Founded in 1930 after the famous 1925 Scopes Trial, Bryan College is a small private Christian college named after the statesman William Jennings Bryan, who had expressed his wish “to teach truth from a Biblical perspective” at an institution of higher education. Located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in tiny Dayton, Tennessee this hilltop campus on 128 acres serves about 1,250 students, including about 800 undergraduates from 41 different states and nine foreign countries. About 43 percent of students are in-state, and another 57 percent are from outside Tennessee.
Approximately 450 students are enrolled in the school’s graduate programs and online learning programs.
All courses are taught from a Christian perspective and there is a heavy emphasis on Christianity and global service. All of the faculty members sign a “statement of faith” each school year.
Undergraduates are offered associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in 19 majors and 40 concentrations. Students wishing to further their studies can pursue two types of master’s degrees — the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Arts in Christian Studies degree.
Current majors include Drama/Theater Arts, Music, Biology, Business Administration/Management, Communications/Rhetoric, Computer Science, Education, English Language & Literature, Spanish, History, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematics/Computer Science, Exercise Sciences, Christian Studies, Psychology, Political Science/Government, Bible Studies, and Religious Education.
Some of the most popular areas of study are business/marketing, communications/journalism, and education.
About 80% of the full-time faculty teaching the bachelor’s degree programs hold a doctorate or highest degree in their respective fields.The student to faculty ratio is 14 to 1.
The College Honors Program provides students with rigorous alternative methods of instruction, and extracurricular and cultural opportunities to expand their horizons. The Honors Program offers honors classes, advanced research classes, field trips, and a thesis or internship. Some honors students can modify a regular class for honors credit. Honors classes are generally smaller than regular classes and allow for more interaction with professors. To qualify, incoming freshmen must have a minimum ACT score of 28 or SAT score of 1240, and a high school grade point average of at least 3.6. Students can also be considered at the end of freshman year, with recommendations from two faculty members and a 3.75 GPA. At least 18 semester hours of honors courses are required in the program.
Two study abroad programs are available for the students at this small college, including an Italy Abroad Semester and the ACTS Project international summer internship program, which has a decidedly religious theme to it. Italy Abroad is semester-long experience that blends academics and cultural experiences with “a missions lifestyle”. Students study at a small Christian school, Saints Bible Institute of San Lorenzo, along with other American students, and some Bryan professors travel to Italy to teach some of the courses.
The college’s ACTS Program, also a semester long, is a Bible study program that introduces students to others around the world, places them with a missionary or a pastoral family, and encourages participants to study a profession related to the ministry.
Most Popular Fields of Study
There is an online application, and students can apply for early action. The application requires an essay or personal statement, high school transcript, a minimum grade point average of 2.0, and three letters of recommendation. Freshmen applications are considered on a rolling basis.
If you’d like to visit the campus, you can partake in Breakfast @ Bryan, a morning visit that includes breakfast with the faculty followed by a campus tour and time to speak with admissions and financial aid representatives. The college also has Elevate, an overnight visit for students that is held each spring and fall. Prospective students arrive in the afternoon, have dinner with current students, choose from a number of evening activities, and spend the night in a residence hall.
You can also register online to visit the campus on a weekday, sit in on classes, attend chapel, and get a detailed tour of the campus. You also have the opportunity to speak with admissions counselors and financial aid representatives, and, if you choose, with professors and coaches.
Financial assistance is offered to students in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and work study programs. The average financial award is about $17,000 per year. About 100 Presidential Scholarships of $8,000 to $12,000, the highest academic award at this school, are given to incoming freshmen who have attained a minimum high school grade point average of 3.6, and an SAT score of 1240 or ACT score of 28.
The Bryan College Dean’s Scholarship, ranging from $4,000 to $8,000, is awarded to freshmen with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an SAT score of 1100 or ACT score of 24. Bryan College also awards grants of $1,000, music performance scholarships of $4,000, which goes to two incoming freshmen pursuing music majors and have auditioned. Sibling grants of $1,000 are awarded and National Merit Scholar Recognition Program grants of $1,000 to $2,000.
The Bryan Opportunity Program helps academically qualified Tennessee students who demonstrate significant financial need by awarding full scholarships and room and board. Students must complete the FAFA form and must be from a family with a total income of less than $35,000.
All students up to the age of 22, unless they live with family in the area, are required to live in residence halls. This accounts for the relatively high numbers of students — 85 percent — who live on campus.
Men’s residence halls include the Woodlee-Ewing hall, which houses 174 students. Woodlee-Ewing consists of two-room suites with two students in each room, and a shared bathroom. The hall includes lounges on each floor, a kitchen area, a laundry room, storage and a community computer lab. Also for men, H.D. Long Hall is their oldest residence facility, and contains 52 rooms with sinks, community bathrooms on each floor, a lounge, laundry room and a resident director’s apartment.
The Townhouses are the newest residence halls, built in 2010 and featuring two wings, one for men and the other for women. Reserved for upper class students, the Townhouses are six-student apartments that feature a full kitchen, living area, and cable TV in each apartment. Residents are not required to be on the meal plan or observe college curfews.
Women’s dorms include FE Robinson Hall, built in 2006, which provides housing for 120 students in a traditional style dorm with 60 double rooms. Community bathrooms are on each floor, and Robinson features lounges on each of its four floors, a computer lab with wireless access, a kitchen, and an elevator.
Arnold Hall is a suite-style residence hall that accommodates 100 students who live in double rooms with connecting bathrooms between two rooms. The building has a lounge, kitchen, laundry rooms, two study lounges, and a computer lab. The Huston Residence Hall, one of the oldest on campus, has 52 rooms, a lounge, kitchen, community bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
Dining on the campus is pretty much limited to one all-you-can-eat dining hall, which is operated by Pioneer College Caterers. The dining hall includes a deli bar, salad bar, grill station, Belgian waffle bar, and omelet station. If you’re sick, your resident assistant can approve a sick tray for you.There is also a small coffeehouse in Mercer Hall.
There are more than 40 student clubs and organizations, including the popular Hilltop Players, a theater troupe that produces four plays/musicals each year; student government; a debate club; a number of musical groups; and the student-run newspaper, Triangle.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Lions compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The college fields intercollegiate teams in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s baseball, women’s volleyball, softball and women’s cheerleading. The college also has coed teams in cross-country running, track and field, and golf.
Intramural sports are men’s and co-ed volleyball,flag football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, dodgeball, ping pong, pool and Fooseball.
There is also has a fitness center, located on the upper level of the Summers Athletic Complex, available to all students, faculty and staff. The Fitness Center is equipped with a cardiovascular fitness area, a room with weight machines, and a free weights room.
Additional School Information
There is a state-of-the-art library that was opened in 2001 and has more than 145,000 volumes in its collection, including 60,000 e-books and 10,000 online journals. The Academic Support Center helps students with services that include tutoring in core curriculum and major courses, assistance with writing research papers, internships and job searches.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.