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dmmetler

Campus visit report-Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA)

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EMU is a small, Mennonite school in Harrisonburg, VA, with a second campus in Lancaster, PA. We visited the campus in Harrisonburg. The best way to describe it is religiously conservative and socially liberal, with a major focus on social justice, peace, the environment, and global awareness. Most students spend time outside of the USA, and almost all faculty have done so. The strongest majors are health and education related, as well as an amazing music school, particularly for choral music and church musicians. If you want to sing in addition to doing something else, EMU has choirs for you, as well as hosting the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society. Their best known program is a graduate program in peace and justice. It just plain feels peaceful. They are a liberal arts college structured program with a liberal arts core, and have required religion classes and twice weekly chapel. Having said that, it is also a very diverse school religion-wise for a Christian college, particularly for the graduate program in peace and justice, and a student who’s religious views are not General Conference Mennonite  would still find like minds for almost any religious belief system. 

 

It’s a beautiful campus. Like JMU, it’s not at all flat-in fact, the entire campus is on the slope of a hill, going down. It is small and self contained. No wheeled vehicles on campus (and I think it would be very hazardous for a wheelchair). Parking is at the edge of campus and is included in student fees. We were not able to see housing or food service due to the college being off session, but according to my friend who works in the science department, the food service is quite good and very responsive to student needs, with a lot of international influence. Housing on campus is not required, and most students live off campus (there are a lot of homeowners who rent rooms to students, and it is often possible to barter housing should that be something a student wants to do), but is available all four years without issue. 

 

Total cost of attendance for an on campus student is just under 50k. There is quite a bit of merit and financial aid available, including some automatic merit (up to about half tuition), with additional departmental and competitive scholarships available. The school is eligible for the VA tuition assistance grant for in-State residents. There are also some automatic discount categories, and, in the words of the person we talked to in financial aid “we can always work with individual cases”. 

 

There is limited walkable commerce-a few small restaurants, predominantly free trade, locally sourced, and organic, a grocery store, and a really nice thrift store/used bookstore (which is worth visiting if you are in town as a homeschooler. It has an extremely nice education section. I’m bringing back quite a few math materials for my tutoring students, and if I didn’t have to pay for luggage, would have brought back quite a bit more. CLE’s store (and offices) are also across the street, and employ a lot of students. The downtown area is about a mile away, and the main shopping area is about 2 miles. 

 

They are very friendly to younger than typical students, in part because they have a high school on campus and have a small number of high school students who live in a dorm on campus (mostly missionary kids). It is common for high school students to take college classes, and they have had a few younger students who live with the high school students, but take an entirely college schedule. 

It’s not a good fit for DD (nowhere near enough science classes and rigor for her), but it is a lovely little school and might be a good fit for the right student. In some ways, I wish it were a better fit. 

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We looked at it on paper (as I mentioned in another thread) and if dd had been choral instead of orchestral ME, it might have been wonderful. 

Are you looking at JMU? Honestly, we have been thrilled with it. Dd is an introvert but needed a big enough campus/population to foster a great orchestra. She has done super-well. They are also a caring community.  Case in point--some student apartments off campus burned down mid-semester and there was a huge response from students, admin and even the town of Harrisonburg. The students were offered campus housing, someone started a Go Fund Me, people donated tons of items, profs relaxed due dates, etc. 

They have a really good science dept...😁

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We visited JMU  as well-separate thread :). It’s on DD’s list, but not currently her 1st choice. She is recovering from a knee injury, so I think she’s finding Harrisonburg a bit rugged-she might like it better if she came out when she wasn’t sore after walking across campus. It’s hard to get a good feel in June when the campus is about as empty as it ever gets. It’s also likely to be one of the more expensive options on her list, since she’s out of state and they do not have a guaranteed out of state waiver/merit scholarship. 

 

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On 6/12/2019 at 6:04 AM, dmmetler said:

EMU is a small, Mennonite school  

No one can say you aren't casting a wide net 😂

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It wouldn’t have been on the list to visit if we hadn’t been there anyway, and I have a couple of friends who teach/work there :). 

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