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Non-traditional College and Universities

By Editorial Staff

In this guide to the Top Ten Non-Traditional Colleges and Universities I will be your guide to some of our country’s most prestigious and unique non-traditional institutions of higher education.

As the graduate of a non-tradition college (see number 3) I am uniquely aware of the benefits that these types of institutions provide. It is my hope that this article might tempt some prospective students to explore what these institutions and others like them have to offer.

10. Hampshire College

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Hampshire College is known for allowing its students the freedom to craft their own major. A promise made, but not fulfilled, by many liberal arts institutions. Much like Antioch and several other colleges on this list it does not give traditional grades or GPAs. Hampshire is located in Amherst, Massachusetts and is known for attracting creative and artistically inclined students.

9. Antioch College

Antioch College is an exclusive private institution located in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Students receive narrative evaluations as opposed to academic letter grades and all students participate in democratic community governance. Students are also able to learn by participating in a domestic and international co-op program.

8. Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence is located in Yonkers, 15 miles north of Manhattan. It is unique in that it utilizes a low student to faculty ratio to create opportunities for one on one tutorials. Its strengths are in the humanities, performing arts and writing.

7. College of the Ozarks

What makes this college unique is that instead of paying tuition you are assigned a weekly number of work study hours that offset the cost of your education. For the price of your participation you receive a top-notch education from a well-regarded, private, Christian liberal arts college. This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to avoid student loan debt.

6. Cornell College (Iowa)

Cornell College is located in scenic Mount Vernon and features some pretty unique academic offerings. The school year is divided into blocks of three and half weeks each and students take one class at a time. This allows for students to finish each induvial class in a little over seventeen days.

5. The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington is a selective school that provides a myriad of hands on learning opportunities for its students, including contracts that allow for extra financial aid and course credit for studying abroad. Evergreen also offers quarter long interdisciplinary courses that give students the chance to study subjects in great detail.

4. Naropa University

Naropa is a Buddhist inspired non-sectarian liberal arts college in Boulder, Colorado. It specializes in a wholistic, contemplative method of education that values both individual and cooperative learning endeavors. Naropa offers a number of interesting majors including peace studies and a yoga certificate program.

3. New College of Florida

New College of Florida is the state university system’s best kept secret. Located on the beautiful Sarasota Bayfront in Florida, it is one of the top performing schools in the nation with respect to prestigious scholarships and awards. Their unique contract system allows for a student led educational path and the small enrollment creates a desirable 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio. They also give narrative evaluations instead of grades and the month of January is reserved for allowing students to pursue self-directed projects.

2. Marlboro College

What makes this Vermont liberal arts college so unique is that it has a very small enrollment (usually just under two hundred students). This allows for more quality interaction with both professors and peers. Marlboro also boasts a relatively low price compared to other private liberal arts colleges (about 28 thousand a year after financial aid).

1. Brown University

Brown University is something of a household name. It is one of the “ancient eight” ivy league colleges and regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Ever since a student lead movement in the late nineteen sixties Brown has made a shift toward student led education, allowing students to pursue their education without the strict perquisites required by most universities.

Education should not be treated as a one size fits all proposition and these are great examples of institutions that understand that. All these schools are great options for students seeking a tailored and unique educational experience.

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