Ursinus College is the fifth school on our tour affiliated with Colleges That Change Lives along with Hampshire, Bard, Juniata, and St. John’s. These colleges serve a relatively small number of students, ranging from 400 to 1,800 undergraduates. Each campus is attractive in its distinctive way, with easy proximity to nearby towns. The students are bright. The faculty-to-student ratio means that classes are small by college standards (10 to 25 students). Academic offerings are extensive and varied, and there is the freedom to create an individual major. Retention of students from freshman to sophomore year is high (typically 90% plus). More importantly, the percentage of seniors who find a job or gain entrance to graduate school within six months of graduation is approximately 95%.

Why should our students consider such a school? First, colleges that change lives serve students who “march to a different drumbeat.” As a result, there are sufficient support services available. Community life on campus is inclusive, providing many opportunities “to belong.” These schools have made SAT and ACT scores optional for the admissions application. If your score is lower than the stated average for an incoming freshman class, leave it off the application. However, if your score will enhance your application, include it.

What does this mean for the Franklin Academy senior whose ACT score is 25 or higher? The admissions office of these schools will carefully review your application. Since the selectivity rate for admissions ranges from 60% to 79%, you will be competitive. Then, if you are accepted, you can combine academic merit scholarships with other “stackable” scholarships and need-based financial aid, making college a very affordable proposition.