VWU First - Student FAQs

A liberal arts education is one that helps develop one’s intellectual ability through providing general knowledge across a breadth of subjects.

VWU’s liberal arts education embraces the values inherent in a liberal education, an education dedicated to developing the open-minded, disciplined reflection necessary not only to professional success, but also to a life of personal accomplishment and social commitment.  The University’s academic program brings the ancient tradition of liberal education into the here and now. The general education requirement emphasizes breadth, showing students how to investigate complex subjects from multiple perspectives and how to make connections among various disciplinary approaches to a subject.

VWU provides an education that prepares students to take many positions within today’s multi-faceted workplace.  The education allows for individuals to adapt quickly in an ever changing workplace.  Liberal arts graduates are noted for their written and verbal communication skills and their ability to solve unique problems within the workplace because of their liberal arts education.

VWU is an ideal school for students to attend for their undergraduate education for a variety of reasons.

  • The average class size at VWU is 14 students so students are comfortable with approaching faculty and others for help.
  • The focus of faculty and staff is on aiding the student to be successful, which means they provide a strong support system for students as they pursue their academic goals.
  • Students have the ability to participate in undergraduate research, high-impact leadership, career development programs, and out-of-class engagement, which aids the student in standing out to employers upon graduation.

VWU defines a first-generation student as a domestic student whom neither parent or guardian has graduated with a 4-year college degree. Students who have siblings attending or who have graduated from college are still considered first-generation.

You are not alone! First-Generation students are 28% of the undergraduate student population at VWU.

Yes! We have faculty and staff who are first-generation college graduates. VWU has faculty and staff that are first-generation college graduates from not only VWU but also other institutions throughout the United States.  They, along with the other faculty and staff at VWU, will help support you during your time at VWU. 

We fully understand about being nervous.  This experience is a new one for not only you but your family and there will be challenges.  The Marlin Community is here to help you, and your family, with this new experience and the challenges you may face. You are not alone.

VWU has many opportunities to get involved through the Fun Zone, Student Activities, Greek Life, Residence Life programs, and athletic events.  

VWU has many different programs to aid all of our students.  As you consider schools, the Office of Enrollment supports students throughout the application process.  Each student that applies to VWU is assigned to an Enrollment Counselor that will assist them in completing their application, filing the FAFSA, discussing their award package, and scholarship opportunities. 

The Learning Center is one of the main academic support centers on the Virginia Wesleyan campus. All of its functions are designed to provide support that helps students maximize their academic success. The foundation of the Learning Center is its peer Tutoring programs, both subject tutoring and writing and speaking tutoring. Professors nominate stellar students to become tutors and students apply and if accepted, go through training and development with the tutoring and Writing Services Coordinator so that they are equipped to support students who are having difficulties with their courses. Students can meet with peer tutors face-to -face during daytime, school hours, or virtually.

The Hofheimer Library provides space for studying alone or with friends and classmates. Librarians who can help you at any point in the research process or as you have other information needs are available. The library is also one of the departments on campus offering a large number of work study jobs for students.

As a college student, you will need to balance your academics, personal life, work life, and your extracurricular life.  It is normal to want to get involved with everything in your first year; however, you are not at VWU to major in extracurricular activities.  You are here for your academics first. 

Get a handle on your academic life first.  Attend all your classes and write due dates down where you can see them.  Schedule a meeting with your professor early in the semester to talk about the course and ways that you can be successful in the class.  Utilize the Learning Center tutoring at the start of the semester.  If you start tutoring at the midpoint of the semester, your grade won’t be as high if you started tutoring at the beginning of the semester.  Get with others to form a study group.  Prior to missing class, review the syllabus to see what the attendance policy is and alert your professor about you not being in class.  Family emergencies or illness may be deemed as an acceptable reason to miss class; however, missing a class for work or just because you do not wish to come to campus that day would not be an acceptable reason.  Alert Academic Affairs and your professor if you are going to be missing class for an extended period.

