The Centre Commitment

At Centre, we're committed to providing a learning experience that reflects your individual interests and abilities. To show our dedication to the concept of a personal education, we've developed “The Centre Commitment.”

The Centre Commitment guarantees students who meet the College’s academic and social expectations an internship or (beginning with the class of 2017) a research opportunity, study abroad, and graduation in four years. If a student is unable to secure the components of the Centre Commitment within four consecutive years of enrollment, the College will provide up to an additional year of study tuition-free.

Why are we confident enough to make this guarantee?

Probably for the same reasons Centre consistently receives outstanding marks in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). According to NSSE, Centre ranks among the top four schools participating in this national survey in such categories as academic challenge, student interactions with faculty members, collaborative learning, supportive environment, and enriching educational experiences. Centre is one of only two schools singled out for “engaging students in intellectually challenging activities.” In addition, Centre is a U.S. News top-50 national liberal arts college and is highly ranked and regarded in virtually all the lists and guidebooks. Read more on Centre's rankings.

While our academic program is top-notch, the classroom is only one part of the Centre experience. The Centre Commitment, a more explicit statement of options widely accessible to students for years, is just one more way we emphasize individualized education in an all-learning, all-the-time environment.

Experiential Learning

Both internships and research experiences challenge students to go beyond learning about their chosen academic field by “doing” the discipline they are studying in the classroom. Of course, there are many ways of “doing the discipline,” and what's right will vary according to your field of study, your needs and goals as a student, and the available opportunities. The Centre Commitment means that you can expect to have an experiential component of some kind at Centre, and you can expect our advice and guidance on what opportunities might be best for you.

“More than ever, classroom learning alone is not enough. To be well-educated, a student must be able to connect what they learn in the classroom or laboratory with the needs of an interconnected world and a competitive employment market,” says Bob Nesmith, Dean of Admission and Student Financial Planning.

“The Centre Commitment is our promise that Centre will do its part to provide our students the real-world and wide-world experiences they need to make the most of an extraordinary education,” he says.

Nate Blank '08 during an internship Centre offers many opportunities for you to tailor your
education through internships that reflect your career
goals and particular interests.

The Internship Advantage

Internships play a significant role in preparing students for success. In fact, most employers offer almost 10 percent higher average starting salaries to recent college graduates who have completed an internship. Not only do internships help you secure higher-paying jobs, they give you real-world experience and allow you to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom by “trying on a career.”

Centre students have completed fascinating internships at places like the White House, the British Parliament, and the Southern Center for Human Rights. They’ve also interned for the Child Welfare League, IBM, and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, to name only a few.

We offer many opportunities for you to tailor your education through internships that reflect your particular interests and career goals. Our Career Services Office will help you find the internship that’s a good fit for you.

Students can complete internships for academic credit, or apply for Centre Internship Plus, which provides matching grants for selected internships.

The Research Challenge

Centre students are often eager for intellectual challenges beyond the traditional classroom. As they become ready for a new level of discovery, the College provides them the chance to become partners in learning with Centre faculty as well as accomplished researchers elsewhere. For instance, a drama student might ask his professor to guide him in writing and producing a play, while a chemistry major might want to join her professor for a summer of laboratory research. Whatever the field, this collaborative work becomes an important bridge to graduate study or jobs after Centre. Our Student Research web page illustrates the variety of student research experiences at Centre, including the John C. Young Scholars program, which provides funding to students for mentored research projects.

Study Abroad Centre has one of the nation’s top-10 study-abroad

World-Class Education

If you like the idea of studying theater where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, learning about Mexican architecture by exploring Mayan ruins, or perfecting your French as you traverse France’s countryside, your passport is Centre.

Centre has one of the nation’s top-10 study-abroad programs with about 85 percent of our students studying abroad at least once. We have long-term off-campus programs in China, England, France, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Spain as well as shorter trips to places like Barbados, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Centre’s Your Passport

And when we say above that “your passport is Centre,” it's true figuratively—and literally. For entering students who don't already have a passport, the College will provide one—free of charge! This is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to educating all our students for global citizenship.

We Deliver

Although the national average time to graduation is five years, at Centre it is four years. Not only do most Centre students graduate in four years, they also are able to take advantage of special opportunities such as internships and study abroad in that time. Many factors contribute to Centre’s strong four-year graduation rate, among them:

  • A top-notch, “one-to-one, from-day-one” advising system assigns students academic and career advisors before they ever set foot on campus.
  • A small student-to-faculty ratio (11-1) allows students more personalized interactions with faculty.
  • Outstanding faculty members take great interest in their students, sometimes holding classes in residence halls or inviting students home for dinnertime discussions.
  • Outstanding students. Our students have fun, but they also take their education seriously (over 50 percent of our students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class). Centre students also regularly win the most prestigious awards for postgraduate study (Rhodes, Fulbright, Rotary, and Truman scholarships).

Centre recognizes how important it is for you to graduate on time. Prompt graduation is a key way in which we give students the best educational value for their dollar. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks Centre in the top-20 of liberal arts colleges that offer the best value in education.

The Centre Commitment (PDF)