Berry College is a homeschool friendly, private, selective liberal arts school in Rome, Georgia. The campus is located 72 miles northwest of Atlanta and 75 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. College leaders from across the country chose Berry College as the nation’s number one “Up-And-Coming” liberal arts college, according to the 2014 U.S. News Best College rankings. Berry was also named in Forbes’ Investor’s Guide to College Admissions as one of “10 Undervalued Buys.”
Berry College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is a member of the Annapolis Group, an organization of more than 120 liberal arts colleges nationwide. Berry College consists of four schools, each of which also have their own additional accreditations.
Berry College challenges students to embrace a firsthand education that combines strong academic programs with opportunities for spiritual and moral growth, community service, and participation in the world’s premier on-campus work experience program. This mission, expressed as ‘Head, Heart and Hands’ by college founder Martha Berry, remains just as relevant today as it was when the institution was founded in 1902.
Martha Berry was an American educator and heir to Berrys and Company, a wholesale grocery and cotton brokerage business. Her early education was provided by a governess and private tutors at home, and then for one year she attended the Edgeworth School, a finishing school in Baltimore, Maryland. This was the only formal education she received. In the late 1890s, Martha constructed a small, whitewashed school on eighty-three acres of land given to her by her father, and began to teach Sunday school classes to local children.
Martha also started the Berry Schools for economically poor children of the rural South who could not afford to go to other schools. Martha would educate the children for free if they would agree to work around campus. These schools of the early 1900s grew within three decades into Berry College. The college’s student work program is based upon the original idea the schools were founded on. To this day, the program continues to help offset the tuition cost for Berry College students.
Increasingly recognized as one of America’s leading liberal arts colleges, Berry offers undergraduate programs in the sciences, humanities, arts and social sciences, as well as the professional areas of nursing, business, and teacher education. Berry also offers an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies. A minor degree can be obtained in 36 different courses of study.
The Campbell School of Business offers bachelor’s degrees in accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing.
The Charter School of Education and Human Sciences offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education, middle grade education, psychology, health and physical education, exercise science, and pre-physical therapy.
The Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences offers bachelor’s degrees in art, communication, English, French, German, government, history, international studies, music, music education, music with elective studies in business, religion and philosophy, sociology and anthropology, Spanish, and theatre.
The School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences offers bachelor’s degrees in animal science, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, nursing, mathematics, and physics.
Dual degree programs are available in nursing (with the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University), and engineering (with Georgia Institute of Technology College of Engineering and Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University).
Pre-professional programs in pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, and pre-veterinary medicine are also available.
All areas of study are characterized by high academic expectations and extraordinary mentoring relationships between faculty and students. For example, science students collaborate with faculty on sophisticated research projects in first-rate laboratory facilities; in field projects involving the wildlife and forests of Berry’s ecosystem; and in the equine, dairy and beef cattle facilities on campus. As a result, opportunities for animal science and environmental science students to gain meaningful, firsthand experience are among the best in the nation.
Students in the humanities and social sciences also flourish, working closely with faculty to complete major projects while distinguishing themselves nationally though participation in Berry’s highly accomplished forensics and Model United Nations. Ample opportunities for applied learning experiences also extend to business and education students and students in the arts.
For every instructor at Berry College, there are 12 undergraduate students. This ratio is better than the typical college concerning instructional attention. The vast majority of instructors are full-time faculty rather than “lecturers” or “adjuncts.”
Berry College boasts the largest contiguous campus in the United States. The Berry campus consists of more than 27,000 acres of fields, forests, and Lavender Mountain. Berry College has more than 80 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, a campground for student use only, and two disc golf courses.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) oversees about 16,000 acres of the campus. The DNR provides comprehensive services that include public safety, fire suppression, and managed hunts on designated days. The land encompassing the academic buildings and other public spaces is a wildlife refuge in which no hunting is allowed. The college raises dairy and angus cows, as well as other animals, for their animal science and education programs.
In December 2016, Travel+Leisure ranked Berry College as among the most beautiful college campuses in the United States, noting its fields, lakes, forests, and mountains among its English Gothic-style buildings, fountains and pools. The House o’ Dreams, located at the summit of Lavender Mountain, was built in 1922 by students and staff as a gift to Miss Berry.
The Berry campus became home to a pair of bald eagles in the spring of 2012, and they have had seven eaglets since that time. They have continued to nest more than 100 feet up in a tall pine tree between the main entrance and the parking lot of the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center. The Berry College nest cam is the only one in Georgia that streams a live feed of a bald eagle nest.
Rome, Georgia, was selected as one of the South’s best college towns by Southern Living. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Rome developed in the antebellum period as a market and trading center due to its advantageous location on a confluence of three rivers. All five Sugar Creek Gang films based on the children’s book series of the same name were filmed in the area. Notable attractions in Rome include:
- Downtown Rome, the largest Victorian-era district in Georgia.
- Broad Street, the second widest main street in Georgia.
- Historic DeSoto Theatre, the first in the south built for movies with sound.
- Old Mill, the world’s largest overshot water wheel.
- Marshall Forest, one of the last remaining stands of old-growth forest.
- Upper Coosa River Basin, the most biologically diverse river ecosystem in America.
- Rome Tennis Center, the largest hard court facility in the nation.
Although Berry embraces an ecumenical approach and has never had a denominational statement of faith, Berry College’s mission statement espouses “values based on Christian principles.” Martha Berry was a deeply committed and practical Christian woman. She wanted her schools to be a place where worthy students could live, learn, work, and worship. As a result, religious life remains a focus of the Berry experience.
The campus has a chaplain, four chapels, and an active religious program. Each week, there are several religious life activities on campus. The school is also involved with Chick Fil-A, a Christian-run business, through its WinShape Foundation programs. Berry is a dry campus, meaning alcohol is banned.
Life at Berry is connected with lots of green space, indoor and outdoor recreation, an active culture of clubs, organizations, student work programs, and volunteer opportunities. There are more than 80 organizations on campus, including theater/music groups, newspaper and yearbook, and a television station. The college also supports and encourages student entrepreneurship and community service.
Berry College guarantees every student a job on campus for those interested in participating, regardless of family income, and more than 90 percent of students take advantage of the opportunity. Work opportunities are remarkably varied and include more than 300 positions in research laboratories, information technology, business offices, facilities and land resources, the equine and dairy centers, residence and campus life leadership, recreation and fitness, campus communications, public relations and marketing, and more. The campus work program enables students to gain real experience to build their resumes and apply their particular academic interests.
The Berry Vikings belong to the NCAA Division III and compete within the Southern Athletic Association. Teams include soccer, cross country, basketball, football, swimming & diving, golf, tennis, outdoor track and lacrosse for men and women, baseball for men, and volleyball, softball and equestrian for women. Many students also participate in the club sports and intramural teams organized at Berry. Those teams include cheerleading, crew, flag football, Ultimate Frisbee and disc golf.
Berry College has more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students. There is a 66:34 female to male ratio, and 68% of the students are in-state residents. Students come from a total of 33 states and at least 17 foreign countries.
Berry College admits homeschooled students based on high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores, just like all other freshman applicants. Transcripts from homeschooled students should list all high school-equivalent classes by school year (freshman year, sophomore year, etc.), complete with the title of each course, credits received and grades earned, as well as the anticipated date of high school graduation.
As a college dedicated to strong academics and the value of meaningful work done well, applicants are also encouraged to submit a resume of work, volunteer service and/or other activities that help define the applicant.
For information about which high school courses are the best preparation for students pursuing enrollment at Berry, see: http://www.berry.edu/admission/FAQhomeschool