Another school I visited this week is Clark University. Clark, like WPI, is located outside of Boston in Worcester, Massachusetts. Its motto is “challenge convention; change our world.” Clark prides itself on its ability to offer students a liberal arts education along with hands-on and effective practice in their chosen fields.
At its heart, Clark is a liberal arts school. Most students come in as freshmen with an undecided major and that’s perfectly fine here. There are flexible distribution requirements that give students a taste of several fields. Unlike many colleges that require students to complete general education classes during their first two years, Clark allows them to fulfill this requirement during any of the four years. This gives students who do know what they want to major in the opportunity to take classes in their major earlier in their college career.
Another feature of Clark’s identity is its focus on undergraduate research. Students complete a senior capstone project, but throughout their classes there are opportunities to do research with professors who are researchers and practitioners themselves. Clark’s mission involves discovering and creating knowledge and this is not limited to graduate students. Undergrads work side-by-side with professors and get to publish and present their research as professionals. About 1/3 of undergrads stay for a tuition-free extra year to earn a BA and MA together. Psychology is the largest and most popular department.
Clark is one of the smaller research universities in the United States, capping out at about 2300 undergraduates and 1000 graduate students. Its size, however, is not a disadvantage as the University has strong connections both within its own community and with the city of Worcester. Students have a strong support system in place with academic and career advisors from their first semester. Unlike some schools that might send students to the career center during their end of their senior year, Clark career advisors are life coaches who guide students throughout their four years. They help students find study abroad programs, internships, and volunteer positions that give them a feel for job options and impressive experiences to put on their resumes.
Finally, Clark sees itself as an urban institution. Its location in the city of Worcester gives students many chances to get involved with the local community. Clark students have worked in internships with the local government and biotech, insurance, and tourism/convention industries. Worcester residents are invited to Clark events and activities, ensuring a healthy “town/gown” relationship.
Clark evaluates applications holistically, so you are more than a number here. Students have an average high school GPA of 3.65 and should have strong writing skills. Admissions officers place a lot of emphasis on involvement outside of the classroom. Are you involved in your community with extracurriculars? Do you have a lot of family responsibilities? The admissions office at Clark values these kind of experiences. Didn’t rock your ACT? That’s ok here. Clark is test optional and “really doesn’t care” about test scores. They believe that your high school transcript and the courses you chose are more predictive of your success at Clark. About 1/3 of applicants submit test scores and about 17% of students are international. Clark has a 55% admit rate and is need aware for financial aid.
Clark students are excited to learn what they love and they feel like they have found a home at the University. People are described as “caring” and “involved.” Clubs, in fact, are a huge part of campus culture. For a strong liberal arts background with ample opportunities to develop your career interest and options, give Clark at try. For more information, click clarku.edu.