Lebanon Valley College
Lebanon Valley College (visited 11/19/14)
I had a student who recent graduated from LVC and adored it. Having now visited, I can see why!
This is still very much a regional institution. The bulk of their 1650 students come from a 3-hour radius. Many come here without having gone very far out of their comfort zone; they don’t always realize what they’re going to be engaging with “which is a whole lot of fun to watch,” said an admissions rep. “They don’t know how much the study abroad, study away, internships, etc will shape who they become.”
Students are hard working and “the talent density is enormous.” They engage meaningfully in a variety of ways in all sorts of campus activities. Football games, for example, bring out more than players and fans. If you add in the student trainers, the 150-member marching band (they need a separate stand for them), cheerleaders, twirlers, students selling concessions, etc, there are about 400 students actively involved in a football game – ¼ of the student body.
There’s usually more happening on campus than there is time to do it all. “Common Hour” (11-12:30 on Tuesday and Thursdays) provides time for clubs and organizational meetings. A fairly small percentage of students are active in Greek life; these are mostly service groups. Students have a few favorite traditions including Thanksgiving Festival (professors serve dinner) and a day off from classes in the spring (kickball, tie-dye, inflatables all over the quad, bonfire, bands, etc). There almost always some event on Friday (such as a performer) and a bus trip on Saturday (the zoo, Baltimore, murder mystery night). Classes sometimes run trips on the weekends; for example, the Non-Western Art class went to NYC to one of the museums. Open seats on the bus are made available to any student wanting to go to the city. The library has a huge collection of DVDs for students “since there’s nothing in town.” For students wanting to get away to do something, Amtrak stops in Harrisburg and Elizabethtown and a bus line runs through Annville that goes to Harrisburg and Hershey.
Last year, students completed 24,000 service hours: “the ethos of helping other is simply part of living.” Although affiliated with the United Methodist Church, there is no attendance requirement at any sort of service, although they have a beautiful chapel that offers services for those who want them. Students do have to take 1 religion or philosophy class as part of their distribution requirements. These are often held in the basement of the chapel.
This 350-acre campus is split into three distinct areas: the athletic fields on the far side of the train tracks (with a pedestrian bridge over), the residential side, and the academic side. Freight rains regularly run through campus. “You lose about a week’s worth of sleep at the beginning; then you never hear it again.” There is a four-year residency requirement. Freshmen and sophomores usually live in more traditional type dorms, but there are many options available as they move up, including special-interest housing, suites, and apartments. There are single rooms in many of the housing options which cost a little more. Newer dorms have study rooms in them. Food is generally considered to be “pretty good.” Chicken tenders are one of the meals that people rush to get; the waffle fries on Thursdays also get rave reviews.
One of the most interesting buildings was the old Gym. After building the new athletic center, they refurbished the old one, but kept much of the interior intact such as the floor. They added a coffee shop and turned the middle of the building into a welcoming lounge/study space. Classes open into the atrium.
Admissions relies heaving on the high school transcript. Students tend to have a B average or higher. One-third fall in the top 10%; 91% are in the top 50%. At this point, class rank is the main factor in awarding scholarships, but this is changing. Unranked students have to submit test scores to be considered. Scholarships are awarded at the time of admission and range from half- to quarter-tuition awards. Their new scholarship, the Carnegie Award, is worth $9000 per year. This is their first year with ED.
They offer a 5-year Masters in Athletic Training (no observation hours are required for admission) and a 6-year DPT program. Admitted students usually have A averages, strong science backgrounds, and be in the top 20% of their class. Their new Health Professions building should be ready by 2017, and they’re looking at a nutrition program that will dovetail with Exercise Science, PT, and AT.
LVC is well-known for its music program. 20% of the students study music (even if they don’t major in it), and the music business has recently been trending upward. Music majors must audition for admission into the program. The Vale Music Industry Conference, hosted on campus, is part of their class.
The student panelists said that their favorite classes were:
- Music and Aural Theory: “I really liked the professor!”
- Philosophy of Religion: “It was a huge change from my math classes.”
- General Bio: “I took this as a freshman. It was one of my first classes and taught me to study.”
- Greek: “It was the hardest class I’ve taken but showed me a lot about myself.”
- “Al my Education classes. The professors are great! I like going to class every day.”
The biggest adjustment coming to LVC was:
- “Being more outgoing. I was a big homebody so getting out my shell was a challenge.”
- “Being a student athlete.”
- “The different style of learning.”
LVC has invested a great deal of money into creating a warm, welcoming, open Learning Commons complete with state-of-the-art technology that enables students to project and share information, even from devices like their phones. There are study areas, testing-areas, a career center, tutoring areas, and more.