Centre College

Danville, KY

Centre College

Danville, KY

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A small private liberal arts college with a national reputation, 

Centre promises its students an experience that is intensely personal and deeply engaging. That experience is guaranteed by the Centre Commitment that students will (1) have an internship or research opportunity, (2) study abroad, and (3) graduate in four years—or Centre will provide up to a year of additional study tuition-free.

Founded in 1819—before American spelling was standardized—Centre’s name reflects its location in the center of Kentucky. Centre students come from 45 states and 11 other countries. They are bright (over 50% were in the top 10% of their high school class) and actively involved in their education.

Total engagement
In the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Centre exceeded the national average in all of NSSE’s four key measures: academic challenge, experience with faculty, learning with peers, and campus environment.

Centre particularly excels in enriching educational experiences. For example, 93% of students have participated in some form of internship, field experience, or the like, and 94% reported participation in cocurricular activities.  

Rigorous academics, supportive environment
Perhaps Loren Pope said it best when he wrote in his acclaimed college guidebook Colleges That Change Lives, “No university faculty compares with Centre’s in the impact it has on the growth of young minds and personalities. Its faculty is earnestly committed to and excels at the art of teaching.” 

Professors interact with students during class, regularly meet with them during office hours, invite them to dinner, and attend their performances and games. They are an essential part of the campus community, helping mold it into an atmosphere of curiosity and intellect, challenge and support.

All classes are taught by Centre professors; there are no teaching assistants and no large lecture-style courses. During the first two years, students explore a wide variety of courses and subjects. As juniors and seniors, students focus on their major(s) and minor(s). And no matter the major or first career, Centre’s liberal arts focus means students develop the essential critical-thinking and communication skills to stay nimble in the working world. 

National leader in international study
Centre has an exemplary reputation of transforming students into global citizens. Centre ranks #3 for study abroad among baccalaureate institutions, according to the most recent Open Doors survey. By the time they graduate, 85% of Centre students have studied abroad at least once and roughly 25% at least twice.

The College offers signature long-term residential programs directed by Centre professors in England (in London), France (in Strasbourg, across the Rhine River from Germany), and Mexico (in Merida, on the Yucatan Peninsula). Partnering universities provide opportunities to live and learn with locals in China, England, Japan, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Spain.

CentreTerm, a three-week intensive study term in January, is the time to explore new places from new perspectives. Centre Team 2020 courses include studying the Celtic origins of bluegrass music in Ireland, agriculture and cuisine in Japan, myth and memory in South Africa, and politics in Myanmar and Thailand.

Students needn’t withdraw from the College or secure international financial aid to study abroad at Centre. All scholarships and financial aid arrangements remain in place, so the cost of semester-long study is the same on campus or across the world. CentreTerm costs run between $2,800–$4,000, with additional aid available for some students. 

Something every day
More than 75 campus organizations and 2,000 campus events keep Centre students (98% of whom live on campus) busy each year. Just over 40% of students compete on one or more of Centre’s 23 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams, and over 85% regularly participate in community service. Feeling creative? Music ensembles and mainstage theatrical productions feature performances by Dramatic Arts majors and non-majors alike.

Unique to a college of this size is the Norton Center for the Arts, Centre’s premier performance space for acclaimed national and international acts. The 2019–2020 season included performances from Lyle Lovett, the Shanghai Ballet, Styx, The Chieftains, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

A wise investment in your future
With over 90% of students receiving financial assistance, the average need-based financial aid award is 63% of the comprehensive fee. 

Merit scholarships range from $2,500 to the premier full-cost-plus Brown Fellows program for model scholars and Lincoln Scholars program for world changers. Centre also offers scholarships that recognize accomplishments in diversity leadership, foreign language, music, and drama. 

The Grissom Scholarship Program, a “full tuition plus” scholarship and leadership program, recognizes first-generation college students.

After Centre
A college is often measured by the success of its alumni, and Centre’s record is impressive. With 97% of the Class of 2018 reporting successful outcomes (69% employed and 29% in advanced study), it’s no wonder that The Alumni Factor recently named Centre graduates the happiest in the country—not just among liberal arts colleges but among all 177 colleges measured. 



Best Buy | Fiske Guide to Colleges


One of the top 50 liberal arts colleges that offer the “Most Bang for Your Tuition Buck.” | Money magazine


The Princeton Review calls Centre a “best value” and includes Centre on its list of “Colleges That Pay You Back.”

Centre College At A Glance

Type of school
Four year, residential, liberal arts, private 

Danville has been named a “Top 10 Small Town” (Livability.com) and a “Most Beautiful Town in the United States” (Rand McNally/USA Today). Campus is adjacent to downtown, and students can walk to locally owned restaurants, shops, a community arts center, and a regional medical center. The town has a population of 18,000 and is nestled in the heart of the beautiful Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Nearby cities include Lexington (40 minutes), Louisville (90 minutes), and Cincinnati (120 minutes). Airport shuttle service is provided for prospective and current students from the Lexington and Louisville airports. 

Size of campus
73 buildings on a 158-acre campus 

Number of students

Number of faculty
142 (student-faculty ratio of 10:1) 

Colleges, programs, and degrees
27 majors, 34 minors, and self-designed majors; degrees in Education, Engineering, and Nursing through partnership agreements with several major universities 

Geographic diversity
Students from 45 states and 11 countries 

Financial aid
Approximately nine in 10 students receive financial assistance. The average financial aid package for first-year students last year was $31,764. The range was $10,000 to full cost. Renewable merit scholarships are awarded to over half of each incoming class, worth from $2,500 to full cost.

Test score requirements
ACT or SAT required; mid-range: ACT 26–31; SAT (Reading, Writing, and Math) 1220–1420

Application deadlines and fees
Early Decision: November 15
Early Action: December 1
Regular Decision: January 15
No fee at commonapp.org

An Inside Look