While most colleges follow a long-established curriculum in a handful of well-known majors, others eschew this route in favor of teaching methods and degrees that are truly left of field.
Here are five colleges that do things a little bit differently than the other colleges out there.
1. Deep Springs College
Big Pine, CA
The Curriculum: Deep Springs combines hard labor, courses cultivated by students and their teachers, and instills self-governance in a grueling two years of study.
The campus lies on a cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in the middle of the desert where students are expected to earn their free tuition by working the land in various capacities.
There’s no Facebook, no nearby emergency services, and, until 2013 (96 years after its establishment), there were no female students either.
After Graduation: You can be a chump and take the associate’s degree, or you can transfer to any top-tier school in the country. Alumni include senators, scientists, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
Admission Rate: 6—15%
2. St. John’s College
Annapolis, MD/Santa Fe, NM
The Curriculum: Founded in 1784, St John’s is one of the oldest colleges in the United States. If you’re worried about what degree to get, they only offer one – a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts.
With two campuses that each enrolls around 450 students, St. John’s foregoes traditional textbooks and classes for what they call “great books.” Teachers and students engage in open dialogue over classic Western philosophy, literature, math, science, history and religion.
After Graduation: With a school philosophy so grounded in the Classics, it’s no surprise that graduates include numerous Politicians, Writers, and Musicians.
Admission Rate: 81%
3. Clown Conservatory
San Francisco, CA
The Curriculum: Though this used to be a fully-functioning academy, the Clown Conservatory currently only offers intensive workshops via the Circus Center to increase accessibility to – clowning.
After Graduation: Sara Moore, of Ringling Brothers fame, recently took over as the conservatory’s director and has stated that the program will be more supportive for alumni.
Admission Rate: Unknown, but you need to be cleared by your doctor and an instructor to be placed on the proper level of any acrobatic courses.
4. Sarah Lawrence College
The Curriculum: Similar to how the school administrators put on airs about how the campus lies in bougie Bronxville, the student body’s reputation is quite misleading. These liberal arts students put the quirk in quirky and the quark in existentialism, defying the school’s wife-rearing history while cooling the heels of radical feminist alums.
After Graduation: A degree from Sarah Lawrence is essentially a golden ticket into most major media companies. Even though you didn’t get graded on anything, the academic intimacy unearths some profound thoughts and skills.
Admission Rate: 62%
5. Hamburger University
Oak Brook, Illinois
The Curriculum: So, McDonald’s has an international university solely based on training managerial prospects. Classes go beyond your basic franchise protocol and actually teaches students leadership skills that would be applicable outside of a cramped production line for Big Macs.
After Graduation: You get a sweet Bachelor of Hamburgerology that actually translates into business management credits at other colleges, but most people just hang it up and collect their managerial pay raise.
Admission Rate: Unknown per campus, but China’s division is regarded as the most competitive at 1%.