A trend at liberal arts colleges is for students to be able to choose their courses. Not at St. Johns. In fact, every student takes the same classes. The curriculum consists of the study of 200 texts from the original authors, ranging from Aristotle to Einstein. There is no need to choose a major; everyone’s degree is in the Liberal Arts.
The Annapolis campus is in the heart of the colonial city, next to the Naval Academy. The location on the Severn River and near the Chesapeake Bay offers students the opportunity to participate in sailing and crew. All freshmen participate in the freshmen chorus.
Every student takes the same classes. The curriculum includes four years of mathematics, two years of ancient Greek and French, three years of laboratory science, a year of music, and four years of Great Books seminars. Instead of professors, St. John’s has “tutors”. A typical class will consist of 15 to 20 students and two tutors around a table. Students are expected to analyze and discuss the assigned texts. There are no exams and few tests. Instead, students do lots of writing. The tutors provide evaluations of student work; letter grades and a transcript are an option. Seniors defend their essays before faculty members.
The college says that they have the highest proportion of students who go on to complete a graduate degree. The sciences are strong, along with the humanities. Many grads become MDs or lawyers. Quite a few in recent years have become vintners.
Internships are encouraged, and if the employer does not pay, the college will.
Applications for admission are evaluated by faculty rather than by an admissions staff. Most important are three required essays. Middle 50% SAT scores are 1220 to 1430. There is a lot of “self-selection”, meaning that typically only students who are inclined towards the type of intellectual endeavor offered at St. John’s will apply. Of those who do apply, about 80% are admitted.
The college also has a campus in Santa Fe. Some students take advantage of both campuses; of those who do, a common track is to do the junior year at the alternate campus and return to the original campus for the senior year.
For more stats, see the St. John’s page at the College Board site.