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.
Our briefer addressed what Harvard is looking for in students:
– “Excellence of the academic record is obvious”. Other factors will determine which of the stellar students gets in.
– The student needs to articulate what they want to do, in college and beyond, if they know. Harvard expect that the essays will make a good case. So they require an interview to “get past the spinning”. They want students who can get along with other people, respect others’ boundaries, will have a sense of belonging and group membership, who respect diversity, and are very nice people. This will hopefully describe 3/4 of the student body.
– There is also room for a minority of students who may be gifted academically or artistically or have a singular excellence of some sort – and these students may be admitted is spite of having a peculiar personality
– Competition in the sciences is fierce – stronger than in the arts and humanities.
Harvard is diversifying like never before. They want their student body to reflect the diversity of the country’s population.
Bentley University, in Waltham MA, may not be well known in the Southeast, but in New England, Bentley is known for business education with a strong mix of liberal arts courses included. The campus is an attractive collection of Georgian Colonial buildings and nice landscaping that reminded me of Christopher Newport. Waltham is located about 10 miles west of Boston, so students have ready access to the city. The college has 4264 undergrads and 1304 grad students.
Brandeis was founded in 1948 to provide an elite college for Jewish students. Its founding was supported by Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein and Abraham Maslow. It continues to fulfill that need, but Jewish students now make up less than half of the college’s 3600 undergrads and 1700 grad students. Brandeis boasts of research funding that is third in Massachusetts, after Harvard and MIT.
Tufts is beautiful! The campus sits on a hill overlooking Boston’s suburb, Medford. The buildings and trees are stately and venerable, and the grounds are well-maintained. On public transportation, it’s 15 minutes to downtown Boston, and five minutes to Harvard Square. The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering occupy the Medford campus; together they have 4000 undergrad and 1700 graduate students. Tufts has multiple other campuses housing graduate level schools of medicine, dental medicine, law and diplomacy, biomedical sciences, nutrition sciences and veterinary medicine. But at the Medford campus, it’s like being at a medium-sized liberal arts and sciences and engineering college.
The College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass, is located on a steep hill overlooking the city. Students making the trek between the dining hall at the bottom to their dorm at the top will get their exercise for the day. The campus is beautiful, and registered as an arboretum.
There are 2877 students, all undergrads. Over half of students are Catholic. The college is led by the Jesuits, and the religious influence is said to be somewhat greater than at other Jesuit schools. But daily mass is not required.
The Fiske Guide says about Clark: “If Clark were located an hour to the east, it would have become the hottest thing since Harvard.” Clark began in 1887 as an all-graduate university on the German model, but has evolved into a mostly-undergraduate college with 2262 undergrads and less than 900 graduate students. Clark calls itself the smallest liberal arts residential university. All professors do research. Psychology and geography, which were emphasized when the university opened are still strong and nationally renowned programs. Psychology is the largest program. The American Psychological Association was born on the Clark campus. When Sigmund Freud came to the US, he came to Clark University. The geology program has awarded more PhD’s than any other college in the US and has four members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Students looking for a relatively small, undergrad-oriented college where they can study engineering or other technical majors do not have many options to choose from. But Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) may fill the bill. WPI has 3893 undergrads and less than 800 grad students. The college emphasizes collaborative, project-based academic work. It’s the only test-optional technical college, as of this writing.
Salve Regina is located in posh Newport RI. Tourists come to the neighborhood to visit the mansions overlooking the bay. And Salve is located right next to one of the most famous, The Breakers. In fact, many of Salve Rigina’s campus buildings are substantial former homes that have been donated to the college.
The University of Rhode Island, in Wakefield, claims to have “the most beautiful campus on the coast”. Over half of the 14,000 undergraduates are from out of state.
As with most state universities, many majors are offered. Nursing, pharmacy, and engineering are the most competitive and students need to apply early. The average GPA for pharmacy is 4.1, with average ACT 29. The ability to transfer into pharm or nursing, once enrolled, is minimal.