Searching for PhD feeder schools (LAC’s)

Hi everyone,
I’m searching for colleges that send a significant portion of their undergraduates to graduate school.

I have a 3.55 unweighted, a 1260 SAT, and multiple AP’s. I’m coming from a somewhat competitive public high school.

The low gpa is due to health issues I had freshman/sophomore year—as a junior, I’ve had a 3.95 unweighted for the entire school year.

I have only taken the SAT once, and I did not study for it. I plan on taking it again (with studying) and I’m hoping for a 1300-1350.

Prospective Major: Anthropology. I would like to pursue grad school, likely in marketing, law, or public health/medicine.

Even though I did struggle with healthcare issues, I love to learn for the sake of learning. I tend to be more collaborative than competitive.

I’m looking at schools such as Reed (reach), Connecticut College (reach), St. Olaf (match), Bard (match), and Lawrence (safety).

I’m looking to stay on the Eastern Seaboard (Ohio is acceptable)… only exceptions are St. Olaf, and possibly Lawrence.

Thank you!

I thought Beloit was known for anthropology. You have some good choices on your list.


I am confused about your post. The subjects that you mentioned are odd, but not impossible, to get a PhD in.

I would definitely add Colby College to your list. I applied there with the exact same GPA and situation as you (and an SAT score around 1450) and I was accepted. If you can demonstrate that you excel in the field of study you plan to major in, you stand a good chance of getting in, or at least that’s how I think I did. Try and get your SAT score to the 1400s range as well, that might boost your chances for a lot of these schools! One final piece of advice- LACs love demonstrated interest. Schedule interviews, visit campus, and ask questions to the admissions officers, it could make a difference!

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To clarify—
For public health, I’m interested in either a PhD or a DrPH. For marketing, I’m interested in market research and academia (which would typically require a master’s/PhD).

Medicine and law are usually professional doctorates.

While I would like to consider a PhD, I’m considering graduate school in general. To me, a school that sends a significant portion of graduates to PhD programs means that they probably send a lot of students off to other grad/professional programs… a product of strong advising, focus on the individual students, and student collaboration.

This sentence just doesn’t compute- or at least you are putting the cart before the horse. You say that an important metric in your choice of college is the % of students who go on to do a PhD (btw, “feeder school” is not really an apt description for UG → G)

You say that you want to major in anthropology (which is a field in which the typical terminal degree is a PhD). Yet, you don’t really seem to have any idea what direction you want to go post UG- as @Eeyore123 noted, you mention doing a PhD in which the typical terminal degree is a an MBA (marketing), JD (law) or MPH/MD (public health/medicine).

Why do you want a PhD? A PhD is a research degree: you spend the guts of 5 years doing intensive research in a specialist area of a subject that is deeply interesting to you. You can get into a PhD program from any kind of school, and there are many, many LACs with lots of students who love to learn for the sake of learning.


Seconding Beloit.
Adding Wooster, Kalamazoo.
Any cost constraints?
What state do you live in?

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Adding New College of Florida (think of it as a public even tinier Reed on the beach of sunny humid Florida so all the stereotypes that apply).

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I don’t think that your assumption is correct- though I would genuinely be interested to see some data on that! Schools that have a strong pre-professional reputation (for example, Emory) do not necessarily correlate with high levels of students doing PhDs.

I really don’t see % of students doing PhDs as being a good, or even meaningful, indicator of any of those characteristics. The CTCL schools are known for being particularly good at all three of those traits- but the % of students going on to do PhDs isn’t especially notable.

If I understand correctly, what you are looking for is a school that has an ethos of collaboration and strong teacher-student involvement and support, with classmates who are achievement oriented- is that close? If so there are so many options available that you need a few more metrics for people to be able to give you useful suggestions, starting with budget/financial constraints.

ps, note that a DrPH requires a separate MPH (in many other PhD programs you pick up a Masters along the way). Note that a PhD is not typical for market research- but you are correct that a PhD is nearly always essential for an academic career.

But again: carts before horses: you don’t even have a broad idea of what field you want to go into, and you should be planning on doing a bunch of internships over the next 4 years to figure that out! You could be 3 years away from declaring a college major and 4.5 years from applying to grad school.

Instead of worrying about how many students go on to do grad degrees b/c of the kind, supportive college environment, go find a college that offers you room to experiment (so maybe ones without too many Gen Ed / Distribution requirements). When you get there, try lots of different subjects at university level and see what suits you.


I definitely agree with this. For now, I’ll throw away the whole PHD thing and focus on undergrad.

Budget-wise, my family can pay up to 45K for college. At least a little merit aid would be nice.

I’m in CT. Mostly looking for schools around the 40-55% acceptance range (matches), but I am interested to hear about some reaches and safeties.

Also, I’m looking at schools that are more rural/countryside. Suburban is OK. City…meh.

Although Rhodes (Memphis) looks like a nice school.

Have you looked at the “Colleges That Change Lives” group? it’s chock full of schools that fit what you have described. Some will be reaches, but many should be in range. It’s a good place to start looking.


I think that you should avoid debt for undergrad. Between the possible cost of a master’s or law school or medical school, plus the uncertainty of what career you will settle on when (which is very normal at your age), I think that you will have an easier time if you graduate with a bachelor’s degree and no debt at all.

I see that you can pay up to 45k. Is this without debt? We were looking for affordable LACs in the northeast for a very academically strong student, and ended up in Canada. We are now noticing that the downside of going to university in Canada is that the student might not return after graduation.

I am not sure that I would worry much about the percent of students going on to PhD’s. This is more a function of the student than of the university. I am thinking that your in-state public school might give you a good start and fit your budget.

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Hi, +1 for Kalamazoo!

One source for Doctoral Degree Sourcing

Seconding the suggestion of The College of Wooster. Setting her up well for grad school was one of the reasons my D21 is choosing to attend this fall.

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Might want to check out Whitman College. It’s in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington.

This blog post (by Jon Boeckenstedt) shows data (61 years of it) on undergrad school of PhDs. You can sort by baccalaureate Carnegie classification, and narrow to more recent years. Top 10 feeder baccalaureate schools (again by Carnegie).

Oberlin (by far)