Location: Richmond, Virginia
Percent Women: 57%
Tuition (One Year): $24,004 (Virginia Resident), $58, 946 (Non-resident)
Most Popular Majors: Business, Visual and Performing Arts, Health Professions, Homeland Security and Protective Services, Psychology (60% of undergraduates are in the College of Humanities and Sciences)
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 60%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit VCU's website at http://www.vcu.edu/.
Why Choose VCU?
“It felt like home. I went on the tour and decided that this is where I wanted to be.”
“VCU made me feel excited about pursuing a career in art. The art department made it seem possible and sensible. I also love Richmond. There's always so much going on; I never have to be stuck in my room if I don't want to be.”
“I chose it for the wonderful dance program.”
"I had to go to an in-state public school and VCU was my favorite one."
“VCU is what you make of it. It’s anything ad everything; you can be whatever you want to be without the fear of not conforming; seeing as the standard here is to be a bit off color.”
“I liked how non-judgmental, artistic and open all of the student body seemed. I also love the city!”
“I chose VCU because I wanted to go to school in an urban setting. I figured I'd have more internship opportunities that way. Also, I came in undeclared and with VCU's wide spectrum of majors to choose from, I felt at ease.”
"To me, Richmond is the coolest city in the world, I could never see myself in a college town school."
“I chose VCU primarily because of how welcomed I felt when I first stepped foot on campus. I was used to living in places with very little diversity and I never felt at home there. I feel safe in saying that no matter who I choose to be, I will find a circle of people who support that.”
“I liked that it had a good arts program while also having other majors, because all of my friends from home didn’t do art, so I didn’t want to go to a school that limited my social circle to only art majors.”
“My absolute favorite part about VCU is the diversity! I've met so many different people here. Everyone is super accepting of one another too! Also, there is always something to do here. There has yet to be a weekend where I'm just sitting in my dorm room doing nothing.”
“I love the city. The school spirit here is great, I'm really excited for basketball season.”
“Shafer isn't bad honestly. I like how often people are voicing their opinion in the compass, and how nice the local book and thrift stores are."
“(I like) The James River, house shows, The Village and all the diversity.”
"I like how all my classes are near each other. I never have to go on 15 minute walking journeys to get from class to class. Plus, the Campus Connector is a useful way to get around."
“There is always something going on around here,like free Red Eye Cookies in the Compass, people passing out free books or voicing their opinions on every corner. There is never a dull walk to class!”
“One of the best things about VCU is how spread out the campus is. It's not all together in one location; it's integrated with the city. Even though I technically live off-campus, it's still only a 5-minute walk away. I also love the array of people at VCU. Everyone is so accepting of each other. There's definitely not just one stereotype at VCU.”
“I love the way VCU embraces diversity...I love the Ram spirit and sense of community here at VCU. Some well-known events and traditions here at VCU are Fall Block, SOVO Fair, and Homecoming of course.”
“One of my favorite feature of VCU is the location — there are so many amazing things to do all within walking distance of campus. I've never run out of things to do or places to explore while living on campus. I made a point my first semester to eat at as many places in Richmond as I could, and I feel as though I still haven't even made a dent in the number of places I still want to try.”
“Everyone is so lively and friendly. The food is pretty good. And there are always great events going on. My favorite has to be the Men's Basketball games.”
“The food needs drastic improvement. There isn't much variety in healthy food at all.”
“The sidewalks are ridiculous. Be careful, you will trip. And when it gets cold and snowy, there's pretty much no chance of canceled classes.”
“Shafer, our dining hall, needs some improvement. I get tired of eating the same foods every day. Even though the food isn't the best, there are some amazing restaurants on campus that aren't a part of the meal plan...but that costs real money, something a lot of college students don't have.”
“I wish there were more than one buffet-style dining hall on campus. Also, since VCU is a fairly young university there aren't any age-old traditions like there are at older schools like UVA or William and Mary.”
“The crime is sometimes scary, but it's preventable as long as you're smart about walking around!”
"I can never find somewhere to sit when I go to the library, so thankfully they are expanding it, but as of now studying is a struggle for me."
“People never seem to sleep here and I can hear everything happening below my residence hall window, making it hard to sleep a lot of the time.”
“The fact that they don't cancel classes for bad weather.”
New Collegiette on Campus
“Being a freshman really isn't as intimidating as it would seem. There are freshman-only dorms, and everyone really gets to know each other pretty well. Orientation is an overnight trip where you learn the fight songs, how to get around and basic info you'll need to get started at school. It's not too hard to get to know upperclassmen because you see everyone everywhere.”
“It’s exciting because there is so much to do in an urban setting. It’s a lot different than what I’m used to.”
"You can't really tell who's a freshman and who's not. Some people look really old and some really young. However, freshmen are required to live in freshmen-only dorms if they choose to live on campus. Also, we have orientation the summer before our first year to help us get to know the school better. It's an overnight thing and actually pretty fun!"
