Marlboro College’s commitment to academic excellence and intellectual development has recently been substantiated by a nationally reputed research organization. Marlboro ranks in the 95th percentile or better among baccalaureate liberal arts institutions on academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and supportive campus environment, according to the most recent results of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), an annual survey of 162,000 freshmen and seniors from over 400 colleges and universities. In addition, first-year students’ experience of active and collaborative learning was also in the 95th percentile.
For the past 2 years, Marlboro has participated in the NSSE study, which focuses on five areas proven to yield the most accurate measurements of educational quality: academic challenge; close student-faculty interaction; enriching educational experiences such as study abroad, internships, and community service; active and collaborative learning; and a supportive campus environment.
Two striking differences from national norms are well worth noting, both relating to the emphasis the college places on hard work and good writing. At Marlboro, 24% of first-year students and 68% of seniors report spending over 25 hours a week preparing for class. That is the amount generally agreed by faculty to be necessary for academic success. By contrast, only 11% of first-year students and 16% of seniors at liberal arts colleges nationally spend a comparable amount of time studying.
Due in part to the Clear Writing Requirement, Marlboro students put a great deal more effort into improving their writing than they do elsewhere, with 83% of first-year students and 96% of seniors reporting that they frequently prepare two or more drafts of a paper or assignment, compared to 54% of first-year students and 42% of seniors at other liberal arts institutions.
NSSE’s findings are based on a series of questions posed to college freshmen and seniors about the number of books they read, the amount of time they spend preparing for class, the number of papers they write, the synthesis and evaluation required in coursework, their own participation in class discussion, the frequency of their conversations with faculty outside of class, their opportunities to do community service, and their interactions with peers from different economic or social backgrounds, among many other topics.
The answers to these questions confirms the glowing ratings that the college recently received in the 2005 issue of Princeton Review's The Best 357 Colleges, which ranked Marlboro first for “Professors Bring Material to Life” and second for “Best Overall Academic Experience,” “Class Discussions Encouraged” and “Professors Make Themselves Accessible” and 13th for “Students Never Stop Studying.”
Founded in 1946, Marlboro College offers undergraduate education in the liberal arts and, since 1997, graduate study focused on Internet technologies. Its 330 undergraduate students enjoy an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community and individualized courses of study on a 350-acre campus in the hills of southern Vermont. Marlboro is a Colleges That Change Lives college.