Davidson College (DC) was founded in 1837 with the belief that a strong liberal arts education prepares students
for lives dedicated to leadership and service. Davidson continues to instill a sense of honor and
responsibility in each individual who passes through its hallowed halls. Retaining the highest
degree of selectivity and scholarship, this college enrolls students with academic promise,
strength of character, dedication to service, and an open-minded diversity of interests.
Students exhibit enthusiasm for learning not only in
the classroom, but also in the everyday adventures that
shape the college experience. A single day may transport
a DC student from reflections in a discussion-based
Gandhi seminar to the neuroscience lab for
cutting-edge research on Alzheimer’s disease. After
class, community organizations welcome students as
mentors to local children and volunteers at a free medical
clinic. And whether scoring on the Division I playing
field or rolling kayaks on the lake, students are
constantly on the go, thriving in an environment that
encourages vigorous and engaged learning both inside
and outside the classroom. Although faculty, staff, and
community provide an invaluable support network, their students are independent, creative
individuals who thrive on giving back to their community.
Students celebrate opportunities for meaningful
relationships and cross-cultural discussion. Close proximity to the booming metropolis of
greater Charlotte balances the benefits of a small college town setting with easy access to all
the cultural and professional opportunities that the city has to offer. The school’s ideal location
on Lake Norman offers a network of cross-country trails, and central access to both the mountains
and the Carolina coast. In addition, approximately seventy percent of the student body
will study abroad at some point during their career at the school. Extensive travel, study, and service
encourage students to reflect on their position as local and global citizens.
Davidson’s Honor Code serves as the foundation for a strong environment of academic
and personal freedom. Take-home tests and self-scheduled exams enhance classroom study by
combining an interactive, discussion-based classroom atmosphere with academic evaluation based on
knowledge and thought, not test-taking know-how. Your signature on the Honor Code pledge represents
dedication to a place where unlocked doors signify the immense trust that governs
each interaction. Through the Code students cultivate a unique sense of responsibility to the
greater community, The City of Charlotte.
Charlotte’s vibrant community allows
students to retain a global perspective in
their daily lives. Attending cultural events
and professional sporting contests, along with
taking advantage of internship opportunities
creates an ideal balance for students
between their home base in Davidson and
the resources of the city. Whether serving
the greater Charlotte community of 1.3
million at Urban Ministries, catching a
movie at the IMAX theater, or racing in
the annual Reindeer Romp, students find
themselves with plenty of opportunity
to take advantage of all Charlotte has
My favorite Honor Code story happened in the Baker Sports Complex.
Over my four years at Davidson, I swam laps in the pool in the Sports Complex
each morning. I kept my goggles, swimsuit, and towel in a locker in the locker
room and I never thought to put a lock on my locker. In the rush of graduating,
I forgot to clean out my locker. When I returned two years later for Homecoming,
I went to visit my old locker. Although a little dusty after two years, I discovered
all of my belongings just as I had left them. Indeed, the most important aspect of
my four years at this college was the Honor Code. There is an immense sense of
freedom derived from living and learning in a community where you know that
you are trusted and you know that you can trust those around you.
E. H. Little Library houses extensive resources including 631,000 volumes and an inter-library
loan system that allows students to have access to virtually any resource their academic
explorations may require. A comprehensive collection of journals is housed on-line, permitting
students to access resources using the wi-fi in their room or a by using a
library computer. High-tech music and art slide libraries complete with sound recordings,
music scores, music reference works, multimedia listening stations, DVDs, and videotapes supplement
the main library. The Sloan Music Center, complete with sound-proof practice rooms,
electronic music and recording studios, and performance space compliments the light-filled
visual arts center and Duke Family Performance Hall. Students drawn to the sciences thrive in
extensive research facilities and state-of-the-art laboratories. Internet access is comprehensive,
with two wireless facilities and personal Internet ports for each student. Nationally recognized
for its careful roommate pairing system (welcome to the world of the Myers Briggs
personality test), Davidson’s highly residential campus houses ninety-four percent of the student
body in doubles, singles, suites, and apartments.
Their application asks two simple short-answer essay questions. The first focuses on its foundation: the Honor Code. The second cuts straight to the heart of it all: Why
Davidson? Why, after all the colleges and universities you have explored; why, when there are
so many fine institutions of higher education available to you; why will you choose Davidson?
