Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Is the program focused on a particular major or majors?
A: Not at all. We have students taking courses in all the traditional liberal arts subjects, and in other disciplines as well. In particular, students in the humanities, social sciences, the arts, and the natural and mathematical sciences will find a wide variety of classes that will enhance their undergraduate experience. Please click on "Available Courses" in the margin to the right to see a list of courses sorted by discipline.

Reading also offers course work in majors not usually associated with liberal arts colleges: Typography and Graphic Communication, Law, Agricultural Economics, Health and Social Care, Meteorology and Food Science are just a few. On the other hand, the University does not have programs in architecture, nursing, medical technology, equestrian studies, civil, chemical and aerospace engineering.

Q: How do classes on the Reading program differ from those at the American college I'm presently attending?
A: Some classes - natural and social science courses, in particular - will be in the lecture format that is very familiar to you. By contrast, we have an array of Oxford/Cambridge-style tutorials to offer you. These classes are quite small, having only one to three students. Coursework in a tutorial usually involves a reading list - students are expected to do a certain amount of background reading on their own - as well as mutliple papers and/or presentations. There are often no tests in tutorials, and classes usually only meet once a week, but for a longer durations. Tutorials are sometimes held in the common rooms of the houses where you live or in the office of your tutor (professor). Some are even taught in London and Oxford. In a tutorial, the responsibility for the discussion rests more with you, while the tutor skillfully quides the conversation without dominating it.

The method of assessment might be foreign to you as well. For each class you complete - tutorial, seminar or University course - your professor will complete a written, narrative evaluation of your work that will become part of your permanent record of achievement on file with the registrar's office at Randolph-Macon.

Q: So, how's the food?
A: Well, as you might expect given the differences in culture, it's not American fare. But Bridges Hall, the University hall of residence that our program is affiliated with, offers wholesome meals and a great opportunity to meet new people.

And restaurants in the UK have come a long way since Wimpy Burgers! A fantastic blend of ethnic foods is available wherever you go. Especially recommended are Indian restaurants.

Here's some good advice on traveling abroad from the author James Michener:"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."

Q: I'm concerned about finances. Are there any extra scholarships one can apply for?
A: Randolph College wants this program to be accessible to all qualified applicants. A generous percentage of financial aid awarded to Randolph College students - need-based grants, merit scholarships, loans and even Virginia TAG grants - are applicable to the Reading Program. Only work-study doesn't transfer to the program. In addition, Randolph College students may apply to the Gravely-Hampson Global Studies Fund to cover expenses they will incur by participating in the program that they wouldn't incur if they stayed in Lynchburg (for example: round-trip plane fare, fees for a visa, and passport fees.)

Students from other colleges and universities should click on the "Costs and Aid" tab in the left margin. You will see that the College has need-based and merit-based awards for you, as well.

All students should investigate outside resources. Your community may have a Rotary Club that awards a study-abroad scholarship. The application deadline for these is at least a full year before your intended year of study. Students currently on Pell Grants should apply for a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the US State Department. The deadline for this scholarship is around the first week in April.

Q: Can I transfer to Randolph College and also participate in the Reading Program?
A: Absolutely!!

Students who transfer to Randolph College after their first year at another institution will join other sophomores on campus in the Reading Program application process that begins each September.

Students who wish to transfer to Randolph College after two years at another college or university should contact our admissions department to obtain a transfer application while simultaneously filing a separate application for admission to the Reading Program. Our Registrar and Associate Dean of the College will evaluate your transfer credits and help you plan your final two years to ensure that courses you take in Reading and in Lynchburg will enable you to graduate on time.

Q: Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?
A: As best we can tell, it was William Shakespeare. This topic is much discussed, however, and theories abound. If you participate in our program, you can talk about this with Mr. Andrew Gurr, a Shakespearean scholar who lectures in our British Heritage Seminar, IST 504. Mr. Gurr is also the director of historical research for the New Globe Theatre in London! He's a very big deal!
Q: What clubs and activities does the University offer?
A: Check out the Reading University Students' Union website for a list of clubs and activities. We think you'll agree that there's something to suit everyone's taste. Don't be put off by a sports club just because you haven't participated before. Athletics in the UK have a different emphasis than in the States. There are no athletic scholarships and no paid coaching staffs; students play sports for the fun and recreation they provide.

Our students have joined drama productions, done change-ringing, gone caving, starred on the basketball team, taken ballroom dancing, ridden horseback, and volunteered as primary school tutors in past years.

You'll have a chance to learn about clubs during Fresher's Faire, held at the beginning of the academic year.

Q: Will I meet Prince William during my year in Reading?
A: Not likely, although there might be State ceremonies where you can catch a glimpse of him from afar.
Q: Can I do an internship during the year in Reading?
A: Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, students will have internship opportunities. We'll be working during the 2007-2008 year to develop appropriate opportunities.

Furthermore, our students often secure part-time work in the town of Reading. This provides some extra spending money and another chance to interact with the British community.

Q: I'm an equestrian. Will I be able to ride while I'm in Reading?
A: Tally-ho! The University has a riding club, and members take instruction at the Wellington Stables about ten miles south of the University. You would hitch a ride with a member of the club who has access to a car. Several years ago, a member of our group even earned a place on the intercollegiate riding team.

By the way, Wellington Stables is located near Stratfield Saye, the former home of the Duke of Wellington; hence, the name.

Q: Will I run into someone famous while in England?
A: If you're an avid theatre-goer, most likely. Various members of the 2003-2004 Reading group saw Patrick Stewart (X-Men), Juliet Stevenson (Sense and Sensibility), Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, "M" in the James Bond movies), Sophie Thompson (Persuasion), Romola Garai (Nicholas Nickleby), Michael Gambon (Wives and Daughters), Paul Rhys (From Hell) David Bradley (the Harry Potter movies), Toby Stephens (Twelfth Night), and Alan Rickman (Die Hard, the Harry Potter Movies), to name a few.