Pros: Christ honoring environment, academics, student life
Cons: parking, cramped post office, the usual
I came to Liberty University (LU) straight out of high school, with all the excitement and expectations of someone who had never really been away from home. After just a few days of being at LU, I was so homesick I was ready to pack up and leave. The leadership system here at LU was what got me through those first few weeks. They were very understanding and helpful. They helped me through my homesickness and got me started on my college career. Now, I am finishing up my fourth semester at Liberty University and loving every minute of it.
Liberty University is a Christian private four-year liberal arts university founded in 1971 by Dr. Jerry Falwell. Over 8,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 nations attend Liberty University on a 4,400 acre campus in Lynchburg, VA.
There are currently 38 undergraduate degree programs and 15 graduate programs. The Liberty University School of Law opened in August of 2004 and was provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association in February of 2006. The seminary recently announced the addition of 10 new masters programs.
Liberty is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
A prospective student can apply to Liberty University by mailing a paper application or completing an application online. The current application fee is $30, but LU usually waives the fee for large periods of time during peak college application deadline times. The application has required questions about your personal information, background information, educational background, academic background, enrollment status, housing requirements, and need for federal aid. There is also an optional section regarding church affiliation. A 250 word essay, with a new topic every year, high school and college transcripts, and SAT/ACT scores are also required. Once all the information has been received, it usually only takes a few weeks for LU to notify a student of acceptance.
The cost of attending Liberty University may seem to be a bit on the excessive side at first glance, but it is actually at the lower end of the average for a four-year private institution. Basic costs for the 2005-2006 school year (per semester) are:
Tuition (12-18 credits): $6850
Room and Board: Main Campus: $2700
Campus East: $3450
Student Activity Fee: $175
Technology Fee: $250
Vehicle Registration Fee: $75
In addition to these mandatory fees, some classes also require a class fee. And you can't forget the cost of books which can be very expensive, especially if purchased from the campus bookstore. The bookstore is not run by LU, but by Barnes and Noble and the university therefore does not control pricing.
The Liberty Way
The Liberty Way is the student handbook for Liberty University. It outlines the rules for everything from the dress code to academic ethics. There is too much information to mention it all, so I am going to discuss a few of the things that seem to be of the most interest to students. The Liberty Way can be viewed in its entirety at https://www.liberty.edu/studentaffairs/index.cfm?PID=1417.
DRESS CODE: The dress code at LU has always been a subject for much debate. Liberty University maintains that a dress code is needed to prepare students for serving as "Champions for Christ" in many professional fields. The dress code is therefore guided by the basic principles of cleanliness, neatness, appropriateness, and modesty.
There are different rules for different types of dress. There is class dress, casual dress, formal wear, and swimwear. My first year at Liberty there were definite distinctions between class and casual dress. Beginning in the fall of 2005, however, the dress code was changed to allow students to wear jeans, capris, sweatshirts, and flip-flops to class so long as they are modest. Most students are very happy with this change, especially considering it wasn't too many years ago that female students at LU could not wear pants at all. With the new changes to the dress code, you could almost say that there is no dress code except to enforce modesty and neatness. For example, skirts can be no shorter than the top of the knee (standing or sitting), jeans worn to class cannot have holes, and clothing that reveals the midriff in any position is forbidden.
There is also a dress code for appearance other than clothing. This part of the dress code only applies to men. Hair may never over the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time, and ponytail are not allowed. Earrings and body piercings are forbidden.
ENTERTAINMENT POLICY: Liberty University also has an entertainment policy. Music that is lewd or has anti-Christian lyrics is not allowed. Movies that are rated "R", "NC-17", and "X" and video games rated A and RP or "M" with descriptors indicating any sexual content, alcohol/drug content, or strong language are prohibited.
CURFEW: Liberty University maintains a curfew for all students. The curfew is enforced by Resident Assistants who perform "curfew checks" every night. The current curfew is: Sunday - Wednesday: 12 midnight
Thursday: 10 p.m. (this is for hall meetings)
Friday & Saturday: 12:30 a.m.
