campus encounters

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Saint Anselm College

Saint Anselm College (visited 10/18/16)

st-a-2This is the place for students who want to get away and try new things, who want a highly residential campus (students tend to stick around all 4 years) and access to lots of activities as well as strong academics with professors who say, “let’s try that!” This is also the place to be for studying politics!

St. A’s impressed me. The students were friendly and people were engaging with each other all over campus, even on a misty fall day. During the tour, I learned that they’re ranked 6th in the country for most involved students. That didn’t come as a surprise after meeting many of them. “There are opportunities to get involved in community service, be tough, be a dork … you can do it all.”


The main building on campus

“The faculty is the best part about this place. You’ll find at least that one person you can have the good conversations with when you’re freaking out about what you want to do with the rest of your life.” One of the tour guide’s favorite classes was his “Conformity and Rebellion in the 1950s” class (in the English department), in large part because he had a great relationship with the professor. “It was interesting and well taught. I loved going to that class.”


The Chapel

Socially there’s a lot to do beyond athletics. Skate Night, movies on the quad, weekly trips to different ski resorts, and plenty more options are offered. “If you’re going to have a problem, it’s because there’s too much to do. It’s actually good to learn stress and time management.” There are usually 5 or 6 speakers, panels, or movies each week on politics, Black Lives Matters, TED Talks, LGBTQ issues. Saint A’s was ranked #1 for Christmas Traditions: they have a gingerbread house competition, light the 30 foot outdoor tree, and more. One of the students we spoke to took part in “Walk a Mile In Their Shoes” – she walked 130 miles from Maine to NH for Road of Hope. “I never thought I could do that, but now I do everything! I figure if I can do that, I can just go on a 20 mile hike on the weekend.”

st-a-lower-quadFood here gets amazing reviews from students (and the dinner we had speaks to the quality of the food!). It’s not hard to see why they’ve been ranked #8 in the country for food! Crepe night is a particularly big hit.

There are plenty of opportunities for Interdisciplinary learning and research. Students get practical experience early.

  • One of the nursing students has already gone into the community as a sophomore. “I’ve gone to drug-addiction meeting, worked with low-income families, stuff like that.”
  • st-a-grotto-statue

    Statue in the Grotto

    Politics is the top major because St. A’s hosts the NH Institute for Politics. They host the DNC and RNC debates, and students often get to intern with these organizations. They turn the hockey rink into the press room!

This is a Benedictine college; 25 monks live on campus, 6 of whom are active on campus (not all professors). Monks do get involved: a recent email came out about a dinner/discussion about “How to be your best self.” Their mission revolves around service, hospitality, and respect. The religious requirement includes Biblical Theology (“It’s almost a history class, not about being indoctrinated,” said a student) and Biblical Literacy classes. These could be ethics, Christian Saints, etc. Mass attendance is not required.


The Political Library in the NH Institute for Politics Building

To help students adjust and acclimate, they have Transitions for Freshmen, a little like a pre-orientation, where students take trips, meet people, etc. Orientation leaders have to organize a couple activities every semester to check in with their group.

Admissions for non-nursing majors is test-optional; the average incoming GPA is a 3.3. Applicants to nursing, one of the top majors, will need to submit test scores; students admitted to this program have an average 3.6 GPA. All applications have 2 readers, and they give an “impact rating” – what will they give to the community? Things like leadership, work, family commitments all get factored in.

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