Our tour guides here were far less eloquent (due to nerves I believe) than the William and Mary tour guide, however they provided a good background and answered our questions pretty well. This tour session was bigger than the group at W&M but it was still pretty small and we didn't have to strain to hear our guides.
Our entire walking tour was about an hour and a half, pretty standard for most tours, and we saw the majority of the campus including sports facilities, classrooms, the library, and a dorm. Davidson was an all-male college until the 70s and now the ratio of women-to-men is 50/50.
Davidson is a very small, contained campus in a small college town, a suburb of Charlotte, NC. While certainly not as much history as W&M, the architecture of the buildings is classic southern brick and columns and it really flatters my architectural-loving side.
The entire campus is so contained that you can easily walk from classes to the library to the cafeteria, student union, and back home without straining yourself. "Very bike friendly" is how our guides described it.
Campus safety was an issue hotly debated by our group, especially fathers concerned about their daughters. While our guides said they have never felt unsafe, I couldn't help but feel like there was less campus security features than other schools. Sure, it's a small town so there's less risk as well but still. Plus campus police have revoked privileges because although the school is not officially linked to a religion it was founded by the presbyterian church.
The average class size is 15 and every class is tapped at 34 people. There are only undergraduate students, and the entire school is tapped out at 2000 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1 and our guides cited personal encounters and experiences with their professors, including a monthly pizza and Disney movie night.
Davidson is Division I athletics and competes in the A-10 conference. (Atlantic 10 conference) One specific scholarship is particularly for DI athletes at Davidson, the Bryant scholarship, however otherwise prospective student-athletes have no other distinction and attend the same classes, stay in the same houses, and get no preferential treatment. At least, none that's been mentioned.
The core program at Davidson is far more extensive than other schools I've visited. It includes a PE requirement, art, history, science etc.
The international community at Davidson is smaller than other schools, only 6% of students from 35 countries, however there are only 2000 students in total so of course the percentage will be smaller.
Davidson superscores, has a really really solid study abroad program, and they require an additional recommendation letter from a peer that is within two years of your age and is not a sibling. They also uphold an honor code that is student-maintained.
- Davidson is an über expensive liberal arts education, but happily I can report that Davidson has a need-blind admission process, meets 100% of demonstrated need, and, here's the really great part, are 100% no-loans.
- I love the size of the classes at Davidson, ranging from one person in a class (seriously!) to 34 max in labs and lectures. I also love the ratios, both gender-wise and faculty-to-student.
- The study abroad program at Davidson is really fantastic and a huge percentage of students utilize the program and earn class credit.
- The relationship our guides and administrators reported to have with their teachers--close, professional relationships with teachers really work for me and I love the ability to foster those in an educational environment.
- I was not as blown away by the library and the resources available for students at Davidson as I was at, say, William and Mary. (I actually wrote 'lackluster library' in my notebook on the tour)
- The core program really concerns me here at Davidson, mainly because of how extensive the reach is. Physical education is something I celebrated never having to take again once I left 10th grade, so the idea that I'm faced with that again isn't ideal, however our guides mentioned there are several different ways to achieve your PE requirement, including yoga, pilates, or beach volleyball so I'm sure I could find something if I had to (which I do, it's a requirement).
- The campus security, or lack thereof, sort of concerns me because even though I trust the honor code and the fact that this is a small campus and a small town I still feel like you should always be secure on campus, including police, someone to walk/drive you home late at night, and the 'blue light system' more fully instrumented.
Overall I got an okay feeling from Davidson, I absolutely love some things but am slightly ware about other qualities. I will have to think more about applying to Davidson.
Next Up: UVA, JMU, and Washington & Lee