The Balance and the Book: Laboratory and Natural Sciences at St. John’s

The lab program at St. John’s is one of a kind. All students study the sciences (including physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and more) as part of our one, interdisciplinary major. There is no separate science building which marks sciences apart from the humanities — although we do have separate lab classrooms, equipped with fixings like…

Why so contrarian?

St. John’s College takes great pride in having been described by the New York Times as “the most contrarian college in America.” But it’s a tricky, sticky word, “contrarian.” It carries all sorts of different connotations, depending on the reader, so it may be hard to discern what exactly it is that St. John’s is…

The Shorthand of Emotion: Music at St. John’s College

In the beginning, there were drums. Then, there were the chants sung in medieval abbeys, and then, harmony, and the great composers of the 18th and 19th centuries. As St. John’s students, we discover all of that in our music program. The first song we learn, in our freshman chorus, is often medieval. The first…

Tau Day: Could Pi Be Wrong?

Consider the circle. It is charming, deceptive, in its appearance of simplicity. The idea of the heavens as defined by circles, the so-called “heavenly spheres”, goes back to such cornerstones of the St. John’s curriculum as Plato, Ptolemy, and Copernicus.But what is a circle, really? Mathematicians have, since Euclid, sought to define this shape in…

Mr Venkatesh’s Top Ten Tips on Preceptorial Papers

Recently, Santa Fe tutor Krishnan Venkatesh sent out some advice to his students on writing St. John’s essays, specifically preceptorial papers, but the advice he gave was relevant to just about any essay written during the course of a St. John’s education. The text of what he sent out was as follows: Some Thoughts on…

4+1: Adding an MA to your St. John’s education

The undergraduate Program here at St. John’s is in many ways just the beginning. It provides the forum for your first few encounters with so many texts, so many questions, and so many ways of looking at the world, and so it’s inevitable that things aren’t tied up with a neat little bow by the…

What college rankings actually matter?

This time of year I get lots of questions about how St. John’s ranks compared to other colleges. Who doesn’t want to go to the “best” college? But here’s the problem: most rankings don’t tell you which college is best for you. Problem #1: rankings often arbitrarily divide colleges onto different lists that have nothing…

Connecting Beyond the Classics – Sci-Fi Summer Book Club

By John Edwards SF GILA 2017 This summer I jumped at chance to lead a short reading group for some of our incoming Santa Fe Freshman. In my role in Admissions Operations, I work a lot more with data than with actual students, and as a Johnnie myself (GILA SF ‘17), I was missing the…

Goethe in a Box

A few weeks ago, we sent our incoming freshmen a surprise in a box. The box contains seeds, soil pellets, peat pots, plant markers, a mini journal/sketchbook, and some colored pencils. Our goal in sending this box is to invite students to step away from their screens and to observe and engage with plants and…

Our Favorite Fathers in the St. John’s College Program

Similarly to what we did last month in honor of Mother’s Day, we had to give a shout out to a number of the iconic fathers which make up the St. John’s Program. Some are adventurers, some are warriors, some are just supportive regular ol’ Dads, but we appreciate all of them and all of…