In March, I visited Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, located in a residential area of one-family homes in Allentown, Pennsylvania. While the school has a religious affiliation, ecumenism is the order of the day. One third of the students are Catholic, one third are Jewish and twenty percent are Protestant. The school calls itself “the caring college” because they feel the students and staff are warm, friendly and compassionate. The college’s red doors are a Lutheran sign of welcome. Muhlenberg wants to “encourage students to live life to its fullest, do their best, be honest, deal openly with each other, and treat everyone as an individual.”
The 2180 undergraduate students hail primarily from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Women outnumber men, as is often the case at liberal arts colleges. Most of the students are from middle and upper-middle class suburban families.
The school sits on eighty acres. In addition there is a forty acre arboretum and a forty acre wildlife sanctuary. Ninety-five percent of the students live on campus and eighty per cent stay on weekends.
Muhlenberg has small classes with only one percent having more than fifty students. Each freshman gets a first year advising team of four students and a faculty member. The college is strong in business, drama, dance, pre-med/biology, pre-law, English/writing, psychology, science, accounting and media/communications. All freshmen take a writing-intensive, discussion-intensive seminar capped at fifteen students. More than half the students study abroad for one or two semesters in their Junior or Senior year; they can choose from 150 programs in 35 countries.
You may be wondering what Muhlenberg students do for fun. Almost a quarter join one of the four fraternities or four sororities. They participate in some of the over one hundred clubs, intramural and club sports, or Muhlenberg’s NCAA Division III Centennial Conference teams. Comedians perform every Thursday night. A capella groups and dance are popular. Students use the college shuttle to get to activities in Allentown including restaurants, bars, movies, bowling, ice-skating, and miniature golf.
Muhlenberg is selective and has a 37% acceptance rate with 60% of the students applying early decision. The college is SAT-optional; a graded paper and an interview can be used in place of the SAT.
Tuition plus room and board are $45,600. Sixty-five percent of students get some form of aid. Ninety four percent of need is met. Merit aid averaging $9,900, ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 per year is available for those scoring greater than 1600 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT.
There are additional photos of Muhlenberg College on my Web site. If you’ve visited Muhlenberg College recently or are a student there, share your thoughts on the college.