Oglethorpe University is a small liberal arts college that strives to connect students with the resources in Atlanta. With just 1185 students, the average class size is 17, and no classes are ever larger than 20. Oglethorpe is in the upscale Brookhaven suburb, just a few miles outside of downtown.
Oglethorpe offers a unique core curriculum in which students take one Core course each of the eight semesters they are here. All of these courses are interdisciplinary, and this interesting structure with no additional general education requirements gives students the opportunity to jump right in and take classes in their major immediately. Interestingly, Oglethorpe pairs students up with a faculty member who is NOT in their likely field of study, which helps them explore academic options they may not have thought of before coming to college.
The performing arts programs are strong here; the performing arts building was intentionally built to resemble a theatre from Shakespearean times.
Oglethorpe’s A_Lab, the Atlanta Laboratory for Learning, encourages civic engagement in Atlanta, internships and research. Oglethorpe strives not just to teach them academics, but also to help them learn skills in the real world. The university also emphasizes global education, and has campuses in Rome, London, Barcelona.
Students are required to live on campus for three years; many stay on campus their senior year because the neighborhood is expensive, and dorm costs include an unlimited on-campus meal plan. Freshman dorms range from not stellar to pretty nice (submit your housing deposit early to get better dorms!).
Students choose Oglethorpe for the small classes and close relationships with professors. “Size is our best asset,” said Provost Glen Sharfman, himself the father of triplets who recently graduate from three different small liberal arts colleges. Oglethorpe is extremely diverse; 40% of the students are non-white and 40% are the first in their family to attend college. Ten percent of the students are international. A quarter of the students join a Greek organization – some are local fraternities, some national – but students note that the system is very inclusive.
You can scroll through my photo album from my visit to Oglethorpe University in February, 2017, below.