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If you had to choose one theme to describe the college experience at Greenville, South Carolina's Furman University, it would likely be student engagement and community. The private liberal arts school is proud of its traditionally collegiate environment, and requires that all of its approximately 3,000 undergraduates live on campus for all four years of their college careers. Given that said campus includes a spring-fed lake, 13 miles of paved woodland hiking trails and an 18-hole golf course, and is consistently ranked among the most beautiful - and sustainable - college campuses by authorities such as the Princeton Review and BuzzFeed, that housing requirement shouldn't be too much of a hardship. Campus life at Furman includes 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams, about 150 clubs and organizations, and numerous student events - of which a student must attend at least 36 before graduation.
Most importantly, of course, Furman offers its students a well-respected education, one that stresses experiential learning in the form of first-year seminars, undergraduate research opportunities, internships and study abroad. The U.S. News and World Report has rated Furman as the top college in North Carolina and among the top five in the South, while Forbes Magazine has ranked the school among the top 25 in the South.
Furman University Accreditation Details
Furman University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Its program in music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
The university is also a member of the Associated Colleges of the South, a consortium of sixteen distinguished liberal arts colleges that provides academic resources and grants to its member institutions.
Furman University Application Requirements
Furman University takes a holistic approach to admissions, looking especially for students with extracurricular involvement, leadership skills and civic engagement experience. There is no cutoff minimum GPA required, although the average GPA for admitted freshmen ranges between 3.6 to 3.9.
Application requirements can vary from program to program and may change from one term to the next, so prospective students are always advised to contact a Furman admissions officer with any questions. That being said, here a few general points to keep in mind when considering applying to Furman:
- For freshman applicants, the regular application deadline is January 15. Early decision and early action applications are due November 1 of the preceding academic year
- Transfer applications are due January 15. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis.
- Required materials include school transcripts, an essay and the Common Application, an undergraduate admissions application utilized by over 600 colleges.
- Standardized test scores are optional, as are recommendation letters.
- Applicants with an extraordinary talent are encouraged to include a portfolio, DVD or other supplementary material to showcase their work.
It is important to note that Furman does not generally consider non-traditionally aged students for admission into its regular undergraduate academic programs. This is in part due to the fact that Furman is a four-year residential university, meaning that all students live on-campus for all four years of college. Adult students may wish to consider Furman's evening undergraduate programs. These are offered at two locations off the main university campus.
Tuition and Financial Aid
As of the 2016-17 academic year, undergraduate tuition at Furman University is $47,684. For tuition, room and board, books and other expenses combined, the total yearly cost of attendance for a Furman University undergraduate was $63,584.
At the time of application, incoming freshman will be automatically considered for a merit-based scholarship, of which over 100 are offered by Furman. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic or personal achievement, range in value from $2,000 up to full tuition, and are renewable for four years of study. A two-year full tuition scholarship is also available to transfer students.
Student employment opportunities at Furman enable students to help finance their own college careers by working on-campus. Most of these positions entail a few hours of work per week, and some may require a federal work-study award.
Additional financial aid options for eligible students include the usual package of federal and state loans and grants, as well as private loans if necessary.
Music Programs at Furman University
Undergraduates at Furman have more than 40 areas of study to choose from, but one of the university's most esteemed programs is its program in music. Furman's music program is nationally considered to be among the most comprehensive offered by a liberal arts college. Thus, students who opt for Furman over, say, a conservatory program can count on receiving a broad and thorough education in music while enjoying a traditional college experience with a liberal arts foundation.
Music students at Furman decide between a bachelor's of arts in music degree or a bachelor's of music degree. The former is a traditional liberal arts degree, with about a third of its total required credits dedicated to the study of music. The B.A. in music is designed to easily facilitate combination with a minor or even a double major. Course requirements include eight credits of performance. The bachelor's of music is a professional degree program with five overall areas of specialized study: church music, music composition, music education, music theory and performance. Candidates in the performance track audition for and declare a concentration in organ, piano, percussion, string, brass/woodwind or vocal performance.
Two signature features of the music program at Furman University are the department's master classes and the semester-long trips abroad to Italy. As part of the master classes, well-known musicians from around the world are invited to Furman to teach classes as guest artists or visiting faculty. Meanwhile, each semester about a dozen lucky students travel with Furman professors to Arezzo, Italy to study with both Italian and Furman faculty there, taking coursework in music as well as the Italian language.
Opportunities to take the stage abound at Furman, leaving music students with no excuse not to get at least a few performance experiences under their belts before graduation. The music department has over 20 performance ensembles, ranging from the chamber choir to the Paladin Regiment Marching Band, from the opera theatre to the music technology ensemble, from the jazz combo to the basketball pep band. In terms of musical taste and talent, there's truly something for everybody at Furman University.