Most Interesting Colleges

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Discus: College Search and Selection: February 2004 Archive: Most Interesting Colleges
By Lawyergirl4989 (Lawyergirl4989) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 05:14 pm: Edit

What do you think the most interesting colleges are?

By Jyber209 (Jyber209) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 06:23 pm: Edit

I'd have to say that St. John's in Annapolis MD (the one with the Great Books curriculum where everyone studies Greek the first year) was the most interesting college we toured. The big sport on campus is croquet! (They have an annual tournament with the Naval Academy team and everyone dresses in white.) This is a "different" school which certainly marches to the beat of its own drummer.

A parent in the information session we attended made the mistake of asking about "career advising" and was promptly told that this school was not for those focused on getting a job but rather for those focused on getting a real education.

After a class has been at St. John's for two years the faculty members have a meeting at which it is decided which students are "enabled" - allowed to stay and work towards a degree from St. John's. Those not enabled need to leave. A few years before our visit about 1/3 of the second year class was not enabled.

I really loved the promotional materials this school sent - beautifully written brochures on heavy textured paper filled with inspiring quotations.

Would have loved my D to be able to spend an exchange semester there but that kind of thing is not an option.

By Usna_Reject (Usna_Reject) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 07:25 pm: Edit

When I first saw this thread I was going to mention St. John's too. You only get participation grades. Lots of class discussions. They refuse to give out information to the Princeton Review and other college rankings because they feel judging schools is unnecessary. I would love to go there but the major thing that turns me off is the lack of degrees. I guess the only degree is in Liberal Arts, maybe science? It's pretty selective too. The application included several essays, they recommended them to be at least 5 pages long.
Oooo they have ballroom dancing and swing dancing nights! LOVE! I'm sure St. John's would be great to attend. But I'll be next door anyways ;)

By Constellation35 (Constellation35) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 07:51 pm: Edit

Deep Springs!

It's for exceptional students, and I believe they run a ranch there--and it's free.

"Deep Springs is so much more than academics though. Where else is a band of 26 18 year old men given the reins of power (and responsibility) over their community? We ran the college, ran the ranch and studied together in some very intense seminar classes. All this in the strikingly austere beauty of the high desert of eastern CA. I kid you not, it was a lot of work and the place is designed to create stress and make people work interdependently. The smartest, more compassionate and humble men I have known were in my class there and are still some of my closest friends. I was lucky, damn lucky, to live there and be a part of the community."

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 08:37 pm: Edit

Deep springs sounds very intense, not as competitive but still unusual is

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 08:56 pm: Edit

Then of course the ever popular communism, atheism and free love school

By Oceanblue52 (Oceanblue52) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit

Has any one read Donald Ashers "Cool Colleges for the Hyper Intelligent..."?

Its an excellent book, he highlights all sorts of unusual schools. If not for this book, I would never have applied to The University of Chicago and St. Johns :)

By Constellation35 (Constellation35) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 09:07 am: Edit

What's the acceptance rate at St. Johns?

By Jyber209 (Jyber209) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 11:29 am: Edit

I don't have specific data on that but recall that the school is highly self-selective. I believe that a relatively high percentage of applicants are admitted - at least compared to the rates at the "most selective" liberal arts schools. However, only students who really are dedicated to learning for its own sake would consider St. John's. St. John's is reputed to be one of the most intellectual places in the country.
A lot of the admissions decision, I recall being told at the info session, rides on the essays. When I visited, the admissions process was not intensely competitive, but quite thoughtful and individual.
Again, my visit there was over three years ago.

By Driver (Driver) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 11:37 am: Edit

Another vote for St. Johns in Annapolis.

By Oceanblue52 (Oceanblue52) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 12:19 pm: Edit

The rate is 71%. The dont even require the SATs. A lot of people are turned off by the essays, that's the gist of your application, besides a one page application, 2 letters of rec and transcript. They reccommend them to be 5-10 pages, and I have heard some people turning in a many as 20...I had a lot of fun writing them, to be quite honest :)

By The_Slc_Bug (The_Slc_Bug) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit

Sarah Lawrence is the weirdest school; it sounds weirder than St. John's. No grades, you interview your professors before you are allowed to take their classes (all 15 students--no more allowed, no matter what), and the most popular classes have to do with transgender history---or writing ('nuf said). No tests--only conference work, or big research projects where you design your own topics, etc. And the professor will generally agree to let you do anything (you can do metrosexualism or crossdressing in an anthro. class, for example, and that will be your final project). There are no introductory classes really, though, every topic is super specific. The big annual event is the Coming Out Dance, where everyone goes virtually naked (many people wear plastic wrap) and pretty much has sex on the dancefloor. You will not meet ANYONE there who is "normal." Not one person. It is the most SURREAL place to be, and everyone there would agree. Hope that helps.

By Becks777 (Becks777) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit

University of chicago definitely: a unique campus in an even more unique location

By Lawyergirl4989 (Lawyergirl4989) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 09:43 am: Edit

Anyone else?

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 12:52 pm: Edit

Olin College of Engineering. New, currently enrolling 75 students per year, hands-on engineering education from the beginning, full tuition for all accepted.

By Constellation35 (Constellation35) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 06:44 pm: Edit

Is Olin College of Engineering in any way affiliated with Case Western?

