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Middlebury College Admissions

The Davis Family Library is featured at Middlebury College.
Middlebury college is known for the study of languages (photo credit: Alan Levine).

Middlebury College may not have the same name recognition as an Ivy League institution, but among the most esteemed academics and learners in the country, the Middlebury name holds nearly as much weight. Located in the rolling hills of Middlebury, Vermont, the private liberal arts college houses a suite of programming, including the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Language Schools, that draws some of the greatest writers and academics in the nation to its small rural campus each summer. Middlebury also operates several international study abroad programs and graduate study institutes. The college has graduated 11 U.S. governors, 11 university presidents, and 25 U.S. senators and representatives.

Middlebury’s 2,800 undergraduates major and minor across 50 different disciplines, including an environmental studies program that was established at the college in 1965, making it the first of its kind in the nation. A “J-term,” or Winter term semester gives students the opportunity to enroll in one course, usually with unconventional subject material and visiting educators. All students are required to take a first-year seminar and an intensive writing course that must be completed before junior year. Additionally, two physical education courses and distributional requirements in “Literature,” “The Arts,” “Philosophical and Religious Studies,” “Historical Studies,” “Physical and Life Sciences,” “Deductive Reasoning & Analytical Processes,” “Social Analysis,” “Foreign Language,” and “Cultures & Civilizations” must be completed prior to graduation.

While it is not required, studying abroad is a major aspect of many students’ Middlebury experience. According to the college’s website, “more than half of all students choose to study off campus at some point during their time at Middlebury, especially during their junior years.” Middlebury operates study abroad programs in seventeen countries across five continents, and enrollment is open to students from other undergraduate institutions through the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad program, which was established in 1949.

The college was founded in 1800 by Vermont Congregationalists. Although Middlebury’s longtime rival, the University of Vermont, was established in 1791, no classes were held there until after Middlebury had begun operations, making Middlebury the first operational college in the state. In 1823, Alexander Twilight graduated from Middlebury as the first black graduate of a college or university in the United States. Twilight is immortalized on campus through Alexander Twilight Hall.

Beginning with the establishment of the School of German in 1915, Middlebury has offered world-renowned language-immersion courses each summer for over a century. These “Language Schools” enroll roughly 1,350 students annually. Another famous summer program, The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, through Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English, was established in 1926. When one considers that past faculty and affiliates of the conference include Robert Frost, Toni Morrison, and George R. R. Martin, it should not come as a surprise that it is regarded as the most prestigious writing conference in the nation.

Sequestered away in the New England countryside, Middlebury students form deep connections to their campus and to each other. Middlebury’s student traditions mimic those of other rural New England schools. Such facets of student life include a student-run Winter Carnival (which might remind some of a similar carnival held at Dartmouth), an Outdoor Program that organizes hikes through the wilderness, and a coeducational social scene without Greek life. The Middlebury Panthers compete in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NCAA Division III). Faculty at Middlebury have included the 77th governor of Vermont Madeleine Kunin, environmentalist Bill McKibben, and National Academy of Sciences member John Rigden.

Middlebury has recorded record-low acceptance rates in recent years. The Class of 2027 garnered 13,297 applications, of which 1,553 (or 12%) were accepted. Every year, around 100 students choose to defer their admission by a semester, entering into a “Febs” (short for February) cohort that attends orientation and even graduation off-cycle. The Admissions Office states that the Middlebury community is known for “progressive thinking,” “challenging academics,” and “high expectations.” Students who are ready to take the plunge into such a community should look no further than Ivy Coach. We will collaborate with you to create the most competitive application possible!

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