Averett University (visited 11/2011)
I had never heard of Averett before visiting as part of a counselor tour. This is a well-maintained campus that serves students well. Students were everywhere around campus and interacting with each other; people seemed genuinely happy to be part of campus. Although there are fewer than 900 undergraduates, the campus feels busier, in large part because of the non-traditional and graduate programs. Students who want small discussion-based classes and a hands-on education will do well here. They combine the liberal arts with strong programs. It’s truly a hidden gem, and I wish more people knew about it.
Most unusual for a Liberal Arts school, particularly of this size, is their Aeronautics program, which includes an FAA-approved flight school. Their direct-entry Nursing program and the Medical Technology program are both noteworthy, as are the Equestrian, Sports Management/Physical Education, and Biomedical programs.
This is one of the few schools I’ve encountered that had severed ties with its founding church (in this case, Baptist) and then reestablished it. However, there’s little about the college that indicates that there are any ties at all. It does not permeate the culture on campus. Students who want a strong religious culture would probably not be as happy here as on some other campuses, but for those who are interested in having something around if they want it will find what they’re looking for
Danville is a small city of about 45,000 people in southern Virginia near the NC border. There is enough to do in town when students want to get off campus, and there’s an Amtrak station in town allowing for relatively easy access to Charlotte, NC and Washington, DC when students are looking for a larger city. Things are walkable, but there’s also plenty to do on campus. Students said that they didn’t feel the need to get off on a regular basis, but did appreciate the availability of other options.
Dr. Tiffany Franks, the President, is welcoming and engaging. She opened her home to the group of counselors visiting the college; she does this regularly for students, as well. She clearly cares about the success of the students and has done wonders for the college.