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 08:45 pm: Edit

No. Case is in Cleveland. Olin is in Needham, a Boston suburb. Case offers a wide variety of majors, Olin only engineering.

By Constellation35 (Constellation35) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

I know that, but I recall some engineering section of Case Western being called "Olin...".

Maybe I was dreaming.

By Entropicgirl (Entropicgirl) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 10:42 pm: Edit

(I actually have that communism, atheism, and free love shirt--my mum went to Reed)
But I'll probably go with St. John's....

By Constellation35 (Constellation35) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 10:46 pm: Edit

Tolerate the communism part...
Adore the atheist part...
Despise the free love part...

By Timohy (Timohy) on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 01:40 am: Edit

"I would love to go there but the major thing that turns me off is the lack of degrees. I guess the only degree is in Liberal Arts, maybe science?"

I'm not sure you fully understand what St. John's is. There are no majors. You get your BA in Liberal Arts after the four years. The class you enter in with moves as a class in the program. You better like the class you get... because you're going to be seeing a lot of them in the next four years.

"Lots of class discussions"

There are only class discussions... so yeah, I guess you could consider them to be in abundance. The professor (called a tutor) merely guides the class and makes sure they stay on track. The role of the professor really takes shape outside of the classroom. The professors spend a lot of time talking with the students outside of class... which is part of the reason why they keep the school size at around 400.

St. John's and Thomas Aquinas College get my vote.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 12:05 pm: Edit

I think Berea College in Kentucky is pretty interesting. All students have to have on campus jobs - in return, they get free tuition.

Some schools have really cool programs. Whitman College, in Washington state, has a "semester in the west" program where a group of students and teachers load up into two vans equipped with computers and camping equipment for a semester. They travel up and down the west coast doing things like visiting Indian reservations, talking with environmentalists, meeting writers personally, even visiting Las Vegas!

Colorado College and Cornell College (the other Cornell in Iowa) both have unusual schedules. You take one class a month then move on to the next class.

The University of Redlands in Calif. has a really interesting subsection called the Johnston Center where students design their own courses according to what they're interested in learning.

Other schools that I think are very interesting are Hampshire College, Kalamazoo College, Reed, Evergreen State, New College of Florida, Prescott College in Arizona, College of the Atlantic, and of course St. John's.

By Biojr (Biojr) on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Olin must be a big family or something: Olin School of Business at Wash U, Olin Hall at Rose-Hulman

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 03:52 pm: Edit

The whole Olin bunch seems to have had lots of money. The Olin College of Engineering was created by the Franklin W. Olin Foundation. They previously funded primarily science/engineering buildings on private college campuses. They decided that they could have a bigger impact on reforming engineering education by creating a new school, with new methods of instructon. They approached several exisiting tech. universities, who were not willing to experiment. So, they're taking their $400 million and putting it into this college.

I think there are also a John Olin Foundation and an Olin Family Foundation.

By Lawyergirl4989 (Lawyergirl4989) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 02:54 pm: Edit

Anyone else

By Celerystalksme (Celerystalksme) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 04:20 pm: Edit

i'm gonna throw in my votes for deep springs, hampshire, and kalamazoo as interesting schools...

By Innotof (Innotof) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 04:43 pm: Edit

Saint Mary's College of California has a core curriculum centered around the Great Books. If you're really gung ho about the GB program, you can do a major in it that's almost exactly like the curriculum found at St. John's and Thomas Aquinas. The school also has great programs in the sciences as well, not to mention great weather and a beautiful campus!

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 09:34 am: Edit

What is interesting about Kalamzoo? All I know is that it's in Michigan.

By Kissy (Kissy) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 09:49 am: Edit

Kalamazoo has the K Plan- study abroad and lots of research opportunities.

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 09:54 am: Edit

I went over to the Individual Schools section of this board, and read posts from people who were concerned about the colleges finances (not such a unique problem), and its lack of geographic diversity of students as well as faculty.

Anyone have an update on those concerns?

By Lawyergirl4989 (Lawyergirl4989) on Saturday, February 21, 2004 - 07:38 pm: Edit


By Kiomarv (Kiomarv) on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 12:51 am: Edit


I recently was accepted into Princeton University through their early decision program. This question is quite inane, but are there any Harvard acceptees from any year who are willing to cite the text of their acceptance letter? I'm asking for this because I like to compare the tone of college admissions committees.


By Sooky6 (Sooky6) on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 02:03 am: Edit

Kiomarv, you'll do better if you start a thread on the Harvard or Princeton section under "Individual Schools" -- leave this one for its rightful owner. something tells me there is someone over there who hung on to their acceptance letter. . .

By L_J (L_J) on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 07:47 pm: Edit

St Johns sounds interseting but so does College of the Atlantic. Just a guess on My part but St Johns could be a little more abstract in its thinking while College of the Atlantic is a bit more hands on in thier approach

By Topcat0214 (Topcat0214) on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 10:56 pm: Edit

Marlboro - very small and the students have a very heavy hand in running the school - even participate in selection of faculty. And Antioch - because of their co-op program. The consortium schools offer some interesting opportunities -- Claremont; Bryn Mawr/Haverford/Swat/Penn; Smith/Williams/UMass/Mt Holyoke.

By Lawyergirl4989 (Lawyergirl4989) on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 04:45 pm: Edit


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