"Orientation is what it is. You stay at VCU for the night and make friends that you probably won't hang out with again. Dorms that freshmen can live in are freshmen-only dorms. Living in a community-style hall rather than a suite really helped me get acquainted to VCU because I was forced to meet people. I had a really good freshman year because of this and most of my friends lived in my dorm. It's very easy to get to know upperclassmen through classes, campus involvement, parties, etc. The best first-year tradition is going to new student convo and parading down Broad Street afterwards. It's a nice welcome to VCU."
"During Welcome Week we had freshman convocation. It was such a cool expereince to see all the people I will be spending the next four years with all in one place."
"At first, freshman year is challenging. Getting used to life in the city, finding offices and buildings on campus, learning time management and finding my niche all took some time. However, because first-year housing is separate from upperclassmen housing, you’re surrounded by people figuring it out too, and it's very easy to make friends for this reason. Even though I'm not the type to make friends quickly, I did when I came here and they've lasted so far. The most memorable tradition for first-years is to make a wish by the ram horns that are outside of the Student Commons.”
"It's great being a freshman. There are always opportunities to learn about the things VCU has to offer. They make sure that you have all the information."
“Orientation is a lot of bonding games and seminar type of things. There is preview day that happens before orientation for admitted students, which was great. I went and it was really nice to see the school in action since it takes place during the spring semester.”
“There are four on-campus freshman dorms and one freshman dorm on the MCV campus which means you would need to take the Campus Connector bus to get to your classes and where your other friends live. The bus ride is maybe 15 minutes. The first week after you move in the dorms there are no classes -- this is Welcome Week.”
“Getting to know the upperclassmen depends on what you're into, what classes you take and what organizations you join.”
All About Academics
“I'm in the art department, and it's pretty popular because of our ranking as the number one public arts school in the country. It's a heavy workload but you never stop learning, and of course you also take core classes. Advisers are really helpful when you need to decide what classes to take or what major path you need to go down. It's not too hard to get into the classes you want as long as you plan before registration. People are always in the library; they're actually expanding it to make more room.”
“Majors in the medical field and art field are the most popular at VCU. We have the number one public art school in the country and our medical programs are nationally acclaimed. Though VCU is large, it's fairly easy to get the classes you want. You just have to make sure you do it on time. The library runs 24/5 so it's always filled!”
“I’m in the cinema program. Everyone in the program collaborates and makes a movie; there’s a fall film, a spring film and a summer film. I hope to learn all of the aspects of filmmaking and eventually write and direct my own movies.”
“The College of Humanities and Sciences is definitely the biggest school within VCU. The art school is also the number one public art school in the country. The workload is what you would expect...nightly reading, occasional tests, papers and projects. You have to study in college. You just have to. Most majors require an internship. Advising is good freshmen year because you have a first-year adviser but after that, a lot of major's advisers are grad students who really don't help much. Registration is fair but tedious. You register based on how many earned credit hours you have. Degree Works makes it easy to see what classes you still need to take to fulfill your major. The library tends to stay busy, but I personally would rather study at home.”
“VCU offers a wide variety of majors, but I would say some one the most popular are Art and Biology/Chemistry. For me, course registration is a lot easier due to the fact that I am an RA and I get to register early, but generally I feel that it is easy to get into a course if you’re persistent.”
Learn from the Best
“All the professors I've had have been friendly, knowledgeable and excited about what they're teaching.”
“I loved my Introduction to Psychology class. It was a ton of work but I learned a lot in a short amount of time.”
“The professors to me are more like regular people; feel like I could be friends with them.”
“I respect my professors a lot more than I did teachers in high school because we do a lot of meaningful things and they are super passionate about what they are teaching us.”
“I've had amazing professors and then not-so-good ones. They're all very knowledgeable, but some professors know how to present the information better than others.”
“There is a pretty wide variety of professors here at VCU. Ratemyprofessor.com is a good way to sort through the bad ones and help others avoid them as well. Although some of mine have been less than ideal, it's easy to switch out of classes during the first week of class. A few people do go to office hours, however, it's typically much easier to just approach your professor before or after class to ask them for help, and email is always a good option. If you're struggling in a class with a TA, always ask them for help! They're easier to reach and helping you is what they're there for.”
“My human spirituality class is amazing. It has opened up my mind so much to other cultures and different ways spirituality can be incorporated into someone’s life.”
“Mrs. Byrd, who teaches SCMA 171, is amazing.”
Interest & Involvement
"Although I'm a fashion merchandising student, I have a lot opportunities to collaborate with other art students in various creative projects on campus!"
“I am in an a capella club and its so exciting to meet new people with similar interests to me while also meeting people with different interests to expand my friend circle and learn new things.”
