Why New College?

Are you interesting in pursuing a major that is not offered at The University of Alabama?

Are you interested in combining academic subjects to meet your diverse academic and professional goals?

Are you someone who thinks outside the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines?

Are you interested in such topics as the commercial music industry, sports management, studies of language or culture, or environmental and sustainability issues?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then New College may be the right place for you.

New College is for students who are committed to

  •   pursuing a self-designed major
  •   thinking across disciplinary boundaries
  •   contributing to the intellectual life of the community, and
  •   taking responsibility for their own learning

Admission Criteria

A student must be admitted to the University before he or she may be considered for admission into New College. Please note that the New College admission process is separate from, and in addition to, admission to The University of Alabama. Students fare best in New College when they apply as first year or sophomore level students.

A 2.0 GPA is required for regular admission into New College. In rare circumstances, a student could be considered for conditional admission with a GPA lower than 2.0. The Admissions Committee will decide the stipulations for conditional admission.

Application Process

After being successfully admitted to The University of Alabama, a student interested in applying for admission to New College should begin the online application process, which includes the following two key components:

  • Submitting an essay known as “Self Statement”
  • Providing the email address for the person whom you select to write your letter of recommendation

Both of these components are completed via New College’s online application system.

Note:  New College works best when entrants begin as first-year or sophomore students. Accordingly, New College faculty must review academic plans of students with 80 or more semester hours prior to admission. A major consideration of this review is the likelihood of the applicant’s completing a sound academic experience within a reasonable time. Specific requirements for individual students that exceed the general graduation requirements for New College may be stipulated. These additional requirements will be stated in the student’s letter of admission.

The Self-Statement

The self-statement should be a carefully crafted 400- to 600-word essay that addresses the factors considered for admission listed below. It should also demonstrate what makes the applicant competitive for admission to New College and describe why he or she is likely to succeed in a program that stresses self-directed learning and interdisciplinarity.

Our experience has been that successful self-statements do not address the factors below bullet-point by bullet-point. Rather, they are well-developed essays that weave this information into the applicant’s account of his or her interests and qualifications for admission to New College.

Successful applicants typically address the following questions in the self-statement:

  • Why are you pursuing an interdisciplinary major? Why can’t another major or program at UA serve your academic goals?
  • What subject areas or fields do you think you might combine in New College? When possible, mention specific departments or courses.
  • Can you provide examples of self-directed activities you have participated in that were related to your career or educational goals?  Have you done independent academic or creative work before? If so, please describe.
  • Can you provide examples of extracurricular activities, community engagement, talents, or other special qualifications that make you competitive for admission?

Letter of Recommendation

Choose a recommender who can describe why you would succeed in a program that emphasizes academic independence, creativity, and responsibility to self and community. While there may be exceptions, we find that teachers and educational counselors or advisors are best positioned to provide this important feedback.

Interview

After the self-statement has been approved and the letter of recommendation has been received, the applicant will be interviewed by a faculty member and an upper-level New College student.

We consider the following factors in New College admission decisions:

  • The applicant’s commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to learning, which combines different subjects, academic areas, or departments
  • The applicant’s commitment to intellectual independence, self-directed learning, and critical thinking
  • New College’s ability to accommodate the applicant’s academic goals and the enrollment capacity of program

Please note: Although New College can accommodate a great many individualized programs of study, applicants should be aware that some educational pursuits have special requirements (e.g., certifications or accreditation) that New College may not be able to provide.