The answer? It is not in the million dollar facilities for art, sciences, and athletics. It is not in
the fully wired network that allows students access to equipment, materials, and facilities not found
at institutions ten times our size. It is not even the fact that Davidson does your laundry
(although, admittedly, that doesn’t hurt . . .). It is the people. At the true heart of what makes DC unique is the community.
Grounded in the ideals of the Honor Code and anchored in a tremendously talented faculty,
the school retains simple, basic values that embrace a commonality of spirit and celebrates the
differences of each individual. “Let learning be cherished where liberty has arisen,” continues
to serve as Davidson’s motto and perhaps even more true for those who have studied in its halls,
liberty arises through the mind-opening collaboration and challenge this dedicated group of
scholars brings to daily life.
As a student who didn’t know a whole lot about Davidson before visiting, I sometimes
wonder what life would have been like had I stayed on my New England-centered path in the
college search. The thought that I would have chosen otherwise makes me more than grateful
that Davidson entered my life when it did. Simply put: Davidson is different. Without hesitation
I wholeheartedly encourage you to seriously consider Davidson, but be forewarned—it may just
change your life.
Dedicated to a traditional liberal arts and sciences curriculum combined with the most
up-to-date methods in research and technology, Davidson’s academic strength lies in an interdisciplinary
course of study. Students, motivated by strong ambition and inspiring faculty, choose
from a myriad of academic opportunities. With special emphasis placed on writing, analytical
and critical thinking, and eloquent communication skills, classroom learning extends beyond
the traditional college lecture into a rare undergraduate experience of intellectual discourse.
A strong core curriculum encourages students to choose initial courses in literature,
foreign language, writing, history, natural sciences, mathematics, social science, religion
and philosophy, and fine arts. In addition, a cultural diversity and physical education
requirement reminds students of DC’s dedication to the whole person. Thorough and
rigorous examination of each area in a discussion-based environment affords students the
opportunity to not only strengthen their academic foundation, but also discover new areas
of intellectual pursuit. Flexibility and individualized guidance characterize an advising system
that works with students from orientation to post-graduation. Cutting-edge research
gives students a competitive margin over their counterparts with exposure to graduate
study techniques and methods in a fully undergraduate environment.
At this institution, learning is approached as a lifelong endeavor, placing great importance
on molding students into global citizens with the skills to lead in whatever field they choose
to pursue after graduation. Challenging the mind and engaging the heart make Davidson’s
classroom environment a unique and highly stimulating place to pursue academic study.
The results are priceless; not only do students leave with an exceptional liberal arts education,
but they are highly sought after by businesses and graduate and professional
schools. Their students are regarded as some of the most highly competitive candidates in the workplace
and beyond. Davidson students truly are the “go-to” leaders in their communities.
Concentrations provide the opportunity to pursue more specific interests through interdisciplinary
study in an area such as Gender Studies, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science,
Genomics, and International Studies. In addition to the strong traditional liberal arts curriculum,
Davidson offers students the opportunity to engage in professional programs in the areas
of Pre-law, Pre-medicine, Pre-ministerial, Education, and the dual degree Engineering Program.
Off-Campus Study Programs
In a community where a global perspective is valued,
seventy percent of students are eager to pursue a
portion of their studies abroad. Davidson sponsors a
wide variety of programs, taking students from the
monasteries and museums of India and Nepal to the
storied history of Cambridge University and over to
Kenya for medical studies and volunteer work.
Although Davidson programs span the globe, students
are permitted to enroll in non-Davidson programs
through the Office of Study Abroad, an important part
of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program.
In addition to a plethora of options available
through agreements with other colleges,
universities, and international
programs, several students choose to
study on one of Davidson’s own programs:
fall semester in India and Nepal; year or
semester in Tours, France; year in
Wurzburg, Germany; summer in
Cambridge, England; summer at The
University of Cape Coast, Ghana; summer
premed program in Kikuyu, Kenya; summer
program in Mwandi, Zambia; summer
archeological dig in Cyprus; summer in
Moscow, Russia; summer in Monterey,
Mexico; spring semester in Classical
Humanities in Greece, Sicily, Italy
Rusk, supports a wide variety of international opportunities both on and off campus.
