I know this isn’t how to choose a college, but my favorite memory from my November trip to Albright College is walking across campus and seeing all the clusters of red Adirondack chairs. Even though it was a little too cold to hang out, I could easily picture students gathering around campus. The red chairs represent the friendly, comfortable school Albright is.
Albright College is located in Reading, Pennsylvania, a good size town of 80,000 people. It is 60 miles west of Philly in a suburban area.
The college has 1600 students and 70% live on or around campus (as opposed to commuting). Albright is a liberal arts college, so as you might expect classes are small; a majority are between 15-20 students. You won’t find the huge lecture style classes here; there are only two places on campus to hold large groups—gym or chapel.
Interesting Campus Facts:
The Albright College campus has been expanding:
New $30 million dollar science building – labs, green technology, two new electron microscopes — latest and greatest.
$6 million dollar expansion and improvements to food services. I did eat lunch in the regular cafeteria and found a nice selection with options that made it work for everyone in our group.
Plans for $5 million in additions to business and political science building and $10 mil library renovation.
So the Albright campus keeps getting better. Students will continue to enjoy high quality facilities. I liked the balance of traditional looking buildings with new classroom and lab space. I also liked the fact that Albright was investing heavily into the academic side of campus. I visit a lot of colleges where all the improvements are going towards luxuries – rock walls, lazy rivers, dorms that look like country clubs. I like seeing facility expansion that improves a school’s ability to educate.
100% Financial Need Met
Albright College has decided to increase the financial aid budget and they promise to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all accepted students applying for financial aid. This means families won’t fall into the gap with aid packages that don’t cover the cost.
As part of the tour, I got to hear from panels of professors from different departments. Without going into depth for everything in business, science, etc., I’m going to outline some of the high points.
Albright has a true emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. Two-thirds of students double major. Required seminar and foundations courses encourage students to explore different subjects and make connections.
Graduates are leaving with practical skills and real world experiences. Some people think a liberal arts education isn’t practical, but Albright’s General Education Curriculum pushes all students to connect learning to real world applications. I heard many examples of students who are involved in research, internships, or capstone projects, experiences that make them desirable new hires or graduate students.
For a small school in Pennsylvania, Albright is pretty diverse. One in three students is either a minority or international student.
One in four students is involved in arts on campus and one in four is involved in athletics on campus. This is a school where it is easy to be involved.
Business is the largest major on campus. Reading is a good city for internships.
The sciences are also popular with lots of graduates going on to medical or graduate school. The professors from the science department that spoke to my group said they spend a lot of time and attention working with freshman because many come in weaker in biology or chemistry than they should. Also many freshmen don’t understand the requirements and demands of a bio or chem program. Albright professors work to coach students towards success and have good acceptance rates to medical schools as a result.
Great Place To Learn:
No matter what department, all professors I spoke with were really interested in teaching undergraduates. I got a very good feeling from Albright. It seems like the type of school that will take a good student and over four years shape him or her into a great student. This is the place for someone who has done well in high school, but isn’t Ivy League bound, to get top quality teaching in a supportive and encouraging environment.
Albright College is on a rolling admission schedule which means students can send applications throughout senior year, but should apply by March 1 for full scholarship and admissions consideration. Albright is selective, but not impossible to get into. About 50% of applicants are accepted. The admissions office tries to get to know applicants and places emphasis on academic performance, writing ability, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Sending test scores (SAT & ACT) is optional.If you are a numbers kind of person, here’s a look at who is accepted at Albright:
High school GPA middle 50%: 3.11 – 3.85
Average # of honors courses taken: 6
Average # of AP classes taken: 3
SAT middle 50%: 990 – 1160
I liked Albright College. I think it has a great campus environment and is the ideal school for any student looking for a small to mid-size liberal arts college where he or she can stand out. It is a great option for the applicants who are good students, but not competitive for highly selective schools and who want to have the chance to really shine in college.
What do you think? Have you visited Albright? Share your thoughts in the comments below.