Photo Credit: furman.edu/admissions
Want to study and play rugby at one of the most gorgeous campuses in the nation? Look no further than Furman University, one of the U.S.’s premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges (ranked #46 National Liberal Arts Colleges) featuring a fully supported D2 varsity rugby program. Furman is a private, coeducational university located in Greenville, SC about 2 hours from Charlotte, NC. With just 2,658 full-time undergraduate students, Furman is known for its community-based atmosphere, nationally acclaimed campus beauty, and 79% four-year graduation rate
Furman dubbed the “Country Club of the South,” has a 750-acre campus that features an Asian garden, a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin, a Florentine bell tower, a spring-fed lake, 13 miles of paved trails through the woodlands and an 18-hole golf course. It is no wonder that 96% of students live on campus. Make no bones about it, this is a challenging academic institution and those looking to cruise through college need not apply!
Founded in 1998, the Furman Rugby program is widely considered to be one of the very best small college rugby programs in the nation. The program has compiled an incredible 178-61-1 record, and captured three Division III national championships in 2003, 2004, and 2005 and finished runner up in 2007 and 2008. In 2017, the team completed a remarkable season by compiling a record of 13-1 and finishing runner-up in USA Rugby’s Men’s Division 2.
Former Head Coach John Roberts, who helped found the team and led them to years of success, left the program in the capable hands of Head Coach Mike Miller. Miller was an assistant coach under Roberts for 3 years and also acted as the head coach for the Furman 7s side.
The team actively recruits new additions to its program each year. It is highly encouraged for prospects to attend the annual summer camp. Details are here. The Paladin varsity rugby team provides scholarships for rugby athletes and with over $400,000 in rugby endowment money to spend over the next four years, some talented athletes may garner over six figures worth of scholarship money over four years! Other merit scholarships can also be awarded to stand-out applicants. Scholarship applicants need to fill out a separate application here.
Photo Credit: Furman University Men’s Rugby
Rugby athletes are students first at Furman and with that in mind, Coach Miller established the A.R.M in 2016, which stands for the “Academic Rugby Mentorship” program to help support all Furman rugby student-athletes. Every inbound freshman is partnered up with an established leader on the team before they arrive at Furman. Mentors reach out over the summer to let them know what to expect when the new semester begins. Over the course of their freshman year, they interact with their mentors on a variety of different activities away from the pitch. The program is aimed at easing their transition from home life to campus life.
The connections don’t just stop on the rugby pitch. Coach Miller established L.E.G., which stands for “Leaders Engaging Graduates” program. Over the past 21 years of our team's history, the team has established a very tight-knit, family-type culture. Because of that culture, it is very easy for current students to stay in touch with the alums. Alums that have gone on to Masters and Doctorate programs at places like NYU, Georgetown, Fordham, and Vanderbilt. The rugby program created the L.E.G program so that current student-athletes can speak to role models who have already blazed a trail in the fields that they are studying. As a result of this program, many of our current players are able to obtain internships for companies where are alum work.
Furman is ranked as one of the most rigorous programs (ranked above the usual suspects such as Columbia, Dartmouth, and Stanford), applicants must possess a very strong academic record not only to gain admission, but to ensure their success. Furman is proud of its realistic approach to college admissions and has made the standardized test-optional and instead relies on interviews with hopeful applicants. Princeton Review also named it #9 Best School for Making an Impact and a Best Value College.
In 2019, 61% of applicants were accepted. While this is somewhat of a higher acceptance rate than at most “highly selective” schools, the high achieving applicant pool demonstrates that this data may not accurately reflect just how competitive it is to get into Furman (41% of the applicants were in the top 10% of their class). The typical freshman enrollee has a middle 50% ACT composite score between 28-32, and the middle 50% SAT composite score is between 1230-1410.
The most popular majors include business administration, political science, health sciences, biology, and history. Chemistry and psychology are strong, too. Furman’s academic climate is challenging. “Furman students all understand that the courses are difficult and seem to commiserate with one another,” says one junior. Fifty-eight percent of classes taken by freshmen have fewer than 20 students, helping students get to know faculty members well. “I think the quality of teaching is exceptional,” says one senior. “All classes are taught by professors, and only a handful of labs are taught by teachers’ assistants.” The Furman Advantage program helps fund research fellowships and teaching assistantships for more than 120 students a year. Furman is extremely proud that 96% of graduates are successfully placed within 6 months (successful placement is defined as either enrolling in professional school, graduate school or in their career choice).
“Furman may call itself a university, but its educational approach is closer to that of a liberal arts college, emphasizing problem-solving, projects, and experience-based learning. Two decades after severing its religious ties, the school continues to evolve, drawing more academically capable students from increasingly diverse backgrounds” Fiske Guide to Colleges note.
Furman Rugby Team Page: http://www.furman.edu/athletics/athletics/ClubSports/Rugby-Men/Pages/default.aspx Head Coach Mike Miller: email@example.com Summer Rugby Camp: www.furmanrugbycamp.com (July 6-9, 2022)
Photo Credit: furman.edu