REPRIMANDS: Reprimands are the disciplinary penalties given out by the university. Each semester you start with no reprimands, no matter the number you had during the previous semester. A student can receive reprimands for things such as dress code violations, safety violations, consuming alcohol or associated with people consuming alcohol, committing a misdemeanor, spending the night with someone of the opposite sex, and dishonesty. If a student continues to accumulate reprimands, there are other penalties that are given out such as fines, community service, and possibly administrative withdrawal from the university.
Many people do not understand why LU has these particular rules and standards and think that many of them are pointless. What they should know is that these rules are not only to protect students from harm, but to encourage a Christ-honoring lifestyle that LU has always maintained is its main goal.
The professors at LU are all born-again Christians who incorporate a Christian worldview into every class. They are all excellent teachers who hold top degrees. 68% of the faculty hold terminal degrees. Many of the professors are published and very respected in their field. For example, Dr. David DeWitt, the director of the Center for Creation Studies and an associate professor of biology, currently has a NIH grant to support his research on the causes of Alzheimer's disease.
Each degree program has its own requirements, but Liberty has several courses that all students must complete in order to graduate. These courses include several Bible classes, philosophy, theology, speech communications, english, humanities, and creation studies.
LU also has a technology requirement. All students must take a computer assessment test upon entering the university. A student receives two chances to pass the test and meet the requirement. If the student does not pass after two attempts, they are requires to take two information technology classes before graduation.
Students can save time and money by taking specific CLEP and ICE tests. Passing these tests will give students credit for specific courses. These tests are offered for courses such as English Composition, Humanities, College Algebra, and General Biology. Each test costs $105 to take plus $45 to receive credit from LU. This is much less expensive than taking a class for a student who has already acquired knowledge of a certain subject.
The Bruckner Learning Center provides academic support for all students, but especially those students with identified special needs. There is a testing and tutoring center as well as special academic advisors for students who feel they can benefit from extra guidance and support.
Spiritual Life at LU led by a the Campus Pastors office. There are currently seven campus pastors who help to oversee the spiritual growth of the students of LU. In addition to the campus pastors and their staff every hall has its own spiritual leadership. There are two Spiritual Life Directors "(SLDs) on each hall that oversee the spiritual life of the students, encouraging them to study the Bible and go to church and helping with any spiritual needs. The SLDs are also in charge of the prayer leaders on their hall. There are several prayer leaders on each hall who lead prayer groups and give devotions. Both the SLDs and the prayer leaders, as well as the Resident Assistants, are available to students for counseling, prayer, help with spiritual matters, or just as someone to talk to on a bad day. Hall leadership is an essential part of the spiritual life at Liberty University.
CAMPUS CHURCH: Campus Church is held on Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday evenings. Each of the services are taught by a campus pastor. Campus Church is a bit different from how most people see churches. A large portion of each service is devoted to praise and worship. The Campus Praise Band provides music for the services. The music is more towards the contemporary side and usually involves some sort of light show. The sermons are always thought provoking and have the correct aura of seriousness to them, but each of the campus pastors has found a way to draw the crowd in and make them more comfortable through things like jokes and voice imitations. Some people do not like Campus Church because they feel it is too contemporary and casual, but for the most part, students enjoy going to a church service that is geared toward their generation.
CONVOCATION: Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 to 11 a.m. every student at Liberty University must attend convocation. Convocation is a sort of chapel service with announcements and special events mixed in. On Wednesdays, Dr. Falwell speaks at convocation, but on Mondays and Fridays, other speakers are brought in. Some past speakers include Frank Peretti, a Christian author, Steve Saint, a missionary whose family's story was told in the recent movie "End of the Spear", Samkon Gado, a recent LU graduate who currently is currently in the NFL playing for the Green Bay Packers, and Zell Miller, the Democratic senator who supported President Bush in the 2004 elections.