“I'm a part of STAT, which is the Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow club on campus and it is GREAT. I've made most of my friends through this club. I also am presented with a lot of different networking opportunities through STAT.”
“I’m glad that I had the opportunity to create my own organization here at VCU, the Amateur Radio Club!”
“There are countless student organizations. Seriously, everyone can get involved with something. There's even a massage club. There's a student organization fair every semester and it's always packed with student orgs and students.”
"Clubs at VCU often collaborate with each other to put on cool events that inform and celebrate diversity at VCU. Even if you are only in one club, you end up meeting so many people because you work with other clubs and organizations!"
“There are over 500 student organizations at VCU. Each semester, a Student Organization and Volunteer Opportunities Fair is held, and every organization makes an appearance there. The SOVO Fair is how I've found most of the organizations I'm involved with.”
"The school spirit at VCU is incredible! As a former professor at UVA I can honestly say this student body wears the most VCU logo outerwear I've ever seen! Go Rams go!"
"Everyone is so hyped up on school spirit. The RA's and student staff always seem ready to represent VCU. From move-in day until graduation day, you will always feel bathed in that Ram lovin'."
"Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow."
“Our basketball team! Goooo Rams!”
"VCU's sports teams are amazing! I especially love women's volleyball and men's soccer! Our field hockey team is pretty awesome too!"
Photo credit: VCU Athletics
"One thing I love about VCU spirit is how we represent EVERYWHERE. Our club teams and organizations never fail to show that RAM PRIDE when they travel and compete."
“Men's basketball is definitely the biggest sport at VCU. They make up for not having a football team. The team has had a winning streak for years. Basketball games are such a good time. VCU has one of the best pep bands in pep band history and their sound is totally intimidating. Games are so school spirited and it's fun to share that pride with other VCU students.”
“Our basketball team is the best! It's really popular here and pretty well-known across the nation. The games are so much fun!”
"Our basketball games are made even more fun because of cheerleaders and Gold Rush dance team! They keep the crowd hype and they're so talented!"
"Women on Campus have a ton of leadership roles. You can find girls on campus in a lot of important academic roles."
“This is a pretty liberal university. We have a few feminist organizations and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's studies classes are popular. Girls can usually wear whatever they want. Being an art school, we have a lot of free spirits here. There are more girls than guys, but it isn't noticeable considering how many people attend VCU.”
“Girls wear whatever they want. There's no judgement here at VCU. I know there are body positivity clubs and someone just started the first feminist club at VCU. There is also a Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies program.”
Photo Credit: VCU Athletics
“The gender ratio on campus is fantastic. There are actually more women attending VCU than men, and I'm rarely in any situation or class where I feel as though my presence as a woman isn't welcome. The women's studies program at VCU is very popular and there are many great classes to take. Fashion at VCU is absolutely amazing; there's so much creativity and diversity among student fashion. I feel very comfortable experimenting with my style on campus.”
“There are tons of different styles. And there are a lot of women who are leaders on campus. And I haven't heard any complaints about the gender ratio.”
"Women on campus are fearless in all areas. The fashion is bold, no one is pressured to dress a certain way. I love the beautiful diversity of the women on VCU."
Food & Drink
“Dining here is accessible and good. There's lots of different options: dining hall, IHOP, a deli, Chick fil a, stir fry, Taco Bell, Subway, Pizza Hut, a place for salads and wraps, another place called Cane's that has fried chicken, and it's all on the meal plan.”
“VCU has one buffet-style dining hall and that is Shafer Dining Court. Everything else is a one-meal-deal. The food is usually pretty good at Shafer. My favorite places to eat are Bleecker St. and Einstein's. I only have a small meal plan now that I live off-campus but I know a lot of upperclassmen that don't have one at all. Community style dorms do not have a kitchen but some suites have kitchen stuff. There are mostly only kitchens in upperclassmen apartments though. That's why a meal plan is required for students in nine-month dorms. There are tons of restaurants practically on campus though and lots of cool food carts too. You'll never exhaust your food options. The Village and Piccola's are a must.”
"VCU Dining is always looking for way to improve. They have the best food on days when there are family tours and stuff. They also have a lot of special event days like Sushi-fest and Carnival food day."
“We have one main dining hall on each of our campuses--Shafer at Monroe Park Campus and Jonah's at the MCV Campus. The food isn't the best, but they're getting better. Sometimes they'll have guest restaurants come in and serve us foods from their menu. It's awesome!"
“I feel that every year VCU Dining Services takes into account student feedback and are consistent in finding ways to improve our dining services.”
"VCu just opened Ram Pantry so if you are a student in need of groceries you can get them for free! This Campus is so caring Very Caring University."
