Alternative Colleges: Unique Schools for Unique Students: Acceptance Rate, Rankings and More - (2023)

Why go for a non-traditional college experience?

It's no secret that student needs and preferences vary widely, but finding the right college for you may require going off the beaten track. Students choose their schools based on a variety of factors, including location, campus culture, accessibility, and academic programs.

While these are important variables to consider, students may also want to consider institutions that offer innovative approaches to individual career development, lesson planning, or debt-free graduation. is an ad-supported website. Featured or trusted affiliate programs and any school search, locator, or match results are for schools that pay us. This compensation does not affect our school rankings, resource guides, or other independent editorial information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

If you are looking to earn an interdisciplinary degree that combines multiple interests, earn a four-year degree by taking only one class at a time, or pay for a work college instead of tuition, you may be interested in learning more about schools. under. .

Design Your Own Course: Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington offers students an unprecedented degree of freedom in designing their own field of study. The approach offers flexibility to design an interdisciplinary focus based on as many areas as the student desires.

Alternative Colleges: Unique Schools for Unique Students: Acceptance Rate, Rankings and More - (1)

Choosing a major or major

Efocus areaat Evergreen introduces students to a different way of thinking about their majors. Rather than having students identify their major soon after they start school, Evergreen invites students to choose their major towards the end of their studies to help them better describe what they are learning.

Students can choose a traditional subject such as geography or political science, or create their own descriptors such as media and culture or international film. The title of your area of ​​focus will not appear on your transcripts, although you may use it in academic statements.

One advantage of this system is that if you change your major, all the credits you have earned up to that point will continue to count toward your diploma. Students don't have to start from scratch and complete new requirements, which helps them stay on track to graduate in four years.

For evergreen students who want a more focused and structured education, the school also offers 60+ subjects plus severalStudienwegethat combine multiple fields into a standard focus area. Students pursuing this option complete a planned sequence of programs over four years, e.gintegrated biology and chemistry,food and agriculture, Öpolitical economy, global studies, and environmental justice.

Other schools where you can create your own course

lesley university

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Aprivate universityin Cambridge, Massachusetts, bietet Lesley aown design main compartmentfor students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Undergraduate students may submit a program proposal in the second semester, which includes a personal statement, a description of the intended concentration and how it will achieve their educational goals, and any independent study or internships they wish to pursue.
UMD offers studentsa studentindividual degree, where students design their program by combining disciplines and working closely with a faculty member. Students create a course that combines independent research, a course schedule, and study abroad opportunities.


Located in Northfield, Minnesota, St. The LastCenter for Integrative Studiesis dedicated entirely to interdisciplinary academic training. SOC also hosts a web community where students who have created their own course can connect and share their portfolios, projects, experiences and more.

Popular online programs

Find out about start dates, loan transfers, grant availability and more by contacting the colleges below.

Non-Traditional Programming: Colorado College

Most college students are familiar with traditional semester and quarter systems and the requirement that a student must take four courses or 12 credits per semester to be considered a full-time student. However, some schools forego these fixed formats and work with block schedules, which require participants to attend a single class for several weeks.

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What is block programming?

In 1970, Colorado College began operating an academic schedule known as theSperrplan, where students take a single class over a period of three and a half weeks called a block. This gives students time to fully engage with a single topic and not worry about juggling multiple projects, tests, and reading assignments for multiple classes.

Plan Block is meant to be an immersive experience, and classes typically run five days a week from 9am to 5pm. M. at 12 o'clock. A block is equivalent to a single class in a traditional semester system, and CC students take four blocks per semester, with an optional winter half-block and summer session also available. Each block is followed by a period of four days.Blockbruchto give students time to prepare for the next course.

What are the advantages?

In addition to treating one topic at a time, the block plan structure offers students many advantages. The lack of conflicting schedules gives professors more freedom in planning course material-related travel, even to far-flung places like France and China. Additionally, one-to-one teacher classes are limited to 25 students, encouraging student retention and greater familiarity and access to the teacher.

Tamara Bentley, professor and director of Asian Studies at the CC, explains that the professors also only teach one class per block in order to get to know the students better.

“The intensity of the blocks brings you closer to the students. When a student asks me to write a letter of recommendation, I remember exactly who they are. I remember the work he did and I really understand him as a person.” That way I can write them a personal, specific letter,” says Bentley.

Other universities with block programs

Knox University

Knox Universityuses a 3-3 academic calendar in which students take three hours of classes during a 10-week semester. This system serves as a middle ground between something like the CC block schedule and a more traditional academic program.

Spalding University

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Spalding UniversityIt has a customizable block schedule. Spalding students have six weeks of classes followed by a week off until the next block. Unlike other universities, students can choose to take one or two courses per block and still graduate in four years.

Cornell University

Em 1978,Cornell UniversityAdopted the One Course at a Time curriculum, which works like the Colorado College block plan. Students take only one class per 18-day block and have eight blocks per academic year.

Universities without enrollment: College of the Ozarks

With student loan debt in the United States now surpassing$1.5 trillion, Accessibility is becoming more and more important for many prospective students. While scholarships, grants, and loans can help reduce costs, many prospective students are unaware that tuition-free college is another option available to them.

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One of the eight schools that make up thisConsortium of Labor Schools, The College of the Ozarks is committed to ensuring students graduate debt free. Located just outside of Branson, Missouri, this school is commonly known as "Hard Work U."professional education programThis requires each student to work in an approved field in exchange for tuition waivers.

Take a professional course

All full-time students at C of O work 15 hours per week at a designated spot on campus. Students can select a position from a pool of 80 jobs, including positions at the Computing Center, Child Development Center, and Ralph Foster Museum. As students settle into college, their professional responsibilities may more closely align with their field of study.

The cost of educating a student is met through a combination of work program participation credits, federal and/or state grants to which students are eligible, and the tuition grant. Students can also cover their room and board by working six weeks per semester during the summer holidays. Because C of O discourages student loans, it does not participate in any private, state, or federal loan programs.

Other free schools


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In Pippa Passes, Kentucky,Alice-Lloyd-Collegefully covers tuition for students residing in the Central Appalachia service area of ​​108 counties and five states. HeAppalachian Leaders College-Stipendiumhe guarantees that the students don't pay anything out of their own pockets, but pay for other expenses such as room and board. All full-time students are required to work between 10 and 20 hours per week.

Berean College

through yourMatriculation Commitment Scholarship, students outBerean CollegeThey do not pay tuition and instead work in the school's work program to fund their education. Students can choose from 100 work programs on and off campus and earn more as they progress and take on more responsibility.

United States Service Academies

All US Service Academies fully fund the four-year course. The academies include theUS Air Force Academy,US Coast Guard Academy,US Merchant Navy Academy,US Military Academy(West Point) and theUnited States Naval Academy. USA. In addition to the course fees, some fitness studios also cover the costs for accommodation and meals as well as medical and dental care. However, in exchange for covering education costs, students are required to serve in the military after graduation. Generally, students are required to serve five years on active duty and three years on the reserve.


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