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College Counseling: Great Eco-Colleges

Saturday, August 30, 2014



Collège Auguste Renoir - Chatou

photo credits to Conseil général des Yvelines under a CC BY-ND 2.0 

 This is the first in a series in which we showcase three things about five colleges, around a theme. This week, we look at eco-colleges.

Where in the US can you live, learn, and study within a mission of sustainability? These five colleges, and others noted below, are models of institutional commitment to practicing sustainable building practices, renewable energy, and for some, locally managed food resources.

Note that each of the five colleges described below has rolling admission policies, meaning that they fill their freshman class as applications come in--they have later application deadlines and there may still be time to apply this summer for fall 2014 admission!

Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska http://www.alaskapacific.edu

• APU's “Active Learning” encourages students to be “activists and idealists,” engaged in adventure, service, and project-based learning.

• Academic programs include Business, Counseling Psychology, Earth Sciences, Environmental Policy, Outdoor Studies (includes a course in Expedition Mountaineering), and 10 others

• By the numbers: 62 percent admit rate, Mid-range SAT scores: Critical Reading 460-580, Math 400-500, Mid-range ACT Composite: 15-23


College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine http://www.coa.edu

• COA was the first college in the US to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

• All students design their own academic program within a Human Ecology major, choosing from three resource areas and nine focus areas.

• By the numbers: 71 percent admit rate. This college is test optional: test scores do not need to be submitted.


 Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington http://www.evergreen.edu

• 100 percent of Evergreen's operating energy comes from renewable sources and its organic campus farm produces some of the dining service's food.

• With no general education requirements, all students design each quarter's classes around a theme taught by faculty from different disciplines. Narrative evaluations are given instead of grades.

• By the numbers: 94 percent admit rate. Mid-range SAT scores: CR 510-640, M 460-590. ACT 21-27.


 Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin http://www.northland.edu

• Northland is a national leader in alternative building techniques, with one of the campus residece halls built as a prototype for the LEED green building rating system. The campus has a variety of renewable energy sources and participates in the “Dark Skies” initiative. 

• In addition to the traditional liberal arts majors at Northland, majors such as Environmental Geosciences, Outdoor Education, Environmental Chemistry, Ecological Restoration, Wildlife Ecology and Management, and Engineering are also offered.

• By the numbers: 66% admit rate. Mid-range SAT Scores: CR 475-665, M 465-585; Mid-range ACT scores: 21-27


 Prescott College,  Prescott, Arizona http://www.prescott.edu

• Prescott's philosophy includes social justice, environmental awareness, sustainable communities and agriculture, outdoor leadership, and teacher preparation.

• 780 undergraduates can choose experiential learning in majors such as Adventure Education, Wilderness Leadership, Sustainable Community Development, and Ecological Design in addition to more traditional liberal arts and fine arts majors.

• By the numbers: 73 percent admit rate; Mid-range SAT scores: CR 490-640, M 460-590; ACT 22-27.If your son/daughter loves the outdoors or has been an Outdoor School student leader, an Eco College may be a good fit.

Here are some other choices with similar philosophies: Green Mountain College, VT; Hampshire College, NH; Marlboro College, VT; University of Montana and Montana State, Western Washington University, and Warren Wilson College, NC. Check out the Eco League website (http://www.ecoleague.org) for more information. 

Homepage photo: via Evergreen State College website


Emily Standish is a partner in Portland, Oregon-based College Admission Coach LLC (www.collegeadmissioncoach.com), which helps students identify and gain admission to right-fit schools where they will thrive academically and personally. Contact her at [email protected]


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