ASPiRE enriches and deepens students' understanding of their capacity to create positive change in communities through coursework, cocurricular experiences and a vibrant residential environment.
Interested in applying to ASPiRE?
VCU ASPiRE is open to all undergraduates who have at least two years of undergraduate studies remaining at VCU and are in good academic standing.
VCU ASPiRE students work with community partners to address critical community needs. These community partnerships allow students to:
- Connect with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and schools.
- Address local, regional, national and international community issues.
- Gain real-world experience to prepare for life after college.
Who is an ASPiRE student?
VCU ASPiRE is open to all undergraduates who have at least two years of undergraduate studies remaining at VCU and are in good academic standing. The ASPiRE Program has rolling admission from September through February of each year.
The VCU ASPiRE student:
- Has a passion for community engagement.
- Will actively engage in their new community.
- Participates in curricular and cocurricular experiences.
- Plans to live in West Grace South Residence Hall for two years.
VCU ASPiRE students live in the heart of VCU’s campus in the West Grace South Residence Hall for two years. The space is designed as an all-inclusive living-learning environment, featuring classrooms, two courtyards, meeting and recreation space and full apartments with exceptional amenities.
Take a tour at VCU Housing.
Academic Scholars Program in Real Environments
No. We have students in the program from more than 40 different majors. ASPiRE is a program that is a flexible fit for students with varied interests.
ASPiRE is a great way to explore helping the community in an organized and facilitated fashion. Students are able to learn about the city of Richmond, meet other students and help the community with the guidance and oversight of qualified professional staff.
ASPiRE provides transportation to and from most events unless they are on-campus or in walking distance. No car, no worries!
Living in the building with other ASPiRE students is a critical part of a living-learning community. It is expected that all program participants live in West Grace South where they are guaranteed housing for the two years they participate in ASPiRE. Currently, exceptions can be made for the living requirement for students who have lived in-residence for at least one year and have been selected to serve as a resident assistant in a different location for their second year. Other exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Yes. Communicate your plans with the staff, and we will work with you to make a plan that works so you can explore the world and continue to be a part of the ASPiRE program.
Students in ASPiRE take nine credits over the two years in the program. This includes the required 3-credit UNIV 200 course. During the first semester in the program, students take a 3-credit introductory course. In each subsequent semester, they take a 1-credit class. Students in the program receive early registration that allows them to create a schedule that is able to accommodate both their major and program requirements. All ASPiRE classes are offered on multiple days/times.
Cocurriculars are opportunities and activities that take place outside of the traditional curriculum or classroom setting. Students participating in ASPiRE have the opportunity to have engaged learning experiences that take place in both the classroom and the community.
ASPiRE takes the stress out of planning service for students by planning and facilitating all cocurricular activities. These activities are listed on an online calendar for students to sign up. Students can sign up for cocurriculars that fit their interest and schedule. Students who wish to remain on track in the program do an average of 25 cocurricular hours each semester they are in the program.
ASPiRE is dedicated to working with their identified community partners so it is important that students commit to completing the majority of their hours with pre-approved sites. During the second year of program participation, students have an opportunity to obtain some of their hours through independent service. These hours must be reviewed by a staff member and verified to count toward cocurricular completion.
When there is a need for help in the evening, cocurriculars are offered during that time, but most need is during business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.). The program does work to provide weekend options for service to accommodate rigorous academic schedules. Weekend options are typically two times per month for a longer duration than typical cocurricular activities.
descriptionAlternative Spring Break Trip
Students get to travel to a rural environment and serve with that community while connecting with their peers, developing leadership skills and building self confidence. The experience broadens their scope of the world around them.
Art for the Journey’s mission is to overcome barriers and transform lives through art. Through programs serving veterans, the elderly, underserved youth and those who are incarcerated, Art for the Journey goes beyond teaching art techniques and supplying craft materials to offer a safe creative space for individuals to learn and express themselves.
For more than five summers, ASPiRE students and faculty have traveled to Belize to offer a summer camp for local youth.