“There's always lots of different options for weekends, from frat parties to house shows to theatre plays and dance performances. I don't think people feel pressured into drinking. Nobody makes fun of you or thinks less of you if you don't drink. Everyone here is really open to meeting new people, the social scene is really inclusive. It's easy to get around at night because you can walk wherever.”
Photo credit: VCU
“The social scene here is great! Mostly everything is walking distance. A lot of people go to the frat parties. We have nearby clubs too. I don't think anyone really feels pressured to drink. It's cool to do your own thing here. People are really accepting. People usually start partying on Thursday nights--hence the name, Thirsty Thursday.”
"The social Scene is great for those who like to party and for those who don't. There are always a lot of local band shows and concerts. VCU activity board has activities on weekend nights too, and you can usually find a fun party to go to!."
“Because VCU is such an open-minded and diverse school, there are a wide variety of social activities. There are fraternity and sorority parties every weekend, as well as lots of great house shows. Many students drink and there is a fair amount of drug usage, however, many students avoid drugs and alcohol and don't feel much pressure to indulge. The social scene can be very inclusive if you find the right group of friends. It's pretty easy to get around at night because the majority of places are within walking distance, and there's a RamSafe bus that will pick you up anywhere if you don't want to walk.”
“Stuff is always happening. On the weekends, I walk out of the dorm with at least three addresses for parties.”
“There are some frats and sororities but don't worry, they do not dominate the party scene. House shows in the VCU are unique. I think drinking and pot are pretty prevalent but most people don't shame or exclude those who don't, if that is their preference. There is a smaller subculture of harder drugs -- mostly molly and acid.”
"Some people live in the Dorms all 4 years of undergrad. It's a great way to stay safe, and meet people. Although living off campus is a popular option for many."
"I think that Dorm life is the best Freshman year. If you live in one of the dorms that has Freshmen and Upperclassman it's even funner and you get more diverse experiences."
“Some dorms are nicer than others. I live in Brandt Hall and it's the nicest and newest freshmen dorm. It's suite-styled and you share one bathroom between four people and you share a common room. You can choose your roommate or you can be randomly assigned. There's security at the front of every dorm and you have to swipe in with your VCU I.D. to pass through.”
Photo credit: George Ren
“Dorm life is very good and continues to expand to the student dynamic each year. Freshmen are generally placed into a lottery and assigned housing in the order that their number is picked so students don't always get what they want when it comes to housing...though you can pick a roommate...and people do tend to gravitate off campus near their senior year. Though, studies have shown students tend to get better grades living on campus.”
“Dorms can be a good experience for freshmen that help them adjust to college life and life in a city. Students are not required to live in a dorm, mainly because space on campus is limited. Students can pick a roommate and can opt to take their chances with a random roommate as well. The dorms are very safe. In fact, campus is the safest place to be, even at night. It's very popular to live off-campus as an upperclassman, however, there are a lot of great on-campus apartments that are often safer, easier to pay for and in better locations. Most dorms have plenty of opportunities to meet the people you live with.”
“Dorm life as a freshman is very important for the whole college experience. It's where you'll probably meet most of your friends. There are four to five different dorms freshmen can live in. They're all central to campus except Cabannis which is on the MCV campus. You can request a roommate but it isn't guaranteed. The dorms are very safe. There is 24-hour security at the front door and you have to scan your VCU I.D. every time you walk inside. You also have to sign in all guests. It's pretty normal to move off campus after freshmen year although a lot of students still live in VCU apartments. There are a lot of cheaper off campus options that are just as much or even cheaper than VCU housing.”
“Richmond is the best city. It's got a small town feel in a big city setting. There are tons of great restaurants, galleries, festivals and citywide events. The James River is within walking distance. VCU and Richmond have a very close relationship, especially when it comes to restoring buildings that the school can use. I don't dislike anything about this city.”
“Anything you can think of...festivals, museums, 5k runs...”
“Richmond is an artsy city. There's always something to do within walking distance like street festivals and concerts and First Fridays. There are clubs in Shockoe Bottom and lots of unique shops in Carytown. The Fan has a lot of small parks and there are murals hidden in the most discrete places in Richmond. There are also a lot of cool museums. Restaurants on every corner. Richmond is a charming place.”
“There are many restaurants and small boutiques within walking distance. However, to get to larger outlets and grocery stores it can be bit of a hike. There are lots of nightlife options downtown and in Shockoe Bottom. Carytown is a popular place to shop and eat for RVA residents. There is some tension between VCU and the Richmond area; however, there are many efforts to repair this tension. Most VCU students have fun off-campus, simply because there are so many options that Richmond has.”
"Richmond is the Hipster capital of the country. So even if you are not Hipster you will tap into your inner hipster and become one with art, and music, and nature."
"We have a great outdoor adventure program and they go on hikes, rafting trips so you can really get into the nature of Richmond!"
HC's Complete College Guide: Virginia Commonwealth University
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