Virginia Commonwealth University
Written by Lisa Bleich
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is located right in downtown Richmond. The urban feeling permeates the campus from the eclectic set of buildings to the pretty park that connects the buildings to the recently converted warehouse recreation facility with high ceilings, a vast rock wall, and huge windows that feels like you are in SoHo.
The student body reflects the location: multi-cultural, urban, diverse, and hands on learners. 85% of the students are from Virginia and 15% are from out-of-state. Our tour guide transferred from James Madison because he wanted a more diverse experience and he felt right at home at VCU. He was majoring in communications, one of their flagship programs, and talked about how they were integrating social media into every class. (Sometimes he felt it was overkill, but nonetheless, he felt well versed in how to think about marketing across platforms.) He also liked that professors had real world experience to share with students.
Our group got a chance to experience the hands on learning environment at VCU in the forensics unit. We were shown a miniature “crime” scene and then it was removed and we had to draw the scene for the next group to recreate. It was eye-opening to see how our drawings either helped or hindered the investigation. For the next station we had to brush for fingerprints using a finger print kit. Then the student asked us to identify the various prints based on samples. These two exercises were engaging and fun while teaching us how to apply these skills.
Richmond is a great city for business with both large and small companies as well as a thriving start-up community. VCU provides a shuttle to take student to their internships. They also offer a CEO class where a different CEO comes each week to speak with students providing a great opportunity for student to ask questions. VCU has developed several school/community partnerships to provide students with numerous experiential learning opportunities.
VCU has strong programs in business, science, health sciences, visual and performing arts, and communications.
The business programs include majors in actuarial science and financial technology or engineering, marketing, product/brand management and business applications of technology. Entrepreneurship and Supply Chain Management are the largest majors in the business school.
VCU has a good biology and forensics science program (think CSI) as well as numerous pre-health programs including an accelerated BAMD. The pre-health track is very popular among students. Nursing is not a direct admit program, but some students can be accepted with preferred admission.
The DaVinci Center revolves around product innovation. Real companies give students a product to improve or develop new. They work collaboratively in interdisciplinary groups with students from design, engineering, and business to develop the product.
The Campus Learning Center provides a lot of academic support in various forms.
- Tutoring: Individual or Drop In
- Supplemental instruction
- Academic coaching: full-time learning specialists offer study skills, reading, time management, and note-taking skills.
VCU is great for students looking for an eclectic, urban, high-energy campus set within a city. It has a multi-cultural, highly diverse student body. There is a pre-professional focus of programs throughout the various colleges including strong pre-health science, visual and performing arts, business, communications and engineering.
Virginia Commonwealth University
821 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23284