Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Bright College different from other US colleges and universities?
Forget lectures, exams, and problem sets. Bright College uses active, innovative, high-impact activities to foster skills and habits of mind essential to career success and lifelong achievement. Students participate in interdisciplinary projects, creative problem-solving, community engagement, and real-world experience in a richly supportive, cohort-based environment.

What kind of person is a Bright College student?
Bright College is designed with innovators, trailblazers, and creative thinkers in mind—learners who want opportunities to dig deep into big issues, navigate their own way through complex questions, and bring unique perspectives to problem-solving. Our students are inquisitive, ambitious, and self-motivated, willing to take intellectual risks and eager to connect authentically with their classmates.

What are the admission requirements for Bright College?  
We’re looking for evidence that you are dedicated, hard-working, intellectually curious, and ready to tackle the challenges of college-level learning. But, we also believe you are more than just the sum of your GPA and test scores. Does your high-school transcript show that you have challenged yourself with your course selection? Have you stuck with activities and learning opportunities throughout high school, instead of just for a semester or two? Do your brief personal statements included in your application reveal an inquisitive, reflective, and driven mindset? Do your references affirm that you are ready to give what it takes to succeed at Drake? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you’re likely a good candidate for admission to Bright College. These attributes are more important to us than GPA and class rank—even SAT or ACT scores, which we don’t even require for admission.  

You’re more than the sum of your grades and test scores. We’re not asking for ACT or SAT scores, AP exam results, or class rank. Instead, we want you to tell us what sets you apart in ways your transcript can’t express. If you’re determined and willing to work hard, you belong at Bright College. 

How does Bright College support student success?
You will have the support of professors who will serve not just as teachers, but as mentors, guides, and coaches. They’ll get to know you for who you are and help you to become who you want to be. In addition, dedicated staff in our tutorial centers and Career Services will guide you toward professional preparation and ongoing educational opportunities.

What about campus life?
At Bright College, you’ll enjoy full membership in the Drake campus community. Attend sporting events and performances; take part in intramurals; use the wellness facilities, Cowles Library, and study spaces; and join any of our hundreds of student organizations. It’s all here for you.

Our Programs

What programs does Bright College offer?
At Bright College, you can pursue one of two associates-degrees? Business, Organization, and Professional Studies or the Integrated Arts, Sciences and Humanities. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to launch a rewarding career and you’ll have the experience and the connections to make it happen. At Bright College, you’ll also build a record of academic success that can launch you into bachelor’s degree programs at Drake or elsewhere.

Can I complete a bachelor’s degree at Drake after graduating from Bright College?
Yes! Students who successfully complete their AA at Bright College are guaranteed admission as bachelor's-degree students at Drake. In addition, thanks to the generosity of our alumni and donors, we will be able to offer robust financial aid awards that will make completing a bachelor's degree at Drake an affordable option for Bright College grads. What's more, dozens of Drake's bachelors' degrees can be completed in as little as two years after earning your associate degree.

Tuition & Costs

How much will it cost?
The sticker price for Bright College is less than half the cost of tuition at many other private colleges nation wide. For Iowa residents, the generous support of enthusiastic donors combined with state and federal grants means Bright College graduates will take on little or no tuition debt. While every family’s situation is different, our team is here to help you get the financial support you need to put attending Bright College within reach.

Are there other costs besides tuition?
You’ll pay a modest student activity and holistic wellness fee and be responsible for providing yourself with a laptop computer that meets Drake’s minimum technology requirements. If you opt not to use Des Moines-Area Regional Transit (DART), which is free for all Drake students, the costs of transportation and parking will be yours to cover, as well.

Learn more about Bright College Tuition & Costs.

Is there an on-campus room-and-board requirement?
Bright College students can choose room and board options, but are not required to do so. If you wish to use campus dining, you can select from one of several meal plans or simply pay as you go.

Application & Deadlines

How do I access the application?
You can apply online for free. We know numbers don't define you, so the application will ask you to share more about yourself by responding to two short-answer questions and requesting references from two teachers, coaches, or mentors. No test scores, no application fee. it's never been easier to apply. You can also apply through the common application by selecting The John Dee Bright College.

What is the application deadline?
While there is no formal deadline to apply for admission, all students wishing to receive financial aid must file their FAFSA by June 1st. Orientation begins early August and classes begin in the last week of August.


Reach out to Grace Wenzel, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission and Bright College Recruitment.

Grace Wenzel (she, her, hers)

Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission and Bright College Recruitment
Office of Admission

P 515-271-2091