Furman University campus view

Furman University

After my son’s wedding in Atlanta in late May, I decided to visit colleges on my way home to Baltimore. Traveling along highway I-75 N and I-81N, there are many colleges on or near these major highways. Since I’d planned three days for travel, I carefully chose my route to include Georgia Tech, Furman University, Davidson College, and the University of Virginia.

While I often recommend students visit two schools a day, my southern college swing made me realize that visiting one institution a day is probably the best strategy for campus visits (unless you’re in Boston where the close proximity of a number of universities and colleges makes it much easier to visit two schools in a day).

My advice for juniors and sophomores hitting the road for college visits this summer is to schedule a tour and information session ahead of time. If possible, talk to the admissions person for your region of the country (each has an assigned territory) and come armed with a few good questions. And, equally important since you will living in that city or community for four years, get to know the place: walk around the city; see a local show or concert; have coffee, lunch or dinner at a cool place near the college. Take the time to see the entire campus, explore the college’s varied and signature programs, learn about special research, internships, and other opportunities available — in other words, truly experience the college or university with all your senses. Here’s the first college profile from my travels through the southeast.


Furman University is located in Greenville, South Carolina. Despite pouring rain the day I visited, it was readily apparent that Furman’s 750 acre campus is one of the most beautiful I have ever visited.

Strengths and Distinctions

  • With its new initiative, The Furman Advantage, the college has redefined and reimagined its approach to a liberal arts and science education.
  • Campus is about 15-20 minutes from the city center of Greenville — ranked one of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Small Cities in the U.S.; 3rd Strongest Job Market, 2010; and the 13th Best City for Young Professionals. The greater Greenville area has a population of more than 500,000 and is home to many national and international companies including 200 that are internship partners with Furman. More than 70% of majors at Furman have internships built into the major.
  • Signature program in business offers students either a BA in accounting or a BA in Business Administration. Through its study abroad programs, Furman provides students majoring in business the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs that include internships with organizations and businesses in cities such as Brussels and Edinburgh.
  • The University provides $450,000 in funding through its Furman Fellows Program every summer to enable students to pursue projects, internships and other experiences outside the classroom that are aligned with their interests and passions.
  • Ranked 4th in the nation for resources committed, funding received, number of publications, and number of students involved in research.
  • May Experience, an optional three-week term following the spring semester allows students to explore topics often outside their majors in courses not offered during the academic year including shorter study abroad experiences.

Other Facts

  • Student-to faculty ratio 11:1
  • About 50% of students participate in Greek life. Rush is held second semester of the freshman year to ensure students have time to adjust to college, focus on academics, and explore clubs and other activities on campus
  • 100% residential campus (all students live on campus all four years). This contributes to a close-knit, inclusive community where students across classes develop strong connections and friendships
  • Average class size of 19 with all classes capped at 32 students
  • 86% of students receive financial aid including 50 million in grants and scholarships

Admission Facts

  • Early Decision I and Early Action deadlines are November 1. Regular decision deadline is January 15
  • 6,000 applications received in the last admissions cycle and 50% admitted
  • Campus tour and information session extremely professional and informative — and the campus speaks for itself