The only thing I knew about St. Joseph’s College came from my childhood neighbor’s grandmother. Back in the day, she worked there as a house mother to the seminarian students. They were such nice boys.
Fast forward to today. Grandma might be surprised. The nice boys are still there and, as of 1968, the College has admitted women.
St. Joe is well known for its Core Curriculum. Every year, all students attend classes in this interdisciplinary program that focuses on history, literature, religion, and philosophy. The Core is a way for students to fulfill general ed requirements that are mandatory at most colleges. At St. Joe’s, however, everyone takes the same program and builds upon a common foundation of community, critical thinking, and connections. The course emphasizes reading and writing and includes lectures and smaller discussion groups.
Students can begin courses in their majors freshman year. Unlike other schools that may require students to complete general ed classes during the first two years, the College encourages students to pursue individual interests early on.
The College has a beautiful and traditional campus in Rensselaer and houses approximately 1200 students. About 1/3 of the students are Catholics and the religious roots of St. Joe’s are evident everywhere. Each classroom has a crucifix on the wall, there is a secluded grotto dedicated to Mary on the grounds, and the campus is anchored by an impressive chapel. The nearby town doesn’t offer much in terms of off-campus entertainment, but the College brings in comedians and musical acts in addition to the many student-run activities.
For more information, check out http://www.saintjoe.edu.