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From the Desk of Alan Sheptin:

Five Colleges I Love – 2020 Edition

I get it: it’s hard to “think outside the box” when your friends, neighbors, and guidance counselors compose a list of schools that look similar to everyone else’s. Since part of my job is to visit schools and convince students to “think outside the box,” here are five colleges I recently visited. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

  1. Hobart and William Smith Colleges: Geneva, NY: Situated on a beautiful Finger Lake, undergraduate men and women receive diplomas from two different entities: Hobart for the men, William Smith for the women. Although there is a core requirement, students decide how to design the core to accommodate their desired learning path. And, yes, you will be well-fed, both on campus and off renowned Wegmans is a 15-minute walk from campus. What I loved: down to earth students, serene campus environment, amazing study abroad programs. Ask me why I chose two different colors to highlight this school. Learn more at www.hws.edu.
  2. Clark University, Worcester, MA: You might think that Worcester would not exactly be the ideal location for the college. But did you know that the school was founded as a haven for budding psychologists and that Sigmund Freud delivered five important lectures on psychoanalysis at Clark? With small classes where research is heavily woven into academics, a Clark education will help your student answer these questions: What lens do I want to use to develop my skills? What is the meaningful work that I want to do in this world?  What I loved: this is a school that really wants its students to succeed! Worcester may not be your first choice, location-wise, but there is plenty to do. And Boston is only an hour away! Go to www.clarku.edu for more information.
  3. The University of Rochester, Rochester, NY: This gem on the Genesee enables its students to design their own curriculum, as the administration wants students to take ownership of their undergraduate experience. With outstanding programs in engineering, neuroscience, political science, economics, and business, you will definitely find your niche. Oh, and ask me about the famed Rochester garbage plate. What I loved: I felt at home from the minute I stepped on campus. Yes, it gets cold and snowy but the underground tunnel system will let you go from building to building without risking frost. And music abounds on campus! Find out more at www.rochester.edu.
  4. Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA: Not Mount Vernon, VA? Not Cornell University? I had the same thought. But once I visited and sat in on a class, I was hooked. This unique school operates on a block system. Take one course for 18 days. Get to know your professor and classmates extremely well. Repeat eight times per year! Imagine being able to take your Art History course in Italy and France!  What I loved: Mayberry-like atmosphere: I visited Cornell College in December. The night I was there was Mount Vernon’s annual Magical Night. It was great to see students and residents mingle and enjoy a memorable evening. Visit www.cornellcollege.edu to learn more.
  5. Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA: How does attending college adjacent to a Civil War battlefield appeal to you? How about the fact that Gettysburg is about 1.5 hours from Washington DC? Why is that important? The Eisenhower Institute, a world-famous think tank about societal issues, has locations on the Gettysburg Campus and Washington, DC, where its students can intern. And who can resist a college whose cafeteria sends its study abroad students tins of its renowned cookies? What I loved: Walking into the admissions office is like entering the home of a dear friend. You are warmly greeted and enthusiastically received. It sets the tone for the school’s atmosphere. Its motto, “Do great work,” says it all. Learn more at www.gettysburg.edu.


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