I had the pleasure of touring the Middlebury campus with admissions counselor Margo Graham, who is a Minnesota native. This is a beautiful college campus located in a gorgeous and peaceful New England setting in small town Vermont.
Founded in 1766, the town of Middlebury was burned to the ground during the Revolutionary War in 1778. As the town rebuilt from the fire, Middlebury College rose from the ashes, and was established in 1800. Today, the town of Middlebury is a cute, upscale town of just over 8,000, with a classic new england look and feel. Students can walk into town from campus and enjoy places to eat, shop, and explore the local arts scene. And the town loves its students right back, regularly attending the sporting events and music and theater performances at the College. Middlebury professors also tend to live in town and are a big part of the community. The closest airport is in Burlington, Vermont, just under an hour north of town. This college will appeal to Minnesotans who love snow! The area is surrounded by two different ski areas as well as a great system of cross-country ski trails. The Bread Loaf writers’ conferences held in August draws emerging poets and fiction writers to Middlebury every year for a series of workshops with established writers. The Conferences also offer a series of public readings and lectures, which draw students, professors, and community members.
Reflecting the College’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable living, the environmental sciences and STEM fields are huge at Middlebury. Many students involved in the computer science program go on to jobs in Silicon Valley, and 85% of students applying to medical school are accepted. Students involved in music will find many different ensembles to choose from, or may want to audition for the winter term musical, which always sells out. The school’s language programs are also a big draw, both for students and outside scholars. Language learners travel to Middlebury for its summer language schools offering eleven languages, and Middlebury students enroll in high numbers at the College’s forty language immersion programs abroad. Language learners on campus can select from ten different languages, and join a language table in the lunchroom for casual conversation practice or apply to live in a language house on campus for further immersion. In addition to a range of summer course offerings, including travel-oriented courses at sites across the US, Middlebury also offers a winter term with a wide variety of courses to choose from. Students can expect to develop close relationships with their professors, who are very dedicated to their students and the community. Because there are no graduate students, professors often ask students to collaborate on research projects and papers, which can provide students with valuable hands-on experience.
Middlebury College prides itself on its interdisciplinary programs and majors, and encourages students to experience a breadth of different experiences across the departments. Study abroad is also a popular option, with over 50% of juniors studying in over forty different foreign countries each year. Those prospective students set on experiencing Greek life need not apply, there is none of that here. Instead, students keep busy with recreational activities in the area, clubs, and College-sponsored sports. Middlebury is part of the New England Small College Athletic Conference or NESCAC, and about 60% of students are involved in sports. 43% of students receive financial aid to attend through need-blind scholarships. Though a small school of 2,450 students, the student body is quite diverse, representing seventy different countries, and students from all fifty states.
Middlebury College uses the Common App and Coalition App, and has a flexible scale for test scores. Taking a more holistic approach to admissions, Middlebury admissions is looking for students with a clear passion, strong character, desire to make a difference. If you are considering a gap year, Middlebury supports a model where students can choose to begin their first year in February rather than September. Affectionately termed “Febs,” Middlebury has found these students are more likely to assume leadership roles on campus and perform better academically.
Who would be happy here
Minnesota kids not trying to run away from winter weather would be very happy here! People are friendly, and they embrace and enjoy the winter. Students concerned for sustainability and environmental issues will likely be proud to attend this 100% carbon neutral institution. The majority of the school is also heated and cooled by the biomass gasification plant, which runs on locally-sourced wood chips rather than fuel oil. The city is generally quite liberal-leaning, but more conservatively-minded folks are certainly also welcome.