The liberal arts program is intense, comprehensive, and tough, but I think its really worth the effort that it requires. The small classes sizes are great, and the professors (we call them tutors) generally, with a few exceptions, seem to go out of there way to make themselves available to help anyone. The one thing that is a bit frustrating is that the grading often seems a bit arbitrary.Quality of Life
The living situation is great on campus. We have a beautiful and comfortable dorms, a pretty decent cafeteria, a nice library, and virtually no crime. I have nothing bad to say about TAC's campus.Admissions
The number of essays required and the uniqueness of the essay questions made the admissions process take a fair bit of work. Other then that, it was pretty straight forward, and the admissions office and the financial aid office were always easy to work with and eager to be helpful.Level
It's an integrated program; all students work through the same material in the same subjects. Class sizes are about 15-20. Professors are easy to talk to. Grading, as far as I know is standard.Quality of Life
It allows one to focus on the study.Admissions
It's been too long to be helpfully specific, I'm afraid.Level
Besides St. Johns College, from which the program the was inspired, the academic program is like no other program found in the United States. The program is based solely around the reading and discussion of the Great Books of Western Civilization. So, instead of reading a textbook about Mathematics, we read the original text of the ancient mathematicians. Class is used for discussing these great works in sections of about 20 students with a Tutor from the College to help guide the discussion.Admissions
The application was the longest, yet most liberating process I went through when applying for colleges. Like all Colleges, there's a page of common information, but the last page is full of essay prompts. While writing the suggested 8 - 10 pages for the essays seemed like a lot, they were questions that really dug into what kind of person you were. For me, that was a good sign because I knew that the College really cared about cultivating an environment for learning.Level
Excellent. Good cost, Beautiful Campus, No Crime, Intense academicallu, spiritually and socially. Opportunity to receive Sacraments daily. Happy Students!Admissions
Unique application questions, essays, rolling admission, Common Application, great Financial aidLevel
Class sizes are fairly small - between 12 and 18 students. All classes are seminar-style, based on primary texts and graded according to class participation, exam performance, and (sometimes) a term paper. There are no optional classes; all students take the same liberal arts courseQuality of Life
Cost of living is included in tuition. Dorms are clean and comfortable, food service is great, library and internet are easily accessible, crime is limited to very occasional petty theft. The only complaint possible is really a lack of easy access to entertainment - weekends are often boring.Admissions
The application, beyond GPA and SAT scores, consisted primarily of several short essays discussing family and educational background, understanding of TAC's mission, reasons for attending and future priorities, as well as a longer essay about a book chosen by the applicant to give a sense of his ability to read and think critically. Financial aid in the form of grants and service scholarship is given to anyone who is unable to pay full tuition after taking a standard stafford loan.Level
The classes are discussion style. There is one course of study which all students take, and everyone receives a liberal arts degree at graduation. The books are the great works of western civilization - no textbooks, just original authors. All classes are under 20 students, and the professors are very available at most times. The workload is difficult but manageable, and grading, though somewhat variable from professor to professor, is usually quite fair and reflects your class participation, examination score, and knowledge of the material.Admissions
It is rolling admission. You must write essays on why you want to attend Thomas Aquinas College, on your background, and on one book that you consider to be great. They let you know fairly quickly whether you have been accepted or not. Financial aid is given on a need basis; there are no academic scholarships.Level
There are no electives in the school, class sizes are small and very efficient. The Socratic method is used to teach the classes and material, the professors are always available to talk, but the classes are very difficult. Grading for most of the classes are based on a single final at the end of the semester which is comprehensive and also very difficult. The professors do not engage in grade inflation, and do not grade on a curve. Some of the faculty are better known, and all spend extra time on papers and lectures. The workload is heavy with reading, but light on writing, there is an average of 2 hours reading/homework.Quality of Life
The campus is far away from things to doAdmissions
The university cared about the spiritual development of the individual, and asked questions about what I valued and how I viewed the relationship between the church and one's private lives. The school had an excellent financial aid office and has a policy that every student will leave the school in 4 years with only $14,000 in loans.Graduation Year
There is a single liberal arts program which, in material, is rigorous. But the degree of excellence of the education depends on the integrity and intellect of the student: the more driven the student, the more he learns. Some students bypass much of the work; others devour the equivalent of eight years' worth of work. The fixed nature of the program eliminates need for academic advising.
There is no bench research in hard sciences; study abroad is unavailable and recently the administration even openly discouraged travel abroad due to its distractions from the academic life.
Class size is always kept under twenty students per faculty member; there are no TAs or other student-teachers, apart from informal peer tutoring which is not sponsored by any club or organization. Professors vary in accessibility--some do not keep regular office hours--but all are open to appointments made by students.
Grading is based on participation in seminars, term papers, and final (essay) exams.Quality of Life
Quality of life is excellent: the students are honest, chaste, fun-loving, and dedicated to the program of study. The students, through the extensive work-study program, are largely responsible for the maintenance and landscaping of the campus, and this gives them a greater attachment to the place. The library and cafeteria are also staffed mostly by students.
There is a sense of camaraderie on campus because of the small number of those attending. We know most names and faces (by most, I mean 90%+) and do a lot together. The students all live on-campus in dormitories that mix the classes together. Dormitories are segregated by gender and are completely off-limits to the opposite sex. This means students meet in common areas more often for activities such as studying in groups of men and women.
During the week, rules regulating television and movies (nothing on school nights) mean the students are very focused on their schoolwork. The library has a carefully-selected selection which is rapidly growing, and extends to each dorm so that students may have novels and art books ready at hand, as well as material for more serious reading. Many students attend daily Mass (religious service) and other on-campus devotions.
Crime is virtually unknown, relations are warm. Granted, students occasionally become jaded with the program or with each other (as is inevitable) but this is the exception to the rule. I love this school.Admissions
The admissions process is much like those of other schools, except for the extensive essay questions, which require special attention, and largely won't admit of simple tailoring of a stock entrance essay.
There are few to zero interviews conducted of prospective students; however, many of the students attend the High School Student program the summer before application, so this often provides some contact between the school and the prospective. There is no merit-based financial aid.Level