All You Need To Know About Kalamazoo College

Founded in 1833 and ranked among the nation’s 100 oldest institutions, Kalamazoo College, a liberal arts institution, offers a unique blend of tradition and academic freedom. Nestled in Michigan’s charming city of Kalamazoo, just 35 miles from Lake Michigan and within easy reach of bustling Detroit and Chicago, the college provides a dynamic backdrop for your educational journey.

Kalamazoo College’s campus holds a fascinating history within its 25 buildings. Starting as a single building in 1836, it moved locations twice before finding its current “fair Arcadian Hill” home in 1887. The iconic campus quad, developed in the 1920s, features the heart of the college, Stetson Chapel. 

The area is surrounded by historic brick buildings designed by Aymar Embury. These include faculty housing, residential halls, the library, and the iconic Welles Dining Hall. Recent developments prioritize sustainability, with LEED-certified additions like the Arcus Center and the Natatorium. Notably, the Natatorium even received the 2022 Innovative Project of the Year award. Today, the Kalamazoo College campus offers a unique blend of historic charm and modern amenities, reflecting its rich past and evolving present. It’s a vibrant space where tradition meets innovation, providing a dynamic backdrop for student life.

At Kalamazoo, academics are driven by the innovative “K-Plan,” a personalized four-year program that celebrates exploration. You can choose from 31 majors, 22 minors, and 13 concentrations and tailor your studies to your passions. Immerse yourself in open-ended exploration, transformative study abroad experiences, hands-on learning, and a culminating senior capstone project. Join a close-knit community of 1,300 students, where 98% receive financial aid and over half live on campus, fostering a strong sense of belonging.

Kalamazoo boasts a rich campus life with over 80 student organizations. The students can also unleash their competitive spirit with the Hornets, members of the oldest collegiate athletics conference in the country. 

One of the most beloved traditions on campus since the 1970s is the legendary “Day of Gracious Living.” On this surprise event, classes take a backseat. The students have a beach day and campus-wide celebrations. 

Kalamazoo College has nurtured some of the brightest minds, including Tony Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron, actor Steven Yeun, and comedian Jordan Klepper. Will you be next? Come discover how tradition and innovation can shape your future at Kalamazoo College.


Student Cohort Size

Kalamazoo College’s close-knit community consists of 1,378 students. The admitted students represent 38 states and 32 countries. The student population includes 41% male and 58% female students. Kalamazoo College embraces the world within its campus borders. This international mix fosters an atmosphere where students bring their unique backgrounds and perspectives to the academic table. 


Four-Year Completion Rate

The graduation rate is among the most important factors when selecting a college. Kalamazoo College’s first-year retention rate is 83%. This means that 83% of first-year students continue their education for their sophomore year and beyond. The 6-year graduation rate is 86%. This implies that 86% of students were able to graduate after 6 years.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Kalamazoo College fosters a personalized learning experience with its impressive 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio.  72% of classes boast fewer than 20 students. This means professors are readily available for guidance and mentorship, allowing students to thrive in a supportive learning environment. At Kalamazoo, you’ll be actively participating in a dynamic community of knowledge-seekers.


Acceptance Rate

Kalamazoo College admissions has an acceptance rate of 80% and an early acceptance rate of 90.4%.

Acceptance GPA

The admitted students at Kalamazoo College have an average GPA of 3.9 and above. 

Types of Admission

Kalamazoo College applicants can apply through the Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision programs. Early Decision is a binding admission plan for students who have determined that Kalamazoo College is their first choice and who feel they can present a strong application without senior grades being reviewed. Students admitted through the Early Decision admission plan are required to cancel their applications elsewhere and enroll in Kalamazoo College. Early Action is a non-binding and unrestrictive admission plan that may be an attractive option for those who feel they can present a strong application without senior grades being reviewed. Regular Decision is a non-binding and unrestrictive admission plan that allows students more time to complete the application and to have grades from the first term of their senior year considered in the review.

Application Components

All required parts of the Common Application 

Official high school transcript: An official high school transcript will display courses and grades for all years of high school attended. 

