For Parents and Families

At Sweet Briar, you’ll get the personalized attention that results in long term success.

Kaia Rokke '23 checks in on Move In Day. Kaia Rokke '23 checks in on Move In Day.

We know that parents and families often have different questions than prospective students do. The Sweet Briar admissions team is here to work with your whole family and get you the answers you need.

Making the Right Choice

Q: Why Sweet Briar?

Learning by Doing

Our class sizes historically averages about eight students. We can focus on mentoring and hands-on learning in all majors. Our innovative academic calendar includes two 3-week terms designed for internships, research and other experiential learning opportunities. 60% of our students do research with faculty, a key credential for graduate admissions, which is maybe why we average 100% admissions for veterinary school!

We’re particularly committed to increasing the number of women in STEM fields, from environmental stewardship to engineering. We have an ABET-accredited engineering science program — along with other STEM programs.

Women’s Leadership

The best way to prepare for leadership is to become a leader. 80% of our students hold a formal leadership role in a student organization. Our four-year, innovative core curriculum focuses on women’s leadership to help Sweet Briar alumnae carry their leadership experience into the broader world.

Alumnae Networks/Employment

90% of our alumnae have jobs or are in graduate school within six months of graduation.

80 percent of our students complete at least one internship.

Our long tradition of women’s leadership has led to a particularly strong alumnae network. Our alumnae are famous for being generous with their time. Hundreds of alumnae stand by to offer general career advice on our Alumnifire site, for example.

Q: Why a women’s college?

Supportive environment, experiential learning, leadership opportunities

Sweet Briar’s learning environment is supportive, collegial and free from misogyny. Classes feature hands-on learning and discussion. Students have multiple opportunities to be engaged with their college and the broader community through leadership experiences, internships and research.

Satisfied graduates

  • More women’s college students graduate in four years or fewer than at coed institutions (which means fewer years of college expenses).
  • A higher level of satisfaction with their experience and preparation for life after college than alumni from coed institutions.
  • Putting more emphasis on their academics and feeling more comfortable in class.

A strong commitment to access and affordability.

  • 94 percent of first-year students enrolled full-time at a women’s college receive some form of financial aid.
  • 48 percent are eligible for Pell Grants.
  • The average annual institutional aid is more than $15,000.

*Statistics taken from the Women’s College Coalition website.

Families Weekend Families Weekend

Practical Questions

Why and how to submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?

We encourage all families to submit the FAFSA. You have to submit the FAFSA to be eligible for federal government aid. Sweet Briar offers need-blind merit aid, even if you do not fill out a FAFSA. However, your total financial aid package from the College may be greater if you submit the FAFSA..

You can complete the FAFSA several ways:

Wanda Spradley, our director of financial aid, has been working at the College for more than 25 years, so she knows her stuff. Check out this blog Wanda wrote for details on filling out your FAFSA. And don’t be afraid to reach out to our financial aid office if you have questions!

We’re proud that only a very small number of Sweet Briar graduates default on their student loans. Partly, that’s because our financial aid office does a great job meeting with students one-on-one and educating them about student loans and what they need to do to stay current on their payments. It’s also because our students graduate and get jobs that enable them to pay their loans back.

Where do students live?

Over 90% of students live on campus, in one of seven traditional residence halls. They’re supported in the residence halls by resident advisors, resident coordinators and peer academic mentors. Then there are some who live in our modern apartment-style complex.

Learn more

What are the dining options?

Sweet Briar is known for our food! Our dining services partner is Meriwether Godsey. They provide nutritious meals that are sourced from our greenhouse, gardens and other local providers. Our meals are made from scratch daily, with diet- and allergy-sensitive options. You can learn more about them and see daily and weekly menus here.

How do I stay involved and informed, as a Sweet Briar parent?

We encourage parents and families to be involved with life at the College. We host Families Weekend every year, generally early in October. We have a Parents’ Council, made up of parent volunteers, who help keep our families informed about events on campus and who regularly meet with folks on campus to speak about issues important to parents. The council also has a closed Facebook group, just for current parents, where folks can ask questions of other parents and of members of the College administration.

You can also check out our news site, which features student and faculty news, upcoming events, feature stories and more.

What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as FERPA and the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student education records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. Students who are currently or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental dependency, are protected. Educational records are generally defined as any record that is directly related to a student from which a student can be personally identified, and that is maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. You can read more about Sweet Briar and FERPA in the college catalog.
What is the course catalog?

Sweet Briar’s Undergraduate College Catalog, updated annually, contains just about every piece of information you need to know about Sweet Briar, including a list of members of the administration, college fees, general information about the College and the services available to students, and detailed information about courses and requirements for graduation.

The most commonly sought-after information is the list of courses and requirements for each major.