Best Kept Secrets Page 6

Top 10 schools that fly under the academic radar - but shouldn't

By Explore Editor

What the students are saying about:

Knox College

Knox College

Knox College is for the intellectual, liberal, passionate student who avoided the popular/jock high school scene. As its latest slogan proclaims, “We are Knox.” Who is that, exactly? Says one freshman, “We are a quirky school with a long history of unique traditions.” (Traditions include Pumphandle - on the first day of classes, every faculty member, administrator, and student forms a giant line and shakes the hand of everyone else.) Knox isn’t as worried about fitting in as it is eager to stand out with its small, tight-knit community of intellectually curious, offbeat personalities. “At Knox, I have always felt free to be myself, however weird and wacky that might be.” Another student says, “A large percentage of the student body comes from the outcast high school role, so there are a bunch of ‘oddballs’ here. And we all get along famously,” says a senior. It also helps that Galesburg, Illinois, the town that Knox calls home, offers few escape options. “Galesburg is in the middle of nowhere, and the campus is not situated in the safest of neighborhoods,” says a sophomore. “There really isn’t anywhere to go even if you do leave campus.” As a result, students stick close inside the “Knox Bubble.” Academically, Knox operates on a unique 3-3-3 trimester system, in which students take three classes per term for three terms each year (which includes a long, six-week holiday break.) “The workloads can be quite rough,” according to one sophomore, “but the trimester academic system keeps things manageable.” While the majority of Knox students might aspire “to be movers and shakers who will be able to make a difference in the world (even if it means we will be eating ramen for the next ten years along the way),” the school makes an effort to connect in-class contemplation to real-world career options. “Knox focuses on learning for its own sake but also has job placement and viable marketing techniques to make sure, regardless of your major, you have numerous opportunities upon graduation,” writes a recent alumna.