on SU's small community and class sizes, as well as its offering of financial aid and scholarship packages.
"We know that when it comes to looking at college, cost is a huge factor to families," she said. "I think that it can initially scare some parents when they see that tuition."
However, Swartz said what many families might not know is that a majority of private colleges can offer a financial aid and scholarship package that will bring tuition cost down to that of a typical public university.
"Not every parent or student has the time to look into that process, so we'll be talking a lot about what's available," she added.
Presentations also will focus specifically on what makes SU different from all other colleges.
Swartz said for such a "small community" on SU's campus, there is great diversity.
"I'm not really just talking about ethnicity," she said. "Sure, we have the ethnic diversity, but we also have students from all kinds of backgrounds because of the variety of programs we have to offer."
"The reality is, there's not just one cookie cutter type of student at Shenandoah University."
Swartz said the university offers a "big experience wrapped up into a personal education."
Typically, the college sees about 200 interested students, and Swartz said they're on track to meet that number next week. She said registration isn't required -- students and families are welcome to stop in. However, it does help with scheduling and will allow the student to receive application fee waivers.
"We always have high hopes for this week," Swartz said. "In a world where so many communications are electronic, it's nice to have some face-to-face interaction when thinking about college."
For more information about SU's participation in Virginia Private College Week, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-432-2266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or email@example.com