Throughout the year, the community is enriched by visits from international speakers and government
officials to conferences organized through the Dean Rusk Program. A generous
monetary pool also allows students to dream up independent global adventures and academic
experiences with more than $100,000 in grants given annually for international pursuits.
I arrived at Davidson with the study skills to make the grade; I left with
a fiery passion for the written word. My adviser was not only an accomplished
scholar in her chosen area of study but a true mentor who listened, challenged,
and led me in an intellectual journey to push toward the outer reaches of my
Most Popular Fields of Study
Davidson seeks to gather an intellectually rigorous, well-rounded, open-minded community
of learners with the highest degree of academic achievement and promise. In evaluating
a student’s application for admission, the Office of Admission and Financial Aid examines
both academic performance and potential. Each application is carefully reviewed, with special
attention paid to the rigor of the high school record, contributions to school and community,
recommendations from teachers, counselors, and peers, essays, and test scores. Admission to
Davidson is highly selective with about one third of the applicants earning a place.
Nearly three-quarters of first-year Davidson students have graduated in the top tenth of
their high school classes, with a strong academic curriculum of at least sixteen credits (four
English units, three units of math, two units of the same foreign language, two units of
history/social sciences, and two sciences). Suggested high school courses may include additional
courses in science, history, mathematics (ideally through calculus), and foreign language,
with competitive candidates acquiring twenty academic credits during high school. The
middle fifty percent of those accepted score 640–740 (writing), 650–750 (critical reading), and
650–740 (math) on the SAT; the middle fifty percent of ACT scores fall between 28 and 32.
Standardized test scores continue to play a role in the admission process but are not used as a
single factor in the decision-making process. While SAT Subject Tests are not required, they are
recommended, with one in mathematics and one other of your choice strongly encouraged.
Students may receive credit for AP classes with a score of a 4 or a 5 in the academic
areas (or a 3 in Calculus AB and BC) or for higher-level examinations in the International
An important factor in the evaluation of a student’s high school curriculum is the
amount of rigor present. While a strong GPA certainly plays a role in the evaluation process,
course choice has significant impact on the evaluation of the application. Strong applicants
also demonstrate a loyal commitment to school and community activities. As an applicant
approaches the DC admission process he or she should understand that admission counselors
seek not only academic motivation and potential but also personally compelling students
who will contribute significantly to the Davidson community both inside and outside the classroom.
Thus, in addition to placing emphasis on academics, each admission counselor works to
evaluate the whole person in areas including leadership, personal character, service, and motivation.
Personal recommendations often contribute keen insight to this side of the admission
process. In an ever-increasingly diverse society, counselors are also aware of students who represent
diverse ethnic, cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds as well as evaluating the
differences among secondary schools.
Because first-year students are admitted for the fall semester, standardized tests should
be taken no later than November of the senior year. Students are welcome to apply to
Davidson under either one of the two Early Decision Plans or under Regular Decision. Both
Early Decision Plans are binding, and therefore, students who make Davidson their first
choice are encouraged to apply. Early Decision candidates should take standardized tests
no later than October of their senior year. The first Early Decision deadline is November 15,
with notification in mid-December. The second Early Decision Plan deadline is January 2,
with notification in early February. A requirement of the Early Decision plan is the Early
Decision candidate’s agreement stating that Davidson is the student’s first choice and if
accepted he or she will enroll and withdraw any other applications from other colleges
and universities. The Regular Decision plan requires that students submit application
materials to the school no later than January 2; admission decisions are mailed by the first
week of April. In addition to accepting its own application, available in both a paper and
electronic form, Davidson encourages the use of the Common Application, provided the
student completes the necessary supplementary information.
Although the college does not require a campus visit for admission, it is strongly recommended.
Sometimes the deciding factor in the college decision; the campus visit provides
valuable insight to a student’s process and allows him or her to have direct contact
with members of the Admission and Financial Aid staff. Students are
encouraged to call and schedule an appointment ahead of their visit. Tours and information
sessions are offered daily in both group and individual settings.
Prospective applicants are welcome to visit classes and encouraged to have conversations
with faculty, coaches, and current students. Seniors are invited to stay overnight in the
residence halls on selected evenings. To schedule time on campus, please call the Office of
Admission and Financial Aid at least one week prior to your planned visit.
As an institution that practices need-blind admission, Davidson is committed to making
education affordable to all qualified applicants, thereby supporting a diverse community from
which all students benefit. In accordance, all application decisions are made without regard
to a student’s financial situation.
