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Best-Kept Secrets: 10 Colleges You Should Know About (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 08/25/10 10:44 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

Scattered across the country are ten colleges that are not widely known for their celebrity professors (or students), fancy recreation centers or top-notch graduate programs. Rather, these often tiny schools place a firm emphasis on learning; whatever else happens at them usually stems from that.

ranked these ten hidden gems based on their survey of more than 30,000 students this past year. Below, we've listen them in alphabetical order.

What do you think? Do these schools pique your interest? Do you have one to add to the list? Add it in the comments section.

Bard College
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Bard College is small –- 450 students per class year –- and it’s in Annandale-on-
Hudson, NY, which students characterize as “Out. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Woods.” This size and location leave a lot of time for students to focus on their academics, and on one another. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Bard’s academics is moderation, the process by which students declare their majors. A senior explains, “The moderation process, occurring during your sophomore year, forces students to think about all of their classwork to date before attempting to major in any one subject. Unlike other schools, the departments at Bard reserve the right to refuse a potential major. Students are admitted through the moderation process, during which they must choose a major, then write and defend a paper in that area against a panel of professors to gain entry. Before graduating, the student completes a senior project of their choice over the course of two semesters, then goes back before that same panel once again to discuss their progress. It’s a really challenging and rewarding process.” The typical Bard student is said to be a “…radical hyper-intellectual philosopher/artist who is too hip for his/her own good, and can frequently be found dragging on cigarettes in ironic t-shirts and skin tight jeans, discussing Hegel with their equally hip friends.” Another student adds: “Bard students are certainly hyper intellectual … they are encouraged from their first day of college to push the envelope and expand their perspectives.” A third chimes in, “a hobby or interest or personality that may have been thought of as ‘weird’ in high school is totally embraced here … people are more prone to finding other people's obscure interests exciting and interesting. Depending on where you are from, it can be the most wonderful feeling ever to finally meet kids who are like you.” If you’re a strong, intellectual student who feels like you never truly fit in with the regular kids in high school, and... more
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Filed by Leah Finnegan  |