Salve Regina University: Visit Review

Salve Regina University: Visit Review

Imagine a college nestled between Newport mansions, with an expansive outdoor patio overlooking a breathtaking view of the ocean.  Imagine a campus with sprawling lawn where gorgeous, old trees specially flown in from around the world populate the grounds.  Imagine a college where students and faculty know each other intimately and greet you warmly as you walk around the incredible campus.  This college actually exists, and its name is Salve Regina.

I first heard about Salve (as it is affectionately called by its students) when my in-laws took a cruise along the East Coast and landed in Newport.  My father-in-law told me that I had to see this absolutely stunning campus.  I had high expectations and from an aesthetic standpoint, they were exceeded.

While the exteriors of the buildings are gorgeous, keep in mind that the campus used to be a large mansion, so many of the buildings have interesting interior configurations and are not state-of-the art.  There are also rumors that some of the dorms are haunted.  For some students this adds to the allure, for others, not so much!

We arrived at Salve as the ninth college of our ten-college tour of Rhode Island Colleges.  Leading up to our visit, we toured through downtown Newport overflowing with cute shops, restaurants, and bars.  Largely a tourist destination during the summer, it was quiet during our April visit.  However students said that they do take advantage of Newport, which is a quick bike ride away.  Salve lends students bikes for the year to help them explore their beautiful location.  We continued our tour leading up to the campus through the myriad of Newport mansions, one more opulent and impressive than the next.  When we pulled into Salve, it felt like we were entering a set from the Great Gatsby.

Our tour guide, Emma, was an honors student from Mexico.  She was intelligent, confident, and articulate.  She was majoring in political science.  She came from an International Baccalaureate high school in Mexico and received a full academic scholarship to attend Salve.  She admitted that her first semester at Salve was quite easy given her challenging high school curriculum.  However, as she got into higher-level courses, the rigor increased and she felt challenged and engaged.

She served as a Resident Advisor in the sophomore dorms.  I asked her what the most common problem she faced as an RA and she said underage drinking and noise.  She related a funny story about how she had a floor with a number of large, athletic guys.  When she went in to quiet them down during a party, they picked her up (she was quite petite) and carried her back to her room.  She took it in stride and together they came up with a workable agreement to keep some order in the dorms.  This type of camaraderie was apparent as we walked around campus and almost every student we passed said hello to Emma.

After our tour, we had the opportunity to review applications from this year’s candidates.  Salve takes a holistic review of applicants and looks for students who not only can do the work academically, but also will fit into community.  Salve has a Catholic affiliation and students must take two classes in religion, however it does not seem to override the feel of the campus.

The average GPA of accepted students is 3.2 and they pay attention to a student’s high school and its rigor.  They offer merit awards ranging from $7K to $15K as well as several full tuition scholarships to top students.

The student body was attractive, fit, and friendly, with little diversity.  There is a small, but growing international population.  The male to female ratio is low at 35:65.  Many of the male students participate in Salve’s Division III sports program.  (Many girls do as well.)  They also have a strong dance company, which we had the privilege to see perform.

Salve is a classic liberal arts college with strong programs in business, politics, English, and visual arts.  In fact, its art program has the same accreditation as RISD.

Salve is a great option for students looking for a warm, friendly, picturesque environment to go to college.  This is another campus where it is important to dress warm because the ocean breeze can blow you away!


Salve Regina
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