The college experience is one of the most expensive and meaningful investments of time, effort, and money an individual will make in his or her lifetime. As of 2012 the average student loan debt of 70 percent of graduating seniors was $29,400. Entering the workforce with that much debt—or more—is just one of the reasons that choosing a college or university carefully is so important.
However, for a huge number of students making their way to college, money isn’t everything; in fact, it may not even be the main thing. The college years are, and should be, filled with new experiences and expansion of the student’s worldview. Many students choose to take on socially responsible projects on their journey. Schools throughout the U.S. have vastly different approaches to fostering the ability of students to make these kinds of journeys; that is the purpose of this guide.
BestColleges intends with this guide to assist students in making informed choices regarding the social conscious possibilities of their educational options. Depending on interest, students can pursue acceptance at schools that offer classes or even entire programs about ethical practices, conservation, or similar issues. Many schools promote fantastic volunteer projects, and internship opportunities. And the various American colleges and universities score very differently when it comes to green initiatives, and sustainability.
Using data collected by Teach for America and the Peace Corps, we’ve compiled a list of the 32 schools with the most socially conscious alumni in America. Teach for America assesses the “Top Colleges and Universities Contributing Graduating Seniors to Teach for America’s 2013 Teaching Corps,” while the Peace Corps assesses its list of the “Top Colleges 2013” for Peace Corps participation. To make our final list, each school had to appear on both of these rankings.
Our final list of 32 schools is not ranked, and it is organized by school size. We’ve arranged them according to Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s basic size classifications for colleges and universities. “Large schools” have 10,000 or more undergraduates in attendance, “medium schools” have 3,000 to 9,999 undergraduates in attendance, and “small schools” have fewer than 3,000 undergraduates in attendance.