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When Looking At Colleges Don’t Forget to Look at the Curriculum- A Visit to St. John’s College

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Student walking into class, look at the curriculum when looking at colleges.

When students visit a college, they are often quick to judge the campus. Students may judge the physical beauty, the residence halls, the food, and sometimes even the people. However, students may sometimes forget to judge one of the most important factors of a college, the academics. Look at the curriculum a well.
It is important to remember that some colleges out there, like St. John’s College, have a unique curriculum and learning style.
For example, during a recent visit to St. John’s College I took a look at the curriculum that emphasizes:


Use of primary sources

You are not encouraged inside the classroom, or in your papers, to utilize secondary sources.


Open and natural discussion

Discussion is encouraged and developed. You don’t find any “hand raising” here.


Learning how to explain yourself

You need to be prepared to explain, defend, and be questioned on various math proofs and theories and not just “how do they exist” but “why they exist.”


Use of study groups


A culture that discourages checking grades.


Writing and presenting a thesis based on your own thoughts.


Using exploratory writing

Demonstrating the ability to have rigor of thought and sincere interest in the subject matter.


Increased complexity each year

The curriculum and learning progresses with you.


Students who all move through the same curriculum with few elective offerings

These courses include courses in ancient Greek, English Composition, Quantum Mechanics, Music Theory, and other seminars.

So, the next time you visit a campus, don’t forget to ask about the learning style and curriculum that is emphasized on the campus.

 

P.S. A visit to St. John’s College wouldn’t be complete without seeing their unique mascot, the Axolotl (picture below). I didn’t even know what one was until the tour!

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