The school offers both need-based and merit-based financial aid to its applicants.
Approximately one third of the student body receives some sort of need-based aid, usually in
the form of grants, loans, and work-study positions. At the heart of the college’s financial aid philosophy
is the Davidson Trust. Through the Davidson Trust 100 percent of demonstrated need
is met through grants and student employment.
To apply for financial aid, applicants will need to complete the College Scholarship
Service/Financial Aid PROFILE Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FASFA). These forms are available through high school guidance offices and Davidson sends
these forms to each applicant. The timetable for need-based aid is as follows:
- Early Decision: CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Application due by mid-November
- Regular Decision: CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Application due by mid-February
Merit scholarships are also available in varying dollar amounts to stellar applicants,
regardless of need. Characteristics including outstanding academic and leadership potential,
ability, character, and potential contributions to the Davidson community all play a role in the
selection process. No application is necessary for general merit aid. A small pool of special
application scholarships recognize excellence in specific academic and art areas that require
the submission of a portfolio, writing sample, an audition or an interview, which take place during
Scholars Weekend in April.
Student Financial Aid Details
A DC student’s only limitation to the pursuit and cultivation of their passions is the
short twenty-four hours in each day. Building on a diverse array of interests and talents, the
Davidson student body dedicates time and energy to lead over two hundred student organizations.
Active in a variety of ways, students learn not only the importance of community involvement,
but effective leadership skills through involvement in student government policy,
campus life, the organization of campus events, and promotion of social causes and multicultural
Supported by outstanding facilities, student activities and gatherings are enhanced by
the Alvarez College Union. Fueled by a constant buzz of activity, this student haven boasts a
twenty-four hour a day workout facility, a rock-climbing wall (part of the popular Davidson
Outdoors organization, which hosts a variety of trips and training sessions in everything from
hang gliding on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to skiing in West Virginia to canoeing in the
Everglades), the Duke Family Performance Hall (which hosted the Royal Shakespeare
Company in an ongoing campus residency), and a cafe with grill open to students and the surrounding
community. Music enthusiasts also find a haven in the concert committee,
active in not only bringing local acts to campus but also supporting diverse acts from Ludacris
to Counting Crows. Both the Davidsonian and Libertas, Davidson’s premier publications, hold
offices in this space. From an active SGA that governs everything from the tax activities council
to the Vamonos Van, students have endless opportunities for involvement.
Comprised of thirteen houses, the self-selecting Patterson Court social system is unique
to Davidson College. Unlike a traditional Greek system, students join houses through a
self-selecting process that invites each student to spend time in the houses before choosing
membership in an organization. The majority of houses (eight national fraternities for the
men and four eating houses for the women) are single-sex, with two of the houses offering
open membership to both sexes (one coed house and the Black Student Coalition). Houses
offer the opportunities for social interaction, shared meals, and service projects. The houses
also support court-wide projects such as the annual Project Life Pasta Dinner (to benefit
Bone Marrow Transplants) and the recent Habitat for Humanity Gala (in conjunction with
the Union Board and several other campus organizations to support a Davidson College
Habitat House). About sixty percent of the women and forty percent of the men choose to
join a house.
Perhaps the best thing about Davidson is not the opportunities that
already exist, but those that you, with a little determination and creativity, create
on a daily basis. As a prospective student I searched out female a cappella
groups on each campus I visited. Although Davidson was the only campus without
an existing group, I wasn’t deterred. By the end of my freshman year The
Davidson Delilahs were headlining concerts alongside the established male a
cappella group and by midway through my junior year we were working in a
recording studio on our first CD!
Music and Theater
Bolstered by state-of-the-art facilities in both music and theater, the performing arts
enjoy great popularity at the school. Students gain valuable performing experience
through active participation in the writing, directing, and producing of theatrical productions.
An annual visiting Artist Series and plethora of events enhance the cultural community.
