A Trip to the Kalama-Zoo
By Alicja Ramotowski
Kalamazoo College is a private liberal arts school in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The school has a 71.6% acceptance rate, although a student’s college decision should be based on more than just a number. Thanks to its small size of around 1,500 undergrads (male to female ratio of 44.5:55.5) and a 13:1 student to faculty ratio, Kalamazoo is able to offer a very personalized and unique education style. Kalamazoo College offers rich and unique experiences, and is defined by its active student body. Located near downtown Kalamazoo, students are able to visit Lake Michigan’s South Haven Beach—a 20-30 minute drive from campus—go on hikes or bike trails, or discover the town. For those who do not enjoy the outdoors, on the first Friday of every month, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo hosts the “Art Hop,” an evening dedicated to free art exhibits and events.
Although Kalamazoo does not offer Greek life, there are plenty of other activities and clubs for students to join, including acapella groups (one of which is named “Kalamadudes”), circus club, ping pong, physics, squirrel watching club, model UN, and ultimate frisbee club. Along with its variety of extra-curricular programs, Kalamazoo also has Division III athletics. The school has a strong swimming and diving program, and an undefeated Men’s Tennis team (not in the way Northside’s football team is undefeated — these guys are the real deal).
Kalamazoo College requires first and second year students to live on campus, and offers six different types of dorms: two students in a room sharing a bathroom with another room, two students in a room with a shared bathroom for the whole floor, quad rooms, and suites of six with a small living room area and bathroom. All those living in dorms are on a meal plan for the first two years, which is relatively new and has vegan and vegetarian options, as well as different buffet-style bars. For junior year, many students study abroad; in fact, with over 20 available countries, study abroad is, “more of an opt-out than an opt-in.” Kalamazoo is big on experiential and hands on education, and encourages students to participate in internships. All Kalamazoo students are also required to complete an individualized senior project.
Although the most popular majors include pre-med, pre-law, business, psychology, and English, there are many opportunities for other interests as well. Some of these programs allow students to apply to come to Chicago, New York City, or Silicon Valley to learn from alumni in nonprofit and law fields, financial businesses, or entrepreneurial start-ups respectively. Students can also study away with a fine arts curriculum in New York, take courses at Chicago’s Newberry Library, and Washington D.C. or Arizona for border studies.
Kalamazoo College has school spirit and unique traditions such as sliding down the quad on a lunch tray, the commencement ceremony on the quad, and a convocation ceremony to kick-off each school year. The school is rich in opportunities and experience, and although it is not the most affordable—tuition is $43,000—98% of students receive need-based or merit-based aid, bringing the average cost after aid down to $23,000. Kalamazoo also offers diversity scholarships and an enlightened leadership award for performing arts. This performing arts scholarship is different than others because a major or minor in the arts is not required. The school has a $222 million endowment, proving that alumni were quite satisfied with their education and experiences. Any students still looking for schools to add to their college list should be sure to consider Kalamazoo.
Undergrad Population: 1,436
Male to Female Ratio: 44.5:55.5
Student to Teacher Ratio: 13:1
Percent of Financial Aid: 98%
Endowment: $222 million
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Acceptance Rate: 71.6%
Graduation Rate: 81.6%