If you have a Work and Learn position or a Work-Study position on-campus, pay attention to the number of hours you may work and build your schedule around the times you won’t be overwhelmed with coursework.  If you have to miss work, alert your supervisor so that they know you will not be at your work site. 

For extracurricular activities, you may have athletic practice or want to join one of the many student organizations on the campus.  You will need to balance the rigors of both of these so time management is extremely important.  Remember, there are only 24 hours in a day and you do need to sleep, eat, take classes, and the work associated with the class.  As a member of a student organization, you can be an active member (someone actively involved and may hold a leadership position) or a passive member (someone who may not attend all events but someone who participates in group chats). 

You must remember that you are here at VWU to get a degree so your focus should be on being academically successful.

Yes, WesBridge is available for students who may need to bridge the gap between high school and college. The program helps students develop the skills necessary to be successful at VWU by taking two courses over the summer prior to the start of the fall semester.

Your academic advisors help guide you to be successful in your academic journey.
 
Prior to arrival on campus, first-year students are paired with a professional Academic Advisor. Entering students meet with their Academic Advisors to finalize their schedule of classes. Undeclared students continue to work with their Academic Advisor until they select a major and a Faculty Advisor within their chosen discipline.  While there is an advising week, students are encouraged to talk with their advisors whenever they have academic questions, concerns, or just need to talk with someone.  As India Khanna, a successful first-generation alumni from VWU, stated, “Building relationships with my advisors helped me out a lot when I had questions and didn’t know who to speak to.”
 
Upon declaring a major, a student will petition a full-time faculty member in their major field to serve as their Faculty Advisor. Students must complete a Declaration of Major Form, which is signed by both the student and the major advisor. At a minimum, students will meet with their Faculty Advisors during the officially designated advising weeks in the fall and spring before being released for web registration. We encourage you to meet more often with your advisor so the advisor can serve as an academic and personal mentor. Leading up to graduation, a student must complete an Application for Degree, at which time their Faculty Advisor will certify that the student has completed all university and major requirements.

You can contact an Academic Advisor at any time academicadvising@vwu.edu.

Individuals who had an individualized educational program (IEP) or a 504 Plan in high school are encouraged to utilize the Disability Support Services. Disability Support Services are provided for students with disabilities. Students are required to self-identify to apply for accommodations.

The office verifies disability eligibility, evaluates student needs, and arranges accommodations. Students requesting accommodations must meet with disability support staff and provide required documentation. Staff can also assist in student-instructor communication.

For more information about disability services and accommodations, please make an appointment with Crit Muniz, Disability Support Services Specialist, by email nmuniz@vwu.edu or by phone 757.233.8898. His office is located in the Learning Center, Clarke Hall 230.

If your course is hybrid, you will have some class sessions that are face-to-face with some form of online learning and/or online learning activities. Your faculty member will lay out which sessions are face-to-face and what will be online.  It is important that you write down that information so that you do not miss a class.  

In your class, your professor may require you to utilize Blackboard. Blackboard is the system VWU uses to manage the online components of courses, such as syllabi and assignments.  To access Blackboard, you will need to go into MyBeacon and click on Blackboard.  You will then log in there.  On the landing page, you will see an area where your courses are listed.  You can click on the link that corresponds to the course that you need to access.  Once in that course area, you can access the syllabus and any assignments.  You will also be able to submit assignments in that course area.  If a discussion board is used in the class, you will also find it within the course in Blackboard.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be completed after October 1st of each academic year in order to be considered for need-based institutional, state and federal grants, federal student loans, the Federal Work-Study Program, and the federal Parent PLUS Loan. The application for the FAFSA can be found at fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to include our school code: 003767.

Once we receive a copy of your FAFSA and you have been admitted by the Enrollment Office, we will set up an award package for you.  If you apply for the FAFSA you will receive a $1000 grant for just filing.  The grant is renewable each year if completed error free by March 1st for returning students.  Students cannot receive any additional need based aid unless they file the FAFSA. In the FAFSA page, videos and information are provided regarding the FAFSA and steps to take to complete it.

