The storms had just cleared and rain reduced to a trickle when our buses pulled onto the campus of Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana – a relief as we were all eager to walk the grounds and discover what makes this small, regional school of around 1,000 students so special. After all, as the first college in Indiana to admit women, Franklin has continued in its proud and pioneering tradition to offer a solid liberal arts education to its students since its founding in 1834. Though approximately 85 percent of its students come from within its home state of Indiana, the warm and supportive campus community – combined with some excellent financial aid packages! – mean that it could be the right fit for a variety of freshmen (and women).
To what type of “excellent financial aid packages” do I refer? For starters, last year (2015-16), 1oo percent of Franklin students received some form of aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) to offset the cost of attendance at the college. Wrapped into that cost is access to a full slate of counseling and support services for those students who need assistance. In addition, Franklin is extremely welcoming to first generation college students (e.g. those who are the first in their families to pursue undergraduate education) and 20 percent of their student body consists of this particular population. As such, an annual summer bridge program known as “Franklin First” that allows both students and their parents the opportunity to get an early and thorough look at what they can expect as part of the Franklin community and aid them in the transition to college life.
And what do students learn once they’re at Franklin and engaged in the College’s liberal arts curriculum? Through a structure known as “Engaged Learning at Franklin,” they are not only taught in classrooms, but expand their knowledge through experiential programs that include the formalized Professional Development Program, which applies to all majors and includes extracurricular events such as etiquette dinners and networking workshops before they engage in internship opportunities, undergraduate research, and engage with top mentors in their chosen fields. In addition, life skills such as navigating health care and insurance options, personal finance management, and entrepreneurship education are included in the program’s curriculum so that students emerge from Franklin not only ready to enter the working world, but also the world at large.
The bottom line is, for all students – even equestrians, who might prefer to attend a college with a formalized equestrian program or student club – if you seek a supportive and nurturing college environment (including – and especially! – one that will gladly allow you to form your own equestrian club with like-minded students, should you choose) with affordable costs and a set of programs that will prepare you for all facets of life after college, Franklin is certainly worthy of your consideration.