9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

College is a great time to try your hand at many different subjects and obtain a variety of skillsets before you commit to a major or multiple majors. For this reason, as well as to ensure a well-rounded education, most colleges require undergraduates to pursue some sort of core curriculum or to take a certain number of courses in each of a set of disciplines. General education requirements work well for students who are not sure exactly what they want to study—and remember, you don’t need to have it all figured out when you’re only 17 or 18—and allows other students who do have their hearts set on a particular major the flexibility to change their mind, either in college or in their careers. Sometimes this involves getting stuck taking classes you really don’t care about, but students are often grateful for the experience and the skills they’re able to acquire.

The whole college core curriculum deal isn’t for everyone. For students who want to use their college experience to delve as deep as they can into subjects they are passionate about, who want to apply their in-class learnings to the real world, who want to create their own major that doesn’t already exist, or who just don’t want to be constrained by graduation requirements, there are colleges out there that allow you that flexibility. Have a look at some of these colleges and what they offer below.

Brown University, Providence, RI:InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Brown-1-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

Other than a writing requirement, Brown doesn’t have any curriculum requirements. Students are free to take whichever and as many classes as they’d like in any department. Students are required to choose a concentration, and once they have done so, they must fulfill the requirements of that concentration. Within their concentration, students are encouraged to complete an independent research paper, a seminar paper, or an honors thesis.

Amherst College, Amherst, MA:

InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Amherst-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional CurriculaAll Amherst freshman are required to take a first-year writing seminar. Seminar topics cover a wide gamut, and students can choose whichever one interests them (provided that there is enough space). With the exception of the freshman seminar, there are no core requirements. Once students have declared their major, they must fulfill their major requirements. Amherst also has an Independent Scholar Program available to students nominated by a faculty member. As part of this program, students design their own course of study under the guidance of a tutor.

Hampshire College, Amherst, MA:InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Amherst-1-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

All the work that students do at Hampshire is project-based, and there are no grades given for assignments. First-year students dabble in different subject areas and explore the connections among all of them. In their second and third year, they pursue what they’re passionate about under the guidance of two or three professors—their advising committee. Then in the fourth year, students have the opportunity to put all that learning into action with some sort of culminating project. This could include anything from building a robot to writing a textbook or a novel to curating an interactive art exhibit to starting your own business.

Bennington College, Bennington, VT:

InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Bennington-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional CurriculaAcademic life at Bennington centers around “The Plan Process.” The Plan Process gives students the flexibility to develop their own structure for their work and study in college. Students work in collaboration with a faculty committee that helps them stay on track and ensure that their plan is challenging, academically sound, and significant. Every winter, every Bennington student spends seven weeks out in the real world pursuing jobs, internships, volunteer projects, and entrepreneurial adventures related to their studies.

Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA:InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Evergreen-1-300x183 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

Evergreen is another college that doesn’t give letter grades. The college’s philosophy is all about academic freedom. Students choose and design their own program exploring a central theme or idea that’s important to them. The program usually involves integrating multiple fields. Therefore, students usually take a full course load in a single academic program, making it almost like you’re only taking one class during your four years. The rest of the time, students are out applying what they’re learning in the classroom to the real world.

New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL:InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Florida-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional Curricula

At New College of Florida, students create their own proposed schedule each semester. They sign a contract stating that they will take those proposed courses. At the end of the semester, they’re evaluated to see whether they’ve met the objectives outlined in their contracts. Instead of letter grades, students are given a narrative evaluation.

InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Antioch-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional CurriculaAntioch College, Yellow Springs, OH:

The 3 Cs of Antioch are classroom, co-op, and community. In addition to taking collaborative-style discussion-based courses, Antioch students are also required to alternate regularly between coursework and full-time work in the community. Students are given ample support in finding a co-op placement, and they are required to keep a portfolio in which they document their co-op experience. What better way to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to the community around you?

Beloit College, Beloit, WI:

InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Beloit-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional CurriculaExperiential learning is the name of the game at Beloit College. Instead of a professor calling the shots, the agency rests with the student. In order to graduate, students must demonstrate that they have made connections between in-classroom and out-of-classroom learning experiences and that they’ve put what they’ve learned into practice. This typically takes the form of a capstone project. There are few general education requirements at Beloit.

College of the Wooster, Wooster, OH:

InfoBlog_18_CollegesForFlexibleCurricula_Evergreen-300x200 9 Colleges with the Most Flexible, Nontraditional CurriculaOne of the best features of College of the Wooster is the opportunity that students have to engage in one-on-one independent study with a faculty advisor. Students work with their advisor to develop a large-scale thesis or project throughout the course of their studies.

If any of these colleges sound interesting to you and you want to learn more, take a look at Konversai. Konversai is a global-knowledge video-based platform that allows for one-on-one, personalized sessions between anyone, anywhere, about anything. For college students, it’s yet another way to use your knowledge, skills, and experiences to benefit the community. Konversai was founded on the premise that no matter who you are or what your experiences in life are, everybody has something of value to offer that can change somebody else’s life in the smallest or most significant of ways. When there is a platform available for connecting those two people who may not have otherwise met, magic can happen. Knowledge providers on Konversai can enjoy the flexibility of sharing what they know and love on any topic—whether they’re a novice or expert—for as long as they want and whenever they want. They even have the option of charging for their time. Knowledge seekers, on the other hand, have instant access to an array of providers sharing their knowledge on an array of topics—be it college, technology, starting a business, sewing, cooking, parenting, hair and makeup, French wines, travel, singing, guitar, windsurfing, yoga, relocation, Spanish, geometry, and more. Seekers have the luxury of receiving personalized knowledge based on experience on exactly what they want to know without having to pay an arm and a leg and without having to leave their home. You don’t want to miss out on the fun. Join Konversai today!

Written by: Pavita Singh

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