Knox College is a small liberal arts college located in Galesburg, IL (pop 34,000), midway between Chicago and St. Louis. With an Amtrak station two blocks from campus, the college is easily accessible from either of Chicago’s two main airports. The 82-acre tree-lined residential campus is home to about 1,300 undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds – 35% of students are domestic students of color and 19% are international. Students come from 45 states and 49 countries.
Founded by abolitionists in 1837, Knox secured its place in history in 1858 when it hosted one of the famous Lincoln–Douglas debates. Knox College runs on a unique 3 x 3 calendar (10-week trimesters), originally designed with farm laborers’ seasonal schedules in mind. Students get from Thanksgiving Break through New Year’s off!
Academics at Knox College
Knox’s educational mission is inclusive, student-centered, collaborative, and empowering. The College’s honor system allows students to take tests unproctored in any public area – except restrooms, our tour guide pointed out. The average class size is 14 and the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. Knox is best known for its experiential, learn-by-doing approach to education. Ninety percent of students complete an independent study, research or creative project, often during their immersion term, when they spend an entire 10 week trimester devoted to exploring a single topic. Every student gets the $2,000 Power of Experience grant which they use in their junior or senior year to pursue study abroad, independent research, an internship, or community service.
There are no graduate students at Knox. All classes are taught by professors, making both faculty and research highly accessible. Many students graduate as contributors to published research, which is hugely beneficial to the pursuit of graduate studies. In fact, Knox is one the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars. We spoke with one senior from Miami, FL who majored in psychology with a minor in computational rhetoric. He’d just been admitted to Ph.D. programs at Purdue, University of Georgia, Duke, and Northwestern (he chose the latter). Knox has strong programs in psychology, creative writing, biology and computer science and new majors in journalism, public policy, and business, with five different focus areas. New minors include art museum studies and Spanish translation and interpretation.
The nine science majors are housed in the newly renovated Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center. All students have access to the Whitcomb Art Center, where art major seniors are provided with their own individual studios and art supplies.
Student Life at Knox College
Students live on campus for all four years, most in suite-style residence halls. Upperclassmen have access to apartments and townhouses through a lottery system and sorority and fraternity members often live in houses within walking distance of the campus (18% of students participate in Greek life). Nearly a third of students participate in at least on of the 17 DIII sports
Knox meets 100% of need and offers generous merit scholarships ranging from $20,000 to $34,000 per year. Additional art and talent scholarships are available.
Knox is test-optional, accepts approximately two-thirds of applicants and has a 90 percent freshman retention rate. Students gave their faculty a rating of 4.0 out of 5 on RateMyProfessors.com and it’s counted among the 44 esteemed CTCL colleges.
If you’re searching for a college where you can experience your education beyond the classroom lecture halls, explore your varied interests, connect with professors and fellow students and find a supportive, collaborative yet diverse community, Knox College is worth a look!
Magellan counselor Michelle Silbernagel visited Knox in spring, 2022, and you can see all of the photos from her visit below.