New College is a special place. You cannot think of it as just another small liberal arts school in the South. There is not a single aspect of New College that can be considered traditional. From the progressive academics to the alternative social culture, it is a unique setting. This intensity does not bode well for everyone. Many come to New College expecting a Utopia and are shocked when the rigorous academics and insularity kick in. Others come because of its academic reputation, oblivious to the fact that it requires a certain type of personality and drive. Not everyone can hack it; many fail out, and many transfer.
New College students feel they have made a frugal, strategic choice that will land them in their desired graduate program. While this choice involves many seemingly undesirable trade-offs, it is ultimately worth it for those who are free-spirited, independent, and serious about academics. On one hand, New College is small. It has limited financial resources and doesn’t have the household prestige that high-caliber students crave. On the other hand, it is a bargain. It facilitates close contact with professors and has a strong, supportive community. One should be mindful of these realities before deciding to attend. The word is getting out that this little gem in Florida exists. Recent rankings and publicity will hopefully make the choice to matriculate be seen less as a series of trade-offs. Still, most Novo Collegians believe in the intrinsic value of education, and they believe that their school is providing them with far more intellectually than most Ivy League schools can offer. Judging by graduate school admissions rates and Fulbright Scholarships, their belief can’t be far from the truth.