Campus Visit: Connecticut College

Overview:

Connecticut College was founded in 1911 as a women’s college in response to an announcement by neighboring Wesleyan that it would no longer admit women.  Since making the transition to co-education, Conn has established itself as an outstanding liberal arts college and is well-known for its study abroad programs.  At just over nineteen hundred students, the college is about the same size as Bates and Bowdoin, the smallest of the schools that make up the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

Aerial View of Connecticut College (Source: Business Week)
Aerial View of Connecticut College (Source: Business Week)

Visitors to the school are immediately struck by the natural setting of the 750-acre arboretum campus set at the highest point in New London overlooking the Thames River.  The campus contains a pond, woods and hiking trails and students can be seen studying, hiking or bike riding throughout the fall and spring (although New England’s harsh winters can blanket the campus in snow in January and February).

Since its founding, Conn has been dedicated to the liberal arts and currently offers forty-seven majors ranging from African Studies to Government to Environmental Studies.  All students are required to fulfill general education requirements in the natural sciences, humanities and the arts, designed to teach students to think critically and develop the skills necessary to study in-depth in their chosen areas of academic interest.  Connecticut College also emphasizes study across disciplines and the school is home to five interdisciplinary academic centers in international studies, the environment, arts and technology, public policy and community action, and the study of race and ethnicity.  Four of the centers offer certificate programs, and the one in ten Conn students who study in these programs complete specialized coursework, a funded internship, and a senior-year integrative project while also completing the requirements of their major.

Harkness Chapel (Source: wikipedia.org)
Harkness Chapel (Source: wikipedia.org)

Conn has remained small by choice.  Its total enrollment is less than that of some large high schools and for some students this is one of the things that draws them to the school.

For those students who want to escape Conn’s small size, at least for a semester or two, the school offers numerous study abroad programs, which about half the students take advantage of at some point in their four years in New London.  The school offers more than forty programs in countries that include Ghana, Morocco, Nepal and Senegal, among others.  Many of the options include a public service component such as the Health and Community Development program that takes place in Kenya.  To prepare students for their time abroad, Conn maintains a global focus, and virtually every discipline has an international component, including environmental studies, literature, religion and the arts.  One special aspect of Conn’s global focus is the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts.  Students can apply to this challenging program in their sophomore year, and those accepted can “internationalize” their major with intensive language study and a fully funded international internship.  For their efforts in global education, Conn was recognized in 2009 with the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

Harkness House (Source: wikipedia.org)
Harkness House (Source: wikipedia.org)

Conn is truly a residential campus, with 98 percent of the students living in campus housing.  The twenty-three residence halls, known as “houses,” are each home to students from every class and are all within a five-minute walk of the academic buildings.  The houses in South and Central campus are granite and give the Conn campus both a classic and cohesive look.  Many rooms in those two areas of campus overlook the expansive Tempel Green and students can cheer on the school’s soccer and lacrosse teams from their dorm room windows.  While most freshmen live in doubles, triples and a few quads, the majority of upperclassmen have their own single rooms.  In addition to the more traditional housing options, there are also a number of theme houses, including the Knowlton Language House, Earth House and Burdick, which is a quiet, study-oriented house.

(Source: Connecticut College YouTube channel)

Admissions:

New London Hall Science Building (Source: conntact.com)
New London Hall Science Building (Source: conntact.com)

Connecticut College, like fellow NESCAC members Bates, Bowdoin, Hamilton and Tufts, is a test-optional school.  For those students who submitted scores, the mid-50 percent ranges for the most recent freshman class are:

SAT Reading:  620 – 710
SAT Math:  620 – 700
SAT Writing:  640 – 730
ACT:  28 – 31

Source:  BigFuture.org

Total Applicants:  4,702
Accepted:  1,653
Enrolled:  500

By the Numbers:

Women: Men   60:40
Student:Faculty Ratio:   9:1
Average Class Size: 18
Students Receiving Financial Aid:  49%
Average Financial Aid Award:  $35,092

For more information on Connecticut College, visit the school’s web site at www.conncoll.edu

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