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“Eight of the Best” College Admissions Updates

on May 29, 2015 in Selecting Your College

I recently attended a valuable presentation hosted by eight small, liberal arts colleges from across the US. Here are some key highlights of just some of the important information provided.

I.D.E.A. Space: Colorado College's InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts

I.D.E.A. Space: Colorado College’s InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts


Colorado College

  • The Block Plan: 1 class at a time for 3.5 weeks, then 4 days off
  • Never more than 25 students
  • Focused immersion, research, independent time
  • Immersive, engaged learning, all must attend and focus
  • Hands on learning is key
  • Film: entire block in Hollywood working with directors, writers, producers, actors
  • Languages, Shakespeare, Dante, often taught abroad
  • 300 days of sun, a very outdoorsy student body
  • U.S. Olympic Training Center, 10 minutes from downtown and hiking
  • Innovation Institute: Global and Social Innovation
  • Division 1: Women’s soccer and Men’s ice hockey, remainder is Division III
  • Food tops, grow their own, encourage eating there and talking to students

Sarah Lawrence College

  • Completely open curriculum with “structured freedom”
  • Dance, theater, music taught with conservatory method
  • Students interview faculty before selecting courses
  • Thirty minutes by train to NYC
  • New to NCAA Division III
  • Seventy-five percent of graduates pursue graduate degrees
  • SLC is need aware


Grinnell College

  • Priority is research, 5th largest endowment in the U.S with $2 billion
  • Individual attention is paramount
  • Individually Advised Curriculum: no defined curriculum
  • Research-intensive institution: Grinnell was 7th in Nation for PhD
  • Arts, pre-professional internships (college-sponsored) in summers
  • Financial aid: 100% need-blind around world, meet 100% of need
  • One third of students get merit aid (no need component) no separate application
  • Beautiful part of country


Claremont McKenna College

  • Leadership in the Liberal Arts
  • Research, internships, community service are big
  • Washington, DC and Silicon Valley semester programs
  • Athenaeum: 4 nights/week speakers come to join students in discussion
  • 5 liberal arts colleges on Claremont campus, with courses at all five
  • Need blind for US students


Macalester College

  • Over 2,000 students, larger than most
  • Safe neighborhood setting near urban downtown
  • Very global, 95 other countries, over 40% international or diverse nationally
  • International before most colleges in the country
  • Lots of majors, minors, community and global health new
  • Capstone project for all, 60% study abroad
  • Archaeology, anthropology, and classics
  • Meet 100% need for international and undocumented students
  • New athletic facility, new studio art and music facility
  • Community service: urban access a big benefit also internships and Capitol nearby
  • Culturally lively city, and major sports
  • Hire great faculty because of urban center
  • Not snobbish or elitist, collaborative
  • Students are independent, opinionated, passionate, argue about ideas, fun and smart


Kenyon College

  • Near Columbus, Ohio on a beautiful campus
  • First class faculty, live walking distance from campus
  • Lots of interaction and engagement
  • Open curriculum, interdisciplinary, many double or self-designed
  • “The writers college”, known for writing, plus 12 languages
  • Twenty percentage sciences, summer science scholar
  • Community is huge: all students live on campus and eat together for 4 years
  • Meets 100% of need and are need-aware, merit too
  • Grow food and work their own farm
  • Biking, hiking, kayaking nearby


Connecticut College

  • Liberal arts into action, putting students to test in the world
  • Hands on career program: team of advisors
  • Internship design for all
  • College-funded after junior year, many international fellowships and research
  • Honor Code, leadership training is important
  • Work hard/play hard, supportive, collaborative
  • Worldwide alumni network
  • View of Long Island Sound
  • One third are varsity athletes
  • Strength in life sciences, new building
  • Theater and writing musicology as well, studio arts center new
  • 30 productions a year, full symphony
  • One of the best athletic facility in nation
  • Kenyon is financial aid need aware


Haverford College

  • 1200 students
  • Quaker strong sense of engagement, no hierarchy, consensus
  • Arboretum, Philadelphia 8 miles away on train (internships, culture, city life)
  • Integrity, directly involved in education, students are trusted
  • Honor Code important and student run
  • Research expected, all students senior thesis
  • Observatory on campus
  • Huge activity budget
  • Centers on campus fund programs abroad, research, internships
  • Consortium: Bryn Mayer, Swarthmore, Penn Wharton and engineering



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