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St. John's College - Santa Fe Reviews

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St. John's College is the Best!
The tutors are so rewarding and very supportive. The small class sizes are remarkably great! Not forgetting the support from the entire Johnnie community.
St. John's doesn't have a great Niche rating, but it offers one of the most unique and rigorous academic programs out there. It has a high acceptance rate but is very self selecting, and many of students end up leaving because it is so intense.

They run a discussion based, great books program. You might lay hands on two textbooks during your 4 years. The rest of what you read (and you will read A LOT) is primary sources-- covering math, science, history, philosophy, literature, music, and language. For example in Freshman math, you read through about 2/3 of Euclid's Elements, and begin Ptolemy's Almagest.

I LOVE this school. Every liberal arts college claims to teach critical thinking, but I think St. John's Delivers that on another level. Professors expect you to make intelligent sense of a lot of very difficult texts, very fast. If you can figure out chemistry from Berthollet and Proust, you can probably figure most things out. Its a challenge, if you're looking for one.
St. John's College is a warm and welcoming place. As an international student, I have never felt out of place or unaccepted by my fellow students. I enjoy the classes and the experience I have had at St. Johns.
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If you want to learn then St John's is the perfect place for you. The classroom experience is one of a kind and you get to know your professors really well. you also get to build close relationships with your mates too.
No matter how hectic the course is, it was the best decision of my life. We have a very close community here at St. John's Santa Fe. The tutors are understanding and try their level best to motivate us. Just beacuse we have to read so much doesn't mean that there is no enjoyment. The reading and the discussions are an enjoyment in itself but, no one can party like a Johnie. And there is nothing you can't find at St. John's. There are a lot of extracurricular activities to take part in, from painting to zumba everything is available and if not, you can always make a new club. The scenery is wonderful, making a hike and reading in front of a beautiful sunset can be a god past time.
Considering the fact that I had not visited my campus, I would say that my experience was amazing. I found it very easy to get involved on campus. People were friendly and helpful. The faculty to student ratio is small enough to allow students the opportunity to really get to know their professors. It was my first time away from home and living on my own. My school had enough resources to make that experience rather delightful and simple for me. Overall, my experience here has been remarkable.
SJC is a niche educational opportunity. If you don't have self-control, a desire for autonomy in your education, love books, writing, and discussion, it is probably not the place for you. There is such a high turn-over rate because it is really meant for some people, and some people for it. This is not your typical college. If you want to learn the way the founders of Western society did, come here. If you want to learn how to think for yourself, analyze others' thoughts, and be able to express your own thoughts, come here. If you want to grow close to a small community of people who also value these things, come here. If you want a typical modern American college "experience," you probably don't want to come here because that's not what this school is about. This school is about learning for the sake of learning.
There are no varsity sports, but a healthy intramural life. Intramurals are friendly and open, a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening. The gym is big and new and really nice.
Santa Fe is insane. I have experienced more hail here than my entire life combined. Weather forecasts are known to be a joke; there is no telling what is coming next. Last fall was mild and very enjoyable. This winter (2013-14) didn't have very much snow--maybe 4 big snowfalls. The spring has been snowy, haily, rainy, with 60-70 degree days in between. Santa Fe skies are unbeatable; the campus is really gorgeous, with a view of sunsets that can't be beat. It is really dry, though. I had to get a ventilator for my room, it's so dry. I'm from Southern California and I've been able to survive, though. It's never really hot, mostly mild, just erratic weather patterns (or lack thereof) and beautiful, beautiful skies and natural life.
Johnnies are an enigma. Since discussions foster very close relationships between students, I would suggest avoiding romantic relationships with classmates. Johnnies are also very similar, especially in the way we think, so if you're looking for someone very different from you you might have a hard time. There are plenty of couples on campus, and they tend to be in longer-term relationships. In some ways, socially, Johnnies are dichotomous; the extroverts are very extroverted and are constantly around people and at every party. The introverts are extremely introverted and go back to their dorm immediately after every activity.
