James Madison University
James Madison University – Harrisonburg, VA
I have driven through the campus of James Madison on my way to my son’s alma mater, Roanoke College, many a time and finally I got a chance to tour the school. I fell in love with the students and the campus. As our tour group proceeded, a random student would yell “JMU” and we were under pressure to swoop low and say in our best voices “GO DUKES!” We actually got pretty good by the end of the tour, but the enthusiasm of the students we encountered was catching. The campus, which straddles Route 81, is a nice mixture of old and new structures, eclectic buildings and green spaces, and had a pleasant feel to it. With only 28% of their student body coming from out of state, it is a competitive school for our students from the Garden State who love the majors, distance from home and multitude of activities. Most popular majors include undergraduate business, psychology and all of the sciences. Admission is holistic but focuses heavily on A’s and B’s in the core classes of math, lab sciences, social sciences and foreign language. Residential learning communities are very popular, with students grouped according to majors and all freshmen can be accommodated on campus with a number of sophomores. International experiences are very important to JMU and according to the Institute for International Education (IIE), James Madison is #2 among masters level schools for the total number of students who participate in semester-long programs abroad. I was especially impressed by their services for students with Learning Disabilities that were incredibly solid. This summer they will be moving to a 5,000 square-foot facility in the new Health Center allowing for even better delivery of services to students.