College #2 - Ithaca College. Ithaca College - ten minutes from Cornell - has enough merits to stand on its own next to Cornell (and not only because it's on top of a hill). It's a beautiful campus with fabulous programs in the performing arts (it was originally founded as a conservatory of music) and great programs in the Health Sciences. It offers undergraduate degrees in speech language pathology, athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and health care management - all in a liberal arts setting. What that means is that undergrads get to take advantage of all of the school's resources, which include an athletic training clinic, a movement analysis laboratory, an occupational and physical therapy clinic, and a speech and hearing clinic. They also offer degrees in documentary studies and production, sound recording technology, sport management, sport media, and theatre arts management. There's cross-registration with Cornell University and Wells College; ROTC program with Cornell; 3-2 engineering program with Cornell and others; one-semester marine biology program through affiliations with the Duke University Marine Laboratory and the Sea Education Association. And there's a one-year M.B.A. program! AND IT'S TEST OPTIONAL!
Ithaca has an integrative core curriculum (ICC) that fosters interdisciplinary thinking and real-world problem solving. It's different from traditional core curricula in that the ICC is focused on a relevant, real-world theme of a student's choosing that s/he will examine from many different perspectives throughout their time at Ithaca, incorporating courses in diversity, quantitative literacy, and writing. Themes in the ICC include: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation; Mind, Body, Spirit; The Quest for a Sustainable Future; A World of Systems; and Power and Justice.
Ithaca ranks 13th in the nation for student engagement, focuses on developing its students into leaders through programs like the Student Leadership Institute, The BOLD Conference, Leadership Weekend, Women in Leadership Experience, and the Sophomore Leadership Retreat. If you are looking for a true medium-sized college (6700 students) that feels like a real community and that truly believes test scores don't sum up students, you should definitely check out Ithaca College.