Guilford College

Mary Hobbs Hall, a dorm for freshman women, is rumored to be haunted.

Guilford College is a small Quaker-founded school in Greensboro, North Carolina.  With just 1,200 traditional undergraduates, Guilford also welcomes a similar number of adult learners, those who have returned to college to complete their degree, giving traditional students a different perspective as they pursue their education. [Though it continues to be a Quaker institution, only about 8% of the students are Quaker; there are religious groups and opportunities for students from all backgrounds.]

Guilford is one of the Colleges That Change Lives, and provides a liberal arts based education, with a focus on writing.  Every course at Guilford will involve a writing-intensive assignment, even math and dance classes!

Community justice, a combination of applied anthropology and sociology with hands-on social organizing skill-building, and peace and justice studies, whose alumni generally move on to graduate programs, are unique programs at Guilford.  Both reflect the school’s Quaker roots and attitude of stewardship, and include training in mediation.  A recent graduate of the Community Justice program told me that this major really spoke to her soul.  “College should be where you learn how to be a better person,” she told me.  “Look at the world, look at yourself, let’s fix things.”

The largest five majors are business, education, English, psychology and exercise and sports science.  While housing is only guaranteed for one year, 90% of students live on campus all four years.  Some dorms are more updated than others; some of the buildings are original to the college from the early 1900’s.

New LEED-certified renovations in the library offer students private group study rooms with technological updates.

The southernmost stop on the Underground Railroad sits in Guilford’s 200-acre woods.  Cafeteria food is sourced from the Guilford Farm, if possible, and cafeteria tells students from how far the food has travelled to get to them.  There are also many well-marked vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options.  Wednesday is “community day” in the cafeteria, when professors join the students for a bustling lunch hour.

Guilford students are not looking for a homogenous college experience; they are comfortable with robust conversation about politics and other issues.  They call their professors by their first names and leave here very well trained in forming and defending ideas in writing and orally.  Guilford is test-optional, but the school will scrutinize applicants’ high school transcript to ensure that they are prepared for the rigor Guilford offers.  Applicants must also provide a graded written paper.

Guilford is a beautiful, uncrowded campus dotted with trees throughout the academic and residential quads.  Evelyn visited in 2014 and Michelle visited in 2022.  You can scroll through all of our photos of Guilford College below.

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