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Educational opportunities in the counties that surround Smith Mountain Lake not only make the grade, but pass with flying colors. Quality public and private secondary schools, top-ranked colleges and universities, applied technology and workforce development programs and lifelong learning opportunities are all available to those interested in broadening their horizons.

Brick exterior of middle school and two students enjoying ice cream

The public school systems in Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties have excellent reputations for providing quality education, including specialized programs for high achievers, centers for career exploration and partnerships with local community colleges. Accomplished sports teams, varied clubs and organizations, and an emphasis on performing arts are also woven into the fabric of the public education experience here.

K-12 private education in our region has seen a boom in enrollment in recent years, most notably Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy in Bedford County. The school serves more than 400 students with state-of-the-art facilities, accredited academics and thriving athletic and performing arts programs. Other excellent private options in the region include Chatham Hall, ONE Forest School and North Cross School.

Red brick buildings on the campus of Radford University and a lamp post with red banner for Roanoke College

For adults seeking higher education opportunities, numerous area colleges and universities are located a short distance from Smith Mountain Lake, including Ferrum College, a four-year, private liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

A little further out are renowned public and private institutions such as Virginia, Virginia Tech, Liberty University, Roanoke College, Radford University and New College Institute. Nearby Roanoke is home to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, a partnership between a cutting-edge research university and a major healthcare institution that takes a dynamic, patient-centered approach to educating physicians.

Red brick exterior of The Franklin Center

Through its network of regional partners, The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning & Enterprise facilitates vast and varied classes and services at its impressive facility in downtown Rocky Mount. Examples include employment training, small business development, GED classes, English classes for speakers of other languages, and certification for CPR, first aid and hunter safety.

The Lifelong Institute at Ferrum College offers (non-credit) cultural, intellectual and social experiences throughout the year. Participants enjoy classes taught by experienced instructors who delight in enriching the lives of adults of all ages. The W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center, right along the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, has year-round events, programs and activities for kids, teens and adults.

Youth sit in a circle on the lawn at the Skelton 4-H Center
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