EMPHASIS WEEKS: Every semester, Liberty has what they call "Emphasis Weeks." Special speakers are brought in to help student focus on certain aspects of spirituality and worship, as well as parts of our culture that should be honored. Some of these things are spirituality in general, missions, and the military. Speakers have included Clayton King of Crossroads Worldwide and David Nasser, a traveling speaker and author.
MISSIONS: Liberty University has a big heart for missions. Students are encouraged to go on short-term missions trips and the university sponsors quite a few. Everyone at LU feels that it is our responsibility to share to the Word of God with the world and has made that a main goal.
Spiritual life at LU is unique. Students are encouraged to study the Bible and ask questions. There is always someone willing to sit down and help you with something you do not understand. Every student at Liberty University is prayed for, by name, every day. I know this sounds impossible considering how many students there are, but when that number is divided into groups such as a hall or prayer group, it is most definitely possible. The spiritual support system at LU is something quite amazing.
DEMOSS: This is the main academic building, named after Arthur S. DeMoss, who donated the money to build it. There are four stories, but only two are currently being used. This building is relatively new and the classrooms are have state-of-the-art technology. Most classes are held in this building. The library, computer lab, and bookstore are located inside this building. The visitor's center and Jerry Falwell Museum are also located in this building. The older science, fine arts, and teacher academic halls are connected to the back of DeMoss and there is also a courtyard.
CAMPUS NORTH: Campus North is a recent addition to LU. It is located in an old Ericsson building that has been renovated for university use. There are several classrooms and professor's offices in this building. The Student Service Center, which houses Student Accounts, the Registrar, and Financial Aid, and the School of Law are also located there. Campus North is quite a walk from main campus and many students avoid scheduling classes there if at all possible.
LAHAYE STUDENT CENTER: The LaHaye Student Center was donated by Tim Lahaye, writer of the "Left Behind" Book series, and his wife Beverly. It opened in November 2004 and can be used by all students, faculty, and staff. Certain parts are also open to the public at designated times. This facility has a lounge area with pool tables, two large screen TVs, four televisions with XBox, and board games. There are 5 basketball courts, cardio and weight Rooms, an aerobics room, a 25 yard swimming pool and 2 spas. Most students really enjoy having the Student Center and it is usually quite busy.
LAHAYE ICE CENTER: The LaHaye Ice Center was also donated by Tim and Beverly Lahaye. It opened in January of 2006 next to the LaHaye Student Center at Campus North. Students must pay a fee of $4 for admission and $2 for skate rental. The public can also skate at designated times. The nationally ranked LU Hockey team plays here as well as intramural hockey teams. There is also a broomball league being started. Many students like the ice center, but a lot of students have not been there because of the cost.
THE VINES CENTER: The Vines Center is a 10,000 seat arena located in the middle of campus and hosts a great deal of events. Convocation and Campus Church are held there. The LU basket ball and volleyball teams play in the Vines center. Conferences such as The Extraordinary Women's Conference and Super Conference are held there every year. The Vines Center is also home to Winterfest and the many other concerts LU brings every year. Some of the artists who have played at LU recently are Third Day, the David Crowder Band, Casting Crowns, Tait, Barlow Girl, and Audio Adrenaline.
POST OFFICE: The campus post office houses is where the mailboxes for main campus students are located(East Campus has its own mailboxes) and where all students mail and pick up packages. The post office is small for the current number of students and 2 students share each mailbox. The package delivery system was recently upgraded so that whenever a student receives a package, they are notified via e-mail. The post office is pretty good about getting student's mail in their boxes in a timely manner. The only time when there is really a problem is at the start of the semester when a lot of people are receiving textbooks that they ordered online.
A. PIERRE GUILLERMIN LIBRARY: The library is located in DeMoss Hall. The library collection includes approximately 300,000 volumes, over 9,000 unique print and electronic periodical titles, and over 200 electronic indexes/databases. The Curriculum Library provides materials especially for Education majors. There is a variety of materials geared toward children and young adults and materials for lesson preparation. Records, compact discs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, and music scores, with listening and viewing stations are also available.