Through ensembles, performances, lectures, individual instruction, and academic
courses, the theater and music departments provide both the college and the community
with invaluable resources that strengthen the human spirit and intellect. Whether jamming
with a group of friends in your freshman hall or listening to the a cappella concerts under
the stars, participating in an opera workshop, or performing in the improv comedy group,
there is a hardly a student that remains untouched by the vibrant cultural pulse of these
This school’s commitment to community service is reflected in the twenty-six student-run
programs that comprise United Community Action. From day one, the Freshman
Service Experience introduces students to service in and around the Davidson community
with a focus on poverty, the environment, children, and senior citizens. Reflecting the diversity
of the student body, opportunities range from scaling roofs with Habitat for Humanity,
translating for recent immigrants at a local medical clinic to working with CROP to organize
an annual hunger-awareness week. Four annual grants for environmental service and
summer programs total upwards of $75,000 to make student projects a reality.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Success and high levels of performance stretch
beyond the classroom walls to the Division I
playing field. Nearly a quarter of DC’s students
engage in rigorous competition with the same
tenacity that they approach their academic studies.
Their students balance their hard work with
fierce efforts on the fields; eighty percent are
involved in athletics at either a club or intramural
level. Size does not stunt the high level of performance
students bring to this college’s playing field. This is evidenced
by the many conference championships captured by their varsity teams in recent years.
Often pitted against larger universities, they succeed in not only making the Division
I experience a reality but coupling it with the finest academics around.
In an increasingly educated and specialized society, some question the value of a
liberal arts education; citing the pressure to specialize in one single track, thereby imaginably
increasing their marketability in the professional world. At Davidson, the community remains
fiercely loyal to the ideals of a liberal arts education, which allows students to not only build
skills in a highly focused area but also attain a broader foundation that makes them both versatile
and desirable in today’s society.
To ask what their “typical” graduate pursues in his or her post-Davidson life is
to open a floodgate; graduates pursue innumerable paths but share the common motivation not
only to reach for the highest realms of the professional world but also to give back to the community.
Although popular professional paths center on traditional fields such as medicine, law,
and business, a strong number of students also pursue the ministry, academia, and nonprofit
fields. Graduates are often known as the “go-to” people in their communities, emerging as leaders
and facilitators—they are the people who others look to in order to get things done. With
strong writing and communication skills, extensive leadership experience, and a vested interest
in their communities, alums find themselves recruited by the top organizations in
a spectrum of industries. A rich history of graduate fellowships also paves the way for students to make possible the continuation of their studies at the graduate
An extensive alumni network and the Career Service Office allow students maximum
exposure to opportunities for internships and jobs both during their experience at the school and
in their post-grad lives. Beginning in the freshman year and continuing through graduation,
Career Services plays a significant role. Offering career workshops, alumni panels, and professional
job fairs throughout the year increases the exposure students have to the working world
and allows them to explore various fields while still under the guidance of the professional
Career Services staff.
Fortunately for current students and the institution, their alums are passionate
about their alma mater and are notorious for their willingness to help fellow graduates
explore different career and life paths. A Davidson connection is one of the strongest a
graduate can have and a strong ally in an anonymous world.
Although some students will tell you that the most passionate intellectual discussion
often takes place at 3:00 A.M. in the residence halls, an outstanding faculty is truly the
core of what makes them a premier institution of higher education. Noteworthy
achievements and credentials aside, the most exceptional characteristic of each faculty
member is an absolute passion for and dedication to undergraduate learning. Full professors
in each classroom (nearly 100 percent of whom hold a Ph.D. in their area of study) facilitate
learning in a dynamic discussion-based environment. The absence of teaching
assistants and graduate students creates an atmosphere of engaging intellectual challenge
that encourages students to pursue their interests to the highest degree.
Individual attention heightens the effectiveness of the average class size of fifteen
students, with some seminars numbering as few as five. Independent research projects
ground students in a practical experience, which few of their counterparts at larger colleges
and universities can boast. Students geared toward graduate study and other postgraduate
pursuits benefit greatly from an in-depth approach to study alongside accomplished faculty
Open office hours, meetings held at the local coffee shops, and faculty and staff who
serve as activity advisers fully incorporate educators into the student life. Students
find their professors accessible and eager to engage their minds in the current issues of the day
and the past events that have shaped history. A student-to-faculty ratio around 10:1 ensures highly
personalized attention with relationships that often stretch beyond the classroom walls.
Several students note professors’ willingness to open up their homes for dinner discussion and
advising meetings. From the moment students set foot on campus their experience
is shaped with the help and insight of a faculty adviser. Each works to ensure success from class
selection to the graduate study that eighty-five percent of alumni undertake at some point.