Mary Baldwin College


The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) at Mary Baldwin College is located in Staunton, Virginia on the Mary Baldwin College Campus. The program began in 1985 to allow gifted younger students to begin their College education at an exceptional institution several years before their peers. The program director is Dr. Stephanie Ferguson. It is a women’s program because Mary Baldwin is an all women’s college. The program enrolls approximately 70 students who live on campus in the PEG dorm, or at home with their families. Generally, 25 students a year are admitted. Students between the ages of 12 and 16 can enroll; they attend the college for four years and earn a BA or BS. The majority of the students continue on to participate in a masters or doctorate program, generally at the Ivy Leagues or other prestigious universities.


The PEG program at Mary Baldwin College is residential, however students do have the option to live at home with their parents if they are close by. Tuition at Mary Baldwin is $24, 370 a year. Room and Board is $7, 070 and there is an additional $1,000 fee for PEG students because of driving and program fees. Students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and financial aid. A full transcript is required for admission; students must have excellent grades as well as an SAT or ACT score in the 90th percentile. Students have both an individual and family interview with the Admissions Office and they must have completed a Geometry course prior to acceptance. The incoming class of 2014 had an average SAT score of 1755, and ACT of 28; their average GPA coming into the program as a 3.8 or above. Out of the 35 students who generally meet all of the requirements, 20 are accepted into the program.


PEG students take a standard Mary Baldwin curriculum, which is supplemented depending on where the PEG Academic Advisors feel there may be gaps in their education. There is a college orientation class for PEGs only. Mary Baldwin College has a rigorous curriculum for their undergraduate students and that same standard is applied to their PEGs students. Students are required to take an intermediate composition course as well as a literature course. They must also take a biology course and a lab science class. Students take Western Civilization up to 1648, and then from 1648 to the present day accompanied with a choice of European history courses. They must also take American Government and politics as well as College Algebra or an additional math course. Foreign language as well as a health and wellness course is also required. Mary Baldwin also utilizes the labs at the University of Virginia and Washington and Lee University for their more complex science courses.


The PEG students are housed in a different dorm from the general Mary Baldwin population until they are 16. At such a time they have the option of entering the traditional student dormitories. Freshman PEG students must participate in a mandatory study session every evening from 7-10pm during their first semester at Mary Baldwin. The students are then allowed to set their own study hours from the second semester onwards as long as they maintain a 3.0 or above. The PEG students are encouraged to take part in the clubs and activities that are offered on campus. In addition to this, they are encouraged to join the Boarding School Social Activities Committee (BSSAC). This provides PEG students with the opportunity to organize activities with Virginia boarding school students. They will often meet all together at amusement parks or organized dances and socials. This allows the PEG students to interact with their peers who are not in the gifted program. There is also a Desert and Dialogues (D&Ds) group that is incorporated into the PEG program to encourage the students to explore ideas and get to know their professors. They discuss new perspectives on issues in an encouraging and safe environment where they are able to discuss and explore different ideas. There are other PEG programs that allow them to get to know one another and grow together as a community of women. Students are also able to participate in the sports programs at the college and compete against other women’s universities.


The PEG program requests a list of names from a talent search program and the SAT board to find students who scored well. They then send out a mailing to all of the students, if a student is interested they are asked to send back the card, the program then sends them an application packet as well as an information packet. There are also visit days available throughout the year and once a year there is an overnight visit for PEGS to explore the program and life at the college.