Colorado College is a liberal arts college in the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The setting of the campus is beautiful for anyone who enjoys the mountains (the views of the nearby Rocky Mountains are amazing), and there are ample opportunities for students to experience their surroundings, not only through outdoor activities, but also through field study in many classes. Colorado Springs in a city of 700,000 residents, and the campus is walking distance from the downtown area, so it doesn’t feel isolated or remote.
Colorado College is one of two US colleges that utilizes a block plan for their courses, so each student takes one course at a time (each block is 3.5 weeks, followed by a 4 day weekend, 8 courses each academic year). It was clear by the end of my information session and tour that this allows students to become extremely immersed in each class during their block – it also means that the pace is fast, since you are covering a semester’s worth of material in a month. As my tour guide said, since your professor knows you don’t have any other academic commitments, they can schedule things that would normally be difficult on a regular semester schedule – such as a week of field study to a cabin to read and discuss poetry, or astronomy lab every night.
Since the majority of classes are scheduled from 9-12 everyday, it also creates a close sense of community, since everyone is finishing class at the same time and heading to lunch. It’s also the only school I’ve visited where the maximum class size (for any class throughout the course catalog) is 25 students (rising to 32 students if it’s a team-taught course). This means there are no lecture halls on campus, again helping to foster a sense of community and engagement.
Intense, fast-paced, and focused – these words seem to sum up the Colorado College experience.