COMPUTER LAB: The computer lab consists of 9 classrooms and a large open lab with more than 350 student-accessible computers. There are specialized labs such as the Mac computer lab and the music lab. All computers are connected to the internet via a high-speed connection, which is also available to all students in the dorms. The campus also has a wireless internet connection.
LIGHT MEDICAL: Light Medical and Counseling Associates, Inc. is where LU students go for non-emergency medical care. They are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students can receive vaccinations there and students who wish to move off campus for a medical reason must get approval from Light Medical. Many students do not go to Light Medical because you must pay at the time of your visit and bill your insurance on your own.
Liberty University is a member of the Big South Conference and the NCAA Division I. Men's sports are baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, and wrestling. Women's sports are basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track and fields, and volleyball. Club sports are men's hockey, men's volleyball, and men's and women's lacrosse. There are also numerous intramural sports including basketball, volleyball, flag football, ultimate frisbee, and soccer.
In recent years LU has begun to build a stronger athletic presence. The women's basketball team has won the Big South Tournament for 10 straight years and last year advanced all the way to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. Several LU athletes have been signed to professional teams as well. Katie Feenstra now plays in the WNBA for the San Antonio Stars and Samkon Gado plays in the NFL for the Greenbay Packers.
For more information you can visit www.libertyflames.com.
Liberty University has a Student Life department that plans activities for students. These activities include movie nights, day trips to Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, concerts, skiing trips, and Halo 2 tournaments. There are also various Coffeehouses, where students perform music and skits and show movies they have made. Student Life also sponsors "late night" events that students are allowed to attend after curfew. There are always lots of activites every semester and the students really enjoy them.
Dorms at LU are same sex only. Member of the opposite sex are not allowed onto resident halls. The only exceptions to this rule are with permission for moving purposes and during "Open Dorms". Open dorms is an arranged time each semester when students can visit the rooms of members of the opposite sex for an hour with the Resident Assistants supervising. Students always look forward to open dorms and most halls decorate for the occasion.
There are four kinds of dorms at LU and all are air conditioned.
The first type of dorm is a building with 1 to 3 halls. Three people live in each room and most of the dorms are this type. There are two community bathrooms on each hall with several showers, toilets, and sinks. Many people do not like this arrangement because even though there are three people in each room, there are only two desks, closets, and internet connections. The university has said that they are looking in to changing these dorms, but no one thinks it will be any time soon.
The second type of dorm is really only one dorm. Dorm 33 is a six story all female dorm. (This is where I live, so I know a little bit more about it than the others.) There are 25 rooms on each hall with 2 girls in each room. There are two community bathrooms on each hall with four toilet stalls, three sinks, and five showers each. Each hall also has its own lobby. The Resident Director has an apartment on the first floor of the building. Dorm 33 is the only dorm on campus that has an elevator and there is a laundry room on the first floor that can only be used by the girls who live in the building.
The third type of dorm is called a "quad." There are only four quads on campus, two male and two female. These dorms are three stories and each floor is divided into "quads." The quads are set up sort of like apartments. There five rooms, each of which has two people, a kitchenette, a den, and a community bathroom with several showers, toilets, and sinks. The quad dorms were renovated during the summer of 2005. Quads cost $300 more than the regular dorms, but many people feel it is worth the cost because there are less people sharing everything.
East Campus dorms are the last type of dorms. These dorms are similar to the quads in that they are apartment-style. Each building has four floors. Each apartment has three rooms, with two people per room, a kitchen/dining room, and a den. Each apartment also has its own laundry area. Each room has its own bathroom and a walk-in closet. each building also has a tall wrought iron fence with a gate surrounding it. East Campus was just built about three years ago and they are currently building more of these dorms. East campus is more like a small community than a set of dorms though. There is a clubhouse with televisions, computers, pool tables, and a cafe. There is also a pool and a movie theater. There are several spots fields as well. These dorms cost $750 more than the regular dorms and $450 more than the quads. Many people feel that the extra cost is worth it because there are less people, you only have to share the bathroom with one other person, and the other amenities. The thing that seems to keep people from living on East Campus, other than the cost, is that it across the highway. LU has built a walking tunnel underneath the highway for students, but many people think the walk is just too far. For the most part, however, people like living on Campus East and many people on Main Campus would like to move there.
