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Lafayette earns glowing praise in The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2000. This is the 16th annual edition of the top-rated guide to the best colleges in America, a well-respected publication that USA Today calls the “most readable and informative” of all the college guides. The book is edited by Edward B. Fiske, former education editor of The New York Times.

“Despite its small size, Lafayette College is taking large leaps forward – attracting some of the best and brightest students in the nation,” begins the Lafayette section. “The school is in the midst of a campus-wide building boom; it plans to dramatically increase student financial aid this year; and it’s using a $10 million grant to strengthen academic departments. One of the few liberal arts colleges of its size to offer engineering, Lafayette has also won considerable respect for its technical and science programs.”

“Lafayette offers diverse academic experiences, opportunities to participate in undergraduate research and an abundance of social activities like those found at bigger instutitions,” says Fiske. “Students come here to learn, study, and have fun, and many successfully manage to do all three.”

That fact is contained in the eighth edition of Franklin and Marshall College’s study “Baccalaureate Origins of Doctoral Recipients,” prepared in cooperation with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, published last year.

Here are other excerpts from the Fiske Guide:

“Students claim that the small size is Lafayette’s best asset. ‘It allows for small, intimate classes and one-on-one relationships with professors,’ says a junior biology major. ‘I find it big enough to always meet new people, yet I can be comforted by familiar faces wherever I go.'”

“Classes at Lafayette are small (nearly all with fewer than 25 students) and are fairly easy to get into. Students enjoy frequent interaction with professors, especially those who are accepted into the McKelvy Scholars program, which allows selected honors students to live in a special living-learning atmosphere.”

“Joint research with faculty members is highly encouraged, and the undergraduates here are able to perform the kind of research that only graduate students are allowed to do at big universities.”

“An unusual arrangement with the Free University of Brussels makes it possible for engineering majors to study there while maintaining normal progress toward a degree. Another course, dubbed Technology Clinic, allows an interdisciplinary group of students to tackle a real-world problem. One recent clinic developed and implemented a comprehensive marketing plan for a nearby community that was struggling economically to survive.”

“Lafayette is steadily increasing its geographic diversity. . . . The student body forms a close social community that prides itself on its friendliness.”

“If you enjoy community service, volunteer work is encouraged. Volunteers work with preschoolers, Habitat for Humanity, Adopt-a-Grandparent, soup kitchens, or they tutor prisoners in the county jail on equivalency exams, all under the auspices of Lafayette’s [Landis] Community Outreach Center. ‘Our students are well aware of the needs of the Easton community and continues to serve the community in as many ways as possible,’ says one biology major.”

“Students feel safe on campus, thanks to a comprehensive security program and good location. ‘You can always find a security car on patrol, although there seems to be little apparent need for our security,’ says one junior. Safety measures include escorts, regular security patrols, and passes that are required for entry into the dorms.”

“Dorms are clean and well-maintained. One student describes them this way, ‘The college is strongly committed to a worthwhile residence hall life. The resident advisor program is very unique at Lafayette, with RAs forming very strong relationships with their residents.'”

“Thirty-five percent of the men and 45 percent of the women [belong to fraternities and sororities], a much smaller percentage than in years past. ‘Greek houses are the prime site for social life – but organizations on campus provide fun, creative alternatives if fraternities are not your scene,’ says a biochemistry junior.’ . . . The student center sponsors activities on campus, including movies, comedians, speakers, and other forms of entertainment. The arts program offers performers ranging from Wynton Marsalis and the American Indian Dance Company to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Julliard Quartet at the Williams Center for the Arts.”

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