Centre College, in Danville Ky, is not well known outside of that part of the country. But Kentuckians know Centre as a premier college experience. My friend from KY says that if one wants to become governor of Kentucky, one goes to Centre, because they produce leaders in many fields. After I got back home, I looked into some of the superlatives of the college. The Alumni Factor is a book and website that publishes ratings and rankings of top colleges. Their rating are based almost entirely on surveys of alumni and measure outcomes of the college experience, rather than inputs like SAT scores, high school GPA, college wealth, etc. Some of the 15 factors are Intellectual Development, Social and Communications Skills Development, Preparation for Career Success, Value for the Money, Average Income of Graduates. So, here are The Alumni Factor’s top 20 colleges in the country, and you can see where Centre ranks.
About 18 of us had the pleasure of spending a full day on campus. The campus is beautiful. Buildings are not only handsome outside, but beautifully designed inside. Grounds are well landscaped and well maintained.
Popular majors include International Studies, Behavioral Neuroscience, Economics, Social sciences, Psychology, Biological/life sciences. Centre is fine with students who are undecided and require them to choose a major by the end of the second year.
Here are some stats:
- 1400 students, 100% undergraduates
- 52% female
- 98% live on campus
- 50% from Kentucky
- Very diverse economically
- 22% students of color
- Ten to one true student-to-faculty ratio (no admins counted)
- 18 average class size, 30 max
- 83% graduate in 4 years
- 98% have full time jobs or are in grad school within a year
- 63% ultimately get graduate degree
- 25% are involved int the arts
- 42% are varsity athletes (Div III, Southern Athletic Association)
- 87% study abroad, 28% more than once.
- 85% are involved in community service
- 40% of men and women are in Greek organizations
Centre says their study abroad program sends a higher percent of students abroad than any other except for one college where it’s mandatory.
Admission decisions are without regard to financial need (need blind). Academic scholarship awards are without regard to family income. The $52,850 total cost of attendance is $11,000 less than Davidson’s. 40% of students had no financial need and received scholarships averaging over $19,000.
71% of applicants were admitted. SAT or ACT is required. Middle 50% of SAT scores are 570 – 740. Middle 50% of ACTs are 26 – 31. So, students who have a solid high school record but not stellar test scores are able to attend this excellent college.
The “Centre Commitment” guarantees three things to students who meet the College’s academic and social expectations: an internship or a research opportunity, study abroad, and graduation in four years. If a student is unable to complete these within four consecutive years of enrollment, the College will provide up to an additional year of study tuition-free.
I had the pleasure of attending an American History class that was dealing with the period prior to the Civil War, the 1840’s and early 1850’s. The class began with a discussion of a paper that would soon be due. The prof. provided some very clear guidance as to how to structure the paper and write persuasively. I believe these students will leave college knowing how to write effectively.
The remainder of the class was a lively discussion of the pre-Civil War period. Students were engaged and many offered their thoughts.
Our day ended with a demonstration of glass blowing by Stephen Rolfe Powell, a world renowned glass artist and faculty member at Centre since 1983. Powell and his 5 or 6 assistants worked through a complicated process for about 45 minutes to produce a 20-pound glass sculpture. Powell reportedly is able to sell similar items for $30,000 to $50,000. His work appears in many museums worldwide. See http://www.stephenrolfepowell.com/Teasers.html for some examples.