Guidance Counselor letter of recommendation: The guidance counselor’s recommendation should detail academic and personal preparedness for post-secondary education.

Letter of recommendation:  Kalamazoo College accepts a recommendation letter from a core academic teacher who worked with a student in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. The college also accepts alternative references (e.g., coaches, employers, pastors, friends of the family).

Standardized Test Scores: While test scores are optional for students applying for fall 2023 and fall 2024, the average SAT scores for admitted students were between 1200 and 1370.


Kalamazoo College isn’t just another liberal arts school. It’s an immersive academic experience, nationally renowned for its innovative “K-Plan.” The students can choose from 32 majors, 22 minors, and 13 concentrations. Students gain in-depth knowledge through the K-Plan. $170,000 is awarded for summer internships, and experiential learning is encouraged at Kalamazoo College. Imagine yourself interning at a prestigious organization, gaining real-world skills while earning valuable stipends. 

The students get the opportunity to focus on community engagement and make a difference through service-learning projects and co-curricular programs on campus. The students collaborate with their peers to tackle local challenges, developing valuable leadership and teamwork skills in the process.

The senior students delve into a research or creative endeavor of their choice as a part of their unique “Senior Integrated Project,” During this project, the students get the opportunity to write a groundbreaking novel, conduct groundbreaking research, or create an innovative piece of art. 

Kalamazoo College isn’t just about academics; it’s about shaping you into a well-rounded, globally engaged citizen. With its innovative K-Plan, immersive experiences, and focus on community, Kalamazoo offers an education that will stay with you long after graduation.

Most Popular Majors

Spanish Language and Literature
Social Sciences
Political Science and Government
Information Science


In the 19th century, when athletics were seen as detrimental to academic pursuits, a group of Kalamazoo College students defied the norm and formed an athletic association in 1879. Starting with intramural baseball and football, their passion paved the way for varsity teams in football (1892) and baseball (1894), and, ultimately, Kalamazoo College’s entry into the M.IAA, the oldest collegiate athletic association in the US.

Men’s sports continued to evolve, adding track, tennis, basketball, and golf throughout the early 20th century. The Great Depression led to temporary pauses for some teams, but the 1960s saw a resurgence with wrestling, swimming, and soccer joining the roster. Lacrosse’s recent addition in 2016 speaks to the ongoing growth of men’s athletics.

While women faced limited opportunities initially, their athletic spirit shone through. Tennis and archery teams thrived as early as the 1910s, with Claire Wight Payne even winning a MIAA title in 1916. The Women’s Recreation Association fueled intramural sports, paving the way for varsity field hockey and archery teams in the 1950s.

Fueled by Title IX, the 1970s saw a blossoming of women’s athletics, with swimming, volleyball, track, and basketball teams taking the field. Soccer, cross country, softball, and golf followed in subsequent decades, with lacrosse joining in 2014. Today, with nine teams each, men’s and women’s athletics stand side-by-side, a testament to the evolution of inclusivity and athletic excellence at Kalamazoo College.

Cost of Attendance

Direct Costs

Tuition                                                        $58,185
Housing                                                      $5,730
Food                                                            $6,354
Activity Fee                                                $429
Matriculation Fee                                     $150

Total                                                        $70,848


Health Insurance                                       $1,303
Total w/ Health Insurance                       $72,151

Indirect Costs

Books                                                           $900
Personal                                                      $1,500
Transportation                                          $300
Loan Fee                                                     $60

Total                                                           $2,760

To conclude, Kalamazoo College isn’t just an institution of learning; it’s a vibrant community where tradition and innovation intertwine, shaping your future as much as your academics. Whether you delve into the rich history of the campus, immerse yourself in the personalized “K-Plan,” or explore the dynamic student organizations, Kalamazoo offers an experience that goes beyond the classroom walls and inspires you to become the best version of yourself.

Embark on a transformative higher education journey and elevate your path to academic success with the expert guidance and personalized support of an Ivy Central college counselor.

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