There are several laundry facilities spread out over campus. These laundry rooms are used by both guys and girls. The cost of doing laundry is $2 per load, including use of the dryer.
Liberty allows all students to have cars on campus. Students must pay a fee of $75 each semester for a parking sticker. The only distinction between classes is that freshman are only allowed to park in the two large parking lots at either end of the campus, called "The Pits," while all other classes may park in lots closer to the dorms and at the dining hall. On-campus students are not allowed to drive to class and can only park near the academic buildings after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Over the last year finding parking spaces has started to become more of a problem. This is due to the fact that the number of students has increased so dramatically. LU is trying to address this problem. They recently paved one of the large "Pits" and rearranged/added spaces. For now this seems to have fixed the problem, but LU is planning on increasing enrollment even more over the next few years.
Students purchase a meal plan each semester. For on-campus students, this is included in the room and board cost. The plans include a certain number of meals in the dining hall and a caertain number of "meal points" which can be used at the other dining options around campus. There are several plans to choose from, including 3 meals per day with 100 meal points per semester and .
REBER THOMAS DINING HALL: The dining hall is located on main campus, near the academic buildings. Eating at this location uses meal swipes and most students eat there meals there. Food is served all-you-can-eat buffet style. There is a grill area where you can get burgers and fries and a pizza bar. There are pasta, salad, soup, bagel, and sandwich bars. There are also vegetarian, Mexican, and Asian sections. The Classics line serves things like casseroles, barbecue, and fish. There is also a waffle bar, a fruit section, and a cereal area. The drink bar has a variety of juices, tea, milk, and Pepsi products.
For breakfast you can choose the waffle bar, bagels, cereal area, or the Classics area. A usual breakfast offering is eggs, bacon or sausage, home fries, pancakes or french toast, and oatmeal or grits.
There is also a take-out option for people who don't have time to eat. Getting a meal this way is not all-you-can-eat. Students get a choice of entree, two sides, a dessert, and a drink.
The food usually tastes pretty good, but it is definitely not the homemade food most people are used to. A lot of students complain about the dining hall, but just as many love going there. It seems to just be a matter of not being able to please everyone.
CAMPUS NORTH CAFE: This is much like the dining hall, only it is located at Campus North. Most people think that the food is much better however.
THE HANGAR: The Hangar is a food court located in the courtyard of the main academic building. All the food there is purchased with meal points. There is a smoothie location that also serves ice cream, Starbucks coffee, and pretzels. There is a grill that serves burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, chicken wings, fries, and mozzarella sticks. There is also a place that sells pizza, bread sticks, hot dogs, nachos, and stombolis. A convenience store area also sells drinks, Krispy Kreme donuts, and other snacks.
SUB CONNECTION: Sub Connection is much like Sub Way and is located inside DeMoss, the main academic building. They serve a variety of subs, wraps, and salads as well as soups and cookies. Students use meal points at this location.
JAZZMAN'S CAFE: Jazzman's is located in the computer lab and meal points are used for purchases. The main thing sold at Jazzman's is gourmet coffees (my favorite is the raspberry white chocolate mocha) and smoothies (the Snickers smoothie is great). They also sell SoBe drinks, juices, bottled water, cookies, muffins, biscotti, and pre-packaged sandwiches and salads.
EASTSIDE MARKET: This is the cafe inside the East Campus Clubhouse. Purchases here are made with meal points. They have a convenience store area as well as a deli, and grill. I personally have never eaten at this location, but everyone I know raves about their fresh cut fries.
