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Hollins University, VA

Hollins University, located in the eponymous town of Hollins, Virginia, was founded in 1842 as Valley Union Seminary in the historic Botetourt Springs settlement. Ten years later, Hollins became a women's college, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the country, and the oldest in Virginia. Today, student living incorporates coeducational graduate studies and undergraduate education, which remains single-sex. The university is set in a small community with ample student housing, about 10 miles north of Roanoke. The university attracts students with several highly-regarded academic programs and its location among the beautiful terrain of central Virginia. About 750 undergraduates and 250 postgraduates currently enroll at Hollins University, with many of the graduate students opting to live in off campus housing in the Hollins community.

The university offers nearly 30 undergraduate concentrations in a variety of fields, the most popular being English, psychology, studio art, business and biology. Student living is distinguished by Hollins' small classes sizes and tidy 11-to-1 student to teacher ratio. Graduate students may enroll in a Master's Program in Liberal Studies or Teaching, or Master's of Fine Arts programs in dance, playwriting, film studies, children's literature or creative writing. The latter program is known for having produced two Pulitzer Prize winners, and pioneering women's sports writer Mary Garber. Hollins University follows a unique calendar, using a J-Term, or January "semester" in which students follow an independent course of study with a supervising professor, participate in off-campus internships, or study abroad.

Though undergraduates are required to reside on campus, graduate students may rent off campus housing that introduces them to their new home town. The town of Hollins is most notable for its natural attractions, which include the Carvins Cove Reservoir, the Jefferson National Forest and the Roanoke River. The university has come to embrace these attractions, and students skip class to hike Tinker Mountain each year, on what has become known as Tinker Day.

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