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Just a few things that make small college so cool! (to be continued in my next book)

One of the reasons I promote small private colleges is due to the amount of flexibility that “being small” allows the students.  Many of the small private colleges not only allow students to create their own major, but they actively encourage it.  Many of the small private colleges have flexible curricula that give students more electives (and fewer required classes).  Many of these allow for double and triple majors, or two majors and two minors.  In my experience, even students who were not necessarily “A” students in high  school thrive when they have more flexibility and are given more choices.  They also thrive best when they can DO research, DO travel to other countries, and DO internships.  Activity keeps those creative juices flowing!


There are close to 100 small private (and a handful of public) colleges that have unique academic calendars that help students thrive.  Some have student take only one class at a time.  Some have students take 4 classes in the fall, only 1 during January, and then 4 in the Spring.  Others have 4-4-1 calendars with 4 in the fall, 4 in the spring, and 1 during May.  There is even one that has 3-1-3-1 that gives student 8 unique “one month only” classes over a four year period of time.


Colleges have various names for these “single classes” (May Term, Interterm, J-Term, etc.), but I can tell you from personal experiences, they are awesome.  I graduated from Wartburg College a long time ago.  They were one of the first to have a 4-4-1 calendar.  My first May Term I stayed on campus and had a chance to do an independent research paper.  I only met with the professor when I needed help.  I loved it and did really well.  I believe that is where my love of research first began.  The next May term I traveled to Eastern Kentucky with 11 other students and a faculty member for a class called the Culture of Southern Appalachia.  This was, by far, the best class in my entire 4 undergraduate years.  We visited 4 or 5 colleges during the trip which, I believe, was the genesis of my love of small private colleges.


I am in the process of writing a book about all the cool things at small private colleges: unique curricula (“you mean I don’t have to take math?”), unique academic calendars (“I get to study Opera in Italy?”), unique programs (“I get to do paid research in campus before my first day as a freshman?”), and unique majors (“automotive restoration major at a liberal arts college?”).   This is going to be fun!  Please let me know if you think this is a good idea.  


Here is a list of the colleges that have unique calendars.  Check it out!  All different costs and sizes, but all will offer students those great opportunities that will change their lives:



Albright College (Interim Session)

Augustana College (J term)

Augustana University J Term)

Austin College (Jan Term)

Baker University (Interterm)

Bethel University (MN) (January Session)

Birmingham-Southern College (E-Term)

Calvin University (January Series)

Carthage College (J-Term)

Centre College (CentreTerm)

Chapman University (Interterm)

Colby College (Jan Plan)

College of Idaho (Winter Term)

Converse University (Jan Term)

Dallas Baptist University (Winter)

DePauw University (both winter and may terms)

Eckerd College (Winter Term) but freshmen do 1-4-4 (three week orientation class taught by their advisor) Freshmen can do 1-4-1-4 if they wish

Elmhurst University(J-Term)

Elon University (Winter Term)

Endicott College (Winter Intersession)

Franklin College (Immersive Term)

Greenville University (Interterm)

Gustavus Adolphus College (J Term)

Hamline University (J-Term)

Hartwick College (J-Term)

Hollins University (January Term)

Keuka College (January Session)

Linfield University (January Term)

Luther College (J-Term)

Macalester College (J-Term)

Manchester University (January Session)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Independent Activities Period)

McDaniel College (Jan Term)

McPherson College (Interterm)

Middlebury College (Winter Term)

Midland University (Interterm)

Molloy University (Intersession)

Mount Mercy University (Winter Term)

New College of Florida (InterTerm)

Oberlin College and Conservatory (Winter Term)

Oklahoma Baptist University (J Term)

Pacific Lutheran University (J Term)

Randolph-Macon College (J-term)

Rhode Island School of Design (Wintersession)

Saint Mary's College of California (Jan Term)

Salisbury University (Winter Session)

SOKA Universityof California (Winter Block)

St. Catherine University (J-Term)

St. Olaf College (January Term)

Taylor University (J-Term)

Toccoa Falls College (Winterim)

University of Delaware (Winter Session)

University of La Verne (Interterm)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) (Winter Session)

University of New Haven (Winter Intersession over break)

University of San Diego (Intersession)

University of Sioux Falls (Interim/J-Term)

University of St. Thomas (MN) (J-Term)

University of Wisconsin--Stout (WinTerm)

Virginia Wesleyan University (January Term)

Washington & Jefferson College (Jay Term)

Whitworth University (Jan Term)

Williams College (Winter Study)

Wofford College (Interim)


Alma College (Spring Term)

Bates College (Short Term)

Buena Visita University (May Term)

Coe College (optional May Term runs into June)

Earlham Collge (May Term after end of acad year)

Elmira College (Term III)

Hanover College (May Term)

Hope International University (May Term)

Illinois Wesleyan University (May Term)

Mary Baldwin University (May Term)

Maryville College (May Term)

Northland College (May Term)

Samford University (May Term recently changed from J-term)

Simpson College (May Term)

Transylvania College (May Term)

University of Indianapolis (Spring Term)

University of Redlands (May Term)

Wartburg College (May Term)

Washington & Lee College (Spring Term)

Westminster College Utah (May Term)

Whittier College (May Term after end of acad year)


Carleton 3 3 3 (Trimester)

Colorado College (one course at a time)

Cornell College (one course at a time)

Hastings College Block schedule (A two-week block and two seven-week blocks)

Hiram College (3-1-3-1) (they call the 1 class their '3 week')

Keiser University one course at a time

Knox College 3 3 3 (they call it their 3-3 calendar)

Lynn University (1 or 2 courses at a time)

Maharishi International University 1 course at a time

Prescott  block schedule  (one course at a time)

Randolph College TAKE 2  2 classes at a time

Spalding University:  Block block schedule (one or two classes at a time)

Tusculum University one course at a time

Univsity of Montana Western  one course at a time

Worcester Polytechnic Institute 3-3-3-3 (four 7 week terms)



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