What is it Like to Attend Knox College?

Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Knox College. She specializes in AP Human Geography tutoring, SAT Reading tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at Knox College:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Rachel: Knox College is located in Galesburg, a small city in western Illinois. Since Galesburg is small, many things that Knox students like to do are within a reasonable walking distance from the school. The campus dominates a sleepy section of the town about four blocks away from the Galesburg Amtrak station. Since the Amtrak goes to Chicago (about a three hour trip), you’ll see Knox College students on the train every weekend.

There’s a bus system in Galesburg, but it can be inefficient. Since everything’s so close, your best bet is to walk or bike in the warmer months. Though Galesburg does not have a spectacular bike system, most students find biking to be a great option.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Rachel: Knox professors are well-published and conduct extensive research, and they strive to include interested students in their research projects. Many of my classmates have been published in prominent academic journals because of their work with Knox professors. Students are able to choose their own academic adviser after they declare their major, so students are often able to find advisers who understand their academic style and their personal goals and challenges. Advisers are very understanding and act as advocates for their advisees.

How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Rachel: I loved dorm life at Knox! Most students live on campus, even juniors and seniors. This was an amazing experience, because it increased the likelihood of those random social encounters that lead to lifelong friendships. The dorm buildings themselves are clean and a fairly decent size.

Students at Knox love being active on campus. From the creative types hanging painted bottles on trees, to the friendly, yet surprisingly competitive, Ultimate Frisbee players, you will definitely run into folks who are doing cool stuff and want you to join. Students at Knox are incredibly inclusive, so it’s very easy to get involved with all sorts of formal and informal student groups.

There are a couple of different dining halls that serve decent buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s also a very nice gym, indoor and outdoor track, and pool free to all students. Though I was not involved in athletics, about a third of the campus was.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Rachel: Knox students are interested in a wide variety of topics. The focus of any program in a liberal arts college is to build critical thinking, writing, and analytical abilities, so all of the programs at Knox encourage these skills. Knox also has strong science programs, particularly in chemistry and biology. Students have a multitude of opportunities to conduct high-level research alongside Knox’s science professors.

I chose to major in secondary education. The program at Knox allowed me to explore the strengths and problems of K-12 public education in America. I really enjoyed my student teaching term teaching social studies at Galesburg High School.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Rachel: Knox’s small size and their focus on recruiting students from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests makes finding good friends very easy, regardless of what activities you choose to participate in. Students who do their homework in the Gizmo or the Roger Taylor lounge will often find a friendly bunch of people to hang out with while they do so. There are many organized groups and activities for students, and it’s very easy to become involved in anything.

About a quarter of campus is involved in Greek life at Knox. Students at Knox join Greek organizations for the friendships, networking, leadership, and philanthropy opportunities. Since there are a bevy of other student groups and organizations at Knox, however, non-Greek students involved in any club get these opportunities as well.

How helpful are the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?

Rachel: I must admit that the Career Center at Knox was a bit disappointing in my time there. Most students at Knox are interested in graduate school, creative vocations, and social justice work, so there aren't too many recruiters for big commercial companies on our campus. Knox’s best strength in career services is the opportunity the school offers its students to make close, personal connections with their professors, who are often able to guide students toward job prospects that might not be advertised on standard job listing boards. Knox also offers strong internship programs. Many of my classmates who were interested in business and law were able to find job opportunities after graduation through Knox’s internship programs.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Rachel: The study settings at Knox are top-notch. Seymour Library, the main library, is huge. It’s equipped with comfortable furniture and each floor has a designated volume level. Chat with your friends on the first floor, do your group projects on the second floor, and enjoy quiet time on the third floor.

There’s also an extensive science library in SMC (the Science and Math Center), as well as a music and performing arts library in CFA (Center for Fine Arts). The only times I ever noticed study or work spaces being overly crowded were in the computer labs during finals week.

Describe the surrounding town.

Rachel: Galesburg is a small city in the middle of the vast cornfields of western Illinois.The people who live in Galesburg are down-to-Earth, kind, and invariably full of interesting stories. The downtown area of Galesburg is within six blocks of Knox campus, so students visit frequently.

Something special about Knox is the Green Oaks nature facility, about 45 minutes away from campus. Green Oaks is a restored forest maintained by Knox, and all students and alumni are welcome to camp there. Knox offers the Green Oaks term every other year—an off-campus study experience where students study environmental science, conduct anthropological research, or work on their creative projects.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Rachel: Class size is one of the biggest reasons to attend Knox. The school is pretty small, but not so tiny that you run into the same people everywhere you go. Most of my classes had under 15 students, which allows students a lot of opportunities to make strong connections with their professors and their fellow classmates.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Rachel: My course in anthropology and human origins with Jon Wagner was one of the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken. Every class would start with Jon wheeling in a large cart full of hominid skull replicas for us to examine.


Check out Rachel’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.