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Shepherd University is a small college with the look and feel of a larger university. Located in the town of Shepherdstown, the local residents of that city decided to open a new college after losing its position as the county seat. They hoped that bringing a new college to the area would result in more people there as well. Established in 1871, the college opened later that same year with fewer than 50 students enrolling. When the state decided to add a teaching college the following year, it choose this small campus. The popularity of its educational programs helped the school's population double. It was one of the first colleges in the state to award bachelor degrees to teachers. Though it now has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students and offers dozens of degree programs, its teaching programs remain its top offerings.

The university received recognition as the best college in West Virginia for two straight years and appeared on two lists put out by America's Best Colleges of the top schools in the country. The Princeton Review also highlighted the campus, listing it among the Best Southeastern Colleges in the United States. Shepherd University offers plenty of activities for students in addition to its course offerings, including 12 collegiate teams, intramural sports, the Contemporary American Theater Festival and the Ruth Scarborough Library.

Shepherd University Accreditation Details

Shepherd University first gained accreditation in 1950 from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. That organization renewed the accreditation of the university every decade since then. The university also has institutional accreditation from the Western Association of Colleges and Schools Senior College and University Commission, which allows SU to offer graduate programs and award advanced degrees. Students will also find that Shepherd has program accreditation. Also known as specialty or professional accreditation, this type of accreditation applies only to specific programs. Its specialty accreditation comes from organizations that include:

Council on Social Work Education
National Association of Schools of Music
West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Registered Nurses
National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission
National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education

These various forms of accreditation apply to the university's social work, music, nursing, teaching and business programs.

Shepherd University Application Requirements

When Shepherd University moved from a traditional paper application to an online application, it wanted to streamline the process and make things easier for prospective students. The entire process involves just four easy steps. The first of those steps is the application itself. Students need to fill out and submit the online application, which asks them about their backgrounds, where they attended school in the past, their grades and any extracurricular activities or interests they have. Those who have problems with the online application can print the application and mail it to the school.

Shepherd requires just two types of documents from its applicants. The first is an official high school transcript. Anyone who took college classes and want to transfer their credits will need to submit a transcript from that college as well. Students must also mail official scores from the ACT or SAT to the university. The last step is the payment of the application fee. Shepherd charges a $45 fee that students can pay online or by check or money order. Those who cannot afford the application fee can contact the university about a fee waiver.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students enrolling in college classes often want more information about tuition and other costs before classes start. Shepherd University charges $278 per credit hour for West Virginia residents and $687 for residents of other states. This brings the total tuition cost to $3,415 per semester for residents and $8,314 for out of state students taking a full course load of 12 credit hours. Students must also pay different fees to the university for using the library, taking laboratory science classes or using the activities center on campus. Those who take special classes may be subject to other fees for using equipment or resources.

Shepherd developed a payment plan for students who cannot pay the total cost of attending the university upfront. This lets them make one payment of $1,000 or more at the beginning of the semester and pay the balance by the end of the semester. The university also awards financial aid packages based on the amount of need that students demonstrate on the FAFSA. They can borrow money in the form of loans that they do not pay back until they graduate or stop taking classes for six months, they can get grants, they can apply for scholarships and they can take part in work study programs on campus.

Shepherd University Degree Programs

As Shepherd University started life as a state teaching college, it's not surprising that many of its educational programs still rank highly among students. The university offers Bachelor of Arts programs in Early Education Comprehensive, Elementary Education Comprehensive and Secondary Education Comprehensive. These programs prepare students for working with children in elementary school, junior high or high school and before they start school. Many of these programs require some type of student teaching experience. Students will typically observe teachers in the classroom, work under the guidance of a licensed teacher and spend some time teaching themselves.

The university is home to the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, which is a unique department that focuses specifically on the Civil War. Though Shepherd offers a Bachelor of Art in History, it also allows students to take courses through this department to fulfill a concentration or minor in Civil War studies. Students must do a high level of research on the region prior to, during or after the Civil War, and they will spend some time working in a historic site around the university. The research that students do goes into a large database that the university hopes to one day open to the public and to historians.

Students entering the university will find that the school offers nearly 30 majors and more than 30 minor choices, including journalism, environmental studies, modern languages and hospitality. Shepherd University students can double major in two subjects and select any minor they like.

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