05 Jun GRAND Report: Valdosta State Univ.
Valdosta State University (VSU) is located in southwest Georgia, 20 miles from the Florida border, in the city of Valdosta. Having lived in south Georgia for a short time, I was familiar with the city of Valdosta. When I visited campus in October 2018, the academic programs, student resources, and the beauty of the grounds impressed me. VSU is a public institution and part of the University System of Georgia. Keep reading the GRAND report to see if VSU could be your GRAND fit school.
There are 11,200 students (8,600 undergrads) who call VSU home. While students come from all 50 states and more than 47 countries, about 90% of students come from the state of Georgia. The city of Valdosta is the 10th largest metropolitan area in the state and was named Georgia’s first entrepreneur-friendly community by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. VSU has a diverse campus body- 47% of students identify as White (non-Hispanic), 39% identify as Black (non-Hispanic), 7% identify as Hispanic/Latino, 4% identify as 2 or more races (all other races/ethnicities are < 2%).
VSU has a straightforward application. The Office of Admissions uses the Freshmen Index to evaluate applicants. This formula considers the SAT/ACT and GPA only, and a higher test score and make up for a lower GPA. Students must also meet the required high school curriculum. Students who would like to be considered for merit scholarships should submit their application no later than March 1. Regardless of when a student applies, admissions decisions are released on a rolling basis, usually within 7-10 business days. VSU accepted 63% of students who applied and enrolled around 2500 students for the Class of 2023. However, a select group of students who did not meet the admissions requirements is invited to join in the Summer Ignite Program.
81% of classes at VSU have 30 or fewer students, with an average class size of 20. 80% of professors hold terminal degrees in their field. VSU is home to 6 undergraduate colleges, plus the Honors College and Graduate School. The most popular programs are Education, Business, and Health Professions. Some unique programs are American Sign Language/English Interpreting, Environmental Geoscience, and Legal Assistant Studies. Students can also receive an A.A.S. in Dental Hygiene– an excellent option for students who want to attend a “traditional” college while earning a 2-year degree. Additionally, undecided students choose a “focus area,” which is designed to lead students into a range of related majors within a specific undergraduate college.
The First-Year Programs consist of First-Year Learning Communities (FLCs) and First-Year Seminar Experience. The FLCs connect small groups of students (22-25), by major, theme, or residence hall. Students take 2-3 linked courses during the Fall, which provides a support system and helps them connect. Additionally, VSU offers peer tutoring, supplemental instruction, time management/academic skills workshops, among others, through the Academic Support Center.
VSU is an NCAA D2 institution and member of the Gulf South Conference, competing in 12 sports. They are 8-time national champions (4 football, 2 men’s tennis, 1 softball, 1 baseball). Their mascot is the Blazers, and Blaze, a flaming matchstick man, has been a member of the VSU family since 2000. Students actively attend sporting events and are an excellent way to spend an evening or weekend. Greek Life has a small but active presence on campus (3% of men and 4% of women). For those who do not go Greek can participate in more than 200 on-campus organizations. The Spectator, VSU’s student newspaper, is a valuable resource to the student body and the greater Valdosta community.
VSU’s mission is to be “a catalyst for regional comprehensive progress” by creating a “welcoming, aware, and vibrant community founded on and dedicated to serving” the community. VSU states that all freshmen must live on-campus, and there are 6 residence halls dedicated to first-year students. While there are 3 residence halls available for upperclassmen, most students choose to live off-campus, either in Greek housing or at one of the many local apartment complexes. For those who do not have cars, there are also busses to take them around campus or to the Mall or Wal-Mart. VSU students are friendly, willing to learn, and politically moderate. They describe their school as “small-town feel, big town education,” “close and personal,” and “hands-on.” Schedule a visit or take a virtual tour.
VSU is an extremely affordable option. In-state Tuition & Fees for the 2020-2021 school year are $7,676 ($21,494 out-of-state), with Room & Board ranging from $5,960-12,106, depending on your residence hall and meal plan selection. Because of the HOPE & Zell Miller Scholarships, VSU doesn’t award many merit scholarships. But scholarships are available and require a separate application; only 3% of students receive awards, and the average award is $2,763. However, VSU historically has met 96% of financial need and only requires the FAFSA for consideration. Additionally, VSU gives in-state tuition for all states that border Georgia (Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, & South Carolina), and participates in the Academic Common Market.