Clark University (MA) Changes Lives
Lydia Mann, director of admissions outreach at Clark University, put the COVID essay on the Common Application in proper perspective. Don’t feel pressured to write something, she says, or to try to find a “right answer.” Clark has also been test optional since 2012. If there is a school that is truly holistic, whether a student submits low scores or no scores, it’s Clark. A very good to excellent student who can get into Clark might also quality for merit-based aid without submitting scores. Just over half of the prospective freshmen who apply to Clark are accepted. Their average GPA is a 3.7.
I have been to Clark before, and given Lydia’s comments, I felt it was time to write an update about the school. I also asked Lydia to share more about the Clark experience. There’s also a collection of photos for you on Pinterest from my past visit.
Clark is in Worcester, Massachusetts, the second-largest city in New England after Boston. It has always been one of the Colleges That Change Lives. These schools, most not ultra-selective, attempt to offer an education that one is likely to find at colleges that have far more competitive admissions. With around 2,300 undergraduates and 1,100 graduate students, Clark is the smallest National Research University on the East Coast. Worcester has several other colleges, including the College of the Holy Cross and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. While these schools have activities together, they are not close together. Clark has an open campus surrounded by an urban residential neighborhood where students are also engaged in community service.
Clark offers 40 majors/minors (including a student-designed major) as well interdisciplinary concentrations. Qualified students can also take advantage of Clark’s Accelerated B.A./Master’s Degree Programs, with the fifth year of study tuition-free. Students who elect to stay on for the fifth year may do a summer internship after their senior year before beginning graduate study. This includes an opportunity to earn a MBA from an accredited business school. Between 25 and 30 percent of a senior class continues towards a masters at Clark. Just over three-quarters of a freshman class graduates in four years, with 80 percent finishing in five.
Clark University organizes undergraduate education, academic support services, community service, study abroad and career development under a single umbrella, Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP) if you choose the school you will probably spell leap as LEEP for the rest of your life. The level of support that Clark undergraduates receive is very high for a school of this size. There is a huge emphasis on service and extracurricular involvement as well as career development; though there are neither fraternities nor sororities as social outlets. Clark has not been a powerhouse in varsity athletics, but around 2/3 of the undergraduates play a sport at some level whether it be on a varsity squad, a club team or intra-murals.
The outreach of the career center and alumni relations are excellent for a small school.
In addition to its own events, including a community engagement fair in the fair and a Spring Career Fair. Clark participates in the Liberal Arts Career Network, an online job board shared with 38 other selective liberal arts colleges across the country including schools such as Amherst, Dartmouth and Tufts. Clark students are invited to career fairs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a plus for those who are math/science oriented in their major or career choices. The university also hosts Worcester-area career fairs and serves on a Career Services Committee with the area chamber of commerce to arrange more connections between students and employers.
Clark attracts between 1,500 and 2,000 alumni for its spring reunion, organized around the same weekend as graduation, with over 70 events on campus. The university also hosts a Family Weekend for students, alumni and parents. Each undergraduate class from first-year to the last year at Clark has a Class Dean who interacts with parents of all of the students in the class. Notable Clark alumni include Matt Goldman, co-founder of the Blue Man Group; Hugh Panero, CEO of XM Radio; Ronald Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera Bread and co-founder of Au Bon Pain; Mark Bittman, food journalist for the New York Times; film producer and screenwriter Mitch Glazer; and Padma Lakshmi, co-host of Top Chef.
If you want a school that combines the benefits of a liberal arts education with those a research university, including a possible taste of graduate school, Clark is well worth a look. It is truly a school that can change lives for the better. Lydia Mann can tell you more.
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