But current students might have it the worst. They’re trying to transfer halfway through the academic year — when many transfer deadlines have passed. They also have to get accustomed to an entirely new college culture.
“The school suggests that all I have to do is pack up my apartment and move across town. But in reality I have to pack up, and it feels like I’m moving to a new country where I don’t even speak the language, especially as a junior,” Hallsey Brandt, a junior at Sweet Briar, told Business Insider.
Here’s how Brandt and other students found out. On March 2, students at Sweet Briar College got an email from the school’s interim President, James F. Jones, calling a student assembly, with only a vague indication about the reason for the impromptu talk.
Jones had planned the assembly to tell students and faculty the bad news. A news source actually broke the story first, however, and students started to learn the awful news before the president spoke.
“I was in the front row and the girl behind me had received an email from her parents with that news, so we all burst out into tears,” Brandt said. “And the president came on and told us that the school would be closing and that the class of 2015 would be the last graduating class of Sweet Briar College.”
That news meant that Brandt will need to find alternate schooling for her senior year of college.
She’s still just as upset a week later.
“I shake when I even think about the noises I heard in that auditorium when he said that. The gasps and the cries and everyone had no clue at all that this was about to happen,” Brandt said.
Sadness has turned into anger at the administration for putting current students in an impossible position, according to Brandt.
“The anger has kind of come out with the week because people realise: what am I supposed to do now?” Brandt said.
In a call with media after the news of the closing, President Jones spoke about the tears and sadness from students in the assembly, but indicated that there were also students who understood the decision and that “…there were the other young women who thanked us for being brave.”
Brandt doesn’t buy that description of students’ reaction from President Jones, saying that she herself doesn’t find the decision to be brave and that, “…from the reaction this past Tuesday I don’t know who would have said that.”
Brandt is now, along with the rest of her classmates, starting to think about her transfer process, she told us from Boise, Idaho, where she’s working with alumnae on last-ditch efforts to save the college.
She’s investigating her options to see which schools will still allow her to graduate on time, will offer similar scholarship and financial aid packages that Sweet Briar provided, and accept all of her credits.
Brandt is worried Sweet Briar has underplayed the difficulty of transferring, especially since many schools have different graduation requirements.
“I was 25 credits away from graduating,” she said.
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