GRAND Report: Berry College
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Berry College is one of the first campuses I remember spending time on as a high schooler. Home to the WinShape camps and conference/retreat centers, many organizations take advantage of the largest college campuses in the US. Keep reading the GRAND report to see if Berry could be your GRAND fit school.
Berry is located in Rome, Georgia, about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta. About 2000 students call this campus home, almost all of them undergraduates. Close to 70% of students come from the state of Georgia, but 34 additional states and 18 countries are represented. The 27,000-acre campus has 15 classroom buildings and 10 residence halls, a wildlife sanctuary, 2 beautiful chapels, and dozens of trails for hiking or running.
Berry offers Early Action and Regular Decision admission plans. They utilize the Common Application and their own application. However, admissions has no preferred platform. Grades, Academic Rigor, and SAT/ACT scores are required, and the counselor recommendation form, teacher recommendation(s), and the “Why Berry” essay are strongly recommended. Berry releases admissions decisions and scholarship information on a rolling basis. For the Class of 2019, Berry accepted 74% of applicants and enrolled 17% of students.
Because Berry is a Liberal Arts institution, students will explore the curriculum before declaring one of the 42 majors available through four distinct schools. Professors are personable and knowledgeable; Berry has an 11:1 student to faculty ratio, and 99% of professors hold terminal degrees. There are a strong faculty mentorship program and ample opportunities for hands-on learning. 90% of students report having two significant mentors during their time in college, and 79% of 2018 graduates completed an internship or significant research experience. Berry also encourages students to create their own Berry College Signature Experience by exploring personal growth and expressing achievements.
Berry brings some unique programs for an institution of its size. One such program is called One Health, a minor for students interested in a career in the health science fields. Students work with the CDC, among other community partners, to study real-world issues related to human, animal, and environmental health in an interdisciplinary way. Another unique program is Creative Technologies, which is offered as a major or a minor. This field allows students to study computer science, design thinking, and business, through the lens of liberal arts, finding innovative ways to communicate in the tech industry. Students manage the actual college funds through the Berry Investment Group, participate in pitch competitions and hackathons, and publish research in journals, among other hands-on experiences.
Despite its small size, Berry does have a football team. The Vikings participate in the NCAA Divison III and are a member of the Southern Athletic Association. A quarter of students participate in club or varsity athletics, and 30% play an intramural sport. There is no Greek Life on campus, but students can find fellowship and service opportunities through one of the 75 campus organizations. Students claim that there is always something happening on campus, whether Casino Night, Rage in the Cage, or the Finals Fest Concert and Block Party. However, the most popular event though, is Marthapalooza, a late-night outdoor carnival that occurs every fall in conjunction with Mountain Day.
Berry operates from the belief that the educational experience is comprehensive, purposeful, and involves the whole person. Similarly, the mission “Head, Heart, and Hands” and the Berry Compact align with this belief. While Berry was founded on Christian principles, students are not required to identify as Christian, take Christian courses, or attend chapel. The emphasis is on serving others and beliefs of exchange.
Students must live on-campus all four years in traditional or suite-style residence halls. Additionally, students who are a part of the Year of Service Program can stay in the themed cottage. Berry students are service-oriented, open-minded, and kind. Schedule a visit or take a virtual tour.
As of May 2020, Berry costs $50,316 a year. But do not let the sticker price stop you from considering Berry. 81% of students receive need-based aid, with an average award of $31,556. Merit scholarships range from 8-24k/year and awarded automatically. There are additional scholarships students can apply for, including the Signature Scholars Program for leadership and service. Berry also has a 57.3% 4-year graduation rate, and 97% of 2017-2018 graduates had a job or were in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.
One program that is unique to Berry is the LifeWorks program. While many institutions boast about campus jobs, Berry guarantees that any interested student can engage in 8 semesters of relevant paid work. These jobs go beyond Resident Advisor or working as a tour guide, though. Students can survey science labs, run a start-up, or oversee a herd of cattle. The opportunities are endless.