Sweet Briar College
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How Sweet Briar College is redefining women leadership

“What differentiates women leaders?” This is among the thought-provoking questions that Sweet Briar College challenges its students to consider as women leaders in their communities and organisations. 

Every student at Sweet Briar takes the Women’s Leadership Core – the college’s answer to traditional general ed requirements found at most colleges. The 10 courses are interdisciplinary, teaching students to be effective communicators, ethical decision-makers and empathetic problem-solvers. They can apply these lessons to all academic programmes – paving their way for success in whatever field they choose to pursue. 

“They [the students] are free to inquire, to challenge, to try, and to grow. That is what education is about, and women’s colleges make it happen with the least amount of barriers,” says Meredith Woo, President. 

Sweet Briar goes beyond just being a women’s liberal arts college with traditional classroom teachings, however. It is an inclusive community that prepares women to be future power brokers and empowers them to embrace their capabilities and identities as women. 

According to Sharon Walters-Bower, Senior Associate Director of Admissions and Designated School Official, Sweet Briar is a great choice for international students for many reasons. “Sweet Briar offers a community where young women are safe, expected to engage, be academically challenged, do research, and learn leadership development skills for success, professionally, and personally,” she says.

With students enrolled from 42 states and 19 countries, international students can easily find connections and a second home in Sweet Briar. Take, for instance, Chinese national Tiffany Han, who chose this college for its small size and 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. 

“I really love my time spent with professors,” she says. “My friends at bigger universities barely get a chance to communicate with their professors.”

Sweet Briar College

Source: Sweet Briar College

What makes Sweet Briar stand out is its emphasis on overall well-being — physical and emotional. With 2,840 acres of land and breathtaking landscapes, the college offers a wide array of extracurricular programmes that further inspire students to achieve their goals.

Nikhita Simhambhatla from Hyderabad, India, found the perfect balance between sports and study here. “Academics has always been my priority, so I was looking to transfer to a school that would allow me to play [tennis] while also providing me resources to study well,” she said. “All my friends love to have fun, but at the same time are very academic-oriented. This allows me also to focus on my grades, while also balancing tennis, but never leaving any opportunity to have fun!”

Financial aid and scholarships were also among the reasons that convinced Simhambhatla to choose Sweet Briar. The college aims to make education affordable for as many students as possible. Hence the inclusive and personalised assistance for scholarships, grants, and student loan options. Forbes magazine has consistently recognised Sweet Briar as a “top-value” college for their efforts.

Similar to Simhambhatla, Chilean student Ingrid Kalwitz Blanco is just as grateful for the support she receives  “My coach and my team have been extremely supportive and I know that I can always count on them and rely on them for anything,” she says.

ABET accreditation, national leader in innovation and sustainability

Sweet Briar is one of two women’s colleges in the US to have an accredited engineering programme. The school was also recognised by US News and World Report as one of the most innovative in 2019 and 2021. 

Engineering students here pursue a hands-on and project-based curriculum. Focusing on solving complex problems, they quickly evolve into engineers set to thrive at top companies and grad schools where big-picture thinkers stand out in the crowd.

Over at its 26,000 square-foot greenhouse, the experiential learning lab continues. Add farmlands, vineyards, forests, wetlands, and meadows, and the campus makes a great space for their environmental science and sustainability programmes to come to life. 

This focus on agriculture, the land and the environment isn’t just an academic endeavour – they are pathways for students to actively engage in student research projects. 

Among the sustainability projects are projects such as Diversity in the Wine World and Forest Farming and Mushroom Intercropping which offer students enriching experiences to think critically, analyse real-world problems and contribute ideas and solutions. 

“I explored the roles of mushrooms in soil health and conducted scoping work on the potential for mushroom cultivation and other types of forest farming on the Sweet Briar campus,” says Abby Cahill. “Alternative agriculture is a rapidly expanding field, as climate and environmental issues juxtapose an ever-increasing world population teetering atop an industrialized agricultural system.”

Such future-forward education is how Sweet Briar graduates are making history. This is the place to be if you’re looking to embrace and cultivate your unique capabilities as a woman.

Ready to join the next generation of women leaders and create an experience personalised to you? Forge your future with Sweet Briar today. Click here to find out more about admissions for international undergraduate students

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