Why Private?

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long tradition of outstanding institutions of higher education.  Virginia’s private colleges and universities have a long and distinguished tradition of excellence and a nationwide reputation for quality. The 27 member colleges of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) have played a vital role in developing the state’s tradition of academic excellence.

Private colleges in Virginia provide a smaller, more personalized educational experience, and a wide range of graduate and professional degree programs. Many students prefer this learning environment compared to sprawling public institutions. Currently, more than 135,000 students have chosen to enroll in Virginia private colleges.

Located in every region of the state, Virginia’s 27 private colleges are extremely diverse and each has a rich history and distinct character. They include single-sex and coeducational institutions, historically black colleges, highly selective institutions, institutions that serve the average college, e-bound students, and graduate and professional schools.

What are some advantages of Virginia’s private colleges?

  • Virginia’s private colleges prioritize teaching over research, fostering strong faculty-student interaction, and have small class sizes.
  • Private colleges in Virginia provide a wide variety of academic programs.
  • These colleges offer numerous extracurricular activities, leadership development, and academic support services.
  • Graduates from Virginia’s private colleges excel in both graduate and professional school admissions and secure career-related employment.
  • There are private colleges in every region of the state, including several cities that do not have a 4-year public college (Roanoke, Lynchburg, Winchester, and Danville).
  • A private college education is more affordable than you might think.

How are private colleges accredited?

  • CICV members with undergraduate programs have Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation, like Virginia’s public colleges
  • The Appalachian College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, Appalachian School of Law by the American Bar Association, and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation of the American Osteopathic Association.

How can you find the right fit?

Finding the right fit requires time and thoughtfulness. Learn about our colleges and what makes each exceptional. Search their offerings by academics and athletics programs. Once you’ve found the best matches visit your top contenders by taking part in our special week of events to learn about Virginia private colleges.