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Articles / 8 of the Best Liberal Arts Colleges: Webinar Recap

8 of the Best Liberal Arts Colleges: Webinar Recap

S Written by Shreya Nagunuri | April 12, 2023
Photo of Rosse Hall in Gambier, OH courtesy of Kenyon College. Rosse Hall is Kenyon's 600-seat concert and lecture hall. It was one of the colleges's first buildings in the 1830's.

Each fall and spring, Admissions reps from eight highly-regarded liberal arts colleges (LACs) from around the U.S. come together to share information about their unique offerings, challenging curriculums, and stand-out locations. These schools include Claremont McKenna College, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Grinnell College, Haverford College, Kenyon College, Macalester College, and Sarah Lawrence College. Let’s break down what each school offers in a recap!


Many liberal arts colleges are quite similar in many ways. Unlike large universities, most liberal arts schools do not offer grad programs, so they are completely focused on undergrads. For example, all classes are taught by professors instead of TA's and all the resources on campus are for undergrads. In addition, liberal arts colleges tend to be small schools with a low student-to-faculty ratio, which makes it easy for students to cultivate strong mentor connections with their professors and receive help from them. Another plus about liberal arts colleges is that they usually have residential campuses, where students can live for all four years of college. Most students at liberal arts colleges graduate within four years and study abroad.

While there are many shared characteristics for small liberal arts colleges, it is essential to note that no two colleges are alike. Let's examine some of the more unique characteristics of these eight top LACs!

Grinnell College

Joe Bagnoli, the Vice President of Enrollment at Grinnell, gave an informative presentation about Grinnell College in Iowa.

Grinnell College

Grinnell is routinely ranked in the top five for best classroom experiences in the country. The college puts an emphasis on curricular choice for students which means that students are able to explore the things they are passionate about. There is no core curriculum at Grinnell–the Individually Advised Curriculum at gives students the opportunities to design their own course of study based on their interests.

At Grinnell, every student has a career coach and a personal academic advisor. This type of personal guidance ensures that students are confident in their goals beyond college and are able to receive help in achieving their dreams. This emphasis on career planning may explain why Grinnell ranks seventh nationally for the rate at which graduates go on to earn PhDs.

Financially, Grinnell is able to support its students through a $3 billion endowment. Students are given need-based financial aid that includes a no-loan financial aid practice. Merit aid opportunities are also available for students. At Grinnell, students are able to learn and grow outside of their academics with over 150 student groups on campus. In addition, there are plenty of free opportunities to learn and to start personal projects like free music lessons.

Read on: Your Guide for Getting In to Grinnell

Learn more about Grinnell and add it to your favorites.

Haverford College

Jess Lord, the Vice President of Admissions at Haverford College in Philadelphia, spoke about the distinctive opportunities at Haverford.

Haverford was founded in 1833 by the Quakers and thus has a strong focus on learning, community, and living a life in alignment with your values. Students are able to broaden their mind by interacting with students from all over the United States. In addition, Philadelphia is a short train ride away, and students can go into the city to participate in community events.

Students are given lots of agency and the school fosters a “shape your own path” mindset. Students are not only given the opportunity to conduct research– completing research is the norm. Students are also expected to produce a senior thesis. To supplement their learning, there are plenty of academic centers and spaces that help students go beyond the traditional classroom. There are Maker Arts Spaces, conferences on campus, study abroad opportunities (Peace and Global Citizenship Program), degree partnerships for engineering students with universities like UPenn and CalTech, and a student council all for students to take part in and learn from.

Learn more about Haverford and add it to your favorites.

Kenyon College

The Dean of Admissions at Kenyon, Diane Anci, spoke about the natural beauty and the strong academic opportunities at Kenyon.

Kenyon is located in Ohio and offers more than 50 majors, minors, and concentrations. Students take full advantage of these opportunities–around ⅕ of students pursue a double or self-designed course of study. As with most liberal arts colleges, there is a low student-to-faculty ratio which means opportunities to engage directly with professors. A third of students major in the sciences and many pursue research that is published and presented at conferences.

Kenyon students are regular recipients of Goldwater scholarships and Fulbrights. Kenyon is known for its excelled Division 3 swimming team, and it is considered one of the best D3 schools in the country.

Kenyon is also home to the well-known literary magazine The Kenyon Review, and the college is known for its Creative Writing programs. Kenyon counts many notable literary figures among its alum, including E.L. Doctorow, Laura Hillenbrand, and John Green.

Learn more about Kenyon and add it to your favorites.

Macalaster College

Macalester’s Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid, Jeff Allen, discussed the various opportunities after Macalester College and how students can benefit from them.

Macalester is a residential liberal arts and sciences college with around 2100 students from all 50 states and more than 95 countries. It is located in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–Saint Paul) which are known for their thriving theater and fine arts scenes, diverse communities, and Fortune 500 companies.

There are four core values at Macalester: academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society.

