Furman University

Feb. 29, 2024

Furman’s 2300 undergraduates live on 750 beautiful acres all four of their college years. The residential requirement helps students stay engaged and involved even as they approach graduation from this liberal arts college. 

With 18 Division I athletic teams and modern facilities, there’s plenty of cheering going on for the Paladins. (Paladins are knights. There’s a myth/joke that they were called the Furman University Christian Knights when associated with the Baptist Church, but they switched to Paladins because of the unfortunate acronym.) Furman’s appearance at March Madness last year may have had something to do with their 30% increase in applications for this year.


Class size averages 14, and students rave about the personal connections they’ve formed with professors. The student panelists agreed that professors really cared about them as whole human beings. They agreed that it’s “easy” to get what you need at Furman, whether that’s research, study abroad, or internships. Students have mentors for internships, for each major, for pre-professional tracks; athletes have an additional adviser. It’s hard to fall through the cracks here.


The Furman Advantage is a four-year personalized pathway to help students figure out where they want to go. It’s fluid, but year one is “explore and discover,” year two is “examine and decide,” year three is “connect and define,” and year four is “synthesize and initiate.” You pick your major at the end of sophomore year.


Fast-growing downtown Greenville charmed us HECA counselors who were on a nine-college tour of the Carolinas. Furman foodies make the short drive (you can bring a car your first year) to Greenville for barbecue and a wide range of menus. Outdoorsy Paladins hike around the large lake or at nearby Rainbow Falls.

Who would find their fit at Furman?

Students who were successful taking rigorous coursework in high school, who were actively involved and who want to be involved in college would find that Furman fits them well. Furman students are ambitious and self-motivated. They should see the advantage of everyone living on campus for all four years and desire that commitment to community. Students come primarily from South Carolina and neighboring Southeastern states of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, but 47 states are represented at Furman. About 15% come from the mid-Atlantic region, but even they start saying “y’all” after a while. The international population is small. There’s an effort to honor all different backgrounds and religions through a first-gen alliance and student diversity council.

What do admissions readers want?

Admissions representatives said that Furman believes a student’s GPA paints a better picture of a student than an SAT or ACT score does. They’ve been test-optional since 2011. “Applications are a puzzle to piece together,” said one rep, so give them the information they need to understand who you are.

Furman recalculates GPAs on a straight 4.0 scale without awarding extra points for honors or AP/IB, but there’s a separate scale to address rigor. GPA ranges from 3.6 to 3.8. Of those who do submit testing, the SAT middle-50% range is 1280 to 1420 and the ACT 28 to 33.

At least four readers “touch” each application asynchronously, among them the territory manager, a quantitative reader who focuses on the transcript, and a qualitative reader. “Knowing Furman” makes a difference, and the essay is the “defining feature” of deciding scholarship awards, so do your homework.

Furman U. forges connections over 4 years