College of the Week: Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois

Each week, Mrs. Nilsen will provide insight into unique college options for learners and families. The source is the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2019, an annual comprehensive catalog of diverse universities here in California and nationwide, Colleges That Change Lives, and 50 Colleges that Create Futures.

THIS WEEK: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology/Terre Haute, Indiana

(CTCL and Fiske Guide)

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Enrollment: 1,326

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Test Optional

Strong Programs:  Creative Writing, Biology, Economics, Psychology, Education, Theater, and Computer Science

DETAILS: With the unconventional Prairie Fire as its emblem, Knox College has long made a name for itself by breaking away from the conventions of the day. And through a warm, supportive academic community and emphasis on “putting knowledge into practice through real-world experiences,” the college continues to foster a strong sense of individualism.

Located in the heart of the Midwest — almost midway between Chicago and St. Louis — the 82-acre campus has spacious, tree-lined lawns and a dynamic mixture of architecture that reflects the 160-year span of construction dates of existing buildings. Old Main, constructed in 1857, is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Students say the academic relationships at Knox are infused with a spirit of cooperation and equality. Knox operates on an honor system that allows students to take tests unproctored in any public area. Beyond the classroom, students, faculty, and administrators make decisions on boards together, each with identical voting power. All Knox students apply their learning to a real-world experience of their choice, such as independent research or creative work, an internship, community service, or study abroad, that serves as a capstone experience in the junior or senior year. The general education curriculum also requires students to take courses in the arts, natural and social sciences, humanities, writing, speaking, mathematics, information technology, foreign language, and human diversity.

“Knox is challenging but not overwhelming,” says a senior. Seventy-five percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. Knox’s trimester system packs a great deal of studying into a short period, but students are only required to take three courses per term, and professors are widely available for extra help. Knox also offers 3-2 or 3-4 programs in engineering, nursing, medical technology, law, and architecture, as well as a cooperative program with The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

For those interested in service, Knox was the first college in the country to establish an official Peace Corps Preparatory Program. Knox also offers nearly 100 study abroad and off-campus programs in more than 50 countries, and about half of students participate.

Knox may not be a well-known school, but students here have little else to complain about.  Academics and hands-on experiences are the priority, and students are encouraged to be individuals, but the close-knit, open-minded atmosphere helps them form strong connections with a diverse group of students and down-to-earth professors. Says a student: “There is a freedom to flourish at Know.  My opportunities are limitless!