Policy is barely enforced. I haven't heard of anyone ever getting in trouble for underage drinking. Alcohol is at every school-sponsored party and all an underage has to do to get a drink is ask an older friend. Drugs are little less visible; I have only heard tell of it. There is not much peer pressure; I don't drink and I have several friends who don't. Substance-free dorms are also available, and this is nice if you don't want your dorm to constantly smell like weed, which some of my friends' dorms do.
I don't participate in the nightlife. If you're anticipating a traditional college party I've heard it's disappointing. If you're anticipating a somewhat awkward gathering of buzzed young philosophers, you'll probably fit right in.
I answer this facetiously, you must understand. There is no "Greek life" in the American sense of the term at SJC. What I speak of is actual Greek life; the first 2 years of SJC language department is ancient Greek. And so in this sense we have the greatest and most true Greek life of any college in America. That being said, ancient Greek is the hardest class of freshman and sophmore year. it will kill you.
Santa Fe prides itself in a facade of ethnic diversity. Yes, ethnic diversity exists, but this diversity is more in the realm of New Age diversity, if you know what I mean. Spirituality, veganism, organic foods, etc. abound in a walk down the street. So yes, there is ethnic diversity in food choices, and it is generally somewhat authentic, but the diversity is part of a character that Santa Fe plays. Food is also on the more expensive side (minimum wage in SF is $10). I haven't run into any student discounts.
An all-you-can-eat meal at the cafeteria will cost about $5. While plenty of food is available, it is pretty low quality. There is not a huge selection, though they do strive to serve vegan and vegetarian food options, these options tend to be the same week in and week out. Honestly, the food is not terrible, but it certainly isn't good. I've really enjoyed just a handful of meals this whole year. Eating off campus is tempting, but more expensive because of the town. The coffee shop is also an (more expensive) option, but still not great.
In the last semester (Spring 2014) many thefts have been reported, and I also had my coat stolen from the dining hall. I have had friends who have had bicycles, backpacks, electronics, and clothing stolen in open, public places. To my knowledge, none of the perpetrators were caught. There is pretty constant security driving around, but these thefts still take place--I think that they are non-student thefts. I have not heard tell of any student-on-student violence, but there is a strong drug and alcohol presence on campus. While I have never felt threatened by a person under the influence, it sometimes does make me uncomfortable to know that it is there.
I am not a person who feels the need to get off of campus very often. When I do I usually ask a friend with a car (I would say about 10% of my friends have cars). But the shuttle service runs every day of the week, on weekdays in the evening and just about all day on the weekends. City bus tickets are very affordable ($1 for a day pass, I believe), and run about every hour. Getting to the Albuquerque airport is not a huge hassle either; the college provides limited shuttle space at the beginning of breaks and there is also a selection of affordable private shuttle businesses, as well as the Rail Runner, a metro system that goes from Santa Fe to Albuquerque.
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As a person of mixed ethnic heritage (raised in the U.S.) I feel there is pretty fair ethnic diversity at SJC. In my class I would say about 30% of students are international, although those who are from the U.S. are mostly white. I have rarely felt oppressed or offended because of my ethnic background, and have not witnessed others being openly oppressed because of theirs. The greatest challenge in this area is that the undergraduate program draws exclusively from the Western canon. But that is what happens when you go to a liberal arts great books college. I didn't expect anything different. The college has made an attempt to balance the curriculum by adding a graduate program that studies exclusively Eastern classics.
There is some diversity, but not a whole lot. Most students are white and upper-middle class or wealthy. Outside the classroom, international students may feel some alienation.
When I was admitted, my financial aid did not sufficiently cover the costs and my expected parent contribution was too high for my low-income family. However, after I sent an email explaining my situation to the financial aid office, they increased my scholarship and reduced parental contribution by half. However, the loans are a lot.
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