Sweet Briar College Closes, WC Welcomes Transfers

By John Curran

Elm Staff Writer

For freshman at Washington College, the 2014-2015 school year was the beginning of a four year journey. This is very much in contrast to the heartbreaking news that freshman, sophomores, and juniors at Virginia’s all female Sweet Briar College received. “On Feb. 28, the board of directors of Sweet Briar College voted to close the College as a result of insurmountable financial challenges,” according to a statement released by Sweet Briar College.

“I’ll start by saying that this is a terrible situation for Sweet Briar, its students, faculty, and administration, as well as a sobering message to all of us in higher education. Few could imagine this happening, especially to such a fine institution,” said Tony Littlefield, senior associate director of Washington College Admissions. As the man in charge of transfer and international student admissions, Littlefield is well acquainted with the situations like Sweet Briar.

As of the end of the 2014-2015 academic school year, all Sweet Briar College students will be forced to transfer and seek further education elsewhere. However, for those students who are soon to be former Sweet Briar students the future is still bright.

WC is in a prime location for potential transfer students. “Washington College received our first transfer inquiry less than an hour after Sweet Briar’s closing was announced,” said Littlefield. “Every attempt is being made to make the transfer application process as streamlined as possible for Sweet Briar students.”

The process for handling transfer students is one that WC takes very seriously. Similar to processing freshman applicants, the WC admissions office prides itself on being thorough and prefers a hands-on approach. However, for transfer students the process is a little bit different. “Each transfer student comes with his or her own unique set of circumstances and expectations and they are approached in a distinctly individual fashion,” said Littlefield. “The transfer process strives to answer all questions and concerns promptly and efficiently, preferably in person, in a one-on-one interview setting.”

In more general terms, the process for admitting new students to Washington College sees some 6,000 freshman applicants each year. In comparison, the admissions office handles roughly 100 transfers during the same time period. Within that range, an average of 35 to 45 potential transfers will commit their future to WC.

At the time of publication, at least three Sweet Briar students have applied to transfer to WC. “Washington College’s home-town nature and community spirit always resonates with prospective transfer students, especially Sweet Briar students who would be coming from a similar college setting,” says Littlefield.

Located in rural Lynchburg, Va., the local community and atmosphere at Sweet Briar is comparable to that of Chestertown and serves as a great choice for any potential transfer student.

Come the start of the 2015-2016 school year, the arrival of new freshman is certain to be accompanied by arrivals from Sweet Briar and the WC admissions office will continue to review and interview prospective students and transfers.

The closing of Sweet Briar College remains a stark reminder of the hard work and dedication that goes into keeping the College running smoothly every  day.

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