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College Consortiums Let You Have It All

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Ever wish you could combine the best qualities of multiple colleges to create the ultimate experience? College consortiums might be the answer. A consortium is a formal partnership between a group of colleges, usually in close proximity to one another. The schools can be completely different in every way, yet the agreement between partner schools might allow students to cross-register and take classes at other schools, share library resources and facilities, and many even offer free transportation between campuses at night and on the weekends.

These academic and social opportunities make a great college even better! Here are a few strong consortiums to explore:

The Five College Consortium in Massachussetts is one of the most well-known partnerships in higher ed. The members include Smith College, Amherst College, Mt. Holyoke, Hampshire College, and UMass Amherst. With such diversity among the consortium members, you can confidently choose the school that’s a fit and still take advantage of an interesting course, sporting event or even a friendship at a neighboring school.

Baltimore Collegetown is a partnership between 14 colleges and the government and industry of Baltimore. Some of the members are Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Loyola University of Maryland, McDaniel College and University of Maryland Baltimore County. The city of Baltimore has experienced an incredible rebirth, and with the great weather, coastal location, and exciting professional sports teams there is a lot for college students to love.

The Claremont Colleges include 5 small, liberal arts colleges and 2 graduate institutions. Each beautiful campus has unique architecture, but they flow together and form one giant college destination. As part of the partnership, the five colleges compete athletically as two programs: the Sagehens (Pomona College and Pitzer College) and the Stags and Athenas (Harvey Mudd College, Scripps College, and Claremont McKenna College). If sunny Southern California is calling your name during the college search, this is a gem of a consortium to check out.

The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges consists of 6 diverse schools outside of Philadelphia. Lehigh University, Lafayette College, and Muhlenberg College are among the member schools that offer cross-registration and transportation both during the school day and on the weekends.

Having access to multiple colleges through a consortium can magnify your opportunities during college. And isn’t that what college is all about?

By Lori McGlone, founder of Tractus Insight, a tool that helps families discover colleges that fit and navigate the college search with ease. Insight was built with support from the Gates Foundation.

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