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  • Writer's pictureNancy Adis

College Consortiums Bring More Opportunities

When colleges and universities collaborate to share resources, students have expanded educational opportunities.  College consortiums are partnerships in which two or more institutions offer their resources (such as classes, labs, and library materials) to students from all of the institutions at no extra cost.

Students benefit from having access to more courses for academic exploration and opportunities to add areas of specialization or new concentrations. If their home college doesn’t have a course in a subject of interest, but another college in the consortium does, they can cross-register for that course while taking their other courses at their home college.

College consortiums can have only a few members or have a large network of institutions working together. There are some very well-known consortiums, like The Claremont Colleges (Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College and Harvey Mudd College),  and some very old ones, like Five Colleges (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mt. Holyoke College) dating back to the 1950s. 

I visited several colleges in The Greater Greensboro Consortium in Greensboro, NC and found that the institutions represented a wide array of different academic offerings and settings.  Eight institutions in the area, including Bennett College, Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford College (pictured), Guilford Technical Community College, High Point University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, participate in this consortium to serve degree-seeking students in the fall and spring semesters.

There are, of course, rules that students must follow - like restrictions on the number of cross-registered courses that can be taken in each academic term and the total consortium credits that can count toward a degree. Certainly there are logistics to work out related to traveling to another campus and how the credits may or may not count toward the student’s major or other academic criteria.  However, thousands of students take advantage of college consortiums regularly.  

For prospective students deciding between colleges and universities of interest, the expanded offerings available through a college consortium may be a good balance to a smaller, more personalized college with reduced class sizes but fewer academic subject offerings.

There is a lot to consider when selecting a college and learning about the unique programs offered can be very helpful. Confident College Planning guides students and families in the process of finding colleges which best meet their personal needs and interests so that the student will be most successful. Our services include planning discussions for exploring majors, making college lists and college visits, and individualized attention for essay editing, application review and tracking, scholarship research, and funding strategies. Contact me at for a discussion on what I can do for you!

Photo credit:  Guilford College, a small liberal arts college with Quaker roots, serves approximately 1,500 students on their 350-acre historic campus.  More details coming in a future post.

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