Praised for its small classes, supportive atmosphere, and a low student-to-faculty ratio, St. John’s College is again among the colleges included in The Princeton Review’s “378 Best Colleges” (2014 edition). The educational services company features St. John’s College’s Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses in its annual college guide, which is based on surveys of 126,000 students at 378 colleges.
Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges, and four colleges outside the U.S. are profiled in the guide. It lists the top 20 schools in 62 categories based on the Princeton Review’s surveys of 126,000 college students.
St. John’s College, where students learn in small, hands-on discussion-based classes, earns “top marks” for “best classroom experience.” This is a college where “class discussions encouraged” and that has the “most accessible professors.” Both the Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses are in the top 20 for “best classroom experience.” St. John’s in Annapolis is one of the “best Northeastern colleges.” St. John’s in Santa Fe is also in the top 20 for “professors get high marks” and “most accessible professors” –to name a few of its distinctions.
At St. John’s College, professors (called tutors) always “treat the students as equals,” and “outside of class they are available and friendly,” notes a student in the survey. “There is always someone to work through [difficult material] with you. The fact that tutors are always available (for lunch, coffee, or just to chat with a student) is wonderful. I have had many delightful discussions with tutors outside of class on topics ranging from Baudelaire to quantum mechanics.” With tons of assigned reading and provoking in-class debates, the curriculum is “difficult and taxing, yet supremely rewarding.”
“Students are respected for what they can bring, and need never feel self-conscious about whether they’re smart enough,” notes an undergraduate. Everywhere you look, there is a “commitment, sincerity, and passion for learning of the community and the faculty.” St. John’s College’s faculty are “experienced academics,” they are “skillful when it comes to managing the classroom discussions and helping students articulate their thoughts” and are “truly open-minded and give everyone a chance to give participate. They really care about their students and treat us as peers in the classroom since they consider themselves also to be constantly learning.”
St. John’s College is known for its distinctive, interdisciplinary program, in which students pursue the same curriculum in a wide range of subjects. As a student notes, “[We] study math, science, philosophy, language, history, and literature,” and are “encouraged to question everything, develop [our own] logical conclusions, and understand Western thought, starting at the basics.”
Students in Annapolis and Santa Fe engage in a host of extracurricular activities – from school-run dance parties, Ultimate Frisbee, sailing, and crew in Annapolis to skiing and Search and Rescue in Santa Fe. “Students come from across the country and around the world, from all religious, political and economic backgrounds …the diversity of personalities is astounding,” says one student. Adds another, “The one thing Johnnies have in common is their love of learning and their love of thought.”
The Princeton Review’s survey asked students about their school’s academics, administration, campus life, student body, and themselves. The surveys were completed at http://survey.review.com. “St. John’s College has outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our selection of schools for the book,” says Robert Franek, senior vice president and author of “The Best 378 Colleges.” “Our choices are based on institutional data we collect about schools, our visits to schools over the years, feedback we gather from students attending the schools, and the opinions of our staff and our 30-member National College Counselor Advisory Board. We also work to keep a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity and character.”