5 Philadelphia Colleges Helping Students Achieve

As the home of historical sites like the Liberty Bell and numerous respected institutions, Philadelphia features a wide variety of cultural and educational opportunities. It offers many colleges designed to meet the diverse needs and interests of students, from medicine to hospitality. Here, in no particular order, are some institutions of higher education in the City of Brotherly Love that are helping to foster student success.

Coming in at #1 is Peirce College. Established in 1865 as Union Business College to provide career-focused education for soldiers returning from the Civil War, it was one of the country’s first schools to embrace women as students. Peirce is Philadelphia’s only institution of higher learning dedicated exclusively to serving working adults.

Most of the academic curriculum at Peirce College is offered completely online. Students can also attend classes at the Center City campus. Degrees and programs at the school include healthcare administration, a certificate of proficiency in human resource management, and a Rutgers Law School bachelor to juris doctor program.

Joining the list at #2 is Community College of Philadelphia, a public, open-admission institution that has served the city's residents since 1965. Its Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship program was listed in the Washington Monthly magazine article, The Twelve Most Innovative Colleges for Adult Learners, and recognized as a potential national model. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Geared toward African-American males, the Center for Male Engagement provides its members with targeted academic and non-academic support designed to enhance their skill sets as they pursue a degree at Community College of Philadelphia. Support coaches are available, and participants have access to on-site computers, supplemental education software, a resource library, and designated study area. The school's CCPTV educational cable channel is the recipient of a Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy and a Telly Award.

Entering the list at #3 is Bryn Athyn College, a small, private, coeducational, liberal arts college located north of Philadelphia. Founded in 1877, the school's religious perspective adheres to New Church theology, a form of Christianity based on teachings of the Bible and the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. The curriculum pairs rigorous academics with spiritual inquiry, and emphasizes critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, public presentation, and experiential education.

Through Bryn Athyn's academic exchange program, students may study abroad at either the Universite Michel Montaigne in France or the University of Osnabruck in Germany, which are the school's partner institutions. The college offers pop-up classes, which are short one-credit courses that do not follow the regular term or block schedule, and can be quickly implemented in response to student or faculty interest, current events, or hot topics. In addition, workshops and special seminars are available, including immersive writing camps and spiritual growth sessions.

At #4 is Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which offers degree programs in such areas as biomedical sciences, clinical and school psychology, forensic medicine, and mental health counseling. Through its Center for Brief Therapy, it provides a wide range of clinical assessment, treatment, and consultation services for children, adolescents, and adults. The school is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

In 2003, PCOM became one of the first osteopathic medical schools to acquire a full-body, programmable human patient simulator. The school also has a branch campus in Suwanee, Georgia, offering an anatomy laboratory, manipulative medicine practice suite, and conference areas and study spaces.

Finishing up the list at #5 is Walnut Hill College. Founded in 1974 as The Restaurant School, it was one of Philadelphia’s first colleges to focus on hospitality education. It combines classroom teaching with hands-on training in its award-winning restaurants, which are open to the public. Walnut Hill is a member of the American Institute of Wine and Food and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Among the curricula students participate in are pastry arts and restaurant management. Walnut Hill College provides a summer cooking camp for kids, while high school and vocational-technical students have the opportunity to enter culinary and chocolate competitions in order to earn scholarships. Notable alumni include Jonathan Cichon, executive chef of Lacroix, and James Beard Foundation honoree Emilio Mignucci.