Being located near two cities means countless opportunities for students to get involved in activism, applied research, and volunteering. For example, political science majors are can intern at the state capital, anthropology majors can participate in ethnographic research, and theater majors can participate in the fine arts area.

Learn more about Macalester and add it to your favorites.

Sarah Lawrence College

Kevin McKenna, Vice President for Enrollment, gave an enlightening presentation about Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

Sarah Lawrence College is a co-education liberal arts college made up of 4100 undergraduate students. Students come to Sarah Lawrence from all over the US and from 50 different countries. Students benefit by being right next to NYC but are still able to get a residential experience by living in the suburbs.

Sarah Lawrence has a unique academic model in that it is an open curriculum (there is no common core). Everyone has the opportunity to build their own curriculum and own degree pathway with an academic faculty member who serves as their advisor for all four years. Classes are in seminar-style or lab-based classes, so they are all 15 students or less. Everyone in every seminar generates a semester-long independent research or academic project which goes beyond the scope of the seminar and can include whatever the students wish to study.

Sarah Lawrence is a destination for creatives and has one of the largest undergraduate creative writing programs. The proximity to New York City makes it easy for students to connect and learn from authors, agents, and publishers. The art program also takes advantage of the location. A weekly van takes students to visit the city’s many galleries and museums, and many students intern in the art community. Beyond the classroom, there is a vibrant campus culture with plenty of events, and varsity sports alongside a small tight-knit inclusive community.

Learn more about Sarah Lawrence and add it to your favorites.

Claremont McKenna College

Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs, Vice President of Admission, provided an illuminating discussion about the various aspects of Claremont McKenna College.

Claremont McKenna is a comprehensive liberal arts college located right above Los Angeles. With over 4100 students, the mission of the college is to engage students in a way that encourages them to live thoughtful and productive lives. The faculty-to-student ratio is quite low at 8:1.

There are plenty of academic opportunities for students with around 33 different academic programs and 11 sequences (similar to minors). This wide spread of subjects allows students to take their classes in an interdisciplinary blend. To add to this, the college brings out speakers to speak about all different disciplines. This ties back to Claremont McKenna’s mission to engage with the leaders of today. Claremont McKenna is all about challenging a student’s perspective which is why diversity is an important standard.

Students at Claremont McKenna complete a senior thesis on a topic of their choice, and students are given the opportunity to work with professors on research. Seventy percent of students report that they have worked on a research.

Learn more about Claremont McKenna and add it to your favorites.

Colorado College

Matt Bonser, the Vice President of Admissions at Colorado College, talked about the variety of opportunities for academics and personal growth at CC.

Colorado College is a small liberal arts college with around 2,200 students. Colorado College is unique in many ways, but one thing in particular that makes it stand out is its Block scheduling system, which enables students to take one course at a time. Each block consists of a singular class for 3.5 weeks. There are four blocks per semester and classes meet from 9 am to 12 pm, meaning that students are in class for the morning and then have afternoons and evenings free for sports and activities, and to study and prepare for their next class. This system was created so that a student could dive deeply into one subject without being distracted by other classes.

The campus is almost 100 acres, which means there is a plethora of natural sites for students to explore. Students are also heavily encouraged to study abroad to gain a global perspective.

Learn more and add Colorado College to your favorites.

Connecticut College

Andy Strickler, Dean of Admissions, provided an informative presentation about the special aspects of Connecticut College.

Connecticut College is located right beside the Thames River which adds to the campus's natural beauty and also provides academic opportunities, like analyzing water quality in the river. Connecticut College is only two hours away from New York City which means that students can easily take a trip to visit the big city if they’re missing urban life.

There is plenty of diversity on campus, with over 81 percent of students being from outside Connecticut. Over 97 percent of students live on campus for all four years. Connecticut College has an honor code, which means finals can be taken at any time and are not proctored. Students are expected to keep up with this honor code and to be responsible for others as well.

Connecticut College requires two things: a semester of a world language and a First-Year Experience class. Students are provided an academic adviser, staff adviser, career adviser, and student adviser to help them on their journey to success at and beyond college. Students need to declare a major by the end of their sophomore year. Over half of students study abroad at some point in time. Hale Center for Career Development provides students with a four-year career prep plan, pre-professional advising, flexible career funding (up to $3000 from the Hale Center), and engagement with the employer relations team.

Connecticut College has been test optional for over ten years, and doesn’t require an application fee.

Learn more about Connecticut College and add it to your favorites.

Written by


Shreya Nagunuri

Shreya is a freshman at the University of California, San Diego where she studies Math and Computer Science. She is passionate about social justice and using technology in unconventional ways to better the lives of others. In high school, she was heavily involved in Speech and Debate and taught speech and debate to students around the world. In addition, she conducted research at the University of Southern California on epilepsy and post-traumatic brain injury. Her main involvement in college is Women in Computing and ACM where she and her peers create fun projects with software. In her free time, she loves teaching, reading, and exploring hidden gems in San Diego. 

  • CC name: @smilely_face101
  • Instagram: @shreya.nagunuri
  • LinkedIn: Shreya Nagunuri

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