College review by Lisa Bleich
Burlington is the quintessential college town, with 5 colleges within a 2 mile radius, a thriving downtown within walking distance to UVM and Champlain College, a large outside community with access to snowboarding, hiking, jobs, and internships, all with a beautiful view of Lake Champlain. Both Champlain College and UVM are dry campuses, but the thriving music/bar scene provides ample opportunity for an active social life for those students 21 and over. Parties also abound off campus. The vibe of the town of Burlington is relaxed, “chill”, somewhat hippie, and somewhat sloppy. We saw many strange looking people along Church Street from an older hippie sporting rainbow colored pants and a mask tooling around on his bicycle protesting something, (We weren’t sure of exactly what though.) to numerous street performers playing every odd instrument one could imagine. We also saw many great musicians, so it’s hard to say if this was just for the summer crowd or indicative of the sort of people who live in Burlington year round.
Champlain College and UVM are within walking distance of each other, so the town of Burlington services both student populations equally well.
Champlain is a small, hand’s on college with particular strengths in Communications and Creative Media and Information Technology and Science. It offers some very interesting majors such as Game Design and Computer and Digital Forensics. Students get great internships with game design companies in Montreal as well as with companies in mobile technology. Champlain also has a school of Business and a School of Education and Human Studies. Business students tend to pursue entrepreneurial ventures or work for small businesses in the area.
The most unique thing about Champlain is its upside down curriculum where students get to take classes in their major from day one. This gives them a great opportunity to decide if they want to continue with their intended major. My tour guide started off in Game Design, but after the first year decided that he was more interested in Computer Forensics.
Most of the programs are “cohort based,” with the aim of replicating how things are done in a work environment. Champlain has excellent support and all students can receive two hours of free academic coaching on study skills and strategies. Students take classes in three areas, their major, the core curriculum, and LEAD, which includes life management skills, financial literacy, career planning, and community engagement. The goal is to create well-rounded students who have critical thinking skills, practical skills, and life skills.
The campus itself is relatively small and built up on a hill. Each section of the campus is on a higher level and the top provides a spectacular view of Lake Champlain. The ratio of male to female students is 60:40. Students were described as engaged. My tour guide had a hard time articulating what made Champlain so special, but he truly loved the school and came out of his shell since arriving on campus. He said he was a good student in high school, but very shy and not too involved in outside activities. Champlain provided him the opportunity to get involved and he has really blossomed since coming here.
The typical students have a B average and 550 on each section of the SATs or a 24 ACT with writing. Champlain offers merit aid to students whose test scores and GPA are higher than average.
Champlain is a great school for students who want to take a different approach to education; who want to be engaged in their learning and may be late bloomers.[raw] [/raw]