A Visit to Clark University

Like many of my students, I have to confess that I had never heard of Clark University until last spring when I met their representative at the Colleges That Change Lives college fair in Dearborn. They were the first table I stopped at, in fact, because I didn’t recognize their name and I couldn’t believe that there was a CTCL school out there that I was unfamiliar with.

The front of Jonas Clark Hall, one of the main buildings on campus.
The front of Jonas Clark Hall, one of the main buildings on campus.

Following that conversation and my visit to their impressive urban campus at the end of April, I can now say that I’m quite familiar with Clark – and there’s a lot to like about this small university.

Located in the heart of Worcester, Massachusetts (a city that happens to be the second largest in all of New England), Clark’s campus manages to blend into its urban surroundings while still managing to feel like the small, liberal arts school that it ultimately is. Campus is well contained and easily walkable, with a sense of security that almost makes it feel isolated and suburban – until you look across or down one of the streets and see Worcester stretching out before you. Then you remember exactly where you are and just what being in a city is all about!

Clark has long had the reputation of being a school that marries the best of the liberal arts tradition with the research focus of a large public university – an especially unique format when you consider that it is a school of just 2,000 undergraduate students. (Because of the number of colleges and universities in the city of Worcester itself, the undergraduate population of the surrounding area is actually closer to 30,000!)

The much-photographed statue of Sigmund Freud at Clark.
The much-photographed statue of Sigmund Freud at Clark.

New this year for the university, however, was a philosophy of higher education that they refer to as “LEEP,” which standa for “Liberal Education & Effective Practice.” Essentially, the initiative is a distillation of the core ideals of a Clark education – that students learn best and become more employable after graduation if they develop the workplace skills of resilience, the ability to work in teams, the ability to express ideas in writing, and the ability to do in-depth research on a particular topic. All of these characteristics have been a part of Clark since its founding as a purely graduate institution (undergrads were first admitted in the early 1900s), but now they have been moved to the forefront – a truly exciting alteration to an already strong curriculum!

One other unique facet of a Clark education that is available to their seniors graduating witn a 3.4 GPA or better is a fifth year option that sllows them to earn an accelerated Masters degree in one of fourteen different subject areas. For students accepted into fifth year, the program is tuition free – a great bargain in the current economic climate!

For equestrians, Clark offers a club team that rides at a local hunter barn about twenty minutes outside of the city. The academic rigor of their work on campus limits their riding time to just one lesson per week with their team coach, but for many students, the opportunity to have that outlet as well as all of the other tremendous offerings at Clark is enough to make it their home for four (or maybe even five!) years.

Are you the type of student who would accel at Clark? Contact me and let’s find out!


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