The College of Idaho's PEAK Program Prepares Students for Post-College Life

Looking for a great liberal arts experience in the American Northwest? Check out the College of Idaho, a small institution in the Boise metropolitan area that has a rich history of educating some of the state's top scholars. Though there are a lot of advantages of attending the C of I, perhaps the greatest is its innovative PEAK curriculum, which goes the extra mile to prepare students for post-college life.


The College of Idaho is located in Caldwell, a mere 30 minutes from state capital Boise. It's the state's oldest college and one of the Western United States' chief liberal arts institutions. The campus features a diverse student body and offers rich experiences both within and outside of the classroom. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, currently 1,013 students attend the school and it features a favorable student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1.

albertson college of idaho

The First Year Experience

The College of Idaho is significantly invested in making sure students who are new to the campus adjust easily and form strong bonds. That's why it created the First Year Experience, a collection of events designed to bring its freshmen community closer together. New students at the college can look forward to:

  • The First Year Book, a text all incoming freshmen are asked to read before arriving on campus. Their first week at school they will engage in discussions and special events based on the novel. Best of all, they get the book for free when they come for orientation.
  • The First Year Theme, a unifying thread that runs through lectures, films, theater and other campus events that year.
  • First Year Living Communities, which are designed especially to help incoming students settle in on campus. Those come complete with First Year Mentors, who freshmen can go to if they need some extra help.
  • The McCall Wilderness Experience, where underclassmen gather to explore their surroundings and ideally form bonds that last the entirety of their time on campus.


At the heart of the College of Idaho's academic experience is PEAK, an incredibly unique program designed to prepare graduates for their pending careers. PEAK stands for Professional, Ethical, Athletic and Knowledgeable, four adjectives the college wants to apply to all its students. It also represents what the school considers the 'four knowledge peaks' of fine arts and humanities, social sciences and history, a professional field and sciences and mathematics.

To ensure students excel in all four areas, the College of Idaho curriculum requires all their charges to adopt an academic major and three minors, one from each of the four categories listed above. For instance, they could choose to focus on social sciences with a major in psychology, or concentrate on a professional field by studying accounting. From the remaining categories they then pick three minors, where they have options such as art history (humanities), classics (social sciences), health education (natural sciences) or even music performance (professional studies).

All told, the College of Idaho offers 26 majors and 55 minors, allowing their students to enjoy maximum customization in their college experiences. PEAK exists because, according to its website, the C of I 'believes that liberal arts education is the best preparation for life.' If students graduate from college with a mastery of diverse skills, it follows that they'll be much better prepared to adapt to an ever-changing job market.

Is a school in the central U.S. more your speed? Then check out Earlham College.

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