Fast Facts

Central College, founded in 1853 and located in Pella, Iowa, is a private four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. Learn more about our history. Read our welcome statement.

Majorly obsessed with your future. Central offers dozens of academic programs across the liberal arts disciplines of STEM, social sciences, arts and humanities. Central recently celebrated its first graduates from its new engineering program. The college also has several professional programs and pre-professional tracks in dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, athletic training and more.

It’s all about you. With a 11:1 student to faculty ratio, faculty and students enjoy a personalized teaching and mentoring environment. The average class size is 15 students.

You’ll be surrounded by the best. All classes are taught by professors, not teaching assistants, and 85 percent of faculty members have earned their Ph.D. Your peers will challenge you to use every last brain cell. In fact, 92 percent of students who graduate from Central do so within four years.

Incoming students’ academic credentials:

  • Average ACT: 24 (SAT 1099)
  • Average GPA: 3.62
  • Top 25 percent of their high school graduating class: 52 percent
  • Enter with AP or college credit: 73 percent (204/278)

Central invests in you. Central’s commitment to affordability is supported by its practice of awarding financial aid to more than 99 percent of its students.

Central internships are career builders. Around 76 percent of Central students complete at least one internship before they graduate. Internship opportunities exist in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as hundreds of sites in Iowa and internationally. In total, 99 percent of Central students complete an internship, study abroad, research or community-based learning experience.

Your passport to the world. At least 55 percent of students have meaningful international experiences through programs sponsored by the college. Students may study during a semester or summer for academic credit on five continents. Central hosts director-led programs and partners with other institutions to provide global experiential learning opportunities around the world. Students in music ensembles have an opportunity to perform internationally. Non-credit-bearing, meaningful experiences are also sponsored through athletics and volunteer opportunities.

Be part of a larger team. Many extracurricular options encourage student involvement at Central, with more than 100 student organizations available to nurture leadership, engagement and participation.

Employers know when they hire a Central graduate, they get the job done. Nearly 100 percent of Central’s graduates are employed in a field of interest, enrolled in graduate or professional school or are engaged in meaningful volunteer work, such as the Peace Corps, Americorps or Teach for America, within one year of graduation.

Campus Community

Your education is a relationship. The Central College academic community is dedicated to educating undergraduate students. More than 105 faculty and 350 staff members, full- and part-time, serve approximately 1,100 undergraduates, who hail from Iowa, 24 other states and four countries around the world. The power of the Central global network through alumni, parents, donors and corporate partners brings significant opportunities for the college and its students.

Be more than a spectator. The campus culture is one of engagement; metaphorically speaking, one cannot be a spectator at Central. Half of Central’s students participate in intercollegiate athletics.

Up your game. Central is in the NCAA Division III and is a member of the American Rivers Conference. The Dutch have won:

  • 11 national team championships
  • 34 national individual championships
  • 181 conference titles
  • 23 conference all-sports titles

There is nothing as unstoppable as Central’s student-athletes. In the past 44 years, Central’s coaches have been recognized 138 times as the conference coach of the year. In the past 12 months, 112 Central student-athletes received academic all-conference recognition, a distinction reserved for varsity level competitors who are of sophomore standing with a 3.50 or better grade point average.

The show starts with you. Twenty-six percent of Central students are enrolled in a fine arts course—art, music or theatre—including music groups, ensembles and private All Central students have the opportunity to perform in one of 12 ensembles, ranging from classical to jazz to pop. The Mills Gallery showcases art exhibitions throughout the year, including student exhibits in the spring. Theatre programs involve students in every facet of stage production, with a handful of major productions annually. A wide range of campus life opportunities, including many linked to volunteering and service-learning, attract students in large numbers.

National recognition:

  • Central’s actuarial science program has been ranked as one of the Best Bachelor’s in Actuarial Science by College Choice
  • Central provides the highest value-added to salary of any liberal arts college in Iowa (Payscale.comRead more.
  • Ranked the No. 6 best in the country among Top 20 Liberal Arts Colleges with the Highest Rated Professors for being accessible and approachable
  • Named a finalist for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. One of 16 schools to receive the finalist designation, and one of four finalists for General Community Service
  • Awarded the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Forbes magazine and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity named Central College as one of the top 25 Best Value Midwestern Colleges
  • Central is listed as one of 247 colleges in Barron’s Best Buys in College Education
  • Named one of the nation’s most “green” colleges by The Princeton Review
  • One of 100 schools named to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction
  • Central is one of only seven Iowa private colleges or universities with a chemistry program approved by the American Chemical Society
  • Named to”Honor Roll for Character-Building Colleges” by the John Templeton Foundation
  • Named one of the nation’s most connected colleges by U.S. News and World Report
  • Ranked among the top colleges in Iowa for a positive return on investment and a cost-effective education by www.affordablecollegesonline.org
  • Washington Monthly’s 2013 ranking of liberal arts colleges lists Central College as No. 37 in the country

Notable alumni:

  • Taryn Pennington ’13, high-performance health care provider, United States Olympics
  • Stephanie Heiken ’12, analyst for Homeland Security and Justice, U.S. Accountability Office
  • Taylor Schuelke ’12, producer/editor, National Geographic
  • Lindee Russell Jeneary ’08, bureau chief, Iowa Workforce Development
  • Benjamin Christian ’07, director of partnership marketing and business strategy, Kansas City Royals
  • Hilary Springman ’07, associate art director, Under Armour
  • Adam Gregg ’06, lieutenant governor, State of Iowa
  • Nathan Weir ’05, coordinator of rehabilitation, Green Bay Packers
  • Patrick McElyea ’04, district court judge, Iowa Seventh Judicial District
  • Nicholas Turner ’01, United States Marine Corps pilot, former Marine Helicopter Squadron, HMX-1 Nighthawks, responsible for direct helicopter support for the White House

Passion: Discovered!

Former business major Andrew Schlatter ’19 fell in love with education at Central.

Read More


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