We are from OOS and stumbled across CNU on a ranking list looking for secondary education for my D20. She really liked everything she read about it so we went to visit this summer. Beautiful campus & everyone seemed really nice. It’s one of her top choices now. But, being from OOS and not knowing anyone who goes there I feel a little unsure about a school we’d never heard of and know so little about. What is the schools reputation in VA and are the students as friendly as The Princeton Review seems to think? She is a good student who is looking for a collaborative work environment, wants to make connections with her professors, and has some social anxiety so not looking for a school that’s all about the frat parties. Any info or feedback is much appreciated. Thank you!!
DK says that all the CNU students have said that yes, it really is that friendly. We were there recently and heard the president speak about this - students are expected to be friendly, open minded about various opinions of others, and he even went so far as to talk about how students are encouraged to hold doors open and look each other in the eyes and say hello to others. I must say we were very impressed by the school culture. Average class size is 19 and there aren’t many classes over 50 students (intro classes) and he said your professors will know your name. DK is at a small private HS and CNU has many of the positive qualities of a private SLAC for a public price.
The only possible downside I would see for your DD is that many of the kids come from northern VA as it doesn’t yet have a big OOS following. I’m sure they would be excited to have more OOS students to add to the diversity they are trying to build.
It sounded like 25% of the school is involved in Greek life, so 3 out of 4 aren’t which seems like a good ratio to me.
My DS is a current senior at CNU. My observations are that the school has a good reputation in Virginia and their incoming freshman classes the last several years have had high GPA’s ranking just behind UVA and William and Mary’s incoming classes. There isn’t a huge party scene at CNU. Greek life appears active, but isn’t dominating. There are kids from all over Virginia and some from out of state. I have no idea why meeting kids from Northern VA would be a downside. My son, not from NoVA, made some very dear friends from NoVA. They are just regular kids. I’d say in general CNU kids are friendly, studious but not in an over stressed way, a bit nerdy, and open minded.
We are OOS and had never heard of CNU, and visited. My DS went somewhere else but that’s neither here nor there, there wasn’t a glaring reason. I just wanted to write that maybe you should try to find out about weekends…if a lot of students head home, and therefore there isn’t much to do for the OOSers especially one who isn’t super outgoing. Maybe the above two posters can let you know! Good luck.
RE: students mainly from Northern VA
There’s nothing wrong with it at all - NOVA’s geographic region is large and spread out and full of diversity. It’s just that I’ve seen posts by students about colleges on boards like Niche when we were researching that sometimes complained that when colleges have many students from 1 area, it can feel like there isn’t enough geographical diversity.
I do know that our kid won’t be coming home for the weekend. It is too far and congested on I-95 for that plus DK can’t wait to fly the coop. FWIW, I learned there is train service there which can be useful, especially during Thanksgiving break if mamawitch lives along Amtrak lines.
Thanks for your feedback. Most everything I hear reinforces the fact that this is a good fit for my D. Her stats are in the range for William & Mary, but we are looking for a less stressful environment for her because she gets migraines when stressed. She wants to be surrounded by kids like you described…friendly, studious, open minded. Has your son enjoyed his time there? Would he choose CNU if he got to go back and do it all again? Also, do you know anything about the weekends there? Does it clear out or are there plenty of kids that stick around?
@NancyNC Thanks for the tip about the train. We do live near an Amtrak station. I think it’d be a crazy long trip, but nice to have other options!! Is you DK planning on applying to CNU? And are you from VA? We are from Portland, ME.
My son initially wanted to go to William and Mary, but he loved CNU as well. He did not get in to W&M, which in hindsight was a good thing. CNU fit his personality and quirkiness while being a much better academic fit for him. Though he was only an hour away from home, he rarely came home. It appeared most students stay on the weekends as there were always many activities going on in addition to lots of studying and papers to get done. CNU is a residential campus and definitely not a commuter school. At the time he graduated high school he wanted a smaller college and CNU was a great fit for him. Now that he’s older, he has wondered what a larger school would have been like. I remind him that he wouldn’t have liked a big school, he didn’t like them at the time he was looking and loved CNU. He will get to see what a bigger school is like in grad school at UVA. He made wonderful friends and though there were some rough spots along the way, he’d do CNU again.
