Of the nine Carolina schools I visited with my HECA colleagues at the end of February, High Point stood out as different from the others. Similar in size and location to Elon and Wake Forest, High Point seemed to me more business-oriented than other liberal arts schools. Five thousand undergraduates and 1000 graduates attend, 80% from outside of North Carolina.

The Premier Life Skills University

High Point bills itself as “The Premier Life Skills University.” Coming from a teaching background, I originally thought that had something to do with special education, but that is not at all what they mean. They want their students to graduate with more than technical knowledge. They’ve surveyed employers extensively and learned that college graduates lack certain essential “life skills.” HPU sets out to teach these: coachability, motivation, emotional intelligence, and temperament.

Like other liberal arts colleges, HPU emphasizes broad exposure to different disciplines, problem-solving, cogent writing, lifelong learning, and engaged citizenship.

Academic Schools

High Point comprises 14 academic schools, the largest two being business and communications. Every major incorporates experiential learning and life skills. Embedded throughout are skills employers seek: critical thinking, analyzing and interpreting data, effective communication and teamwork, and ethical reasoning. Freshmen must take an intellectual discovery course with emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. Success coaches aim to weave students into High Point rather than weed students out.

In addition to schools of natural science, education, business, and communication, High Point has schools of nursing, health sciences, humanities and behavioral sciences, arts and design, and entrepreneurship. Engineering is growing, though not yet ABET accredited, and recently added a major in mechatronics, an interdisciplinary branch of that combines robotics and electrical engineering.

Special programs include a 3 + 3 doctor of pharmacy and a doctor of physical therapy, for which HPU undergrads are guaranteed to make the first cut of gaining an interview. Nursing is not direct-entry and they aren’t currently asking for test scores. Schools of optometry, dentistry, and law round out the graduate options.

Qubein’s stamp: God. Family. Country

President Nido Qubein’s stamp is clear, starting with the Qubein Center for basketball and conferences. From the grand marble staircase to the three-story water feature to the fountains to the oversized video displays, the center, like all of campus, is Disney-clean and shiny. At the top of the marble staircase is a flag sculpture in red, white, and blue. The flag “pole” contains steel from the World Trade Center, and beneath the flag are three words: God. Family. Country. 

I asked Dr. Kerr Ramsay, senior vice president for enrollment, what the political climate is on campus. He said it’s “fiscally conservative, socially libertarian.” We visited during spring break and so the only students we saw were our very cheerful tour guides, who shuttled us around campus on 10-seater purple golf carts. They pointed out the many statues on benches that remind students of success: Jefferson, Lincoln, Einstein, Rosa Parks; I counted at least 10 as we rolled from one building to another. A campus concierge provides students one number to call with any question they might have.

Who should consider High Point?

I would say that business majors would be well served here. Students who need support adjusting to college would find that support here, though Ramsay said it’s not meant for students on the autism spectrum. Dr. Ramsay said that they’re looking for students who want the safe and polished High Point environment, who like the support systems. 

The average GPA is a 3.52 unweighted, 4.03 weighted. High Point recalculates your grade point average, including every course on your transcript, even those gym classes you aced. There’s a separate calculation for rigor. Their application this year had a sample question to submit an AI essay, along with the prompt you used and three ways to edit the response.

If you decide to apply, apply early: 45% came in Early Decision, 45% Early Action, and only 10% Regular Decision. EDI acceptance rate was 90% and EA was 85%, RD only 38%. Definitely visit the campus, attend the information session, and get the tour to decide if High Point University is right for you.

High Point aims to impart personal skills for success