THE KEYHOLE: This is a convenience store located in the part of campus where most of the dorms are. They sell typical convenience store items as well as Pizza Hut pizza and Chick-fil-A sandwiches. All purchases are made with meal points.
CAFE A LA CART: This is located inside the main academic building and students use meal points here. It is a great place to get a snack in between classes. They sell sodas, juices, Starbuck's coffee, sandwiches, salads, muffins, bagels, candy, fruit, and huge brownies and Rice Krispies treats.
For more information you can visit www.libertydining.com.
Lynchburg, VA,, located along the James River, was chartered in 1786 and has a current population of over 64,000. There are five colleges other than Liberty in the surrounding area.
While Lynchburg is by no means a large city with an abundance of exciting things to do, it is not completely lacking in entertainment and culture. People who enjoy visiting historical landmarks can visit Thomas Jefferson's home, Poplar Forest, or Point of Honor, the home of Dr. George Cabell, Sr., friend of physician of Patrick Henry. The Legacy Museum is dedicated to African American history and Amazement Square is a children's museum that has some exhibits that older people will enjoy as well. There are several parks in Lynchburg that offer everything from open grassy areas to play frisbee and picnic to tennis and basketball courts. Wintergreen Resort is only about an hour away from Lynchburg if you want to go skiing.
Lynchburg has a very large number of restaurants. Just across the street from Liberty alone there are about a dozen restaurants. There are the usual fast food restaurants like McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, and Sonic. There are also moderately priced sit-down restaurants like Cracker Barrel, Ruby Tuesday, Olive Garden, Panera Bread, and Logan's Roadhouse. If you're looking for fine dining, there is a restaurant called Crown Sterling not too far from campus. There is also a Starbucks just off campus for caffeine cravings and a Coldstone Creamery for sweet tooths.
Shopping in Lynchburg is a little better than average. Across the street from LU is Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Target, Barnes and Noble, and a few other stores. River Ridge Mall is just up the road from campus that has typical mall stores such as Sears, JC Penney, American Eagle, Aeropostale, and Bath and Body Works. Other stores in the area include Big Lots, K-Mart, Staples, and Goody's.
There are several movie theaters in Lynchburg, but the one most students go to is a discount movie theater just off campus. This particular theater begins showing movies several weeks after their release date, but it is worth the wait for the prices. On Monday tickets are only 50 cents and on Tuesday, only 75 cents. Every other day, tickets are $1 before 6 p.m. and $1.75 after 6 p.m.
FRIENDLY FRIDAYS: Every month LU sponsors a "Friendly Friday" for prospective students and their families. Visitors watch a movie about LU, go on a student-led tour of the campus, and have lunch on campus while listening to Dr. Falwell and a faculty speaker.
COLLEGE FOR A WEEKEND: There are two College for a Weekend (CFAW) events every semester. During these events prospective students stay in the dorms with students and attend classes of their choosing. There are various seminars about things like financial aid as well as a concert and other activities. Visitors usually arrive on Thursday evening and leave on Sunday afternoon after attending Campus Church. The cost of attending a CFAW event is $50 and each paying visitor can bring a friend for free.
Liberty University is a wonderful place to attend college. The academics are strong and you will leave with the knowledge you need to begin you professional life. The spiritual life on campus is amazing and you will grow in your walk with God in a way you never could have imagined. You will leave LU strong in your faith and with the ability to explain a Christ-centered worldview to anyone.
I feel that coming to LU is the best decision I have ever made. I am getting a top notch education for my profession and learning a great deal about my faith. I have grown so much spiritually since I first arrived. I honestly do not think that I would have the same kind of relationship with God if I had attended any other university. Yes, there are problems, but every university has problems and I feel that overall LU is a great school that provides a great education, strong Christian principles, and an atmosphere that makes students want to learn and live more happy, fulfilled lives. I love attending Liberty University and would recommend it to anyone.
For more information, you can visit www.liberty.edu or www.libertyu.com. You can also call 1-800-543-5317 to speak to an admissions counselor.