@vamominvabeach Thank you!! My daughter definitely wants smaller, but not too small. Her brother is a freshman at U of Florida and she wants no part of a school that big!! She is still planning on applying to W&M, but I’m not to sure it’s the right place for her (if she gets in). CNU seems to be the best kept secret in VA!! She has her Skype interview scheduled and plans to apply to the Honors and Leadership programs. Hoping for a little help with the OOS tuitions cost!! Although, compared to the $70K price tag for private schools, OOS tuition is still far cheaper!!! Thanks again for your input. It’s been very helpful!
D18’s best friend goes to CNU and is OOS (NC). She hardly ever comes home on the weekend. She loves it at CNU. Spends a lot of time volunteering as she both loves to volunteer and I think it is required as part of her scholarship. I have never heard a complaint about lack of people on campus over the weekends. We used to live in NoVA, but I can’t imagine making that drive on a weekend.
D21 is considering it and really loved the campus, she is not a party girl and needs a smaller campus.
Thanks @jeneric. She has applied and had her interview for PLP and Honors last week. Now for the waiting game!!
CNU is a great school that has definitely flown under radar in the past. My son is senior and has enjoyed his years there. We are from Northern Virginia but he has made friends from OOS as well. He is in a fraternity and in the PLP program. While it isn’t known to be a party school, you can find parties at every school, CNU included. The campus is beautiful and the welcoming vibe that is cultivated there is amazing. The academics are tough, some of the toughest in the State of VA. They really do a great job with freshman making sure they find their group on campus. Good Luck!
Thank you @Robin115 She’s no opposed to parties, just doesn’t want the social scene to revolve around them. I was very impressed when we visited; beautiful campus & dorms and the few people we encountered were very nice. We’ll definitely make a trip back if she gets accepted.
New here, also an OOS applicant to CNU. D18 from NJ, toured several schools and felt CNU was the best fit. She had her interview in person and it’s her top choice right now, fingers crossed!
@Bshore Good luck to your daughter. Is she transferring or applying as a freshman? My D20 did her interview via Skype. We did an afternoon tour in Aug on our way to drop my S19 off at U of Florida. She didn’t schedule an interview when she booked the tour because she wasn’t sure if she’d like it. If she gets in we’ll definitely go back for accepted students day!
Thanks, she is applying as a freshman. She didn’t want to stay in the NYC area. We looked at Charleston, JMU, CNU and I visited Tampa without her. Going to Delaware tomorrow.
CNU had the most impressive campus and the staff and students we met seemed happier and more friendly all around.
@Bshore When you referred to her as D18 I assumed she graduated in 2018. I could be using the abbreviations all wrong, I’m still trying to figure them out!! Anyway, my D applied to CofC. JMU would be too big for her and Tampa was a consideration, but she deiced Charleston was as far south as she wanted to go. What is her intended major?
I agree, the campus was beautiful, the dorms were great, and I love that most kids live on campus. Everyone we met was friendly, but it was summer so hard to judge with such an empty campus.
Ah, D18 meaning she is 18. Haha, you’re right, grad year makes more sense! She’s a D20.
Not decided on major, she’s open to all suggestions. We have family in Charleston, so that is a big plus for CoC. Her stats are ok, not as impressive as so many of the ones I keep seeing on here but still solid I think. CNU is about 5.5hrs from home and she could take the Amtrack to Philly or Trenton if needed. We visited on a day when the kids were returning from break, so not a regular school day but still got alot of hellos and smiles from people we passed. Just a more positive vibe than the other schools.
Newport News is meh, but I like the option of Williamsburg and beach attractions nearby.
We’re in NJ. D19 toured CNU with my wife. They both LOVED it. I’ve since run into a few locals who have kids there and all rave about how great it is. It’s now high on the list for S21.
Is there an additional interview for the Honors Program? My daughter did an on-campus interview at CNU back in August. Will she be called to interview again as an Honors Program candidate?
@vafamily My D only had one interview, and they talked about her interest in honors and PLP program. We visited this summer, but hadn’t scheduled an interview because we didn’t know anything about the school. Since we live in ME she was able to have a Skype interview in Oct. So I guess it would depend on if they talked about the honors program in her interview. I would have her email her rep to see if she needs a 2nd interview.