It is important for sophomores and juniors to start researching colleges early, as some institutions have different requirements than others. For an example, many highly competitive undergraduate degree granting universities may require SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT or ACT, while other colleges may require only the SAT or ACT. Furthermore, there are some institutions, such as Dickinson College, that have become test optional. This means students are allowed to submit test scores if they believe it will bolster their application, but it is not mandatory for their application.
Starting the college search early can help with time management, leaving the opportunity to explore new options and next steps. Without prior research and preparation, applying to colleges during senior year can be very stressful and time consuming.
Below is a list of colleges that offer superb academics and great on campus experiences, in addition to meeting the financial needs of their students. Although you may not have heard of all of the colleges on this list, they are colleges truly worth exploring. One of the selections below, Wesleyan University, was rated the #15 liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Denison University (www.denison.edu) is a private, coeducational college located in Granville, Ohio. The school’s admissions rate is around 48 percent. Denison offers a liberal arts academic journey that includes fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and inter-disciplinary programs.
Goucher College (www.goucher.edu), one of the “Colleges That Change Lives,” is a selective, private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Baltimore, Maryland. The school is committed to providing an international, multidisciplinary educational experience. In fact, Goucher is the first college in the nation to make study abroad an undergraduate degree requirement.
Juniata College (www.juniata.edu) is a small, private liberal arts college located in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The school is coeducational, sits in a small town in a rural setting, and offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Juniata has a flexible system that allows students to design their education. As a result, students are given the opportunity to develop their unique talents and interests, and explore a topic they would like to research. For students who have the focus to direct their educational needs and pick course work that will hone their skills, it may be worthwhile to explore flexible curriculum options.
Kenyon College (www.kenyon.edu) is a private liberal arts college located in Gambier, Ohio. The school’s acceptance rate is currently around 24 percent. Kenyon is a welcoming community that offers exceptional programs ranging from drama, dance, and film, to chemistry and women’s and gender studies, as well as undergraduate research opportunities. One research option is the Kenyon Summer Scholars Program, which is an opportunity for students to work in close collaboration with faculty members in social sciences and humanities, covering all steps from developing the research plan to executing the plan and revealing the findings in a public forum. Also of note, the student to faculty ratio is 10 to 1; the most common class size is 15 students.
Marlboro College (www.marlboro.edu) is a small liberal arts college located in Marlboro, Vermont. The acceptance rate for this school is about 83 percent and Marlboro meets 80 percent of students’ financial need. It is also one of the “Colleges that Change Lives.” Marlboro stands out for its undergraduate program emphasizing interdisciplinary student-designed study in a self-governing community. For students who have strong ideas about what types of courses they would like to complete, this may be a great liberal arts option, as students can actually design their course of study. What is also noteworthy is that more than 75 percent of undergraduates go on to graduate school, and many report that their experience at Marlboro prepared them for advancing their education.
Wesleyan University (www.wesleyan.edu) is a private liberal arts college located in Middleton, Connecticut. The university notes that their approach to education is both rigorous and individualistic. In fact, first year students are not required to take prescribed courses. Instead, with the help and encouragement of faculty, they develop programs of study based upon their own interests. The school is committed to liberal arts education, and the university maintains general education expectations across the arts, humanities and natural sciences.