Rhodes College will change your life. Seriously. I mean, that’s why it’s a part of The Colleges That Change Lives, a non-profit organization made up of 40 colleges who support a “student centered college search process.” Rhodes and the other CTCL schools are colleges off the beaten path that develop a student’s lifelong love of learning and provide the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college. And Rhodes’ philosophy on how to educate their students makes them even more of a gem of a school.
Do you watch Dead Poet’s Society and long for that ivy-covered campus feel, but can’t take the brutal cold? Are you an anglophile, but just can’t jive with how the British approach dental hygiene? Do you love Gothic architecture? Go to Rhodes! The campus, located in Memphis, Tennessee, looks like it belongs in Oxford, England. Classes are held in 13 stone buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus is gorgeous. And warm! And there’s great barbeque! The barbeque in Oxford is terrible. Trust me.
Though it’s easy to focus on Rhodes’ beautiful campus, the academic programs they offer are stellar as well. For example, all freshmen must take a 3-semester core class in which they discuss philosophy and probe such questions as the meaning and purpose of life. This sounds both amazing, and something I could’ve tortured my parents with at the dinner table while home on Thanksgiving break. “Meghann, can you pass the salt?” “I don’t know, Dad. Can I? Will it mean anything if I don’t?” Excellent.
Rhodes has a century-old tradition of student governance, based on a student-administered Honor Code. The students take the Honor Code very seriously and Rhodes finds that when students are responsible for each other, it fosters a very close-knit environment. The students become more independent, and start forming more adult relationships that will help them grown into the adults they want to be.
A small school – only 1,700 students – means small class sizes and professors invite you over for Sunday dinner. Oh, and if you’re worried about being bored on a campus with not a lot of students, don’t be. The school has plenty of clubs, and a strong internship program (one of the many advantages of being smack-dab in the middle of a major city).
Rhodes may not be as well known a name as, say, Harvard, but don’t ever let that stop you from exploring schools that may be flying under the radar. Rhodes is a great school, with just as much ivy as that other university. And if the college itself doesn’t change your life, the pulled pork barbeque sandwiches most definitely will.
For more information on the Colleges That Change Lives, visit www.ctcl.org