Kalamazoo College is best known for its K-Plan, a rigorous liberal arts curriculum with a strong emphasis on experiential learning. Components of the plan include coursework, hands-on education like an internship or civic engagement, study abroad and a senior project. Professors teach all classes, and students create their K-Plans with faculty guidance.

Freshmen participate in the First-Year Experience, which builds a base for leadership, social responsibility and lifelong learning. They can also make friends before even getting to campus via LandSea, an optional pre-orientation, 18-day outdoor program held in the Adirondack Mountains (or the six-day option at Michigan’s Pretty Lake Camp). About two-thirds of the nearly 1,400 students get involved through community-based courses, internships and more — and altogether, students were awarded more than $100,000 in stipends to participate in summer 2022 internships.

The college offers more than 50 unique study abroad programs in more than 25 countries. Those programs are integrated into regular tuition, so financial aid can be applied toward costs. The college offers additional aid to students to offset lost income from on-campus employment and for travel.

Affordability overall is important at K College: Money’s calculations found that the estimated net price of a degree is $137,586, but that a whopping 99% of students get some form of grants or scholarship to help pay. At the end of a student’s four years, the Senior Integrated Project can combine scholarship, work experience or creative activity. Life isn’t all focused on learning, though — every May, students enjoy the Day of Gracious Living, a randomly chosen day off where they flock to the Lake Michigan beach an hour away.