The Office of Financial Aid (located in Godwin Hall) can aid you and your parents in understanding your financial aid award.  The staff in the office will help answer any questions you may have.

Questions specifically about your term bill can be directed to the Office of the Finance and Administration which deals with student accounts and payroll. Any questions you have about payments you owe to the college or that the college owes you (if you work on-campus or have a credit on your account) can be directed to them.

VWU has merit-based scholarships.  The first step toward receiving merit-based scholarships is to apply for admission to Virginia Wesleyan University.  The Federal Student Aid website has information about scholarships including different types, how to find them, and other questions around scholarships.  Outside of VWU, there are different scholarship search engines that students can use to search for scholarships.  These include:

Outside of these search engines, students should search for local community foundations, churches, and other local organizations that may have scholarships.

Virginia Wesleyan University’s Work and Learn Program (WLP) is dedicated to providing students with meaningful work opportunities that allow them to better engage with the Virginia Wesleyan University community. Students will develop the necessary skills and experiences to be competitive in today’s job market. The program also gives students the opportunity to actively contribute towards the cost of their education.

WLP consists of four components:  Federal Work-Study, Campus Cooperative, Residential Leadership, and Opus.  Participating students are able to align their academic pursuits and passions with their on-campus employment.

Federal Work Study: Federal Work Study is awarded to students through Financial Aid to eligible individuals.  Participating students provide service to various offices and departments throughout the University, providing various support services. Their award of $2,500 annually is paid through bi-weekly paychecks at the federal minimum wage. The application process begins on the first Monday in August and can be accessed through each student’s financial aid portal located in WebAdvisor .

Campus Cooperative: These opportunities are funded through institutional funds and mainly cover support services in areas like the Learning Center, Batten Student Center, Student Activities, Center for Enrollment, and Marlin Ministries. Students employed through the Campus Cooperative receive a tuition credit of $2,500 annually. Applications for Campus Cooperative positions are ongoing. To learn more about the positions and/or to apply, visit the Campus Cooperative page.

Residential Leadership: The Residential Leadership program encompasses all student resident assistants (RA). Participating students are responsible for building a sense of community in their assigned hall and residential village. To be eligible to be an RA, you must be a sophomore.  RA's also enforce University policy in regards to student discipline. RA's are compensated through a tuition credit of $4,200 annually.

Opus: The Opus program is a privately-funded initiative that assists students, who after exhausting all financial aid, have an outstanding balance on their student account. Students are awarded a grant amount and in exchange, complete a number of work service hours for the University. Students accepted into the program are able to register for the upcoming semester and participate in the housing process, if they are resident students. Qualifying students are invited to apply.

VWU is a residential campus that provides housing for our undergraduate students as long as they are with us.  If you are not local, yes, you need to live on campus. Local students may choose to live on campus or commute from home.  Local students are defined as those whose home address at the time they apply to VWU is within the 7 cities of the Hampton Roads (Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach).  Anyone whose home address is not in one of those cities is required to live on campus.  Exceptions may exist for those who are transfer students, married, under 17 or over 23.

 

There are several styles of housing available for students. We offer standard double rooms where the floor shares a communal style shower room and rest room, suites where two rooms connect via a bathroom which the residents share, single and double kitchen suites, apartments, and townhouses. To learn more, visit the Residence Halls page.

Yes, first-year students can have a car on campus. The student must register their vehicle through the WebAdvisor and the parking decal will be billed to their account. The parking pass cost $150 for the year.

 

The Student Counseling Center provides a safe place for you to come and talk about whatever life issues or problems are bothering you. From stress, to relationship issues, to difficulty with drugs or alcohol, no problem is too big or too small.
 
The counselors sincerely want to help and you can talk confidentially, without worrying about being judged or put down for your thoughts, feelings, or actions.

VWU partners with Sentara Medical Group in the management of the Student Health Center.  Because of Sentara’s trusted leadership in the healthcare community, VWU students conveniently receive access to the best care available in Hampton Roads.  Visits to the on campus health center are free to VWU students. Students are encouraged to visit the Student Health Center to see about clinic hours and what to do after clinic hours.