College review by Lisa Bleich
Challenge convention; change the world is Clark’s motto. The adjectives low-key, relaxed, intellectually curious, and community-oriented come to mind when thinking about a “Clarkie” as they affectionately call themselves. Students are friendly, thoughtful, and genuinely want to make a difference in the world.
Clark is located in Worcester, which is the second largest city in New England. Parts of Worcester are terribly depressed and can be a turn off to certain students, however a “Clarkie” sees this aspect of Worcester an attraction because they feel like there is a lot of opportunity to make positive changes in the community and they also feel like they can do more things because it is a less expensive city. Other parts of Worcester are actually very nice and more robust with a strong cultural presence of museums and theater. There is a strong immigrant population in Worcester bring with it numerous ethnic eateries, particularly Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai. Boston and a ski/snowboard mountain are about an hour away.
Clark is decidedly low-tech. I was brought back to the mid-eighties when I was in school, with colored banners littering the student center and students behind tables promoting their events. There were very few computers in the classrooms and the student mailboxes were smack in the center of the student union. Clark students are very diverse both in color, ethnicity, and culture, with a fairly large international presence of 9% of the population. The International Gala is one of the big events of the school where students perform from their native countries. Hillel is the most active club on campus for all students.
We were there pre-finals, so the academic lounge at the first floor of the library was bustling with energy; the students were in animated discussions and seemed very happy.
On the downside, many of the buildings are tired, and while clean, are outdated. There is a new dorm for upperclassmen that is extremely nice, but the freshman dorms are old. The library and science buildings are recently refurbished and very attractive.
The average GPA for accepted students is 3.33/4 and the average SAT/ACT is 1100-1310/25-29. This includes Critical Reading and Math only for the SAT. 85% of students receive needs based aid and 60% receive merit aid of up to $18,000 per year. There are also 20 “making a difference scholarships” for $12,000 per year and a stipend for summer research. 40% of students go onto graduate school.
Clark University, one of 40 schools included in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” is located in Worcester, MA, a small, urban city. Clark, is known for the close relationship between students and professors who promote student success. 2,200 undergraduate students and 750 graduate students. Clark’s pedagogy is based on 3 basic principles: “Learn Through Inquiry,” “Make a Difference,” and “Experience Diverse Cultures.” Clark is a great school for students who are bright but need a nurturing environment with small class sizes and positive interaction with professors in order to strengthen their skills and find success.
Admitted students have an average GPA of 3.48 and an SAT range between 1100-1310, 25 – 30 on the ACT. Students who are admitted are intellectually curious, like to participate in class, and thrive on hands on learning, field trips, and research opportunities. Important student issues include politics and the environment. Clark is known for its Holocaust Center that also includes studies of genocide around the world. Strong departments include Psychology, both on the undergraduate and graduate levels, Government and International Relations, Business Management, Biology, English, and Communications. One of the standout majors is Geography as Clark contains a renowned research center and Geographic Information System. There are 13 options for students to attend a 5th year free at Clark to obtain a Master’s degree including Education, an MBA Program, and Public Administration.
The level of support at Clark can be categorized as coordinated services. Students with documented learning disabilities, who are able to self-advocate can avail themselves of services such as help with course selection and advisement, one-on-one meetings with professional staff, tutoring (for a fee), and note takers which can be arranged. Professors send mid-semester progress reports to the Office of Disability Services so that struggling students can work on improving their grades, however students must take initiative with all of the services provided.